South African POWs in Italy

Discussion in 'South African' started by Russelle, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Pieter,

    There is a document containing many names of Allied Personnel held by the Italians as of August 1943. WO392/21 is held at the British National Archives.

    Your Grandfather is present on the list, (see attachment) and was held at Camp 120, Fattoria Biancheto in Cetona in August 1943. I hope this small piece of information will assist your research.

    Best wishes


    PICT0106 copy.JPG
  2. SAMarine

    SAMarine New Member

    Diane and Steve,

    Thank you so much for the additional resource and research! I have sent my request to the Archives and knowing his POW camp allows me to at least continue forging forward. Thank you again for your kind consideration and help!

  3. PaulCumming

    PaulCumming New Member

    Evening all,

    After having read through quite a number of various sites and all the posts for this topic and some of the others regarding SA POWs captured at Tobruk, I think I have finally found a site that will help!
    Diane - I second what Pieter wrote above, as I have just sent a mail to SANDF requesting the service records for my late grandfather and his brother.

    They were both members of the 2nd Transvaal Scottish, both captured at Tobruk and thereafter spent time in camps in Italy and Germany. Speaking to my grandmother and thankfully catching her on a lucid day recently, she also mentioned that Sardinia was a destination for a while as well. Unfortunately I don't have anything else to go on at the moment, so was hoping that someone may have some other piece of info for:

    Alfred Leslie Robinson (born 13 Sept 1919)
    Terence Robinson (born 2 Oct 1917)

    Anything else anyone is able to share would be a bonus and gratefully received.

    Thank you very much
  4. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    Here are all the South African service personnel with the surname Robinson from the WO392/21 list; Allied POW's held by the Italian's as of August 1943. There are certainly possibilities on the list for you, especially A.L. Robinson who is stated as being held at Camp 110-Sardinia.

    See attached.

  5. PaulCumming

    PaulCumming New Member

    Thank you very much for the quick response Steve!

    Ive just confirmed my grandfather's brothers second name was Patt so its a very good likelihood that T. P. Robinson is my great uncle.
    Do you know where I would look to establish where they were sent after Camp 110 and when - either elsewhere in mainland Italy or Germany?

    Thanks once again
  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Paul,

    Although this is not my research area, based on the service numbers for the two Robinson's identified, I've used which is free to use this weekend, and here are the results of that search in the WW2 POW records:

    View attachment 45.rtf

    Hopefully in time the service records will confirm these details. There are such things as Liberation Questionnaire's, which some POW's filled out on their release from captivity. These are held at our National Archives in London, but I am not sure if South African personnel are included in the collection here.
  7. PaulCumming

    PaulCumming New Member

    Thanks again Steve,

    Funnily enough I found those same records on Ancestry this morning myself and added them to the family tree.
    Hopefully the Red Cross and SANDF will have more to add once they reply.

    Much obliged!
  8. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    No problem Paul.

    Good luck going forward.
  9. kevincarldavis

    kevincarldavis New Member

    my apologies for the double-posting...browser got stuck ;-(

    Attached Files:

  10. kevincarldavis

    kevincarldavis New Member

    Hi everyone,

    My father's grandfather (on his mother's side) was Harry James Hendricks (b. 16 September 1906 - d. 1977). He fought in WWII and what we do know is:
    1. He was "Artillery" (most probably a bombardier)
    2. He fought in North Africa in Tobruk and El Alamein
    3. He was a POW and spent some time in an Italian camp
    4. He did come back in one piece after the war.
    5. He passed away in 1977 in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape
    What I need help with is the following:
    ---> Do you have any POW records for him in Italy? I know he was held in Italy, but I'm not sure if he was captured in Africa or Europe...
    If you by any chance have access or know where I can obtain access as to:
    1. What rank he had...
    2. What division/unit he was in? (Maybe SA 1st Infantry and/or SA 6th Armoured?)...
    3. Any information pertaining to the battles he was involved in...
    4. How did he become a POW and where did he go in Italy?
    5. Any other relevant information pertaining to his involvement in WWII
    I herewith include his picture and his emblem which he wore on his jacket, if that could help in any way.
    Thank you so much for your kind assistance ;-)
  11. DianeE

    DianeE Member

    Hi I think the first thing you must do is apply for his service records.

    You can e-mail the SANDF Archives Dept. at

    Give them as much information as you can i.e. full name, date of birth and date of death. They will need a copy of your Identity document or passport and your address.

    They will reply by e-mail though it may take a few months.

    Once you have his record them I am sure members will be able to help
  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Kevin,

    I've only just picked up your ost.

    Two documents held in the National Archives in London have a Gunner H. Henridcks who could be your grandfather. His service number is given as C303656.

    Document WO292/21 shows that he was held in Italy but there is no camp given for him. Document WO 392/1 shows that he was later transferred to camp 133, which the document describes as being Headuqarters Chartres. (Chartres in in France).

    Now you have his service number you could send for his records (See previous posts)


  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    H Hendricks in the UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945

    Name: H Hendricks
    Rank: Gunner
    Army Number: C.303656
    POW Number: 19709
    Camp Number: 133B
    Section: South African Land Forces : Officers and Other Ranks


    edited to add:

    Camp 133 could be Chartres or Rennes - (Chartres)

    Frontstalag 133 Rennes Rennes Ille-et-Vilaine 35 10.1940-12.1943
    Frontstalag 133 Chartres Chartres Eure-et-Loir 28 12.1943-
    Frontstalag 133/Z Charleville Charleville Marne 51 10.1943-
  14. Jane Kennedy

    Jane Kennedy New Member

    Hello all

    I am thrilled to have stumbled upon this site and this forum. I have just begun tentative research for a documentary I would like to make principally about my father - Donald Kennedy's - experiences in WW2 but obviously about the general participation of South African forces in WW2. He was captured at Tobruk and, according to the story he told us growing up, eventually interned in the dungeons over the Bridge of Sighs in Venice. He eventually escaped while being moved from Venice ostensively to Germany and, like many others, after being helped by the Italian resistance, crossed the Alps into Switzerland.

    That's the bones of his story - I am truly hoping to be able to put some flesh onto it with the support and knowledge of this group. I will find and post his particulars so that the search and information gathering can be narrowed a little but couldn't contain my excitement at finding this forum and introducing myself.

    Looking forward to many conversations

    Jane Kennedy
  15. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Jane,

    If your father's service number was 27194 he was registered in a document entitled WO392/21, held in the National Archives in London, as being a prisoner in Campo PG 82 at Laterina in the province of Arezzo. There's quite a bit about Laterina in various posts on this forum, including some photographs.

    I have read in another post of yours on this forum that he escaped from a train either at Padua or Verona and was recaptured. He would have been entrained for a POW camp in Germany or Poland at the time.

    If you post his records someone on the forum will be able to decifer them for you.


  16. kezzmatt

    kezzmatt New Member

    HI there, I wonder if you could point me in the right direction. My grandfather, Daniel Petrus Van Rensburg(South African) was captured at Tobruk & taken to Italy. Not sure of dates or which camp/s he was in but he always spoke of the endless marching. According to other family, he may have ended up in a camp near the border, but details are sketchy. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance
  17. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Kezzmatt,

    According to Document W392/21 held in the National Archives, London, If his rank was Lance Corporal and his service number was 214359 then he was initally held in Campo PG 65 at Gravina in Puglia. However, this was a transit camp and he would have been sent elsewhere from there.

    I suggest you obtain his service records from

    Best wishes,

    bamboo43 likes this.
  18. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

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  19. kezzmatt

    kezzmatt New Member

    Thanks, I Will get his records from them
  20. LeoneG

    LeoneG Member

    Hi, everyone.

    New here, but this seems like the place to be.

    I'm trying to find information on the fellows that my grandfather mentioned in his stories (which he didn't tell that often), and hoping to find some help or info here.

    My grandfather was Corpl (temp) Andries Johannes de Bruyn DE JAGER, SAP196800. Served: A Company, SA Police Battalion, 6th SA Infantry Brigade. Captured after the fall of Tobruk (handful of them almost reached Alexandria on foot through the desert), on 1 or 2 July 1942. Sent to camps at Benghazi, via ship to Brindisi, via train and about 12 miles on foot to Fara Sabina (August 1942, camp 54, there about 6 months), and to Sardinia via train, ship and foot. To a camp at Fiorentina. Sent to work on vineyards at Castello di Brolio.

    A few of the men he mentions only from inside the camps.
    Sgt.Maj. ENGELBRECHT (artillery, served under Genl Dan Pienaar).
    Sgt.Maj. BAFET
    Sgt. FOURIE
    SARDINIA (went there with about 50 men from Fara Sabina, volunteered for work)
    VAN TUBBERGH (contacted Elize about this one) (before fall of Tobruk the driver for Genl Kloppers)

    While out working on a farm (again about 50 of them, at Castello di Brolio), Italy capitulated c.7/9/1943 (hope that's the right technical term here), and the guards took them back to their little camp. Some POWs escaped then and there, but others heckled/scared the guards until the latter abandoned the camp and the prisoners escaped. That's how prisoners from a Sardinian camp ended up in Tuscany.

    Here some of them joined up with the Italian resistance movement. Taking a guess here that all South Africans in that region at that particular time were escaped POW's? Some not previously mentioned:

    My grandfather joined the Monte Amiata group (#335), under Capt. H.S. HOOD (from British Intelligence?) and Maj. TERROSI (Italian).

    As they were still behind enemy (German) lines, they hid/fled in the hills around Castello di Brolio and Castello di Montalto. Some caught, some killed, some died of illness, and some even died from eating wild mushrooms the following year. From the sound of it quite harrowing when the German retreat was moving all around them. Some decided to take the chance and try to get through the Germans to reach the Allied forces, instead of fleeing further north. My grandfather was in a small group of these who reached the Allied forces in Sienna on 4 July 1944. He took a bit of a detour home stopping at several field hospitals, but reached South Africa again on 7 Sept 1944.

    Would be fantastic to hear from relatives of any of the guys mentioned above! Or just get some more info on them.

    Other persons of interest before capture:
    ANDERSON (motorfiets-rapportryer)
    July PIETERSBURG ("killed" a German tank with a Molotov cocktail)
    Sgt. Joe BURCHELL (quartermaster of company)
    FITCHAT (assistant quartermaster of company)
    Herman VISAGIE
    Sgt.Maj. JONKER (from Natal)
    Capt. LEMMER (A-company commander?)
    "Neusie" DE WET (A-company clerk)
    "A.G" VISSER (nickname, because he composed poetry)
    Col. Poon DU TOIT

    Sorry about the super long post! Just got so excited about the mere prospect of getting more information on any of these soldiers. :)

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