Hello everybody, Having read the thread on John Antony Ronald Coulthard I thought I would post the outcome of my efforts to fnd the grave of Ldg. Tel. Crosby: Leading Telegraphist Victor James Crosby DSM MID (P/J.112731) Ldg. Tel. Crosby was shot by the Germans at Murrone in the Comune of Fontana Liri (Province of Frosinone, Lazio, Italy) on 12 December 1943. His story is incredible in that the Allied Screening Commission and the War Office denied that a serviceman by the name of Victor James Crosby had ever been a prisoner of war in Italy even though the Admiralty had carried out a thorough investigation into his death and his case had been investigated as a war crime. As early as 9 April 1944 the War Office was already aware of the situation. It had been informed by M.I.9. that on or about 13 December 1943, Crosby, a POW from British Submarine Service, attempted to escape from some German troops who had recaptured him. He was shot in the leg while escaping and was subsequently put to death by Germans without trial. Ldg, Tel. Crosby had been rescued from HM Submarine Saracen when she had been scuttled off Bastia, Corsica, on 14 August 1943, and had been taken to Italy and held until the Armistice of 8 September 1943 in Campo No. 1 Marina at Manziana, near Lake Bracciano to the north of Rome. Saracen's 41 surviving ratings were led out of the camp by Capt. Mario Cuneo, one of the Italian officers in charge, and tried to make their way south towards Allied Lines. At the beginning of December 1943 Ldg. Tel. Crosby arrived in Fontana Liri as testified by Lieut. A.R.M. Palmer, 2 R.T.R. on 31 May 1944, after the Allies liberated the town. (Testimony held in the National Archives ADM 1/29526.) (He) stayed in a house next to, about 250 yds from, the house in which I was living, in an area known locally as Monte Dolce. On the evening of Dec 12th, at dusk, the house was raided by a party of 15 German 'Polizia' (apparently S.S.) who had been led there by an Italian informer named Papa. Crosby tried to escape but was fired on and brought down. A written statement which I have seen, has been made by a local girl named Pantanella who saw Crosby immediately afterwards, in which she states the he was definitely only wounded in the leg. The Germans roughly bandaged him and put him on a door which they had torn down from the house. They then proceeded to loot the house, and later carried Crosby off towards Arpino, their H.Q. What happened then is not quite clear, but some three or four hours later Crosby's dead body was left in the middle of the path about half way to Arpino. Italians who saw him then all say that he had been killed by a burst of machine-pistol shots across the stomach. Italians who wanted to move the body into a house nearby were threatened by the Germans and ordered not to touch it. The Germans then left. The next morning two returned and buried Crosby close to the path. The spot is known locally as Santo Spirito and is close to the boundary between the communes of Arpino and Fontana Liri. A wooden cross was put up by the Germans, describing him as an unknown British soldier, and dated, for some reason, 13 December. I have since ascertained that the German Commandant at Arpino was Capt. Walter Schot and the sergeant in command of the police detachment was Mainhard. On 8 August 1944 the newly-elected mayor and former partisan leader of Fontana Liri, Arturo D'Innocenzo, wrote a letter to the Italian Under-Secretary of State requesting that the British Authorities be informed of the death of Lgd. Tel. Crosby at the hands of the Germans. On 26 September a translation of this letter was sent from the Admiral based in the Allied Forces Headquarters (Mediterranean) to the Assistant Deputy Judge Advocate General, with a copy to the Flag Officer, Taranto, Adriatic, and Liason, Italy (Rome). On 2 November 1944 the Office of the Commander-in-chief, Allied Force Headquarters Mediterranean, released the following communication: Victor J. Crosby, Ldg. Tel. P/J112731- Victim of War Crime The following information has been received from the Admiralty with reference to MED. 00100/3 of the 26th September and your CR/15000/G.1(B) OF 17 October:- 'I am to acquaint you that this man has been identified as Victor J. Crosby, Leading Telegraphist, P/J112731, ex- HMS Saracen on information already received from the Allied Prisoner of War Repatriation Unit, Central Mediterranean Forces. All casualty action has been taken and it does not appear that any further information is necessary.' 2. The Flag Officer, Taranto, Adriatic, and Liason, Italy (Rome) has been requested to forward any further details on the death of the rating to the Commander-in Chief, Mediterranean. After a year's delay, during which time Ldg. Tel. Crosby had been awarded a posthumous Mention in Dispatches, the decision was taken to investigate his death as a War Crime. Despite numerous detailed testimonies it was not possible to trace the perpetrators and in October 1947 the case was abandoned. Incredibly, on 3rd March of that same year the Allied Screening Commission had stated that Ldg. Tel. Crosby had never been a prisoner in Italy! Clearly the correspondence which had passed between the War Office and the Admiralty, now held in the National Archives in file ADM1/29526, had never been consulted. By this time Ldg. Tel. Crosby's body had been taken away from its resting place in Santo Spirito (sometimes also known as Spirito Santo) the locals believing it to have been repatriated. Given that no mariner by the name of Victor James Crosby is buried in any of the military cemeteries in Italy, I asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission if an unnamed British serviceman had ever been exhumed in Fontana Liri or Santo Spirito. Here is their reply: I can find no reference to any remains being recovered from the locations mentioned, however not all locations are listed with place names, some just map references, so it is possible we do have the remains, but we haven’t indexed the map references yet. If he was found then logically, the nearest cemetery to this location is Cassino War Cemetery. Alternatively, the grave became lost and was never recovered. We have no unknown with the date of death given who matches either – as you know, the body would certainly not have been repatriated to the UK. Fortunately Lt. Palmer's testimony gives a grid reference indicating where Ldg. Tel. Crosby was living before he was killed. When I gave a more detailed six-figure reference showing the locality known as Spirito Santo to the CWGC I received the following reply: I have found an Unknown Royal Navy sailor buried in 14.B.13. in Cassino War Cemetery who was recovered from a location to the East of Spirito Santo in July 1946. I have now passed the case on to Nic Andrews as an ID Case. He will pass it on to the Royal Navy. It will be up to them to decide if there is sufficient evidence to identify this grave as Ldg. Tel. Crosby’s… Upon receiving the relevant documentation Mr. Nic Andrews' reply was as follows: Thank you for the evidence provided, the case made is persuasive and so will be forwarded to UK MoD, as the relevant Service Authority, for their authority to change the arrangements for the commemoration of Victor James Crosby. On 11 May 2016 I was informed by the Ministry of Defence that after conducting our own research, we agree with your findings that the unknown soldier buried in Cassino War Cemetery (14.B.13) is Victor James Crosby. In March or April 2017 Ldg. Tel. Crosby's new gravestone will be commemorated in the presence of his family.