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PG53 in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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       Campo PG 53 was situated at Sfozacosta, it was one of three in the Marche province near to the city of Macerata.


    If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.

    Those known to have been held in or employed at


    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

    • Attrill Cedric George Henry. Cpl.
    • Bailey Peter. Gnr.
    • Edmonds Sydney Walter. 2nd Lt.
    • Emmett William Roy. Dvr.
    • Faben Frederick. Gnr.
    • Gardiner James William. L/Bmdr. (d.20th Aug 1944)
    • Gardiner James William. L/Bmbdr. (d.20th August 1944)
    • Gorman Terry. Pte.
    • Hamilton Peter Sidney. L/Cpl.
    • Hines Gordon Leslie. Cpl.
    • King James. Spr.
    • Lee Cyril Henry John. Pte.
    • Loam Francis Joseph. Pte.
    • Masterman Leslie. Pte.
    • Merton Arnold. Pte.
    • Miller Nathaniel.
    • Tague John Francis. Pte
    • Wibberley John Stewart. Bdr. This page is new, as yet no names have been submitted.

    The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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    Nathaniel "Frank" Miller 1st Tower Hamlets Rifles

    My father was a POW at Lamsdorf from 1943 until the Death March. He was employed at Arbeitskommando E288, a sugar beet factory at Bauerwitz. (now Baborow, Poland) He was captured 3 April 1941 at Agedabia, Libya. He was interned at Sulmona, Italy until 13 July 1943 and then transferred to Camp CC.53 P.M. 3300, Italy. Then on 19 July 1943 he was transferred to Stalag IVB, Germany. On 10 Aug 1943 he was then transferred to Stalag VIIIB, Lamsdorf. At the end of the Death March, he was liberated by the Americans and flown back to England.

    Alan Miller

    Bdr. John Stewart Wibberley Royal Artillery

    My dad, Jack Wibberley, talked about being in the Eighth Army, and about visiting Cairo. He was captured at Tobruk in June 1942 and was taken to Italy where he was a POW in the following camps:
    • 85 Turturano near Brindisi
    • 87 Stalia
    • 66 Capua
    • 68 Vetralia
    • 73 Fossoli of Carpi
    • 53 Sforzacosta
    I know he escaped from one of the camps with a friend Mac. He was taken in by a farming family & lived with them. One day when working in the fields he was challenged & beaten with rifles by some Axis troops - he agreed to meet them in the market in Naples the next day & bring another POW with him. Needless to say, he didn't do that! [I read a report he wrote about this when I was about 13, but that report wasn't in family papers when we cleared the family house] In June 1944 his war record states he was known to have reached Southern Italy & was in Allied hands. By August 1944 he had returned to England & was in Liverpool Transit Camp He was posted to Clacton on Sea in Essex where he was part of the Heavy Ack Ack Battery. In the NAAFI there he met my mum Ada Letch who was in the ATS. They got married in December 1945. He died in 1958 and my mum died in 1980.

    I would love to know if anyone remembers him - he was always known as Jack.

    Jan Kitchin

    Pte. Leslie Masterman Yorks & Lancs

    My grandad, Leslie Masterman (1923-2002), from Leeds, served as a Private in the Yorks/Lancs Regiment during the Second World War. He was a POW in Italy and Germany after being captured by German troops in Tunisia in 1943. The following is what my family and I have pieced together from the few bits of information he gave us: Pte Masterman, L 4758866 He was taken to camp PG66 in Italy, which (with help from the internet) appears to have been in Capua. We got this number from a photograph: PG66PM3400. The first four digits aside, we're not sure what the numbers mean. He also stayed at camp PG53 (Campo Concentremento 53. Sforzacosta). Hewas moved to Germany, where he (as far as we can tell) stayed at camp PG78 (location unknown), before being squashed into an open rail truck and taken to Stalag 357 (in Oerbke, I think). He spent time at Stalag 4DZ near Annaburg. (Again, we got this number from a photograph, but we're not sure what it means: 226387 D602.) I think it was here where he was forced to work on repairing a damaged railway line near an ammunition factory (which was regularly bombed by the RAF). He was certain they were sent to work there to reduce numbers, and many men died working there. He, along with two other prisoners (Trooper Walter Rowley and Lance Corporal James "Busty" Speight), fled Stalag 4DZ on April 14, 1945. The day before they fled, they were told by a British R.A.M.C major that the whole camp was to be marched east the following day. The march began and suddenly the air raid sirens sounded. As Allied planes swooped to strafe a nearby airfield, the three of them made a run for it, taking with them two of the German sentries (they told them they would make it all right for them with the Americans, who were rumoured to be getting closer).

    In the village of Nienburg, they told the local Burgomaster that they had been sent to make their way back to camp. A German girl who had been a worker in the camp kitchen helped my grandad and the other POW's by tipping them off about the Burgomaster being suspicious. He had sent for the SS, who were to arrive the next morning. The German girl also told them the way to the American lines, so they pulled out quickly and eventually found an American patrol near Halle (Saale). The Americans took some convincing that they were British POW's, but they eventually realised they were genuine and couldn't make them more welcome. They later learned that the guards who stayed behind were shot by the SS for assisting them to escape. My grandad returned home to Leeds on a Tuesday in May 1945. There are an awful lot of gaps that I'd love to fill in, and he probably stayed at a few more POW camps. I'm unsure where he was when at the end of the war but think it's most likely to be Stalag 4DZ in Annaburg. I have no idea how much time he spent at any one camp. I also have no idea how he travelled from Tunisia to Italy after being captured. I know the prisoners marched for many miles through Italy and traveled in open army trucks up through Germany to the North East. If anyone has information about ANYTHING I have mentioned above, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

    Tom Masterman

    Cpl. Cedric George Henry Attrill Royal Corps of Signals

    2320876 Corporal Cedric George Henry Attrill served with the Royal Corps of Signals during WW2 and details of his service is provided as follows:-
    • 13th Nov 1940 Left England for Egypt, North Africa. Sailed from Liverpool on the ship T.T. Reing-dec-Pacifico Calling at Seirra Leone, Durban, Cario, Aswan, Sudan, Kerin, (Eritrea) Asmara to Alexanria Egypt.
    • 21st Jan 1941 New rank - War Substantive Corporal w.e.f. After Mursa, Matru Tobruck encounter 1st Siege by Germans
    • 20th June 1942 Germans took Tobruck, North Africa.
    • 21st June 1942 Capitulated to the Germans.
    • 23rd June 1942 Captured in Tobruck by the Germans.
    • 26th June 1942 Prisoner of War at Bari and Verona, Italy
    • 17th July 1942 Freed by Italian Patriots. Travelled Brindesi, Taranto, Bari, Acona, Verona, in Italy. Headed to the Swiss border, free for a month, but due lack of clothing and not successful in remaining free.
    • 6th Oct 1943 Germans helped by Fascists cordoned, Termacia and Villa Montana in Italy.
    • Recaptured by the Germans and became a P.O.W. Prisoner of War Camps C.G.H.ATTRILL was imprisoned.
    • 10th Sept 1943 At Campo P.G. 53 Italy.
    • 17th Nov 1943 At Compo P.G. Lavoro 148/LX Italy.
    • 30th Nov 1943 At Campo P.G. 53 Italy. At Campo P.G. 65 Sett 3, Cap. 4 Italy. At Stalag VII a, Mooseberg Germany. At Stalag IV B , Muklberg. Worked in mines and Lead Smelting Works
    • 5th March 1944 Moved to E1.116 E - Stalag IV d Muklberg
    • 6th June 1944 D-Day invasion started.
    • 7th June 1944 At Stalag IV d - Fort Zinner
    • 21st Aug 1944 At Stalag IV d - Fort Zinner
    • 22nd Sept 1944 At Stalag IV d - Fort Zinner
    • 21st Dec 1944 Moved to E1 113 E.
    • 13th April 1945 Liberated by U.S.Army, 3rd Sper., 9th Battalion.
    • 16th April 1945 Lesleben, Saugerhausen, Liege, Belgium
    • 17th April 1945 Brussels on route to England.
    • 20th April 1945 Home, Ryde I of W, and on leave and rest.
    • 8th May 1945 Germans formally surrender at 23.01 hours at Reims, France.
    • 7th June 1945 Army Leave expired for C.G.H. Attrill.
    • 13th Jan 1946 Discharged papers issued.

    Michael Attrill

    2nd Lt. Sydney Walter Edmonds 97th Field Regiment Royal Artillery

    I met Sydney Walter Edmonds in the summer of 1994 at the bed and breakfast run by his daughter. With some coaxing he told us his prisoner of war story. My wife and I wrote it up and later sent it to him to be shared with relatives and friends. I have recently put the story on my web site. I found this site and hope others can provide additional material that could be included.

    I see many letters on this wonderful site which are clearly related to individuals that served with Mr. Edmonds. Would very much like to hear from them.

    Melvin Oakes

    Pte. Cyril Henry John Lee East Kent Regiment

    camp 53 pm3300

    Cyril Henry John Lee of the Buffs was in Camp 53 3300 Italy then moved to Stalag 11b sometime after 1943. He was my father's uncle.

    Mike Gurney

    Gnr. Peter Bailey 107th (South Notts Hussars) Regt. Royal Artillery

    My father, Peter Bailey, was conscripted into the Royal Artilery in 1939 aged 21. He was sent to Catterick Garrison for basic training. After this he was posted to Ipswich where he was involved with anti aircraft gunnery. Sometime later he was re-posted to Woolwich to await a troop ship bound for Egypt. I think it was around this time he learned he would be attached to the South Notts Hussars, a TA unit. After six or seven weeks at sea they arrived in Egypt and were sent on to somewhere near Tobruk where the whole regiment was overrun by Field Marshal Rommel's Africa Corps.

    Some time later he found himself in POW camp 53 at Sforza Costa near a larger town called Macerata in Italy. When Italy surrendered my father and many others, although not all, escaped to the hills and managed to survive by foraging and stealing until they came across a farmer who took them in and kept them hidden whenever any Germans were about. I think there were only three or four people in my father's party and they helped out on the farm in exchange for food until they were found by US troops.

    After this it's pretty much blank as I don't know how he got back to the UK, nor do I know any names of his companions or indeed if all of them survived whilst on the run. The last six months of my father's service were spent in hospital in Sheffield with PTSD, and then medically discharged just as the war ended. I am pleased to say he completely recovered and lived to be 78 years old.He rarely talked about the war but one thing he did mention was the harsh conditions in camp 53 and the brutality of some of the guards, his biggest complaint though was the fact that his army boots fell to pieces and it left him barefooted for around two years.

    Ray Bailey

    Cpl. Gordon Leslie Hines 235 Field Park Coy. Royal Engineers

    Gordon Hines was called up for war-time military service on 16th October 1939 to Royal Engineers, army number 1184039. He joined A Company, 1st Motor Depot (believed to be based in Tyneside). He was posted to Aldershot to join 50th Motor Division (later to become 50 th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division), 235 Field Park Company as driver on 13th of December 1939. He was posted to France as part of British Expeditionary Force, on the 23rd of January 1940 part of British 2 Corps, 50th (Northumbrian) Infantry Division. They were evacuated from Dunkirk during Operation Dynamo on 1st of June 1940, swimming out to waiting small boats. Gordon rejoined 235 Field Park Company on 29 June 1940,and was appointed Acting L/Cpl 13th July 1940. He was in hospital from the 1st to 18th October 1940. He attended the 8th Corps Vehicle maintenance course from 10th of March 1941 to 31st ofMarch 1941. He was then appointed Acting Corporal on the 15th of April 1941. The unit embarked for Egypt on the 21st of May 1941 as part of Middle East Forces where they disembarked on the 10th of July 1941. Gordon was appointed Acting Sergeant on the 19th of July 1941. Embarked 25th July 1941 for Cyprus, disembarked 26th July 1941 and was in hospital from the 2nd to 30th of September 1941. They moved from Cyprus to Palestine in January 1942 then moved to Syria on the 21st of January 1942. They made another move from Syria to Egypt on the 14th of February 1942.

    Libya was captured on the 28th of May 1942 and Gordon was posted as missing in Western Desert. He was confirmed as a PoW on 30th of May 1942, in Italian hands. He was held in Italy, Campo PG 65 at Gravina near Bari (holding camp) then moved to PG 53 near Sforzacosta on east coast. He was transferred to Germany by train in July 1943 to Stalag IV-B 50 km north of Dresden, Germany, for three weeks, and given PoW number 221441. He then transferred to Stalag VIII-B (later called 344) in Lamsdorf, Poland (then Silesia) on 9th of August 1943 and joined Working Party E769, Heydebreck, Poland (IG Farben chemical plant, Blechhammer South) on 23rd of September 1944.

    The POW's from Gordon's camp commenced the "Long March" from E769 on 22nd January 1945, through Poland, Czechoslovakia and south west Germany. They arrived at Stalag XIII-D, Nuremburg on 28th March 1945. They left Stalag XIII-ID on 2nd April 1945 marching south from Nuremburg, believed to be towards Moosburg POW camp. It is believed that Gordon escaped from column and was hidden in farmhouse during American bombardment. He was liberated by Americans on the 25th of April 1945 at Pietenfeld. He departed in a car given by Americans on 27th of April 1945, and drove north through Wurzberg, Frankfurt and Coblenz to Aachen on the Dutch/Belgian border. He transferred to Antwerp and Brussels on 30th April 1945 and boarded Lancaster bomber in Brussels and arrived in UK 2nd of May 1945. On the 12th of July 1945 posted to 2 Div Transport Unit. He was Posted to 1 Batt RAOC for UK service from 2nd May 1945 and was given release leave on the 26th January 1946. Before being discharged on the 13th of May 1946 going in the royal army reserves.

    Richard Hines.

    L/Bmdr. James William Gardiner 28 Field Regiment Royal Artillery (d.20th Aug 1944)

    I have only just found my great uncle James Gardiner and discovered his war grave site. Upon starting this research I was saddened to find out that my great uncle died in stalag 344 {stalag v111b}. It has since transpired that some time in 1942 he was reported missing and later turned up on casualty lists as a pow in PG 53. I am still investigating and awaiting war office records to fully explain how or why James ended up in such circumstances. I do not know any details of his service capture or cause of death at present. If any one has any knowledge of the event that occurred on 20th August 1944 or of how 28th Field regiment came to be captured, I would be eternally grateful.

    I have recently traced the brief details of imprisonment in both PG53 in Italy and Stalag VIIIb of L/bdr James William Gardiner. James was killed by a US air raid on 20th August 1944. I am hoping that someone somewhere knew and remembered my great uncle and maybe there is a picture of him, I have no idea of what he looked like.

    Editor's Note: In May 2009 a list of British POW's names was found in a bottle partly buried in the ground near Monowitz camp by Dominik Synowiec. It is thought that the POWs on the list were probably working in the IG Farben rubber factory part of the camp. An historian at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum believes that the list is authentic and he is positive that one of the names on that list -`Gardiner' - is James William Gardiner, who was killed in a US bombing raid on the camp. The following article appeared in a german newspaper in 2009: "A list of 17 names believed to refer to World War II British prisoners of war held by Nazi Germany near its infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp has surfaced in Poland, an Auschwitz museum historian said Tuesday. The list of names on the left-hand margin of the card reads as follows, three of them illegible: "Osborne, Lawrence, Gardiner, Lamb, Symes, Saunders, Dunne, Dunn, Hutton, Holmes, ..., ..., Clark, Manson, ..., Auty, Steinger." "I was looking for something else entirely," Synowiec told AFP Tuesday. He says he discovered the list of names by chance under debris inside a WWII-era bunker located on the site of the Nazi German Monowitz prisoner of war (POW) camp holding primarily British citizens. The POW camp in question was located next to the Monowitz slave labour camp, known as Auschwitz III, a branch of the main Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp holding labourers working at the nearby Nazi-run IG Farben rubber factory. Historian Setkiewicz was able to determine the fate of a man bearing the name Gardiner, believed to be James William Gardiner of Britain's Royal Artillery, who died in a US bombing raid and is buried in Krakow's Rakowicki cemetery. A separate list of seven Auschwitz prisoners surfaced last week after workers found it packed inside a bottle fixed in the mortar of a wall of a building in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim. Now part of a local high school, the building had served as a warehouse for the camp's Nazi guards during World War II. Three of the men on the bottle list are alive, including Frenchman Albert Veissid, now a sprightly 84-year-old contacted by AFP at his home in Allauch in southeastern France and two Poles. One of the men named on the list has passed away while the fate of the remaining three remains unclear. Nazi Germany systematically killed more than one million people, mostly European Jews, at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp located in the then Nazi-occupied southern Polish town of Oswiecim between 1940 and 1945. The site was part of German dictator Adolf Hitler's plan of genocide against European Jews, six million of whom perished at the hands of the Nazis during World War II." - AFP (

    Belinda Thorne

    Gnr. Frederick Faben 25 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, 81 Bty. Royal Artillery

    My uncle Fred Faben was a prisoner of war in Italy POW Camp number 53, Sforza Costa. Records have cropped up of him being in a POW camp in Poland. I am curious, now, after further reading, whether or not he escaped Sforza and was recaptured and sent to Poland.

    Christine Hobson

    Pte John Francis Tague 1st Btn. Worcestershire Regiment

    M father, Jack Tague was a Private in the 1st Btn. Worcestershire Regiment. The only thing I have about him is a Christmas greeting sent to my mother from camp PG 53 Settore III on 18th December 1942. Also on the greeting is "Military Post PM 3300". He managed to escape and fight with the partisans. If there is anyone out there who could help with any information or photographs I would be grateful.

    John Tague

    L/Bmbdr. James William Gardiner 28th Field Rgt. Royal Artillery (d.20th August 1944)

    Captured during the offensive action at the Gazala line, it appears that James Gardiner was taken prisoner and transported to PG53 before being taken to Lamsdorf Stalag 344 in Poland by the Nazis. Sadly, during an American air raid on the I G Farben factory, my great uncle lost his life. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to obtain any pictures/photos of James.

    Dvr. William Roy Emmett

    I have a series of P.O.W. letters sent home by Driver Emmett. Letters are very bland dealing with his health, weather conditions and his trying to keep busy. He was in P.O.W. Camp P.G. 65, P.M. 3450, Gravina Altamura before being transferred to, P.G. 53 P.M. 3300, Sforza Costa by August 1943. Then transferred to, Stammlager XVII B, Gneizendorf (Austria) by May 1944.

    Thomas Dean

    L/Cpl. Peter Sidney Hamilton

    My father, Peter Sidney Hamilton, L/Cpl 93262 was a POW in Italy in 1943 at Sforzacosta Camp 53 near Macerata, along with his brother, Paul George Hamilton, L/Cpl 176162 who was with the Medical Corps. They escaped and Paul was shot soon after by the Germans during battle and is buried at the military cemetery at Ancona.

    My father, Peter, was transferred to Stalag 4B after he was recaptured by the Germans. Thereafter, it appears he escaped and was later recaptured by the Gestapo. After this, the story seems to fizzle out. My father passed on in 1999 aged 76.

    If anyone has any further information about either of these two men, it will be gratefully received.

    Barbara Georges

    Spr. James King 235th Field Park Company Royal Engineers

    James King was my uncle, youngest brother to my Mother. It looks like he served with Cpl Hines, & was taken POW at the same time, but escaped to Switzerland in 1943. From PG 53 near Sforzacosta, Uncle James never recovered from the ordeal and was never to have children. He died in 1970.

    A.E. Wall

    Pte. Arnold Merton Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

    My great uncle Arnold Merton served in the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. In May 1942 he was listed as missing and then in August 1942 listed as a Prisoner of War. His duty location was the Western Desert.

    As far as I am aware he was taken to a POW in Italy ie P.O.W. Camp number 53, Urbisaglia Macerata, (also listed as Sforza Costa), postal mark number 3300. In 1945 he is recorded as being incarcerated in Stalag 17a, Kaisersteinbruck Bei Bruck in Austria. His POW No was 154987.

    Marilyn O'Neill

    Pte. Francis Joseph Loam 1st Btn. Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry

    Joe Loam was my uncle and I was told that he escaped from a prison camp in Italy and made it to Switzerland. Military records show that he was reported missing and later brought home, but I cannot find any information on his service or place of capture. Records show that he was held in POW Camp 53 Sforzacosta, Macerata, Italy.

    John Fisher

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