William Desmond Littlewood, RASC, POW

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Julie71, May 11, 2018.

  1. Julie71

    Julie71 Junior Member

    Hi there, I am trying to find out any information about William Desmond Littlewood. He was a Driver in the RASC during WW2 and became a POW in Germany, This information is for a friend, William is her Dad. Any help is greatly appreciated, Thank you
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    The best bet would be to apply for his service records via this link -

    Get a copy of military service records: Apply for the records of someone who's deceased

    It costs £30 and usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to get a reply.

    The next window to apply to Red Cross for POW records opens 14th May via below link. You need to be quick off the mark as on past experience the window will likely close after 48 hours or so.

    Requests for information about people held during the Spanish Civil War or the Second World War: Quarterly limit reached

    It is a free online service and may take 3 to 4 months to get a reply. An online application form usually pops up sometime during the morning of the opening day for applications.

    Members may be able to turn him up on the German POW lists on Ancestry and may even find mention of him on the FMP official casualty lists.

    Good Luck.

    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945
    Name: W D Littlewood
    Rank: Driver
    Army Number: 220082
    Regiment: Royal Army Service Corps
    POW Number: 153578
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: XVII-B
    Camp Location: Gneixendorf, Austria
    Record Office: Royal Army Service Corps Record Office, Ore Place, Hastings, Sussex
    Record Office Number: 29

    Direct from WO 392

    As above service records are your (or your friends) best place to start researching someones military history

    Julie71, 4jonboy, CL1 and 1 other person like this.
  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Thanks for that TD.

    My late father was “in” Stalag 17B (Krems- Gneixendorf) November 1943 until May 1945. He had passed through the transit camp Stalag 7B at Moosburg, near Munich, in September 1943 after the Italian armistice.

    However like a lot of prisoners held under a particular Stalag reference he was not in the main camp but in a working camp towards the Czech border. He was evacuated on foot towards the Sudetenland in early March 1945 to avoid the advancing Red Army. His column ended up being abandoned by their aged German Guards in late April and were discovered by advancing American units in early May.

    Neither his Army papers or Red Cross records will drill down to working camp detail. Your friend might want to check the returning POW questionnaires indices at U.K. National Archives as, if he completed one, it ought to show if he was in a working camp. Such records aren’t available online and require a physical search at U.K. National Archives. Several members here offer a look up and copying service if the family cannot attend in person.

    Good Luck.

    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  5. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Expeditionary Force / Middle East /Western Desert
    T220082 Littlewood Dvr WD

    Casualty List No 909 Dated 22 August 1942
    Reported POW

    Casualty List No 1822 Dated 31 July 1945
    Previously reported POW now not POW

    This following may, or may not be him:

    The Derbyshire Times, Friday, April 24, 1942
    Two Dales Soldier in Exercise Tragedy

    Driver William Littlewood, RASC, son of Mr J Littlewood, Two Dales, supt. of the Matlock Lido, had a remarkable escape in the Salisbury Plain combined Army and RAF exercises in which several soldiers lost their lives, presumably through one of the planes which dived on the troops being loaded with live ammunition.

    In a letter home, Driver Littlewood says: “It was a terrible do. I was there with one of my bosses. The planes circled round and then started dive machine gunning. The first three went all right, but the fourth came right smack at us. Officers and men dropped like flies around us. Two of the fellows in my billet got a packet. It is marvellous how I missed one. What a sight it was – like some I saw at Dunkirk. I used my foeld dressing up on the injured. I guess I was lucky.”

    The Scotsman, Thursday, April 30, 1942
    Air Ministry on Salisbury Plain Accident
    “Deplorable Result”

    Findings of the Court of Inquiry into the accident on Salisbury Plain on April 13, together with the recommendations of the Air Officer Commanding Fighter Command, are being considered by the Air Council in consultation with the Army Council.
    Sir Archibald Sinclair (Secretary for Air) gave this information in the House of Commons yesterday in reply to a question by Dr Russell Thomas (Lib. Nat., Southampton).
    “This regrettable accident,” said Sir Archibald, “occurred during an exercise arranged by Fighter Command for officers and other ranks of Home Forces in order to demonstrate the effect of fighter aircraft firing at ground targets.
    “Attacks were made on dummy troops, a lorry convoy, and tanks disposed as targets.
    “After five Hurricanes in turn had attacked, the sixth fired at the spectators’ enclosure in mistake for the allotted target, with the deplorable result that 25 Army officers and other ranks were killed, and 68 Army officers and other ranks and three RAF officers and airmen were injured.”
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  6. Julie71

    Julie71 Junior Member

    Thank you so much Steve, TD and Tony. I really appreciate your help and will give everything to my friend when see her next week. I have a copy of the papers for his papers and I will keep an eye out for the Red Cross page.

    Thanks again
  7. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    By a strange coincidence the incident of April 1942 is mentioned in tonights channel 5 programme - "PORTILLO'S HIDDEN HISTORY OF BRITAIN - Imber Village - The Wages of War". Should be available on catch up.
    4jonboy likes this.
  8. Incredibledisc

    Incredibledisc Well-Known Member

    The National Archives May have his record card as kept by the Germans. These are currently being sorted and scanned. I did a quick search but it doesn’t look like they’ve reached “L” yet. Search results: Littlewood | The National Archives
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    William is on the POW listing WO392/21. Prisoners of the Italians as of August 1943:

    Camp 53 is Sforza Costa.

    Littlewood W..jpg
  10. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    PG 53 was also known as Macerata. It was my father’s last POW camp in Italy before transportation to Germany.

    I’d bet Dvr Littlewood likely followed the same route.

    Steve Y
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