255444 Bill (William?) Norton, South African Sapper

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by GeoffMNZ, Jul 22, 2016.

  1. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    My father, Maurice Muir NZ890 of NZ 24th Battalion, was captured at Sidi Rezegh on 1st December 1941.
    He was befriended by a South African Bill Norton.
    They were transported by German Ship from Tripoli to Naples, then to Capua PG66, on to Servigliano PG59, then to Chiavari PG52.
    Dad was transferred to Lucca Hospital PG202 in September of 42, and repatriated to the UK in April of 43.
    I have found a W. Norton South African Sapper #255444 at Chiabari PG52 in the August 43 List of POW and assume this is Dad's friend.

    Our family would like to know what happened to Bill. Was he transported to Germany?, did he survive the war?
    All info & advice appreciated.

    Geoff Muir
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Geoff


    Thats quite a difficult problem you have set us and it will need quite a bit of research on your part. There are members on here who specialise in Italy and its POW camps, we also have South African members, so hopefully if we all come together we may be able to solve this for you.

    As a start the only possible South African that was in German hands that fits the bill is:
    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: W Norton
    Rank: Spr.
    Army Number: 255444
    POW Number: 279902
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: 4B
    Camp Location: Muhlberg (Elbe), Germany
    Section: South African Land Forces : Officers and Other Ranks

    Interesting that the service numbers correspond.


    edited to add:
    Any other info will help - i.e. was he roughly the same age as your father - therefore he has an approximate date of birth, would the rank of Sapper fit with the details (TD note to self - read all before commenting) etc etc
  3. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi and welcome to the forum. You can apply for his service record by e-mailing the SANDF documents archive sandfdoc@mweb.co.za Include the details you have already.

    You must give them your address and proof of identity such as a copy of your passport. There is no charge for the service. It may take a little while.

    The records should have his address before he enlisted which could be a starting point. It may not have all the POW camps that he was in.

    Unfortunately Birth Deaths and Marriages are not digitised so can't help there.

    A few newspapers archives are digitised and I will see if I can find out anything more.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Geoff,

    A trainload of prisoners left Campo PG 52 (incidentally it was at Coreglia Ligure inland from Chiavari) for Germany on 15 September 1943 and if he was registered as having been in the camp in August 43 he could well have been among them.

    As to whether or not he survived the war, try looking on the Commonwealth War Graves Comssion website - all you need to enter in the search box is his name and number.

    Best of luck with your research,

  5. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the prompt and helpful replies.

    I have been researching my father's war for the past 18 months and amassed a lot of info, but have only found this site recently, so I am looking forward to confirm my findings with the experts!

    I visited Lucca last summer and while I found the gate to an old hospital, I don't think it was the POW Hospital, but I am following some leads and will post the result.

    I have searched the CWGC and there is a nil match for Bill, but I will send a email off to SANDF.

    Great to confirm he was transported to Germany and most probably survived the war.

    Thanks again for the warm welcome

  6. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Geoff,

    I have found out where H202 was in Lucca from the website below (it's in Italian so I translated the part that interests you):

    Campo H202 was set up inside the old hospital San Luca della Misericordia in via Galli Tassi. It was opened in the summer of 1942 with a group of 565 British (also Commonwealth I imagine) Prisoners of war. There was accommodation for 50 officers and 565 NCOs and other ranks. It was closed in the spring of 1943. In March of that year it still housed 374 prisoners.


    There's a photo of some of the inmates - hope your father is on it,



    ospedale H 202 Lucca.jpg
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  7. canaryone

    canaryone New Member

    Good Evening
    My father served and survived on HMS Befouin
    He was engine room and George Arthur King from Norfolk
    A member of the Salvation Army too
    I'm using this to help gain location of Chavari camp and also to connect with any who knew my dad either in the Navy or as a fellow POW
    Yours Stuart King
  8. canaryone

    canaryone New Member

    Me again
    Keen to attend any functions!
    Stuart King
  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Stuart

    It might be worth starting a new thread for your father so that his life does not become entangled with the one from this thread - maybe mods could move things about.

    Re Chavari camp - a search on our forum turns up another thread - http://ww2talk.com/forums/topic/31777-camp-52-chiavari/

    The only G A King I can find as a POW in Germany is a Stoker so I am not sure if this is him or not

    Name: G A King
    Rank: Stoker, 1st Class
    Army Number: C/KX120967
    Regiment: Naval Forces : Officers & Ratings
    POW Number: 30051
    Camp Type: Marlag Und Milag Nord
    Camp Number: M & MN
    Camp Location: Westertimke (Tarnstedt), Poland
    Section: Naval Forces : Officers & Ratings

  10. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Stuart,

    The camp was at Pian di Coreglia in the Comune of Coreglia Ligure. I suggest you use Google maps to find it.


  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Stuart,

    I can confirm your father's presence at Camp 52, Chiavari from a POW listing file reference WO392/21. The details are:

    Name: G A King
    Rank: Stoker, 1st Class
    Army Number: C/KX120967
    Camp: 52

    It is a shame that the RN POW's are not listed by ship, otherwise we could have put together a number of his Navy comrades. I cannot post an image of the listing at present as the forum is undertaking some major software changes.

  12. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info and photo.
    • I have set up a new topic for "Lucca Hospital PG202" to research this POW camp/hospital.
    • Could you please post the URL for the Italian website you refer to as I would like to obtain a higher resolution file of the photo as the one you posted is rather grainy.
  13. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

  14. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  15. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

  16. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron


    I promised you an image of your father's entry on the POW ledger:

    King GK..jpg
  18. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    My sister has found a bundle of Dad's papers in my mothers effects., including my fathers Army Pay Book! He has recorded "W. Norton, 164 Church Street, Kenilworth Johannesburg, SA. - Bus Driver" at the back. There is also a note that after the war Bill lived at "11, Marilling Mansions, West Street Durban" . My sister understands that Bill spent some time in a convalescent hospital in England after the war.
  19. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Please note that the camp was NOT at Chiavari but at Pian di Coreglia, Coreglia Ligure. Some friends of mine have a house there overlooking the site. (Map of exact location on website www.campifascisti.it.) This is unfortunately not the only occasion in which WO 392/21 gives a less than exact name for an Italian POW camp. PG54 given as Fara Sabina was actually near to Passo Corese.


  20. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    I have read somewhere (cannot re-find source) that some of the camps were named after the nearest army garrison town/location.


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