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Stalag X1A (341) Altengrabow in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

Stalag X1A (341) Altengrabow





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    Those known to have been held in or employed at

    Stalag X1A (341) Altengrabow

    during the Second World War 1939-1945.

    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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    Leopold Bandurka 5th Rifles Regiment

    My father, Leopold Bandurka, was born in 1922 in Sanok, south-eastern Poland. He was 17 when the Nazis invaded in September 1939, and he escaped over the border to Slovakia and travelled to France to join up the Polish Army which was assembling there. After fighting with the 5th Rifles Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Rifles Division of the Polish Army in France, in June 1940 he was captured and imprisoned in Stalag XIIA near Limburg, then Stalag XIIF near Forbach in France, where he was given prisoner number 32325 and 1052B (his name was wrongly spelt Bandarka). Some time later he was transferred to Stalag VIIB near Gneixendorf and Krems in Austria.

    After the war he came to Scotland (Fraserburgh) then Mansfield, England where he eventually located to Shirebrook in Nottinghamshire,married and had one child. He passed away in 1984. He had several stories to tell about these experiences - some repeatable, others rather less so.

    I am anxious to contact anyone who may have known him during his period in the Polish Army and as a POW.

    Andrew Bandurka



    Pte. John Trevor "Ted" Robinson 21st btn.

    My father, Trevor Robinson, served with the 21st Battalion, 2NZEF. He was captured on the 28th November 1941 in Sidi Rezegh and was a POW in PG57, Italy. Udine Gruppignano. He was then tranfered to Germany to Stalag X1A, camp 341 Altengrabow, Germany. His prisoner of war number was 139761. He was a POW for the majority of the 2nd World War and suffered the consequences for the rest of his life. I would be most grateful if someone could please give me details of these camps, when and how the prisoners were transported to Germany and then after the war to England and my father's journey home back to New Zealand. Any information at all during that time would be gratefully appreciated.

    Pam Silvester



    Sgt. William McLaughlin 2nd Btn. Royal Irish Fusiliers

    My Grandfather was held in 3 POW camps. I have obtained this information and associated dates from the MOD records, so they are as accurate as they can be. His details are as follows:

    6976070 Sergeant William McLaughlin, Army Catering Corps.

    He was posted to 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers on 19th August 1943 and was reported missing, prisoner of war, Leros, Aegean on 16th November 1943. Records show that on 6th January 1944 he was in STALAG 11A Aletbgrabow. By 19th April 1944 he was in STALAG 357 Orbke and by 2nd June 1944 he was in STALAG 3A, Luckenwalde, Germany.

    He was repatriated to the UK on 26th May 1945.

    Paul McLaughlin



    Pte. Charlie Maplesden Royal West Kent Regiment

    I am trying to find out some information about my Grandad, Charlie Maplesden, as he was a POW. He went missing on 28 Jan 44 and by the 19 Feb was POW at Stalag XIA. His POW number was 141227. I would love to find more information.

    Sherry Kendall



    Laurance John Burtenshaw 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers

    My dear late father, Laurance John Burtenshaw, of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers was a POW at Stalag 11a.

    Pete Burtenshaw



    Fus. Herbert Dawson 2nd Btn. Royal Irish Fusiliers

    My father, Herbert Dawson, served in Malta and Leros. He was taken prisoner on Leros and was transported to prison camp in Germany. He was in Stalag XIA. But he was in an out for station work camp in Elbigerode. He was able to visit Elbingerode a few years before he passed away. "Faugh-a-Ballagh" - battle cry of Irish origin, meaning "clear the way".

    Michael Dawson



    Pte. Louis Gillen Black Watch

    My father, Louis Gillen,joined the Ulster Rifles and was at El Alamein with the Black Watch. He was captured in Italy. I don't know where he was held, but he managed to escape and was re-captured again approx 12 months later. He was taken to Stalag XI A where he remained until the end of the war. I would love to hear what life was like there as my father never really spoke about it. Sadly he passed away in 2003 aged 81yrs.

    Leonie Dooris



    Pte John Alphonsus Stuart McKenna D (Taranaki) 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.

    • 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



    Johannes Antonius "Joop" van Lunenburg (d.24th Jan 1944)

    Around 1999 I learned from an aunt that I was named after my uncle Joop, Johannes Antonius van Lunenburg as I have same initials. Until then uncle Joop has never been mentioned by neither his four brothers nor his two sisters. Before my mother died at the age of 92 she gave me a picture and an "in memoriam" of Uncle Joop. but no further story and from my side I asked no further questions. Surfing around the internet for my last name I came at the Institute of Genealogie in Holland and to my surprise I found a death certificate of my uncle made in Chech and German language more or less confirming what was on the "in memoriam" and the cause of death, blood poissoned because of etc. It also states that he was a Dutch soldier and in a firm handwriting there is STALAG XIA. In my opinion Stalag means POW camp but how does a dutch soldier get there and why has nobody ever talked about him. I have my thoughts but is it possible to get a story straight?

    Jos van Lunenburg



    Frank Bell Grenadier Guards

    My Uncle Frank and my father both served in the Grenadier Guards. Frank was a prisoner of war at Stalag 11a having been taken prisoner at Anzio.

    My father Joseph was with the 2nd Battalion Guards Armoured Division he was seriously wounded at Cagny, France.

    Anne Hodson



    Trp. Arthur "Tats" Lee 48th A Royal Tank Regiment

    My father, Arthur Lee, was captured in Italy on the 4th September 1944. He was with the 48th A Royal Tank regiment. He was the driver of his tank and it was blown up. Only him and his co driver were alive, even though they both had burns on their bodies. The others were killed outright.

    They were taken to a Italian Dulag first and then onto German Prison camps. My father was in Stalag X1A and Stalag V11A until they were freed by the Americans. They had to walk for many miles through different German villages until they reached the British who gave them food which had been in short supply whilst a guest with the Germans. He never spoke much about the camps but did say they had to share one loaf between six people sometimes and that he was put out to work on the railway. He was always light hearted about it but never told us the real truth. Dad suffered with his health for the rest of his life. He came home very much under weight and not very healthy. He always said his health had suffered due to being a POW.

    Janice Lee



    Pte. Hubert Treeve Crowle Royal Hampshire Regiment

    My father Bert Crowle was a POW in Stalag X1A Altengrabow. He escaped and was recaptured a few times but despite searching I have been unable to find anything out about him or the camps he was in. Sadly he would not say anything about his experiences. He did jump a POW train in Italy and was looked after by an Italian family who we are in touch with but he didn't tell them much. He always said he was treated okay in the camps but after escaping and being re-captured more than once I find this hard to believe. Hard as it may be I am interested to find out anything I can about this time in his life.

    Marilyn



    Gdm. John Robert Large Grenadier Guards

    My father, Jack Large, was captured at Anzio. He was one of 30 survivors of approx 300 Grenadiers who were killed in the landings. They were handed over to the Italian Army who illtreated them until the Germans put them in railway wagons to ship them to Germany. My father, with another Guardsman, broke up the wagon floor in the snow covered pass on route and escaped. They were recaptured and beaten then sent to a straff Kamp near Altengrabow. The name Gross Scheirstadt rings a bell. He lived in awfull conditions then as a slave labourer seeing others shot and murderd for the least thing. He was put working with 2 elderly German electricians who, risking death, brought him in a little food each day. He was beaten daily and at the war's end as a six foot two man, he weighed 6 stone. He then ended up in hospital with psycho neurosis. My mother often said he came back another person mentally they killed him.

    David Large



    Pte. Louis Gillen Black Watch

    My father, Louis Gillen, was captured after the North African Campaign. He was captured in Italy but managed to escape twice. He joined the army with the Ulster Rifles but was attached to Black Watch in 8th Army. He was eventually captured and sent to Stalag 11a in Altengrabow. He remained there until they were liberated. He passed away in 1983. He was a wonderful man. Does anyone have any information on him as I would be delighted to hear anything.

    Leonie



    Grenadier Koos "Jack" Versteeg IIe Bataljon 3e compagnie

    My grandfather, Koos Versteeg joined the Royal Durch Army in 1936. He fought in the Battle in Ypenburg, The Hague and he was a POW from 1943 untill 1945. He arrived on the 29th of May 1943 in camp Amersfoort. He was taken to Altengrabow (Stalag 11A) on the 3rd of June 1943 After a month he was taken to Muhlberg and stayed in Stalag 4b and 4c.

    After a while he was taken to Knippelsdorf to work on a local farm. The farmer was called Lehmann and I would like to find out more about him. During his time in Knippelsdorf he was taken to a French Lazaret in Jessen several times together with Jack Tromp. I was fortunate to talk to my grandfather about the war and he told me a lot when I was little. He kept a journal and registered all names of the people he met. So perhaps if my grandfather is in the timeline of anybody, please contact me.

    Wendy Versteeg



    CSM. Frank Charles Ricketts 1st Battalion South Wales Borderers

    My father, Frank Ricketts was a career soldier who followed his father W.C Ricketts into the South Wales Borderes after leaving the Duke of Yorks Military school in Dover. He enlisted on 1st Aug 1930. He served in Wazistan on the North West frontier from 1936/37.

    On the outbreak of WW2 his Battalion was sent to Iraq & then on to Libya. Nearly all the of the 1st Battalion was captured by the Italians in June 1942. Some were sent to Chieti in south east Italy while the rest (including my Father were sent to Sulmona). In Sept 1943 those in the Chieti camp were tranfered to Sulmona. At the end of Sept 1943 a mass escape was made. Of all the escapees only four officers and about thirty men made good their escape. The rest were either recaptured and sent to Germany, Stalag 11A (one of which was my Father). Or, as in the cases of Captain Wright, Lt J Tidy and the men with them, they were all killed by the Germans.

    Steve Ricketts



    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. Harold "Penny" Pennington East Lancashire Regiment

    My grandad Harold Pennington lived in Slyne, Lancaster and was called up in 1939. He enlisted with the East Lancashire Regiment and saw action in Dunkirk. He then joined C Squadron, 6 Troop, 53rd Reconnainsance Regiment as a driver, mechanic, group D,class II based at Maidstone, Kent. He then saw action in France and Belgium with the 53rd Welsh Division.

    On the 7th September 1944 he was listed missing in action after he and his comrades were sent to capture a German general and 500 men who had offered to surrender. I have a letter sent to his father from HQ dated Wednesday 29th September 1944 confirming this information. He was sent to Stalag XIIA, Limburg and on the 26th September sent to Stalag VIIA, Moosburg. His P.O.W number,87517. There is a letter sent to a Ken Williams, Shrewsbury address who may have been captured at the same time but sent to Stalag IVB, Muehlberg. Grandad was returned to this country on the 13th May 1945 and joined the 62nd TRG Reconnaissance Regiment.

    Brian Pennington



    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



    PFC. Alphonse William Schill 106th Infantry Division

    My great uncle was PFC Alphonse "Al" William Schill, born in Formosa, County Bruce, Ontario, Canada. He served in the 106th Infantry Division and was captured at the Battle of the Bulge. I have the "post cards" that he sent to my great aunt saying that he was imprisoned at Kriegsgefangenen-Durchgangslager POW Transit Camp (dated 28 January 1945) and Stalag XIIA (dated 17 February 1945). My great aunt kept several newspaper clippings about the 106th Division. She also had one that listed her husband (Al) as being Missing In Action, her brother as being Wounded In Action (Edwin A. Wittneber) and her cousin (Fred W. Harrow) as being Killed In Action

    Laura Birmingham



    Alexander Ross Little

    My father Alexander Little, was in the RAF and was captured early on in the war, he never spoke about it. I have his dog tag from Stalag X1A. My aunt remembers he was in the 200 mile march keeping ahead of the advancing troops, also he drank some evaporated milk from a tin they found as they were all starving and he went down with a severe stomach upset. He never liked Alsation dogs because they were let loose at night and ran around underneath their huts, this is all I know.

    Alexander Ballantyne Little



    Stew. Ronald Morriss Mallitt

    Ronald Mallitt was a POW in Germany Stalag Mehlenburg. I am wishing to find out more for geneology purposes.

    Dawn



    CSM. Frank Charles Ricketts 2nd Btn. South Wales Borderers

    My Late Father Frank Ricketts was educated at the Duke of York military school at Dover and then went straight into the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers. At the outbreak of WW2 he was serving in the Khyber Pass. In June 1942 the Battalion was sent to Egypt where he was captured and sent to Sulmona camp 78. Unfortunately when the Italians deserted the camp and the POW's went into the Mountains my Father was recaptured and then sent into Germany to Stalag 11A where he remained for the duration of the War. At the end of the War he returned to Germany as part of the occupation forces. My Father suffered recurring nightmares of his experiences right up until his death in 1977

    Steve Ricketts



    Rupert Aynsley Wright Royal Warwickshire Regiment

    Rupert Wright was my father. Being already in the Territorial Army, my Father enlisted in Royal Warwickshires in 1939 at the age of 18 and was captured at Houthem (near Ypres), Belgium. He was marched to Torun (Thorn) in Poland and incarcerated at Stalag XXa then at Stalag XXb. There was much speculation as to whether it would be the Americans or the Russians who would be their liberators. He was liberated in 1945 by a Texan regiment, the (inebriated) officer saying to him, "Remember to tell 'em who liberated ya buddy". He then offered a sub machine gun to anybody who had been given "Grief by any of the guards". Nobody took him up on the offer. The guards incidentally had already unsurprisingy buried their uniforms before the Americans arrived. He passed through Berlin which he described as "mainly rubble". On flying back to Blighty in a Lancaster they heard on landing that the plane behind them crashed into the English Channel killing everybody onboard. Unlike most POWs, my Father spoke much of his experiences. My Father died in 2012 at the age of 92.




    William Henry Beer

    William Beer was captured in Anzio and interred in Stalag 4B then Stalag 11A

    Mark Etherton-Beer



    Pte. Edward White York and Lancaster Regiment

    Pictured in uniform

    Form telling his parents he had been taken prisoner

    Showing where he was held in Italy

    His plaque from the King

    My father, Edward White was a miner at Treeton colliery. He joined up in 1940 with two of his brothers. He joined the York and Lancs, Adam joined the Black Watch, and John joined the Duke of Wellington's.

    My father was taken prisoner on Crete in 1941 and was a prisoner of war, first in Italy at four different sites, then transferred to Germany, Stalag X1-A where he stayed for the duration of the war.

    Barry Edward White



    Elmer Davenport 119th Infantry Regiment

    My father, Elmer Davenport, was a prisoner in Stalag IIA from November 1944 to April 1945. He was captured in Aachen on 22nd of October 1944.

    Joe Davenport



    Pte. Frederick Charles Standen 4th Btn. Royal West Kents (The Buffs)

    The extract below is taken from my father's recollections of his life which he wrote a few years before he died. He was taken prisoner in Leros in November 1943 and continues his story...

    "I well remember my first three days because there was no food or very little water. Then we were crammed on a Italian destroyer below deck no air no nothing. I think most of us prayed it would hit a mine or likewise but no, we landed at Athens. Marched around Athens just to show how clever they were then into cattle trucks headed for Germany. We don't know this of course. 80 of us in our truck when laying down it was nose to tail, you cuddled the bloke's feet opposite and vice-versa to guard against frostbite. Right up through Bulgaria etc to Germany and Stalag X1A. From here we are put out on working parties. First our party went to Ackerskebron (Altengrabrow?) working for the council digging reservoirs. We then went on air raid shelters. Massive things all dug out by us with spades. Then the Jerries moved in to do the shuttering, then over a period of time we are back there to cement them in. Now that's where the trouble starts, this big cement mixer had done a yard (one ton) at a time. I believe it was two bags of cement a mixing. Well, every so many mixings - no cement. Well, what do you know, everything set, take away shuttering don't know how long but it all collapsed.

    Now, showing their gratitude, they shoved us down a salt mine three-quarters of a mile deep at Great Shearstedt [Sarstedt] for 12 hours a day for three weeks. I think it was after this period I am working on a scaffolding about 15 ft up when a big block broke off. Hit me in the back of the head and ran down my back trapping my legs. One does not move far with a lump of salt on you, with great difficulty I was got down with my leg in two. Worse to come, was put in hospital full of casualties just back from Dieppe, they thought I was a pilot who had just baled out. You try and explain that when I think my German was far better than their English. They moved me from there I don't know where but in the room was another Buff. I finished up back in 11A hospital.

    Here I upgrade to watches - never wanting to give them up or it was back to the salt mine. This I had no intention of doing till Jerries had me up and told me what they thought of me. They took my crutches away and gave me a walking stick. By a bit of luck I knew the corporal in charge of boot mending and said come on help me or you know where I'm going. Can you mend boots he said, no I said but my father did, so mend boots it was. And then the Russians are coming. Jerries said either wait here for Russians or on the road to be picked up by our own troops. This we did for a month; we were on road sleeping in woods mostly and then came the Yanks but we had got quite a few miles to go. The bridge over some river had been blown-up. By now our boots are under our chin straps; never mind taken to a town called Halle. Flown home from there in Dakotas to High Wycombe area. Reassemble and re-kitted and home on leave for three months."

    Geoff Standen



    Bmbdr. William Douglas Telfer "Mac" McIntosh 6th Anti Aircraft Regiment, 1st Searchlight Bty. Royal Artillery

    In 1943, Lance Bombardier William Douglas Telfer McIntosh, of the 1st Search Light Battery, 6th Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery (Dad) was a Prisoner of War in Campo 78, Fonte d’Amore, Sulmona, Abruzzo, Italy. He had been captured on 8th of April 1941 whilst on the African desert and was transported to Italy where he was incarcerated in Campo 78, Fonte d’Amore near Sulmona, Abruzzo Italy for two years.

    Some time in this year he developed a kidney stone to his right kidney. He became very unwell, the doctor of Campo 78 at that time was a Dr Torinto Sciuba. He made sure that Dad was taken to the Hospital (L’Annunziata) in the main street of Sulmona for the removal of that stone by an Italian surgeon. The building is now a museum, tourist information office and church. The hospital at that time was run by nuns. Dad was gravely ill and weighed only about 6 stone. He was on the first floor of the hospital in a room on his own. He should not have been kept in there for long. It was not for prisoners of war, but because he was so very ill he couldn’t go back to Campo 78.

    Maria Ginnetti worked in the laundry room at the hospital at that time and her daughter Paola used to go with her mother to help. Paola was 16 or 17 years of age at that time. She had been married and was already widowed. Her husband being killed in the war. I don’t know how or where. Paola and her mother used to share their food with Dad, bringing it into the hospital to try and build him up. Dad always said that he was visited by a very nice young Italian girl. There wasn’t much food for anyone in those days, so it was a very generous act by these two women. When there was a patrol by the Germans in the hospital area, Maria and Paola used to hide Dad under his bed, or in a wardrobe until the danger had passed. These two women were very brave and put their lives at risk by helping Dad. Paola did not know what had happened to Dad. One day he wasn’t there. She didn’t know that he had been taken to Germany and spent two years as a POW there in Stalag X1A, Magdeburg. Dad didn’t speak of this time. Only saying that the Germans were "a little less kind than the Italians".

    Paola was very pleased to know that Dad had survived the hard times he had endured. I told her just how ill he had been and on his arrival in Germany spent some time in a hospital there. I don’t know how long. I also told her that on his return to England he met Mum (Phyllis) in Hospital in Manchester in 1945 and later that year they were married and that Dad, in 1946, developed TB and spent a good deal of time in a sanatorium near Eastleigh in Hampshire.

    Paola married again, a man called Pasquale. She had two daughters, Rossella and Angela. What a coincidence, my own sister being Angela. Her daughter Rossella Di Iorio, has one daughter called Fabrizia Presutti. Rossella’s husband is Claudio Presutti and they live in Sulmona. Her other daughter Angela is married to Alberto Ginnetti, a coincidence about the same surname, they have two sons, and live in Rome. Alberto speaks very good English, this is how I have gleaned so much information. On Tuesday 29 August 2006 my husband and I went to the Europa Park Hotel, Sulmona to meet with Alberto, Angela, Rossella and Fabrizia. We needed to meet on mutual ground as neither side knew if the other were genuine or not. Alberto told me that Paola had remembered that the English man in hospital was called William. We eventually established that we were speaking about the same man. Alberto invited Jerry and me to Paola’s apartment to talk about the time in 1942/43. Paola is a lovely gentle lady, as are all her family. She was widowed about 7 years ago. She was 80 years old on 25 August 2006. She showed us photographs of her when she was young. When we showed her the photograph of Dad taken in Campo 78 she immediately recognised him and remarked that I was very like him to look at. Dad didn’t actually ever stay with Maria and Paola at Via Roma 15, Sulmona, the address they were living at during that time. The help they gave was at the hospital only. Having now made contact it is my intention to stay in touch with the whole family. I hope, one day, if her English is good enough, that Fabrizia may be granted a bursary and come to England.

    My Dad served Overseas with the British Expeditionary Force from the 14th of September 1939 to 13th of June 1940, in Egypt from 23rd of July 1940 to 7th of April 1941 and was in Italy as a PoW from 8 April 1941 to 13th June 1944 the in Germany (PoW) from 14th of June 1944 to 25th of April 1945. His Military Conduct is listed as Exemplary and his Testimonial reads: "A good type of man. Thoroughly honest, sober and reliable. He has been a POW in Italy and Germany for years and in spite of the experiences he has gone through he has returned with morale high."

    Patricia Chandler



    Ernest V. Hansen 109th Infantry Rgt

    My father Ernest Hansen served with 28th Inf. Div. 109th Infantry Rgt andwas captured at the Battle of the Bulge on or about 15/16 December, and spent time in Stalag 12A, Stalag 2A, Stalag 11A and possibly one near Bitburg, Germany. If anyone can help I would be pleased to hear from them.

    Darrell E Hansen



    L/Bmbdr. Ernest Gammon 72nd Field Regiment Royal Artillery (d.18th Dec 1943)

    Letter from RSM

    Ernest Gammon

    Stalag XIA photo of plane

    Ernest Gammon Funeral Service

    My grandfather, Ernest Gammon, died & was buried at Stalag XIA. I have photos of his funeral and the letter sent to my grandmother by the RSM at the camp

    Ann Lewis



    Rflmn. William Frederick Lee 19th Btn. Royal Fusiliers

    William Frederick Lee was interned in Stalag XIa in 1944 and worked in the salt mines.

    Jillian Lee



    Cyril "Jack" Barker 8th Rgt. Royal Artillery

    My grandad was in the Desert Rats and, although he didn't talk much about the war, I know he was at Tobruk. He was a gunner with the 8th Rgt. He was also a POW at Stalag XIA.

    Karen



    John "Kilty" McCrimmon

    My grandfather was a POW in Stalag XIA(341) from 1944 to 1945.

    Scot McCrimmon



    Arie Verouden Marine

    My father, Arie Verouden, was a Dutch Marine and was interned in Stalag XIa. He was sent there from Amersfoort, Holland on 13th May 1943 until 27th May 1943. Then he escaped but was captured by the Gestapo at the end of December 1943. He was transported to a prison and Stalag Va. In April 1945 he escaped again and came home. After the liberation he returned to the Marines.

    Marga Verouden



    Pte Ernest John Rapley 2/7th Btn. Queen's Royal (West Surrey) Regiment (d.21st March 1945)

    Was anyone a POW at Stalag XIA in March 1945? My father died there on 21st March 1945 and has no known grave. He was Pte E J Rapley (known as John) of the Queens Royal Regt. Does anyone know where the POWs who died were buried? Were they transferred to the Berlin War Cemetery? I have contacted Red Cross, CWGC and National Ex-POW Assn.

    Janet Savage



    Clarence Thompson

    My brother, Clarence Thompson Jr., was a prisoner of war at Stalag 11A from September 1944 until April 1945. Could someone fill me in on the conditions and treatment these boys received? He has passed away since that time and never did like to discuss the situation much. I have started a book of his memories, and am trying to fill in more details.

    Arlene Miller



    William Douglas Telfer McIntosh

    My father, William Douglas Telfer McIntosh, was transferred to Stalag X1a in 1944 from Campo 78 Sulmona, Italy. I have a lot of information on Italy, but he was most reluctant to speak about his time in Germany. He died in 2003. I don't have any photographs of his time there. Does anyone have any?

    Patti Chandler



    Joe Maguire attch. 1st Btn Border Rgt., D Coy Royal Corps of Signals

    I am very interested in Stalag 4B because my dad, Joe Maguire HQ Co., Signals Pltn., att. D Coy., 1st Btn. Border Regt., 1st. Airborne, was in 4B. I know that he was at Dresden during the bombing as well, and probably in 11A. Any information will be appreciated. I know that on being liberated he and some others secured a German Merc and travelled back until the Americans forwarded them to the British Army. His POW number was 24938.

    Chris Maguire



    L/Cpl. John T. "Trevor" Shaw Durham Light Infantry

    If anyone can put me in touch with anyone who may have been at Stalag 11A with my father, Lance Corporal John T Shaw, of the Durham Light Infantry, (known as 'Trevor') in the latter part of WWII I'd be very greatful to know more about life in the camp.

    Phil Shaw



    Gdsm. Christopher Thomas Elijah Bassett Grenadier Guards

    Our dad, Christopher Bassett was 18 when he was sent to war. He was a Grenadier Guard, and he was in the Battle of Anzio. He was taken POW three times during the war, and one of those times he was in Stalag X1A. He wasn't there for liberation day as he had managed to escape from the camp before that day.

    After the war, he suffered with his nerves for the rest of his life and would often relive the experiences by telling us his stories frequently. He did see and experience some awful things as did so many others. He was understandably deeply affected by the experience. He died in 2008 at the age of 86.

    Jane Bassett



    Fus. Gordon Wright

    My father Gordon Wright was taken prisoner on the island of Leros in Greece in November 1943 and eventually ended up in Stalag XIa, escaping in April 1945 along with a soldier from New Zealand and another from Manchester. He was put to work in a stone quarry in Wernigerode. After escaping they hid in the woods for a week, finally giving themselves up to Americans and eventually being repatriated.








    Recomended Reading.

    Available at discounted prices.



    The Last Escape. The Untold Story of Allied Prisoners of War in Germany 1944-45

    John Nichol & Tony Rennell


    As WW2 drew to a close, hundreds of thousands of British and American prisoners of war, held in camps in Nazi-occupied Europe, faced the prospect that they would never get home alive. In the depths of winter, their guards harried them on marches outof their camps and away from the armies advancing into the heart of Hitler's defeated Germany. Hundreds died from exhaustion, disease and starvation. The Last Escape is told through the testimony of those heroic men, now in their seventies and eighties and telling their stories publicly for the first time. A very good account of a forgotten part of the Second World War; Allied POW's caught in the final months of the Third Reich. The author's of this book have provide the reader with a detailed and moving account of what happened to the many thousands of Allied POW's caught in the final struggle for Nazi Germany towards the end of WW2.







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