Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by jamesg1981, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. jamesg1981

    jamesg1981 Member

    this is my first post so go easy on me,

    i am researching my Grandads timeline through WW2. Ive asked my Dad and my uncles and aunties and they all say he never mentioned where he went or what he did.

    these are the deatils i have so far, any more information would be very much appreciated.

    NAME - Joe Gildroy
    ARMY NO. – 4391280
    POW NO. 29215
    CAMP – STALAG viiiB
    CAMP NO. 344

    The only details we have of his service in WW2 are just rumours but they might help, we beleive he was captured in northern Africa, he was put to work down a coal mine at Sosnowitz West coal mine while been pow, then rescued at Dunkirk.

    i have attatched a picture of the green howards at the coal mine with some names on there, my grandad i sthe one with the big red arrown above his head.

    again any information no matter how small will be greatfully received.

    Attached Files:

  2. DPas

    DPas Member

    Not much help to you but welcome to the forum all the same!

    Have you applied for his service record? They have a wealth of information and give an excellent basis for researching further material.

    Also if he was a POW you could try the red cross too

    Also you could ask these guys

    Your best source will be the service record though
  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    Just to add to the above recommendations you should also consider looking for the Liberation Questionnaire he may have completed on his repatriation to UK.

    They are not yet available online - you need to do
    a physical search in the National Archives at Kew.

    If you can't get to Kew then some members on here do offer a look up service - just post a request on a new thread.

    Steve Y
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Do you know what battalion he was in? There were a few Green Howards Bns at Dunkirk
  5. jacksun

    jacksun Senior Member

    HI and Welcome.

    As others have already suggested you should look for his Liberation Report at KEW, or have someone from here check for you (Drew5233 or, fill out and submit the form to request his POW info from the International Red Cross, query the medals office to find out what medals he was entitled to and if he received them (many didn't bother) and order his Service Records.

    - Liberation Report - couple weeks max, not sure on cost but quite inexpensive (<£15) and may have good info to point your research in the right direction - but not all POW's completed one, and if they did may not have been detailed - but may have battalion, where captured, when captured, camps, escape attempts, injuries etc
    - IRC record - anywhere from 6 - 12 month wait - Free
    - Medal office - 2-4 months, free
    - Service Records - 12 month wait - cost is £30 - Will have lots of details pre and post POW time, the official record of his military career.

    See here for research tips and links:

  6. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum James - enjoy!

    Four battalions of the Green Howards served in the Western Desert that had previously served with the BEF ('Dunkirk' refers) and these were:

    4th and 5th Bns, Green Howards, 150th Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division; and
    6th and 7th Bns Green Howards, 69th Infantry Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division.

    -Albeit, the latter two battalions/brigade served with the 23rd (Northumbrian) Division, 50th (Northumbrian) Division's second line or duplicate, whilst with the BEF.

    The 4th and 5th Bns, Green Howards, were overrun during the Gazala battles on the 1 June 1942 and those not killed were taken PoW. Very few escaped. They were disbanded and formed into a cadre later that year.

    The remainder of Fifty Div were the last to leave the Gazala defences on 14 June 1942. They did so by attacking the Axis forces to the west before moving south, south-east around Bir Hacheim, and then retiring east to Fort Maddelena on the Egyptian border in conjunction with the rest of the 8th Army. This retirement was part of what became known as the 'Gazala gallop'.

    The 6th and 7th Bns Green Howards were then involved in rear-guard actions between 21 and 30 June 1942, protecting large elements of the 8th Army to eventually retire from Buq Buq via Mersah Matruh to the Alamein line. They were then situated in the area of Ruweisat Ridge between the 1 and 29 July 1942 and involved in the First Battle of El Alamein. By the 29 July the 6th Bn was severely understrength and the 7th Bn had almost ceased to exist due to the extent of their casualties, including those taken PoW.

    So, the only way to obtain certainty about which battalion your granddad served with, when and what actions he was likely to have been involved in, is to obtain your grandad's service records...

    I do not know where your granddad hails from, but given that he was with the BEF I assume he is from the then North Yorkshire. If so, please let me know exactly where and I should be able to give you a good indication of which battalions he originally could have (and maybe continued) served in. For example, B Coy, 5th Bn Green Howards was located in Bridlington and Driffield and so, someone from either of those towns would likely have originally served with either the 5th or 7th Bn Green Howards.

    I hope the foregoing information assists, but please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

    If you have any further information about his service let us know, it may be helpful in identifying which battalion he served with, for example, the name of his commanding officer.


  7. jamesg1981

    jamesg1981 Member

    many thanks for your replys, i think he must of been 4th or 5th batallion as i received his records from the red cross and it say he was captured and taken pow at Gazala which i beleive was the battle for Tobruk?

    Steve Mac
    He was from Whitby, north Yorkshire.

    i also received a photocopy of his pow card when he was transferred to Stalag 8B

    i am starting to get something of a timeline put together of where he was.

    i would still like any more information

    im now on with the national archives and the medal office
  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    In the interests of objective truth - it is incorrect to say that the Gazala Gallop was actually the Battle for for the Crusader Battle - which was a victory for the 8th Army but left them exhausted at Gazala while Rommel retreated to El Agheila - unfortunately Rommel was reinforced earlier than Ritchie and came again - wiping out the 8th Army AND incidentally capturing Tobruk on the way past where mainly the South Africans surrendered the 33.000 men there.....Auchinlek took over 8th Army and brought them back to what is now known as the Alamein line from which Monty finally defeated Rommel - first at Wadi El Halfa then the October battle of the 23rd..all th way to Medenine where Rommel was fired - and the campaign finished at Tunis and Cap Bon

  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron


    There is a document file at the National Archives, WO392/21. This records the presence of Allied POW's as of August 1943. There is sometimes concern over inaccuracies with this file, which takes the form of a large ledger.

    Bearing that in mind your Grandfather's entry places him at Camp 66, Capua. If you would like an image of his entry page I would be happy to send one over to you.

  10. jamesg1981

    jamesg1981 Member


    that would be fantastic thank you very much
  11. jamesg1981

    jamesg1981 Member

    these are the details i have had sent from the red cross

    can anyone help me with the meanings?

    captured - 01.06.1942 Gazala

    detained in C.C.N'66 P>M 3400 Italy

    detained in C.C.N'52 P.M 3100 Italy

    arrived at stalag viiiB on 18.09.1943

    evacuated from Lazeraette stalag 344 on 02.03.1945

    does the C.C stand fro concentration camp?

    any help will be much appreciated
  12. jamesg1981

    jamesg1981 Member

    Sorry to bombard you with all my questions

    with him been evacuated from Lazeraette stalag 344 on 02.03.1945

    woul dthat have put him in the long march or death march when they were marched westward as the RUSSIANS got closer?
  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    Red cross state he was captured at Gazala - quite correct as that is when Rommel came out and wiped up the 50th Division\'s 150 Bde - thn Bir Hakeim then Tobruk on the way to the Alamein Line

    The concentration camps were totally different to POW camps

    He was probably on the western march as the RUSSIANS were getting closer....
  14. DPas

    DPas Member

    It is possible he was on one of the death marches, but in my Grandad's case was moved by train and sent south from 344 (8B) Lamsdorf at around that time, so it is not necessarily a given.
  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi James,

    C C is abbreviation used in Italian POW Camp decription - nothing like German Concentration Camps. PM 3100 is the postal address.

    PG 52 was Chiavari. Google "Italian POW Camps" for more detail.

    Lamsdorf was evacuated in late January 1945. The word Lazarette suggests your relative was left behind in the hospital and I suspect would have been liberated by the Russians days after the camp was evacuated.

    The date in March may be the day he started his trip home.

    Hope the above helps.

  16. DPas

    DPas Member

    Sorry to confuse things -

    I have no official sources but "Google" says the Russians did not reach the camp until 17th March meaning if the above (and this) date is correct, he was "evacuated" two weeks earlier.

    Steve is quite correct though. Often sick/wounded/injured POWs were left behind.
  17. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello James,

    Your grandad was almost certainly serving with the 5th Bn Green Howards and most likely, but not necessarily, 'A' Coy. His service records will confirm his battalion.

    The 5th Bn and its parent 150th Infantry Brigade were overrun at/near Rotunda Ualeb - situated between the Trigh El Abd and Trigh Capuzzo - in the Gazala line defences.

    I understand that there are no 5GH War Diaries covering this period. However, there is an excellent book that does called '150th Infantry Brigade (50th (Northumbrian) Division) in the Middle East June 1941 - June 1942', written in August 1944 by officers of the brigade that had been taken prisoner at the Ualeb position. It is quite rare, so send me a PM if you are wanting to acquire it but having trouble doing so.


  18. jamesg1981

    jamesg1981 Member


    i have had some information that there is some war diaries coevring the 5th Battalion Green Howards

    does anyone know of anyone who could get me a copy from the national archives? (i am prepared to pay whatever the amount)

    or even better if anyone already has a copy?

    the files i would like are

    WO 166/4314 5 Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment).1939 Aug.- Nov., 1940 July - 1941 Apr.

    WO 167/750 5 Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment) 1939 Dec.-1940 June

    WO 169/1724 5 Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment) 1941 Apr. Dec.

    WO 169/5021 5 Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment) 1942 Jan.- Sept., Nov.

    any help would be very much appreciated
  19. Steve Mac

    Steve Mac Very Senior Member

    Hello James,

    I am surprised that there is a War Diary covering May/June 1942; what a bonus. Please note the red footer at the bottom of message # 4 for a copying service.

    A word of caution. As far as I am aware, you do not have definite confirmation that your granddad was serving with the 5th Bn Green Howards, only my opinion that it is almost certain... and although my opinion is based on facts detailed in this thread and logical deductions arising therefrom, that is not the same level of certainty as will be found in his service records. I would not want you to acquire the 5th Bn's War Diaries, only to find out from his service records - when they arrive - that he was, for example, transferred to the 4th, 6th or 7th Bn three months earlier.

    I have also replied to PM.


  20. jamesg1981

    jamesg1981 Member

    Hello, sorry ive not been on here for a while,
    ive been going thorugh the family for any information they have

    i now have letters he sent home while in Italy (P.G 52, (hut 24) PM3100) on 26/7/1943 and also 16/8/1943

    i can now also confirm he was in the 5th Green Howards as it says on his letters

    on some letters it says H.Q Coy, Signals, 5th Green howards, M.E.F

    and i also have a letter which is dates April 22nd (no year but im guessing 1940) and it says, 11th platoon, 5th Green Howards, B.E.F France

    if any body has any more information doesnt matter how small please can you pass it on

    we are finally now gettign a picture of where and what he was involved in.

    any help will be very much appreciated.

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