Sapper R Gelles Royal Engineers – searching for information

Discussion in 'Royal Engineers' started by Michi il Disperso, Aug 17, 2017.

  1. Hi,
    i'm Michele from Parma, Italy
    I want to tell you what we have discovered:
    Enrico Vescovi, the grand-grandfather of my wife, was the owner of the inn at Castellonchio, near Berceto (Parma, Italy) during the war.
    Looking in some old paper from our grand-grandfather we stumbled on a puzzling letter.
    It has written "Inglesi" (English people) on it, and the letter itself was:

    "To: The Area Commander
    The undermentioned family at the inn at Castellonchio gave food & shelter for one night to four officers P.O.W.s liberated from campo di concentramento 49. I request that they be paid therfore
    true copy by Spr. R. Gelles R. E"

    I'm wondering what happened and if there can be a way we can find who was this four officiers!
    You can hel us?

    Thank you very much!

    I hope this infos can be useful for someone!
    amberdog45 likes this.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I can tell you he survived the war, he's not recorded on CWGC.
  3. Thank you! Wondering if he or some relatives are still around...
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    He may have completed a POW Liberation Report held at the National Archives, only around 50% of soldiers did but it could be worth a look. A couple of forum members have access to and may be able to look further for family etc but that's not an area I know much about so you may not have enough details
  5. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Michele,

    Would it be possible to scan the note and post it so that we can have a look at the handwriting and check on his surname?

    I can't find him in either of the two prisoner of war lists I have - WO 392/21 or in its German equivalent WO 392/1.

    If he was released from PG 49 we can presume this was following the Armistice of 8 September so he has a good chance of being on the Italian register ( we know it is incomplete..)

    I seem to remember having looked for this man before.....


    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  6. I have a theory about this letter.
    The text says that 4 officier stayed at the inn, but R.Gelles wasn't an officier, and the letter says "true copy by Spr. R. Gelles".
    So, my theory is this:
    4 officiers escaping from Fontanellato going south stayed one night sheltered at the inn, leaving a letter, signed by one of them.
    After some times (1 year if i'm not wrong) the Allied Forces reach Castellonchio, and my ggf show them the letter.
    Maybe the request to bring the original to some officiers, and they make a copy on the moment to let him have some "proof" of his aid. So R. Gelles wasn't a POW but a soldier that have reached Castellonchio with the army.

    It's a theory! But i'm going to follow your advice and try to find some other info about Gelles!

    Here the letter!

    Attached Files:

  7. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Richard George GELLES
    Born : 3rd April 1908
    Died : 4 Q 1985 Camden, London.

    Of interest, he was born in Wiener Neustadt, Austria and was granted exemption from internment on 29th November 1939. Lawyer by profession, training to be a hairdresser.

    Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 12.35.17.png

    London Gazette 14th September 1948 p. 4967

    Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 13.12.31.png

    Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 13.10.09.png
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2017
    Michi il Disperso and amberdog45 like this.
  8. Hi, i have news about this matter: i have found the original letter with the original signature.
    Unfortunately i cannot dechipher it... i understand that one of the officier was a Capt. of 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment.
    Could some of you elight me?

    Attached Files:

  9. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007
    Name: Richard George Gelles
    Death Age: 77
    Birth Date: 3 Apr 1908
    Registration Date: Nov 1985
    Registration district: Camden
    Inferred County: Greater London
    Volume: 14
    Page: 1724


Share This Page