Lieutenant Keith Joseph Briggs

 

National Archives catalogue reference - WO 208/3320/70

 

Name: 105517 Lieut. Keith Joseph Briggs.

Unit: Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment, First Army.

Captured: Near Tunis, 21st January 1943.

Escaped: Campo 49 (Fontanellato), 9th September 1943.

Left: Naples, 8th June 1944.

Arrived: Liverpool, 17th June 1944.

Date of Birth: 12th October 1914.

Army Service: Since October 1938 (Territorial).

Peacetime Profession: Surveyor.

Private Address: "Donington", 12, Myddelton Park, Whetstone, N.20.

 

1. Capture:

 

I was captured on 21 Jan 43 near TUNIS whilst we were consolidating after an attack.

 

2. Camps in which imprisoned:

 

Campo 66 (CAPUA); 28 Jan - 11 May 43.

Campo 49 (FONTANELLATO); 11 May - 9 Sep 43.

 

3. Attempted Escapes:

 

Nil.

 

4. Escape:

 

After the Armistice with ITALY had been made known the S.B.O, in the camp, Col. de BURGH, organised an evacuation on 9 Sep and we went into the hills.

 

On 12 Sep we dispersed.

 

I, with three others, Lieut. D. GRAHAM-CAMPBELL, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (last seen NAPLES, Jun); Major L. YOUNG, Beds & Herts Regt. (ex-Campo 49) and P/O RICHARDSON R.A.F. (ex-Campo 49) moved to near PORNOVO (ITALY, 1:250,000, Sheet 11, P 97), where we stayed till late Sep. We were given shelter and civilian clothes in an Italian farmhouse (name not known). Lieut. GRAHAM-CAMPBELL and I then moved on, leaving the other two, and we took approximately the following route:- CASTELNOVO NO MONTI (Sheet 17, L14) - PAVULLO (Sheet 18, L 43) - FIRENZUOLA (L 90), - S. SOFIA (Sheet 19, R 3386) - S. ANGELO (Sheet 23, R 75) - near FABRIANO (Sheet 24, S 11) - NORCIA (B 26) - MONTEREALE (Sheet 28, B 33).

 

At MONTEREALE we picked up a Petty Officer STRUTT, who moved with us.

 

We continued to SCOPPITO (B 3819) - MASSA D'ALBE (G 5089) - FRATTURA (Sheet 29, G 8971), which we reached on 4 Nov and where we left P.O. STRUTT. We continued to LECCE NE MARSI (G 7470), where we joined forces with a Major McLAREN and Captain PREACHER both D.L.I. From here we made an attempt to cross our lines, but had to give it up on account of the snow.

 

We returned to LECCE NE MARSI, where we stayed till 30 Apr.

 

Whilst here a Lieut. EADIE and Lieut. BUIST (both from Campo 49) were picked up by the Germans. In Jan a Major J. SALEBY, Royal Gloucestershire Hussars, had joined us and he was captured by the Germans on 1 Apr. On the same day a Dvr. SEDDON, J., R.A.S.C., was shot by the Germans and captured. A Pte. BUTCHER and one other, name not remembered, left the village to try and reach our lines and were not heard of again by us. Two further ones to disappear from LECCE NE MARSI were Captain TAYLOR R.E., and Lieut. MOSSES, Light A.A. (about middle Apr).

 

On 30 Apr Major McLAREN, Captain PREACHER, Lieut. GRAHAM-CAMPBELL and I moved on via OPI (Sheet 29, G 85) to M. PETROSO (G 9347) and made contact with Italian troops fighting with us South of LA META (G 9543).

 

On approaching our lines on 4 May one of us detonated a mine and Lieut. GRAHAM-CAMPBELL and I were both wounded. We were evacuated to an Italian hospital, from there to 15 Mobile C.C.S. and from there to 92 General Hospital, NAPLES.

 

I left NAPLES in the hospital ship "AMRA" on 8 Jun and reached LIVERPOOL on 17 Jun.

 

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