P.O.W. Italy 1942 escaped in July 1943 then joined the Italian Partisans

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by ArmyBoyandMan, Sep 9, 2018.

  1. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Hi there Guys

    I was wondering if any one on this site could help me find out which P.O.W camp in Italy in 1942-1943 my Late Father was in or any other relevant Info connected to my Father

    I will post all the relevant Info and past posts on my Father is below thanks


    Hi there von Poop Otto posted on WW11FORUMS that you were the expert on WW11 P.O.W. camps could you probable trace the camp that my late Father was in and any extra info you can get

    If you could it would be very much appreciated as I have tried at length with no success, I will copy and paste all the Info about my Father that I wrote on the WW11FORUMS web site many thanks for any help you can give .

    Message 1
    Hi Oscar my Father was RQMS Green Howards In Malaya/Malaysia 1948-1952
    and he was in a POW camp in Italy in 1942 and escaped in July 1943 then joined the Italian Partisans for three years until he was able to meet up with a South African unit in Turin in 1945
    Best wishes Michael

    Message 2
    My Father was Born 1911-1975
    I was born in B.M.H. KIMRARA K L Malaysia in1951 then moved to west Germany and didn't get to the UK until the mid 60's I joined the Army in 1969 and served in Germany and Cyprus with the U.N. they were great times I will never forget.

    Message 3

    I think my Father was a Corporal in 1942 he was R.Q.M.S. in the 1950's and in the 1960's he was busted down

    I think after the War he got into a lot of trouble with his heavy drinking in the Sgt Mess then he made it to Staff/Sgt C/Sgt before he was demobbed

    Attached Files:

  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hello Michael,

    Your father is listed in the file WO392/21 POW's held by the Italians as of August 1943. This document is held at the National Archives, Kew. I have attached and image of his entry, which shows that at that time he was held at Camp 53, Sforza Costa near Macerata.

    I must tell you, that this file has on occasions been known to contain errors. I'm certain that other forum members will know more about the camp.


    Camp 53 2.jpg
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2018
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  3. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Many thanks for your help Steve it’s great to see it in black and white you’re a star

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I have sent a nudge to Vitellino - our Italian POW & camp member - reallly shes not camp as in camp sweety but camp as in a place where POW's were held, hopefully she will be along soonish

    CL1 likes this.
  5. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Cheers TD that would be great
  6. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Michael,

    What interests me is that your father escaped in July 1943. Virtually nobody escaped before the Italian Armistice and remained at large, and there were no partisans as such at that date.

    The partisan movement began following the Italian Armistice of 8 September 1943, not following the fall of Mussolini (25 July) or the invasion of Sicily.

    However, train loads of POWs from PG 53 were sent to Germany in July before the fall of Mussolini and he could have escaped from the train. I'll check the loading lists and get back to you shortly.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  7. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Have just checked out the three loading lists and he's not on them. I will now try to find out if there were any escapes from PG 53 in July 43 recorded by the Italians and I'll then edit this post.

    POWs recaptured by the Germans were sent to Germany or German-occupied countries. He doesn't appear in the List of POWs being held in Germany in Sept. 1944 so probably he wasn't recaptured when with the partisans, at least not before this date. If not he probably filled in an Escape and Evasion Report when he met up with the Allied troops (or they met up with him). Where Italy is concerned not all of these have survived. However, it might be worth getting a researcher at the National Archives to check him out.

    Edit: nothing about him in PG 53 camp records
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2018
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  8. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Thank very much for your feed back vitelline when my Father was alive he didn't talk much about his war time expereances and when he did it was after a few Drinks of the hard stuff he always intended to write a book on his expereances when he retied but sadley he died a year before his then retirement age

    He did receive a letter from one of his partisan’s friends with photos of his Wife and children it was writon in Italian so I couldn’t read understand a word

    But my Farther spoke Fluent Italian from his time with his partisan friends, I will see if I can find the letter and upload it

    Thanks again for your hard work I do really appreciate all the effort

    Kind Regards

  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Grasby - POW in NW Europe - only 1 and hes a driver

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: A Grasby
    Rank: Driver
    Army Number: T/89904
    Regiment: Royal Army Service Corps
    POW Number: 8170
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: XVIII-A
    Camp Location: Wolfsberg, Austria
    Record Office: Royal Army Service Corps Record Office, Ore Place, Hastings, Sussex
    Record Office Number: 29

    So as Vitellino surmises he was not recaptured

  10. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    .TD, I made a mistake - He WAS recaptured, I have now found him in WO 392/1 and this ties in with your find above.


    Please send me a private message with the letter and I will translate it for you.
    Perhaps there's a Liberation report in the National Archives - one of the paid researchers on this site will look for you.


    CL1 likes this.
  11. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Yes I'm afraid I don't know this A Grasby my Fathers family were from Yorkshire/Lincolnshire/Barton on the Humber then when he got Demobed we moved to Lancashire were my Mother comes from

    I can remember my Farther telling me that after he had escaped the P.O.W. camp he first went into hiding any where he could he told me at one time he spotted a German or Italian patrol so he hid behind a bush and prayed there wouldn’t see him, he said there was no way that he wouldn’t be spotted by the patrol so he believed it was faith alone that saved him on that day and my Father wasn’t a very devote Catholic

    ( I think that’s because when he married my Mother who was protestant the Catholic church wouldn’t allow them to marry there so he had to get married in a protestant church which really hurt him till the day he died )

    I also remember my Father telling me that his friends in the partisans had captured an Italian girl that was a collaborator with the Germans one of the partisans handed my Father a Gun and told him to shoot her and said this is an honour for an outsider to be given this privilege my father declined and the partisan took the gun back and shot the girl with no hesitation that moment really upset my Father

    Sorry for rambling on its just fleeting memories I have of what my Father told me about the War

    Anyway thanks again for your help

  12. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Hi Vitellino
    I’m afraid A Grasby wasn’t my Father he was John Grasby 4th Bn East Yorks a Yorkshire Regiment he wasn’t a driver because he never learnt to drive he was born 1911 and died 1975 in Preston Lancashire

    Take care

  13. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Just in case you haven't seen my Fathers Army Citation in Image attachments vitelline I've Copied the posted it below

    Cu Later



    LS/4978694 C/Sgt Grasby J E Yorks

    C/Sgt GRASBY first enlisted in the Territorial Army in 1927 and served until 1935, rejoining in 1959 and being mobilized on the outbreak of war with the 4th Bn E Yorks Regt.

    He went to FRANCE with his regiment and was evacuated at DIJNKIRK. In 1941 he went with his Regt to AFRICA and joined the 8th Army and was taken prisoner in 1942 at the battle of

    KNIGHTSBRIDGE. He went to POW camp in ITALY and in July 1943 succeeded in escaping and being unable to get back to the UK, he joined up with the partisans in ITALY and stayed with them until

    1945 when he reported to a S AFRICAN unit in TURIN, He returned to the UK in 1945 and served there until going to MALAYA in 1948 as C.Q.M.S. with the HOWARDS. In 1952 he returned from MALAYA and served in AUSTRIA and GERMANY

    And in 1956 he got back to his own regiment and came to serve on ERE appointment in GERMANY. On 31 August 1957 Her Majesty the QUEEN saw fit to honour him with the award of the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
  14. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    You are right. I think I've spent too may hours today in front of the computer! Anyway, send me your letter on a private message and I will translate it for you.

    It's still worth contacting a researcher to see if there is an Escape and Evasion report for him.

    What you've said about the episode regarding the girl collaborator doesn't surprise me. I have just read something similar in the account of another serviceman who joined the partisans.

  15. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Ok vitellino lets hope I can find out more about my Fathers War time Escapades

    Bye for now
  16. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    This is a picture of my Father

    Attached Files:

  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    For a copy of an Escape & Evasion report or a Liberation Questionnaire I would suggest you contact (unless you are doing it yourself) Archive Research - www.arcre.com as he is also a member of this site.

  18. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    Thank again TD
  19. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member


    I've 'cracked' it, at least in part, thanks to a highly respected member of this forum, sadly now deceased, the late Brian Sims (ADM199).

    He wrote this on the forum in reply to an enquiry:

    ''My Records show 3 Work Camps attached to PG53 Sforza Costa near Macerata as being designated as PG 133 in 1943'.
    He had a copy of a Report made by a British Escaper into Switzerland which gives the Camp location as NOVARA.

    Now, the Imperial War Museum holds a recording made by British gunner Norman Tebbett, who served with 107th Regt, South Notts Hussars, Royal Artillery in North Africa where he was taken prisoner in 1942.

    He passed through PG 66 Capua (Transit camp) and from there was sent to PG 53 Macerata (Sforzacosta). In March 1943 he decided to accept farm work and in early March went to Torre Quattara (PG133/13) near Novara from where in September 1943 it appears that the POWs disarmed the Italian guards in a non-violent manner to take control of work party. Gunner Tebbett escaped to Switzerland.

    Novara is in the Turin area, hence your father reporting in to the South Africans there in 1945. There were a number of partisan groups in this area most of which had escapers among their ranks.

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  20. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Member

    That’s brilliant news Vitellino you deserve a Standing Ovation

    I am totally hopeless at finding out much about my Fathers P.O.W. and partisans years I’ve literally spent hours searching without any luck

    You’ve been a life saver cheers Bud


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