7597561 W MESTON, Royal Army Ordnance Corps: POW

Discussion in 'REME/RAOC' started by guymorgan, May 8, 2020.

  1. guymorgan

    guymorgan Member

    Hi everyone
    Im new to the forum and need help.
    I have a group of medals and pow dog tag to a pow
    W. Meston 7597561 RAOC.
    any details of his life ,where he was captured and his life from then ie:prisoner of war camps and anything that happened to him.

    Many Thanks

  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    You need to apply for his army service record from UK MOD via this link -

    Requests for personal data and service records: a detailed guide

    You ought to apply to Swiss Red Cross on 25th May for his POW records via this link -

    Requests for information about people held during Spanish Civil War or Second World War: Quarterly limit reached

    Check the site 8am for the online application form. If it’s not visible check every 30 minutes until you see it and the quickly complete and submit it as the window usually closes by mid morning. It’s a free service and in normal times you get a reply not less than 4 months later.

    Good Luck



    W Meston
    Rank: Private
    Army Number: 7597 561
    Regiment: Royal Army Ordnance Corps
    POW Number: 252853
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: IV-D
    Camp Location: Torgau, Saxony
    Record Office: Royal Army Ordnance Corps Record Office, Atlas House, Blackwell's Court, Off Granby Street, Leicester
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
  3. guymorgan

    guymorgan Member

    I joined forces war records just now it list him as in camp 78 in sulmona Italy.
    also mentions something about a mass escape on internet search,over 1000 prisoners escaped when Italian troops capitulated and left the prisoners alone and went home.
  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    You’re better off using the forum search facility than wasting money on FWR.

    He may well have been a POW in Italy - many men were there before the armistice.I don’t have access to the Italian POW records. Forum member vitellino may be able to assist.

  5. guymorgan

    guymorgan Member

  6. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Private Meston was held in PG 78 Sulmona in the Abruzzo area of Italy.

    This was the last camp he is registered as having been in. The extract below is from document WO 392/21, held in the National Archives, London. The document was compiled by the International Red Cross and is dated August 1943, though this does not mean that the person listed was actually in the camp on that date.

    I have not checked up on the estimated number of escapers from Sulmona following the Armistice of 8 September 1943 - there are NO OFFICIAL FIGURES - but a considerable number were recaptured and sent to Germany in the second half of September.

    I would like to reiterate what has been written above - send for his records.

    Pte. W. Meston.jpg
    Last edited: May 8, 2020
    Tullybrone likes this.
  7. guymorgan

    guymorgan Member

    Many thanks vitellino
  8. Joroti

    Joroti Member

    Hi Guy,

    I wonder if you managed to obtain Meston's service records or Red Cross PoW records. After Italy surrendered there were numerous 'breakouts' from the Italian PoW camps until the Germans were able to regain control off all the sites. Many Brits managed to make it back to North Africa or elsewhere to complete their 'home run'.

    As the war progressed following the start of the Italian campaign, most PoWs in Italy were moved to Germany. However Meston is listed in the RAOC Gazette for October 1942 as a PoW held in Stalag 7A (Moosburg). The date of capture is not listed however the info in the Gazette was usually 2-3 months in arrears putting his capture possibly around Jul-Aug 42. Note there lists were rapidly compiled and are likely to have errors. He next appears in the Italian Records as at PG78 and then in the Red Cross compiled records as being held at Stalag 4D at Torgau in Saxony near Leipzig. The camp was liberated in April 1945 however unless you get his records or look at his PoW Card at Kew there is no way of knowing if he remained there until liberated and repatriated but at least he can be tracked from Italy to Germany.

    My guess is that he was originally captured in North Africa and from the dates, probably the fall of, or retreat from Tobruk but Im guessing here as an amateur researcher of the RAOC. Hope this helps.

    Google the camps for a bit more detail.

    Regards, John
  9. Bruneval

    Bruneval Well-Known Member

    A little more detail on William Meston from TNA:

    Reference: WO 416/253/478
    Name: William Meston.
    Date of Birth: 03/03/1906.
    Place of Birth: Leeds.
    Service: British Army.
    Rank: Private.
    Regiment/Unit/Squadron: [Royal Army Ordnance Corps].
    Service Number: [7597561].
    Date of Capture: [unspecified].
    Theatre of Capture: [unspecified].
    Camp Name/Number: Stalag IVB Muhlberg.
    PoW number: 252853.
    Date of Death: [unspecified].
    Number of Photographs: 0.
    Number of Fingerprints: 0.
    Number of X-rays: 0.
    Number of Cards: 2.



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