POWs camp Vercelli and escape to Switzerland

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Lucky Gunner, May 22, 2011.

  1. Lucky Gunner

    Lucky Gunner Adult user

    Seeking to share information regarding ANZAC POWs in camp PG 106/1 Vercelli (or other). Of particular interest, those who escaped to Switzerland in early Oct 1943, and who spent time as free men in Europe until repatriation. My father, Colin Booth, was one of those POWs, who escaped from 106 with mates, including Peter Erickson, who saved Dads life on escape. Research has started and information is being gathered, but seeking more info, and also to share what I have found with others researching similar wartime history. By the way, Dad served in Libya, Tobruk, and was captured El Alamein 27/7/42 (Ruin Ridge) and was a gunner/driver in 2/3rd anti-tank regiment (12th Battery). He was also in Gruppignano camp for awhile before Vercelli. Other WWII mates of note include Ken O'Leary, Tommy Murray, Harry R. Richardson and "Malo" Norton-Knight.
    My best wishes to all researchers and veterans, Trina.
    PS. In particular my public thanks to veteran historian Bill Rudd who has excellent information on his web publication re ANZAC POWs in Europe.


    Edit:
    Intro thread
    http://www.ww2talk.com/forum/user-introductions/35802-my-dad-colin-booth-2-3rd-anti-tank-el-alamein.html#post396853
     
  2. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Katrina,

    You seem to have accomplished a great deal already, here attached are your father's and Peter Erickson's entries from WO392/21 POW's of the Italians as of August 1943. Held at the National Archives in London. The lists confirm their Camp location as Camp 106.

    This is the only info I possess on these POW's, so you need the assistance of the more knowledgeable forum members on this particular subject.

    Good luck.
     

    Attached Files:

    HA96 likes this.
  3. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Dear Katrina,

    Good afternoon. I am currently looking for stories of former prisoners who escaped from the Northern Italian camps, fleeing towards the Swiss borders. I think we could collaborate!
    I live in Biella, near Vercelli, and I already have a lot of material about this prisoner camp.

    Please contact me via pm, if you desire.
    Marco
     
    HA96 likes this.
  4. Lucky Gunner

    Lucky Gunner Adult user

    Thank you bamboo43, for the copy of archived records. More information to hand to confirm my information so far!
    I do hope that other members have information to offer as well, perhaps family members with similar stories etc.
    best wishes!
     
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    No probs Katrina, good luck!!:)

    Steve
     
  6. Lucky Gunner

    Lucky Gunner Adult user

    Marco,
    I would welcome any information regarding Vercelli camp 106. My father mentioned in his notes "106/1" so I presume this to be one of the working farms that he was sent to?
    He escaped on the night of the armistice, and it seems he crossed the border on 4/10/43, at Mt Moro pass area. He crossed with a fellow POW, Peter, and Peter's family were told by him that the precise route was an atypical one and considered almost "impossible". Perhaps they went off the main track, if indeed there was a main track?
    Katrina
     
  7. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Marco,
    I would welcome any information regarding Vercelli camp 106. My father mentioned in his notes "106/1" so I presume this to be one of the working farms that he was sent to?
    He escaped on the night of the armistice, and it seems he crossed the border on 4/10/43, at Mt Moro pass area. He crossed with a fellow POW, Peter, and Peter's family were told by him that the precise route was an atypical one and considered almost "impossible". Perhaps they went off the main track, if indeed there was a main track?
    Katrina

    Hi Katrina,
    Yes, you right, there were many working camps - just farms in the rice fields, with few guards.
    I may try to discover more while at home about this camp.


    Edited on 18.6.11:

    Dear,

    I found this, about Camp 106/1:

    Molinetto - All Aussies. Camp Leader Cpl W. Parker. Source: ANZAC POW Free Men in Europe - C. PG106 - Vercelli
    Regards,

    Marco
     
  8. Lucky Gunner

    Lucky Gunner Adult user

    Thank you Marco,
    I have visited the website by Bill Rudd but must have missed that section. It is certainly a lot of info in that web publication,
    If you do discover more about this camp, that would be welcome indeed as not much known.
    kind regards
    Katrina
     
  9. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Hi dear,
    the noun "Molinetto" simply means "small mill". It is incredibly frequent in Northern Italy, due to the very large use of these mills, in the past. I don't know this place but it should not be so far from my home. I also looked for on Google Map, but I had no luck.
     
  10. Philip Gibbs

    Philip Gibbs Junior Member

    Hi there Katrina - I just saw this thread today so registered here. My father was in PG106/20 (20th Btn, 2NZEF) captured at Ruweisat Ridge 15/07/42). He escaped to Switzerland over the Moro Pass in September 1943, a month or so before your father. There were about 102 POW's in 106/20 - from what he said I think (although not sure ) that they were all Kiwis. There were four of them, my father (John Gibbs), Tom Hudson (Gunner, 7th Anti-Tank Rgmt, Doug George (Lance Cpl, 22nd Btn) & Jim Linnear (?)(Lance Cpl, 24th Btn). They left the camp on the 16th September and crossed over the Moro Pass on 22nd
    I'm more than happy to share with you what my father wrote down, although its not the specifics of your fathers case there was probably a general commonality to their experiences in escaping from Vercelli to Switzerland
    And also my thanks to Bill Rudd, who was able to supply me with a large amount of information on my father from the NZ National Archives that I wasn't aware of before
    Regards - Philip Gibbs
     
  11. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Great!, thanks indeed Philip.

    Of course Bill Rudd is a very good historian. He gave me a lot of help.
     
  12. xxMontyxx

    xxMontyxx Junior Member

    Hello,
    I am new to the forum and hopeing to find out some more information about my dad.
    What I know so far - WX5066 Harold Ballard, escaped camp 106 at Vercelli with a couple of New Zealanders and they made their way to the town of Rialmosso. They were hidden and cared for by families in the area until the end of the war .... any information would be greatly appreciated.
     
  13. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Hello,
    I am new to the forum and hopeing to find out some more information about my dad.
    What I know so far - WX5066 Harold Ballard, escaped camp 106 at Vercelli with a couple of New Zealanders and they made their way to the town of Rialmosso. They were hidden and cared for by families in the area until the end of the war .... any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Hi dear,

    Camp 106 deeply concerns my current search, but I still have not heard about Harold Ballard, I am sorry.
    Rialmosso is a village in the municipality of Quittengo, near my hometown Biella, in Piemonte or Piedmont:

    Comune di Quittengo - Home
    (Only in Italian, as far as I can see),

    You may find a good cartography online here:

    MS2GM

    (Just add and search for Quittengo and Rialmosso).
    Best regards,

    Marco
     
  14. precious_past

    precious_past Junior Member

    Hi Everyone,

    Just discovered this wonderful forum. Am chasing any information on Private Frederick Sing (NX71206), Australian 2/13th Battalion. I know he was in P.G. 106/3 and escaped on 9 Sep 1943. He crossed Monte Moro pass and arrived in Switzerland on 20 Oct 1943.
     
  15. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Hi Everyone,

    Just discovered this wonderful forum. Am chasing any information on Private Frederick Sing (NX71206), Australian 2/13th Battalion. I know he was in P.G. 106/3 and escaped on 9 Sep 1943. He crossed Monte Moro pass and arrived in Switzerland on 20 Oct 1943.

    Hello and welcome,

    I am working on quite the same topics and I would be pleased to assist you during your search.
    You have several chances to try. For general information on this camp, I suggest you this site,

    ANZAC POW Free Men in Europe - Welcome Letter

    created by the Australian historian and former POW Bill Rudd.

    Then you may submit an info request to the ICRC Archives, if you are a next of kin it will be free of charge.

    ICRC Archives

    Third, the National Archives of Australian, excellent source I used many times in my previous book and various researches:

    Homepage – National Archives of Australia

    For instance, I found this:

    SING FREDERICK LAURENCE : Service Number - NX71206 : Date of birth - 02 Jul 1919 : Place of birth - MANILLA NSW : Place of enlistment - PADDINGTON NSW : Next of Kin - SING MAY

    There are 23 pages of his personal record, already online, you just have to click on "View digital copy" on the upper right side of the page. This is the link of the first page I saw.

    http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=4633586

    Best regards,

    Marco
     
  16. jacksun

    jacksun Senior Member

    Hello and Welcome. Here is his listing from the Italian POW Lists.

    Camp 66, Capua, is what's listed, certainly could have been in others as well though.

    Wayne
     

    Attached Files:

  17. sherlock

    sherlock Member

    It may not help you in your quest for specific information, but Chapter 9 of Richard Lamb's "War in Italy 1943-1945" gives some interesting background concerning Allied Pows and their situations after the Italian surrender.
     
  18. Bob Kerr

    Bob Kerr Member

    Hello,
    My interest is in VX37427 Brinley James Jones, my wife's father. With great help from Katrina Kittel and Bill Rudd, information regarding his time as a POW is beginning to emerge. Brinley is named on the list attached to this post - which is great. Two things of interest regarding his entry: it show he's at Camp 57 and his unit is AAMC (a typo?). (I'm assuming this means: Australian Army Medical Corp, correct?). All other records we find for Brin state his unit as 2/24 Bn. His POW report (obtained via Katrina) shows he was at Camp 57 between 1.1.42 - 25.4.43. It seems he was part of the major transfer of men to Camp 106, 25/26 Apr43. Though I do recall from Bill Rudd's work (which I'll need to check), NCOs were not sent to 106 but kept at 57; clearly not the case.
    I would appreciate your though on differences between what we know and this list.
    Thanks in anticipation.
    Bob Kerr
     
  19. Bob Kerr

    Bob Kerr Member

    Hello,
    The POW report for VX37427 Brinley James Jones, my wife's father. indicates he was in Camp 106/3 from 26.4.43 to 20.7.43, then Camp 106/33 from 21.7.43 to 9.9.43. His Service record show he in interned from 27.4.43 at 'Camp 106 PM 3100'. As far as I can see none of the "3" camps are mentioned by Bill Rudd in any of his work at: http://www.aifpow.com/. Can anyone provide any information on these "3" camps, particularly the two where Brin was interned. The location of the camps and who else may have been there would be great. Brin's POW Report indicates he was Camp Leader at both 106/3 and 106/33.
    Thanks in anticipation.

    Bob Kerr
     
  20. Varasc

    Varasc Senior Member

    Hello Bob,

    These were satellite camps, more likely farms or "tenute" mainly aimed to rice cultivation around Vercelli. Camp 106 had about 20 of these sub-camps were prisoners slept or were accompanied every day. I am writing a book on several prisoners who escaped in Switzerland through the Aosta valley and they came from the Campo PG 106, therefore I may provide you further info if needed.
    For first I'd suggest you to check the Red Cross Archives:

    http://www.icrc.org/web/forms/webforms.nsf/F_Archive?OpenForm&ParentUNID=FC2FA71E2991A657C12572E200322DD7

    It's free of charge for next of kins and it may take up to one year.

    In this new Italian website, you may find further info and documents related to the 106, too.

    http://www.campifascisti.it/scheda_campo.php?id_campo=435
     

Share This Page