Camp 5 Gavi Italy

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by joy, Apr 6, 2011.

  1. joy

    joy Junior Member

    I am attempting some research on my father-in laws (Deceased) time in POW camp.

    At the time of his capture he was with 105 Squadron, he was Pilot Officer Eric William Applebee(wireless operator/air gunner), he was shot down on 11th August 1941 in Italy, the other two crew members also survived, the pilot a Squadron Leader Goodie and Observer Sergeant Nicholls

    I know he spent time in Camp 5 at Gavi Italy, later he was moved to Stalag Luft 3

    I have just noticed a picture in his diary states Gavi June 42 to September 43

    So where was he Aug 41 to june 42

    Would he have spent the whole of his time in Italy at the one camp or would he have been at several different camps.

    He never spoke about the war or being in prisoner of war camp.

    Below is what I have found on the internet about his POW details.



    Camp - L3


    POW No - 228325


    Surname - Applebee


    Initials - EW


    Unit - 105


    A/C Serial - Z7503


    Service No - 44982


    Force - RAF

    Date of Loss - 11/08/1941




    I can find nothing of interest on the internet about Gavi pow camp if any one knows of any websites I should look at let me know. I know I need to go to Kew and will do so next time I am in the UK . But if anyone has any information that will help me in the meantime I would be very grateful.

    Joy
     
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Joy,

    Not sure if this really helps you. But here is your father-in-law listed in the RAF POW's for August 1943. This is from file WO392/21 held at the National Archives, Kew, London.

    It fails to show the camp, unless all the men in the "A" index were held in Camp 75?

    Well I suppose it is something to have and there are others on the forum who have wonderful knowledge on this subject.

    Steve.
     

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  3. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

  4. joy

    joy Junior Member

    Thanks to you both I can't believe how helpful everyone is on this site

    Thanks again
     
  5. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Thanks to you both I can't believe how helpful everyone is on this site

    Thanks again


    You are welcome,

    What a coincidence. Today on the train I was reading "POW" from Adrian Gilbert, John Murray Editor 2006. Very nice book.
    Well, from page 279, the chapter "An Italian Adventure" also gives some info on the Gavi POW camp. Maybe this would be useful. :)
     
  6. Mags F

    Mags F Junior Member

    Hi Joy
    My father John Le Mesurier was also at Gavi, for over 3 years. Our fathers must have known each other. I have just returned from visiting the castle again ( I also visited in 1965 as a teenager before it had been restored.) Do you have any other info on other prisoners there, or know where I can find more information. Dad was likewise very reluctant to talk about the war, tho he did visit Gavi with me in 1965.
     
  7. Dave Tooes

    Dave Tooes Member

    My father was in Gavi for some time before making his escape for Switzerland in 1943 after the Germans had taken command. He took me to see it in 1959 and was pretty upset when they charged him admission!!
    He had been transferred there due to his previous escape attempts at other POW camps
    He said he was the only naval rating in Gavi as he was an A/B seaman from a submarine.
    As a a naval rating he refused to be an officers batman and had a great dislike for some officers attitude to prison life
    In his seventies his war experiences took its toll and I advised him to write his time in the navy down as a way to assuage the demons.
    Like most of his time I had no real idea of what he had done or endured as he never spoke about it.
    His writings have now been sent to Submarine Museum Gosport .
    His escape earned him a BEM
     
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Dave,

    Just for your records, here is all the Naval Ratings held as POW's with surname beginning T. This is from file WO392/21 held at the National Archives, Kew, London.

    PICT0139 copy 2.jpg
     
  9. Dave Tooes

    Dave Tooes Member

    thanks for that i have that info as well as the BEM records and the inquiry and court martial for the sinking of S/M Oswald. My father kept everything bottled up until well into his seventies. His was a war that had to be fought.
    I kept my war service bottled up until about the same time 1995. I just wish my country as well as others stopped sending young men and now young women to far away places
     
    bamboo43 likes this.
  10. Dave Tooes

    Dave Tooes Member

    [QUOTE="
    What a coincidence. Today on the train I was reading "POW" from Adrian Gilbert, John Murray Editor 2006. Very nice book.
    Well, from page 279, the chapter "An Italian Adventure" also gives some info on the Gavi POW camp. Maybe this would be useful. :)[/QUOTE]


    Yes a great read I have the paperback. He mentions other POW camps at which my father was at. Some of the other escapees defy description. M dad mentioned one escape were the bloke taught himself to swim on dry land and when being transferred by boat jumped overboard and escapaded. Their courage defies description and nobody knows unless you were there
     
  11. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Well-Known Member

    UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972
    Name: J E S Tooes
    Medal or Award: British Empire Medal
    Service Year: 1942-1945
    Campaign or Service: World War II
     

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  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Dave,

    Where was your father held before being sent to Gavi?

    Apart from a general interest in submariner POWs in Italy (especially Saracen, Sahib and Splendid) I am also now doing some research on PG 52 at Coreglia Ligure near Chiavari where a lot of naval ratings were held and wonder if he had been there at some time.

    Fellow submariner from the Oswald, Albert Penny, escaped successfully, I believe, from PG 68 Vetralla - there's a memo from the camp commander regarding him on website http://www.campifascisti.it/scheda_campo.php?id_campo=359 in the Documenti section of PG 68.

    Regards,

    Vitellino
     
  13. Dave Tooes

    Dave Tooes Member

    Thanks for that. However that must show just some of the war time service. My father joined up in May 1936 and left the service in 1959 with the substantive rank of Chief Petty Officer. He was the highest ranking non-commissioned officer on the Australia station 1953-57. by 1959 he was one of 4 highest CPO's having served the last year at Royal Arthur near Bath. To confirm he was on the S/m Oswald when it sank near Italy in 1939. below is a photo taken on the Italian destroyer Vivaldi my father is circled
     

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  14. Dave Tooes

    Dave Tooes Member

    After capture he was first taken to Maestri then on to Venice and then an island in Venice lagoon. Here he made is first escape, after recapture and with a number of crew from Oswald was transferred to Sulmona. Picture attached is at Sulmona my father is with the X.

    Then on to Camp 17 "The Nunnery" . I'm not sure about the number as you can see he also called the next camp 17 and the camp list has no "Nunnery"

    Then transferred to Campo 17 "Laterina" after his Italian courts martial he made another escape attempt, for this he was crucified and held chains in the open for 2 weeks in winter.

    From there he went to Gavi. After jumping off the walls he made his way to Switzerland picking up 2 Army escapees. He was then kept in Switzerland for a year or so before marching backdown to Marseilles
     

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    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  15. Dave Tooes

    Dave Tooes Member

    here is a list of officers and ratings after the sinking as you can Penny is there with my father
     

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  16. timuk

    timuk Active Member

    Dave,
    You intrigued me with HM S/M Oswald and courts martial etc. I've started a new thread HM S/M Oswald if you're interested in giving us the story.
    Tim
     

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