Escaped POW: Gunner Albert LEES, Royal Artillery

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Rich77, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. Rich77

    Rich77 New Member


    I'm new to this amazing site and wonder if anyone could point me in the right direction. I'm looking for any info I can find about my Grandad.

    He was with the Royal Artillery in North Africa, was captured and taken to Italy, then Poland. When still alive, he described his POW camp, in the vicinity of Auschwitz, being bombed by the Allies. He was wounded when a bomb flew into the shelter he was running into. His account sounds similar to the accounts I've read on here of the bombing of the IG Farben factory in which 38 POWs were killed. I don't know how I would go about verifying this, though.

    As he later escaped, I'm a bit surprised I can't find anything about him online.

    I have his medals (War Medal, Defence Medal, Africa Star, Dunkerque 1940 medal) and his POW Escape Club badge. I also have a hospital discharge certificate (in Polish) from when he was wounded in the bombing.

    Where might I find any more info about his time as a POW or his escape? If I apply for his service records, would they include any of that information?

    Thanks in advance.
    CL1 likes this.
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum. Is this the topic you refer to above?

    Possible Lamsdorf POW Funeral Photos

    You need to apply to MOD Glasgow for his service records via this link -

    Get a copy of military service records

    It takes about 6 to 8 weeks and costs £30 plus the cost of a death certificate. The MOD papers won’t have much about his time as POW - just the fact he was captured and then released.

    For his POW record you need to apply to Red Cross in Switzerland. There is an online application form that will pop up on this link when the next application window opens. It is a free service but you need to be quick off the mark on the morning if 21st Jan as the September window closed in less than 3 hours. It takes about 4 months to get the Red Cross papers. They arrive by post.

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

    You could try FMP as there will be a trace of him there as they have the WW2 official casualty list that record POW details of capture & release.

    He may have completed a returned POW questionnaire - not all POW did so - when he returned to U.K. but they are not yet online. You need to search the U.K. National Archives in London - if you can’t get there yourself several members offer a look up and copy service.

    Good Luck.



    You haven’t listed a 39/45 Star?
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  4. Rich77

    Rich77 New Member

    Thanks both of you, I will start searching.

    I now can't find where I read about it on here, but this is the bombing I was referring to

    British POW camp E715 at Auschwitz, near Monowitz labor camp

    He doesn't appear in the list of POW Liberation Questionnaires, unfortunately.

    I'll apply for his service records and try to be on the ball on 21st January for the Red Cross as well.

    Sorry, yes I do have his 39/45 Star, I just wasn't sure what it was called.
  5. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 20.04.52.png
    Yorkshire Post 5th April 1945

    4690253 Gunner Albert LEES 2 Royal Horse Artillery
    Originally enlisted in the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
    Captured at Tobruk 31st May 1942
    Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 19.45.41.png
    Camp 87 Italy
    Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 19.49.19.png
    Stalag 344
    Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 19.48.43.png

    This is confirmation that he was wounded while a P.o.W.
    Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 19.58.45.png

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    The initial O. on the 392/21 listing threw me there.
  7. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    Well done Guy great work
  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    He wasn't captured at the surrender of Tobruk (21st June 1942) but in the Battle of Gazala leading up to that defeat.

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  9. Rich77

    Rich77 New Member

    That's brilliant, Guy, thanks for doing that!
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Do we have a date of capture?
  11. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    It says 31st May (1942) on the FMP extract Guy posted (immediately below the newspaper article) above.

  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Rich,

    Regarding Albert's imprisonment in Italy, Camp PG 87 was a tent camp and was closed in November 1942 after the men had been sent elsewhere, almost 500 to PG 52, Pian di Coreglia near Chiavari in Liguria. In the spring of 1943 there was no evidence that it had been re-opened. Albert's service records will give details of his movements.



    Edited to add more detail:
    A telegram from the Prisoner of War Office in Italy dated 26 October 1942 indicates that 494 men were sent from PG 87 to PG 52.

    The International Red Cross/Protecting Power's inspection report dated 7 September 1943, and held in the National Archives London in WO 361/1890, stated that 59 prisoners of war were sent on July 8, 1943, to Camp No. 53 and from there to Germany, but in fact they were sent to PG 73 at Carpi.

    No. 141 on the loading list from Carpi to Germany was 4690253 Albert Lees

    I CAMPI FASCISTI - Dalle guerre in Africa alla Repubblica di Salò

    Visit the above page, click on documenti, scroll down to the last document and open it, where Albert can be found.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2018
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  13. Sussex by the Sea

    Sussex by the Sea Senior Member

    Was there such a thing as a debriefing back in the UK after his escape?
  14. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    I think the OP will have to wait for receipt of the service file and ICRC papers efore the situation becomes clear as while the OP relates the account of an escape the newspaper cutting speaks of release by Russian troops.

    In the ordinary course of events POW who escaped and were then recaptured mentioned the circumstances on a Liberation Questionnaire. If one was completed it might lead to a written request from MI9 for a more detailed account or a personal IV with MI9.

    POW who made a “home run” were usually IV’d by MI9 staff. IIRC There are a links to NA references for the IV’s on FMP?

    Tricky Dicky likes this.

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