Royal Artillery Captured at Tobruk, June 1942

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Drew5233, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    "Sounds like the enemy" is the story of Kenneth Ashton Brooke who was called up in October 1939. He was sent to Larkhill. He joined the 4th Durham Survey Regiment in Egypt after the fall of Tobruck. He was one of many from Survey Training regiments posted to rebuild 'S' Troop in August 1942.

    The book was privately published by Andreas Sarker in 2003 and he did post a copy on the web.

    The text is also on the BBC website
    BBC - WW2 People's War - My life

    I have a .pdf of the book which Andreas Sarker sent me in 2004.


    JOHN AP BENNETT New Member

    My father served in the 4th (Durham) Survey regiment> Hi name was Fred Bennison Bennett. He joined in 1939 I beleive. Does anybody have any info on him.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  4. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Just seen this .. will get out our files and take a look for him.
    Joining in 1939 suggests a Tynesider -- is that right?

  5. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Margaret just spotted him in the Old Comrades Nominal Roll for 1945.
    Bennett F. B. 904155 (oddly no rank stated) Joined 25 April 1939 (Same month as her father) Address 121 Two Ball Lonnin, Fenham, Newcastle 4. However there is no "B" against his name which suggests that he did not go out to Egypt with the Regiment in November/December 1940.
  6. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Margaret adds "That is the same day as my dad joined!"
  7. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Margaret adds "That is the same day as my dad joined!"

    But Regimental numbers are not very close ... any suggestions
  8. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    I've made contact with John and following up with him

    JOHN AP BENNETT New Member

    I have since obtained the service records of FB Bennett 904155 and I believe he was in R troop and something called the X lists. His rank was gunner/surveyor.
  10. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    John - Use the search facility on this site to search for 'X-Lists' to see what the various categories are. If you're struggling to understand the Service Records, I would suggest you post them on a new thread and many members will help in interpreting them.


    JOHN AP BENNETT New Member

    Thanks Tim. Yes I found some info on X lists. I will take your advice though and post the records online. There is one curious note in which he relinquish voluntarily the role of Gunner/surveyor to be simply gunner. I wonder if there was a problem either disciplinary or personal.
  12. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    In case you haven't discovered it there is a large thread on this site for the 4th (Durham) Survey Regt.
    4th (durham) Survey Regiment

  13. Frank Harrigan

    Frank Harrigan New Member

    My wife's father, Stafford Harvey John Fox, 30 years of age, was a Gunner with the 282 Bty, 88 HAA Regt., Royal Artillery. As reported by relatives, he was captured at Tobruk, by Italian Forces, taken to Italy where he died on a 200 mile forced march and is buried at Bari War Cemetery. His grave has been visited and is in a good state of care. Would anyone have information on the capturing and transporting of the prisoners and, indeed, any information about how to proceed further on a quest for information about this British soldier who died a few weeks before his daughter's 2nd birthday.
  14. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Frank,

    I have been researching prisoners of war who died behind the lines in Italy for over three years now. I will look into this for you, but
    my first question is: 'Have you sent for your father-in- law's service records?


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  15. ozzy16

    ozzy16 Patron Patron

    Had a look on FMP,

    Stafford Harvey John Fox
    Birth place Surrey
    Died as prisoner of war, 17/8/1942
    Theatre of war Cyrenaica, Middle East.
    Service no 1450673

  16. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    From the concentration report on the CWGC website, it suggests that Stafford along with several other former Allied POWs was buried originally at the Civilian Cemetery in Bari and then on the 1st July 1944 reinterred at what is now Bari War Cemetery.

  17. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Never having heard of such a long march in Italian soiI have had a thorough search on 'the net' and I have managed to find three accounts of how the POWs from North Africa were transported once they arrived in Brindisi:

    Frederick George Ninow, 2 Transvaal Scottish, on the wartime memories project, says:

    After a few days we arrived at Brindisi...we were transported in cattle trucks to Bari.

    Bill Clark, in The People's War, says:

    To get off the ship took a considerable time, extra ladders were lowered but many couldn’t get out by their own efforts. As we lay on that beach at Brindisi, taking in the fresh air we were beginning to realise that, now that our thirst had gone, hunger was taking over. We had not eaten on that trip and now the Italians were telling us that we could be marched through the town to the station and then to a camp where we would be getting food. We were told that we would move at midnight and they issued us with a ‘blanket’, (about one square yard each). To anyone ‘normal’ size, it was far too small.

    Anyway, at midnight we started the march. The Italians were trying to humiliate us in front of the crowds, as we passed by a brothel a crowd of women came out and a tug of war ensued. It was the blankets they were after, and the language from both sides - you could cut the air with a knife!

    So on to the station where we were put into trucks (forty to a truck) and pulled out of Brindisi. After about three hours we stopped and got off and were led to a dried up riverbed, which had been wired up and with additional machine guns. We stayed there for about a month.

    I have read somewhere, but will check, that this dried-up river bed was at Bari. (It was)

    Harry Sell and the other POWs were

    ... taken by...train on to their transit camp at Bari. Sell records that Bari station was only 8km from the camp but the journey on foot 'in our condition seemed like a death march. Our food since capture had been very small, clothing was bad and boots badly broken.'

    I haven't got a date for any of these journeys but Arthur Burkett, Royal Engineers, was held in Bengasi before being sent to
    Brindisi where he arrived on 7 July.

    Though not comparable as far as distance is concerned with the long marches in German-controlled territories oin 1945, as can be seen from the above concentration form, four other POWs died in the same period, though not on the same day, as Gunner Fox and all five are buried next to one another on row E.



    Edited to show site of dried up river bed now
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2020
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  18. Frank Harrigan

    Frank Harrigan New Member

    Many thanks for all of your info. All of you who have responded. It witnesses the ongoing care about these men - those who returned and those who didn't, of which I was totally unaware. As a former artillery man myself (U.S. Army), I am grateful to learn more about the father-in-law I could never meet. We have knelt at his grave in Bari but were unaware there was any more we could learn, other than the site of that resting place. I will be following up within the next few weeks with a request to the proper office for his service records. Thanks again.
    vitellino and Chris C like this.
  19. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Please keep us informed, Frank.

    I still have time to put a piece about your father-in-law in my book regarding deaths behind the lines,

  20. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

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