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PG 103/7 La Maina (Sauris) in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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- PG 103/7 La Maina (Sauris) during the Second World War -


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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

PG 103/7 La Maina (Sauris)





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



    Those known to have been held in or employed at

    PG 103/7 La Maina (Sauris)

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

    • McKenna John Alphonsus Stuart. Pte.
    • McKenna John Alphonsus Stuart. Pte. 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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    Pte. John Alphonsus Stuart McKenna D Company 19th Battalion

    On 25 January 1941 my father, John Alphonsus Stuart McKenna, volunteered for war service and was attested into the 2nd NZ Expeditionary Force (2NZEF). He had been offered “essential industry” status but refused, preferring instead to go overseas and fight. He had prior service in the Territorial Force as a Sergeant. His record shows he entered Trentham Camp on 18 February 1941 and embarked for Egypt on 7 April 1941 as a member of the 5th Reinforcements. They embarked on the ‘Nieuw Amsterdam’ at Wellington and sailed for the Middle East via Sydney, Perth, Singapore and Colombo, Ceylon. The ship disembarked in Egypt on 16 May 1941 and Dad was taken on the strength of Taranaki Company, the 19th Battalion, 4th NZ Brigade Group, 2nd NZ Division, on 26 June 1941.

    He began desert training at the Infantry Training Depot, 2 NZEF Base Camp at Maadi on 27 September and marched back into the 19th Battalion on 19 October 1941. He was in the 1941 battles around Tobruk (Ed Duda and Sidi Rezegh), followed by the 1942 Break-Out at Minqar Qaim, where he was in the leading (Taranaki) company, and the Battle of Ruweisat Ridge where the 4th NZ Brigade, particularly the 19th Battalion was decimated. Dad was captured by the Germans on 15 July 1942 on Ruweisat Ridge. On 15 July 1942, the last day of the Battle, his Army record shows that Dad was posted missing.

    On 24 October 1942 a cable from Rome (The Vatican we were told as children) was received stating he was incarcerated at Campo PG 57 at Gruppignano. His Army record shows he was posted as a Prisoner of War (POW) on 25 October 1942.

    On 24 July 1943 a communication was received from Rome stating he was in Campo PG 103/7 at La Maina (Sauris) in the Dolomites. According to a Top Secret questionnaire completed by Dad in the UK on 25 April 1945 he said he worked at this camp on a hydroelectric scheme. Cables from Rome advised that Dad had been ill with chronic intestinal catarrah in April 1943 and had been discharged from the “Hospital Militaire” at Udine cured of the illness but in “organic decline”.

    After the Italian surrender Dad and other prisoners from Campo PG 103/7 were transferred to Germany by train. According to the 25 April 1945 Top Secret questionnaire Dad arrived at Stalag VIIA at Moosberg on 15 September 1943. On 3 November 1943 Dad moved to Stalag XIA, Altengrabow, near Magdeburg, arriving on 6 November 1943. A capture card reporting Dad at Stalag XIA was noted in his records on 15 November 1943. On 24 December 1943 Dad was moved to Stalag XIB at Fallingbostel. A camp leader communication was received by the NZ Army on 23 January 1944 advising Dad was in Stalag XIB as POW number 138645. On 25 December 1943 he was moved to work camp KDO 7002 at Ufingln, where he worked building air raid shelters. On 6 August 1944 he was moved to Arbeitskommando 7001 at Halendorf where he worked in a steel works. He stayed there until 9 April 1945. Both work camps were attached to Stalag XIB.

    At Stalag XIB, on 13 April 1945, the German Commandant announced that the British Forces were very close and that he proposed to move his guard company, leaving a token guard on the camp to avoid possible interference by SS troops in the area. Senior prisoner NCOs then took over the complete administration of the camp, even to issuing leave passes to the German guards. On the morning of 16 April British tanks of units of the 7th Armoured Div (the Desert Rats) arrived at the camp gates and the POWs were released from Stalag XIB at 0837 hours 16th April 1945. Dad’s records show him being reported “safe in the UK” on 23 April 1945. and also show him embarking in England on 18 June 1945. Dad arrived back in NZ on 19 July 1945 (I was then nearly 7 and my brother Denis was 5).

    Kevin McKenna



    Pte. John Alphonsus Stuart "Johnny" McKenna 19 Battalion 2 New Zealand Expeditionary Force

    Prisoner of War, Stalag XIB, Fallingbostel 43205 Pte John Alphonsus Stuart McKenna D (Taranaki) Company, 19th Battalion, 2 NZEF On 25 January 1941 my father, John Alphonsus Stuart McKenna, volunteered for war service and was attested into the 2nd NZ Expeditionary Force (2NZEF). He had been offered "essential industry" status but refused, preferring instead to go overseas and fight. He had prior service in the Territorial Force as a Sergeant. His record shows he entered Trentham Camp on 18 February 1941 and embarked for Egypt on 7 April 1941 as a member of the 5th Reinforcements. They embarked on the "Nieuw Amsterdam" at Wellington and sailed for the Middle East via Sydney, Perth, Singapore and Colombo, Ceylon. The ship disembarked in Egypt on 16 May 1941 and Dad was taken on the strength of Taranaki Company, the 19th Battalion, 4th NZ Brigade Group, 2nd NZ Division, on 26 June 1941. He began desert training at the Infantry Training Depot, 2 NZEF Base Camp at Maadi on 27 September and marched back into the 19th Battalion on 19 October 1941. He was in the 1941 battles around Tobruk (Ed Duda and Sidi Rezegh), followed by the 1942 Break-Out at Minqar Qaim, where he was in the leading (Taranaki) company, and the Battle of Ruweisat Ridge where the 4th NZ Brigade, particularly the 19th Battalion was decimated. Dad was captured by the Germans on 15 July 1942 on Ruweisat Ridge. On 15 July 1942, the last day of the battle, his Army record shows that Dad was posted missing. On 24 October 1942 a cable from Rome (The Vatican we were told as children) was received stating he was incarcerated at Campo PG 57 at Gruppignano. His Army record shows he was posted as a Prisoner of War (POW) on 25 October 1942. On 24 July 1943 a communication was received from Rome stating he was in Campo PG 103/7 at La Maina (Sauris) in the Dolomites. According to a Top Secret questionnaire completed by Dad in the UK on 25 April 1945 he said he worked at this camp on a hydroelectric scheme. Cables from Rome advised that Dad had been ill with chronic intestinal catarrah in April 1943 and had been discharged from the Hospital Militaire at Udine cured of the illness but in organic decline. After the Italian surrender Dad and other prisoners from Campo PG 103/7 were transferred to Germany by train. According to the 25 April 1945 Top Secret questionnaire Dad arrived at Stalag VIIA at Moosberg on 15 September 1943. On 3 November 1943 Dad moved to Stalag XIA, Altengrabow, near Magdeburg, arriving on 6 November 1943. A capture card reporting Dad at Stalag XIA was noted in his records on 15 November 1943. On 24 December 1943 Dad was moved to Stalag XIB at Fallingbostel. A camp leader communication was received by the NZ Army on 23 January 1944 advising Dad was in Stalag XIB as POW number 138645. On 25 December 1943 he was moved to work camp KDO 7002 at Ufingln, where he worked building air raid shelters. On 6 August 1944 he was moved to Arbeitskommando 7001 at Halendorf where he worked in a steel works. He stayed there until 9 April 1945. Both work camps were attached to Stalag XIB. At Stalag XIB, on 13 April 1945, the German Commandant announced that the British Forces were very close and that he proposed to move his guard company, leaving a token guard on the camp to avoid possible interference by SS troops in the area. Senior prisoner NCOs then took over the complete administration of the camp, even to issuing leave passes to the German guards. On the morning of 16 April British tanks of units of the 7th Armoured Div (the Desert Rats) arrived at the camp gates and the POWs were released from Stalag XIB at 0837 hours 16th April 1945. Dad's records show him being reported "safe in the UK" on 23 April 1945. Dad's records show him embarking in England on 18 June 1945. Dad arrived back in NZ on 19 July 1945 (I was then nearly 7 and my brother Denis was 5).

    Kevin McKenna







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