Sergeant John Edward Hughes


National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3320/80


Name: 1160113 Sgt. Hughes, John Edward.

Unit: 107 Squadron, Bomber Command, R.A.F.

Captured: Straits of Messina, 4th December 1941.

Left: Campo 59 (Servigliano), 14th September 1943.

Left: Casablanca, 13th July 1944.

Arrived: Newquay, 14th July 1944.

Date of Birth: 11th September 1917.

R.A.F. Service: Since 12th July 1940.

O.T.U.: Upwood.

Conversion Unit: -.

Post in crew: Wireless operator.

Peacetime Profession: Inspector jigs and tools..

Private Address: 29 Hillside Road, Bradington, Birmingham.


Other members of the Crew:

Sgt. KIDBY (pilot) (killed); and

Sgt. BURCHER (navigator) (killed).


All map references are to ITALY 1:250,000.


1. Capture:


I was picked up in the sea by an Italian fishing boat in the Straits of MESSINA on 4 Dec 41. I was taken to hospital in MESSINA where I remained till 6 Jan 42 when I went to ROME Transit Camp.


2. Camps in which imprisoned:


ROME Transit Camp               6 Jan 42 - 27 Jan 42.

Campo 59 (SERVIGLIANO)  28 Jan 42 - 14 Sep 43.


3. Attempted Escapes:




4. Escape:


On 14 Sep 43 the M.O. who had taken over the duties of S.B.O., told us to leave the camp. I left with C.Q.M.S. PAWLEY and Sgt. NEWELL. We walked South and although we frequently got lost during our journey and often wandered round in circles, we took approximately the following route:- VERVI (Sheet 42, B 4985) - MONTE MONACO (B 4577) - near ARQUATA (B 4253) - CAPRICCHIA (B 4647) - POGGIA CANCELLI (B 4540) - CAPITIGNANO (B 4236) - ARAGNO (Sheet 29, B 5721) - FILETTO (B 6019) - CASTELVECCHIO (B 7412) - BUSSI (B 8601) - CASTELVECCHIO - FILETTO - ARAGNO where we stayed until approximately 4 Feb 44. Sgt. NEWELL remained in ARAGNO and I was later informed by the Italians that he had been captured by the Germans in Apr 44.


On 4 Feb C.Q.M.S. PAWLEY and I walked South to POGGIO CANCELLI where we stayed until the end of Apr with three New Zealanders and six British Army personnel (names unknown). During this time supplies were dropped by parachute and C.Q.M.S. PAWLEY got a pair of boots. At the end of Apr he and I again started walking. We went to:- ARAGNO - FILETTO - CASTELVECCHIO - near BUSSI - near ROSCACASALE (G 9191) - BUSSI - CASTELVECCHIO - FILETTO - ARAGNO - POGGIO CANCELLI. Here we met two German deserters. On 15 Jun 44 five British Army personnel (names unknown), the two Germans, PAWLEY and I went to ARMATRICE (Sheet 28, B 4148). We remained here until 17 Jun, when we went to MONTREALE (B 3937). We contacted British Forces at AQUILA (B 5016) on 20 Jun.


The two Germans, C.Q.M.S. PAWLEY and I went by motor lorry to CHIETI (Sheet 29, C 1415) where the two Germans were officially made prisoners. We were sent from TORINO DI SANGRO (Sheet 30, C 4504) to No.2 Reception Camp, NAPLES where C.Q.M.S. PAWLEY remained. I was sent to No.3 R.A.F. B.P.D. where I stayed until 9 Jul when I was sent to CASABLANCA by air en route for the U.K.


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