Where was he captured?

Discussion in 'RAC & RTR' started by WREN, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. WREN

    WREN Member

    In WW2 my father was in the 42nd Battalion RTR and was captured north of Bir Hakeim by the Italians on June 1st 1942. I can't be sure exactly where he was fighting when captured as the picture is so confused. Can anyone help me with this? Could he have been captured a day or two earlier than the date given us by the War Office?
  2. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Might be easier with a name, service number etc!
  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    If you follow the link in the attached topic and apply to the Red Cross you may get some information. It's a free service.

    In addition you could ask a forum member to look to see if he completed a post liberation questionnaire on his arrival in U.K. It won't be available on line. You would need to start another topic asking for that lookup at the UK National Archives.

    Good Luck

    Steve Y

  4. WREN

    WREN Member

    Thank you Steve and Tony for your quick replies! My father's. name was Ralph Sage No.189823. I'll certainly follow that link, thanks Steve.
  5. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Thanks for the extra info.

    Casualty List No. 855 Dated 20 June 1942

    Middle East, Western Desert
    Royal Armoured Corps
    189823 Sage 2nd Lt RJ – 42 RTR – 28.5.42 (Apologies date misread, now amended to May)

    Casualty List No. 861 Dated 27 June 1942
    POW (Previously reported missing)
    Royal Armoured Corps
    189823 Sage 2nd Lt RJ – 42 RTR

    Casualty List No. 1760 Dated 18 May 1945
    Previously reported POW in German hands (Germany) now Not POW
    Royal Armoured Corps
    189823 Sage Lt RJ – 42 RTR (previously reported rank 2/Lt)

    POWs 1939 - 1945
    Camp No: O79
    POW No: 2143
    Name: Sage RJ
    Rank: Lt
    No: 189823
    Regt: RTR
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2017
    Tricky Dicky and CL1 like this.
  6. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: R J Sage
    Rank: Lieutenant
    Army Number: 189823
    Regiment: Royal Tank Regiment
    POW Number: 2143
    Camp Type: Oflag
    Camp Number: 79
    Camp Location: Brunswick, Lower Saxony
    CL1 likes this.
  7. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I can tell you he was posted to B Squadron on the 19th May 1942. He's also reported missing at the end of May in the war diary but no exact date given.
  8. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    How precise do you expect the location to be? It is all pretty much open desert and "north of Bir Hakeim" probably means he was captured a little bit north of Bir Hakeim.

    Following on from Drew5233's prompt, at the end of May 1942 B/42RTR was separated from the rest of the Battalion. It was serving directly under command 1st Army Tank Brigade who, in turn, was subordinate to 50th Infantry Division.

    It may, however, have been detached and placed under command of one of the 50th Infantry Divison's brigades which were dispersed: 69th, 150th and 151st.

    I found this with a google search that may be of interest:
    Also, this comes up on a google search:
    Towards the centre of the map is, in blue, a small rectangular box with a lozenge inside, to the right '1A' and above an 'X'. That symbol represents 1st Army Tank Brigade. The dashed line and arrows show its movements 26-27 May and its location.

    You will notice that there are 4 blue rectangular boxes with a cross inside and the number '50' to the right. These are the various locations of the division and the 3 brigades of the 50th Infantry Division.

    In effect, if your father was serving with B/42RTR at the time of his capture, it will have been close to one of those locations. It is most likely, from the "north of Bir Hakeim" statement to have been somewhere in the vicinity of the Sidi Muftah - Bir el Harmat area.

    That is about as accurate as you will get.
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I've got more time now so I'll post the diary pages for you that mention your father. You could also consider he may have completed a POW Liberation report held at the National Archives.
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    This is from the diary and may be of interest:
  11. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The diary pages:
    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  12. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

    Thanks to Drew5233's last post, last image, it can now be confirmed to be somewhere in the area I suggested in my previous post:
  13. WREN

    WREN Member

    Thanks so much to everybody who has answered my query. And special thanks to MarkN and Drew5233 for all the fantastically helpful info. You have totally confirmed my guess that he was in B squadron and thus fighting in the Cauldron near Sidi Muftah. Hence captured June 1st and not later in June. Also as a result of this query I have been contacted by the grandson of a brave Italian who sheltered my father after his escape from Fontanellato. 100% success on this site! Thank you!!
  14. WREN

    WREN Member

    And of course thanks to Tony56 and Trickydicky for the detailed info about my father's service and POW record. I have quite a lot of war memorabilia including all my parents' letters and my father's escape diary and dispatches citation plus oak leaf, but of the actual battle he never spoke except to say his tank was blown up and he lost the hearing in one ear. You have confirmed my guess that he was captured almost as soon as he arrived in Libya....
  15. harkness

    harkness Well-Known Member

    According to this he was posted missing on 28 Mar 1942 - that surely should be 28 May:



    Sorry, just noticed this info appeared in a previous post..
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  16. WREN

    WREN Member

    Thank you very much for this and for the lists. All very interesting to me! I had no idea there was all thus information still available. Yes, it must have been May not March. I see the name Benzie on the list. This person was also captured because he features in my father's diary as having escaped from Fontanellato at the same time.

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