Campo 65 Gravina Report

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by bamboo43, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi All,

    I picked up this file for a work colleague a few weeks ago. It is an informational report on Gravina, file WO224/127 at the National Archives.

    I hope it will be of some use to at least one or two of you guys. Enough said, you read on.

    Attached Files:

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  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member


    Attached Files:

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  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Third cohort:

    Attached Files:

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  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Last batch:

    Attached Files:

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  5. NeilA

    NeilA Junior Member

    You, sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I hope there is something within that will be of use to you. :)
  7. pinkyhill

    pinkyhill Member

    Very Interesting to read the report on Camp 65. My father in law was a prisoner in this camp
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Pm received pinkyhill.
  9. Elliotgc

    Elliotgc New Member

    Really interesting. Thanks very much for photographing it all.

    It seems that the camp rather quickly moved from holding 3000 prisoners to holding 10,000. Everything was adequate at the start - there were no complaints, nobody was punished and nobody tried to escape. Then, as the camp struggled with overcrowding, 1200 were left without beds. Those beds that were in place were unsatisfactory. They had tried to replace the hay but "a certain exchange had taken place in a most happy-go-lucky sort of way, and there was absolutely no organisation whatsoever." It was also terrible that the isolation rooms and medical facilities were outside the sectors. There weren't enough doctors and those that were there had to be escorted to the isolation rooms. The same applied to the food, with the result that treatment often arrived too late and the food was cold when it eventually did arrive. There was no hot water either. Those in the one sector with hot water only had showers every two weeks. The other sectors hadn't seen hot water for two months, and the prisoners weren't allowed to go to the one sector with hot water. It seems that the Italian soldiers were repeatedly told to make improvements to some aspects, but very few of them actually took place. Thank god the Red Cross sent over parcels. This was probably one of the better camps too.

    Those that went here often never spoke of what they endured, perhaps unsurprisingly. We must never forget how they suffered and the sacrifices they made.

    Some 20,000-30,000 were captured at Tobrook in 1942 and a number were sent here. Am I right in thinking that this was a sort of temporary camp for them whilst they waited to be transferred to a larger camp? The soldier I am researching moved to Stalag 11a, Altengrabow.
  10. Good morning gentlemen, I am actually doing a research on this camp as I live in Altamura. The aim is to create an open museum on the ruin of the site. Useless to say the Red Cross report published by bamboo43 is priceless.
    If you have any additional information about this camp and their prisoners please contact me on my email
    I will be more than glad to share with you all the information I am collecting.

    These are the pictures of the ruins of the camp as they are today (copyright Piero Amendolara)

    23559388_692793430922809_378455410118747716_n.jpg 23592386_692793520922800_3199538396411774244_o.jpg

    Attached Files:

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  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Good luck with your project Domenico. Very interesting to see what remains of the site.
  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
  13. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    I thought I would check out which camps were at Altamura according to (based solely on Italian documentation held in the War Office archives) and here's the list:

    Campo P.G. n. 051 di Villa Serena (Altamura), located at Altamura Italia
    Campo P.G. n. 065 di Gravina, Gravina in Puglia Italia
    Campo P.G. n. 075 di Torre Tresca, located at Torre Tresca in the Commune of Bari
    Campo P.G. n. 085 di Tuturano, located at Tuturano, Brindisi
    Campo P.G. n. 204 (ospedale) Altamura located at Altamura

    So the Italian documentation gives TWO camps at Altamura, no. 51 and the hospital camp, 204. PG 65 to which the Red Cross document applies would appear to be at Gravina. So, Domenico, do the photos refer to PG 51 at Altamura, PG 204 at Altamura or PG 65 at Gravina?

    Maps showing their locations are also given. According to Google it takes 18 minutes by car to get from Altamura to Gravina

    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
  14. Hi Vitellino,

    I know the campifascisti website but thanks for the link anyhow ;-) The pictures I have posted refer to PG65 Gravina. In reality the camp was located on the Altamura's territory and wrongly named Gravina. In fact today it is property of the Municipality of Altamura and I hope to be able to collect as many information as possible to convince them to do a Memorial Museum.
    The same camp became in 1951 a refugee camp for all people escaping from former Italian territories (Dalmazia, Istria etc. etc.). At its peak the camp was hosting almost 100,000 refugees.
    You are right Vitellino, in Altamura there was also a transit camp 51 in Villa Serena (see picture) and an hospital in a school H204 but nobody remember in which school it was. I will start to investigate on this minor camps in a second stage.
    Below pictures of Villa Serena's entrance today and an overview of the site (google street view) Schermata 2017-11-21 alle 08.02.30.png Schermata 2017-11-21 alle 08.05.23.png . There were no barracks but just tents
  15. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Thanks Domenico,

    There are other instances in which the Italian camps were given names by the Ministero della guerra which didn't correspond with their actual location. One example is PG 52, at Calvari in the Comune of Coreglia Ligure. To make things worse the Red Cross/Protecting Power had given it another name entirely - Chiavari.

    Send me a private message please and I will give you my email,


  16. Hi Vitellino pls send me a message on my email account
    We are still disputing today if the camp was in Gravina or Altamura as the camp is really in between the 2 towns.
  17. Good Morning from South Africa.
    I firstly want to thank Bamboo43 for this post as it has assisted me in two specific ways. Firstly my grandfather, Corporal Rudolph Henry Sonnekus, 2nd Battalion South African Police, 6th South African Infantry Brigade, 2nd South African Infantry Division, after his capture at Tobruk in June 1942 ended up in this camp for some time. I will be forwarding all; these documents and photos to my mother as it was her father. Secondly, I am busy completing my PhD in Military Science with my thesis covering the historical record of the 2nd SA Infantry Division (1940-1946). I will be using some of this information in my study, so thank you.

    If I can help with any South African Military records, I will.
    Have a great day.

    Major Jean-Pierre Scherman
    Faculty of Military Science (The Military Academy)
    Stellenbosch University
    South Africa
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2021
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  18. Domenico Bolognese.

    Sir. Thank you for the photographs. They have provided me with insight not only into my grandfathers life but for my study as well.

    Have a good day.

    Jean-Pierre Scherman
    JimHerriot likes this.
  19. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Good morning Jean -Pierre,

    May I suggest that you remove your email address from this forum or replace the @ with 'at' or you may receive some spam mail. We can always contact you via the Private Message faculty.

    I would be interested if you could look up M.J.C.M. Schoeman, no. 77922, who is variously reported as having escaped to Switzerland after the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943 (Italian source, Fondo Bacciagaluppi ref. no. 079 attached) and as having been recaptured and imprisoned in Stalag 8B Germany (Wo 392/15, attached).

    Thank you,
    61_Russell-Scullion.jpg GBM_POW-GALLIP_101635456_00002(1).jpg Schoeman WO 392 15 March '45.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  20. Morning Vitellino

    I do not see how to edit my post to alter / remove my email address.

    Anyways, thanks for the documents much appreciated.


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