2657764 Jack T SMITH, Coldstream Guards - POW Info request

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by OurSal, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. OurSal

    OurSal New Member

    In an attempt to find information of my father's military service with the Coldstreamers before and during WWII I'm asking for any tips anyone has to offer please ...

    B. 1919 but fudged his age at 17, was sent to Caterham before heading to Palestine during "Arab Revolt" around 1938 (I think)

    Then possibly back to Windsor Barracks for public duties (century at Windsor Castle) before going off Western Desert Campaign ...

    I don't understand all the Divisions and Battalians but think he was part of :

    70th Infantry Div / 7th Infantry Div. /. 3rd Battalion (Middle East) /. 22nd Infantry Brigade or 6th Inf Div

    A desert Rat under Montgomery he was captured at Tobruk by Germany and handed over to Italy.
    Spent time interned in Egypty(?) before being shipped via Brindizi to Bari.
    Interned in Bari a while before escaping with assistance of Italian Resistance Movement.

    If anyone can direct me to where to look for information I'd be most grateful.
    Dad wasn't any kind of decorated hero - he was just an ordinary bloke doing his bit for King and Country.
    He seldom spoke of the war but when he did it seemed like they were really hard times.

    I wish I'd paid more attention but now he has passed I have no way of asking him things about these times.

    Thanks in Advance.
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    Your starting point is to apply for his service record. Download the application forms via below link and send them off to RHQ Coldstream Guards, Wellington Barracks, London.


    Here is the link to RHQ Coldstream Guards archive -


    My father served in Egypt & Palestine with 3rd CG pre war. Pictured left in my Avatar on active service in Jerusalem 1938.

    Please post your fathers name. I have the Palestine Medal roll so may be able to turn up his service number which will assist in your application.

    If he was captured at Tobruk in June 1942 you need to keep an eye on the Red Cross website as they are part way through a project to digitise their WW2 records.

    Again if you post his name a member may turn up his service number from POW records on Ancestry. Once you have a service number you could consider asking a member to look for his Liberation Questionnaire at UK National Archives.

    Forum member Dbf has posted a lot of Guards information on the forum.

    Good Luck

    Steve Y
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  3. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Could a moderator move this to Brigade of Guards sub forum.


    You ought to look for the book No Dishonourable Name by D C Quilter - a WW2 history of 2nd & 3rd CG.

    The official WW2 Regimental History is covered in Howard & Sparrows book The Coldstream Guards 1920 - 1946 which also touches on active service in Palestine 1936 & 1938.

    A downloadable digital copy is available via this link

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  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    OP has contacted me via PM with the her fathers name - Jack Smith.

    Can a member with access to the German POW list or the Italian list have a look for a J Smith Coldstream Guards please?

    If he enlisted directly into CG in 1936 his service number should be in the sequence 2657??? - probably ranging from 26575?? into 26576??

    Appreciate he may not be on German 1945 list as OP says he was an escapee from Italy and equally may not feature on Italian list.


    Steve Y
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    There is this entry from UK, British Prisoners of War, 1939-1945 database on Ancestry (there are 4 other Smiths for CG, none of which have J as an initial):
    Name: J T Smith
    Rank: Guardsman
    Army Number: 2657425
    Regiment: Coldstream Guards
    POW Number: 140464
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: XI-B

    Camp Location: Fallingbostel, Lower Saxony
  6. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Diane,

    Thanks for posting the information.

    I understand Sally has been in touch with you via PM.

    Just to update forum members I've been in email contact with Sally while the forum has been off line.

    I found 2657764 J Smith in the CG Palestine Medal roll and a contact on GWF with access to CG WW2 POW indices confirmed 2657764 Smith was captured at Tobruk 20th June 1942. In addition 2657764 Smith would have joined about Gebruary 1937 which ties in with Sally's information that her Dad enlisted when he was 17.

    Sally and I are confident that 2657764 is her Dad's service number.

    DBF - could you please amend the topic title again to "2657764 Smith Coldstream Guards - POW Info request"

    Bamboo 43 or Vitellino - I understand Salky has been in touch via PM? Could either of you please look on the 1943 Italian POW index for 2657764 Smith CG?

    Vitellino - have you any knowledge of this man escaping in Sept 1943 and spending time with Partisans and/or making his way to Switzerland? He may have been in company post escape with another CG called Skate? (or similar spelling - there is a Skeate KIA with 3rd CG Dec 1940)

    Nick Fenton - could you please do a look up for his POW questionnaire? Have you any knowledge of him completing an Escape & Evasion report for MI9?

    Hopefully now we have a definite service number we may be able to turn up more info for Sally.

    Steve Y
  7. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi All,

    Thanks for the pm Sally. I have replied, but can post an image of the WO392/21 listing here. I have included all the Guards from the list with the surname Smith.

    2657764 J. Smith was held at Camp 60 as of August 1943, this camp is not listed against a place name unfortunately, but I suspect someone will know its geographical location.

    Good luck going forward.


    Camps copy 2.JPG PICT0062 copy.JPG
    dbf likes this.
  8. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the information. Hopefully Vitellinno will be able to assist further.

    Spookily the K(en) F Smith on the list was captured with my late father in December 1941. I have his liberation questionnaire. He kept in touch with my father post war when he immigrated to New Zealand. I kept in touch with him after my Dad died. Ken died in 2009 aged 95.


    Steve Y


    Google search shoes PG 60 at Lucca, Italy.

    NA link re shooting Britisg POW Sept 1942 here

    dbf likes this.
  9. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Thanks Steve, always good sport hunting for someone with the surname Smith. I'm pleased Camp 60 can be identified for Sally.


  10. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Steve,

    Could I bother you with a second look up please?

    Sally mentioned in I one of her PM's to me that her Dad escaped with another CG called Syd/Sid "Skate" - not too sure of the surname spelling.

    If you can find him in the register it will double the chance of finding something about their escape/ evasion post Sept 1943.


  11. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everybody,

    I've just managed to access the site again after problems with my computer. It's quite feasible that Jack escaped PG 60 at the Armistice and made his way to Switzerland.

    I'm busy at the moment but a trawl of WO 392/21 for Coldstreamers in PG 60 whose surname begins with S. might just turn up his mate.

    As to his being helped by the partisans, these could have been active anywhere on the Appenines to the north of Lucca or in the foothills of the Alps.Again,an E & E would be the best place tp start.

    I'll have a look on campifascisti.it to see if there were any escapers from the camp before the Armistice,

  12. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    No problem Steve,

    Just one page back from Sally's Dad on the register.

    Guardsman 2657762 S.C. Skate held in Camp 53 at the time.

    See below:

    PICT0061 copy.JPG
  13. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Thanks Steve.

    Quite a distance from PG60 to PG53 (my Dad was in PG53) so unless Sid Skate was moved after index compiled unlikely to have escaped together. Perhaps they met up whilst on the run. We will need sight of records to be sure but they were obviously mates from enlistment - numbers only 2 apart.




    Thanks Vitelliono. Will await your checking of the site you mention.
  14. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Here's what I found. Very interesting indeed. Jack Smith might well have been sent from PG 60 to PG 53 but there's no way of knowing:

    PG 60

    Number of Prisoners:

    2,465 POWs on August 1, 1942

    3,963 POWs (Including three former Yugoslavs) on September 1, 1942

    3,970 POWs (Including 3 Serbs) on September 30, 1942

    In operation since July 1942, the Pow Camp 60 at Colle Compiti, near to the town of Capannori in the province of Lucca – was set up to house non-commissioned officers and other ranks who had been taken prisoner by the Italians during the Second World War. Initially the camp consisted of tents.

    For the winter months, the Army General Staff decided to replace the tents in some camps, including that of Colle di Compito, witn wooden or masonry barracks. However, by the end of August, for some unspecified reason, the tents were folded up and the prisoners were transferred to other camps (which were not specified in the official documentation), PG 60 being thus suspended throughout the winter months. On 31 December 1942 an order was issed for the construction of the refurbished camp to begin, though by March 1943 it had still not been reopened. On 23 April 1943 a proposal was put forward to use some prisoners of war from Campo PG. 82 Laterina to carry out the necessary works, though an official document still refers to tents not to barracks. In particular it was suggested - in order to avoid a repetition of the events which had led to the closure of the camp the previous winter – that “the the fenced area be moved to the opposite side of the current one; and tents be put up on the north and south terraces of the new area, leaving the central space for gatherings and as an exercise ground for the POWs”.

    PG 60 was back in operation in August 1943. This can be deduced from the invoices produced by a company which had supplied goods to the camp during August and September. On 10 September, 1943, when the Italian Camp Comander Colonel Cione refused to hand over the camp to German control following the Armistice, some German soldiers machine-gunned him down together with two other Italian servicemen. Subsequently, the Camp was looted by the local people and then turned into a civilian internment camp run by the newly constituted Repubblica di Salò under Mussolini.

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  15. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi Vitellino,

    Thanks very much for your input. I know from your previous posts that there are occasional errors in the POW indices.

    I'm hoping that release of the Red Cross papers (hopefully online later this year) will clarify matters or even their liberation questionnaires/Escape & Evasion reports.

    On a final point are you aware of any sources for details of soldiers who managed to get to Switzerland from Italy?


    Steve Y
  16. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Steve,

    You should contact Trevor Smallman on this forum whose father did just that - he has some reports for some of the men who like his father were at Plemo Work Camp and reached Switzerland from there.

    Another point about WO 392/21.

    I am currently researching the 137 POWs who were sent from PG 82 Laterina to Germany on 22nd July 1943, most of whom appear in WO 392/21. I understood that WO 392/21 gave the men's camps as of August 1943 but what I have discovered now puts that into question. More on this topic when I've finished checking them all out.

  17. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi Vitellino,

    WO392/21 has always been understood to contain errors, this was fully highlighted by Brian Sims on many occasions. I look forward to your update.

    Best wishes

  18. OurSal

    OurSal New Member

    This is all so amazing and when I read things that crop up it jogs my memory of tiny snippets of information so it's really incredibly helpful - thank you so very very much.

    I remember Dad saying that he had worked to install hot water burners for guards in the camp because he had some engineering type experience from the wool trade back in Yorkshire. I think this meant he got access to less restricted areas. He made it sound like they took longer to do the work than they (a mate with him) needed to. I'm assuming this would've been Colle Compiti, near to the town of Capannori in the province of Lucca.

    Various names in the list of various camps do sound familiar but I don't want to extrapolate on what I don't know is true.

    Thanks so much!!
  19. OurSal

    OurSal New Member

    PS - Thanks also for the info on dad's mate CG Syd Skate! (Although I never met or knew him or where he later lived in the USA.). It was only in his 70s that my father began to mention him by name, there was another fellow but I don't remember his name. It seems they scattered after the war and never wanted to be in touch with anything that reminded them of that time. Never going to any memorial gatherings etc.

    I've attached a screen shot from a Google search this morning. Included in that post are all names I recognise from snippets of conversations with Dad ... Porto Si Giorgio (spelling) and Fermo. I would not have been able to say them from memory but reading it prompts me and it comes back. They all just seemed like far away places to a young girl in South Africa.

    I guess he was sent somewhere there after the camp in Lucca was closed down. Rimini seems to ring a bell as well. My geography of the regions is not good although I've been to Italy a few times. An example of how bad my general geography is, is that I only recently realised that Tobruk was in Lybia. All those years I assumed it was in Egypt and never bothered to look (insert red face here).

    Anyhow, it is with fond memories of my Dad that I read all the posts and track the information and all the little bits are very welcome and very well received. Again, thank you so much.
  20. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

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