2nd Bn SG Guardsman Captured in Italy

Discussion in 'The Brigade of Guards' started by Phaethon, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    I was recently contacted by a new forum member requesting some help. Their Grandfather was a SG Guardsman during the war in italy and was captured by the enemy whilst on patrol with a sergeant who was killed in the incident.

    I promised I would make a thread about it in case anyone might be able to help down the line,

    We know very little about the individual, or the name of the sergeant. But there is a possibility he was in cassino, and may have been 2nd Bn SG.

    We have no name for the sergeant either (initially it was believed he was an officer but it now looks as though this isnt true)

    Now, a recent post from another user, along with the location Cassino, made me think that he could have been with "S" Coy SG/2nd BN coldstream. But I have dug up nothing so far regarding anyone lost on patrol (Although cassino is a big grey area thus fa for the 5 men lost whilst 2 CG was there).

    I am posting this in the hopes that someone may have a breif outline of what 2 SG did in Italy, or even have the war diaries.

    I have reccomended that they apply for his war record, which may give us dates sometime down the line but in the mean time assistance from anyone who knows anything about 2SG would be greatly appreciated. My first guess is that the incident may have been Monte Cammino... but thats just a hunch considering we dont know when he was taken.
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    Adam - I maybe stating the obvious but have you checked for any unit files in WO 361?
  3. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    Adam - I maybe stating the obvious but have you checked for any unit files in WO 361?

    Hi Drew, Im sorry to say that I think my war diary days at TNA are over... for a bit at any rate (plus im in italy and just recieved the request fo help). Whilst actually having the war diaries for 2 SG would obviously be ultimately required, I was hoping someone might be able to post something about the history of 2 SG, (or actually have the diaries of course).

    I was wondering how close 2 SG got to Cassino, as it is the only source of reference I have. Were they 24th Gds Bde by any chance?
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I think Di maybe your best bet then (sorry Di). I think she may have the SG history if nowt else.
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    I do, but I'm feeling a bit under the weather at the mo. Will look up later in week if that's OK. Dont have WD.

    I thought 1SG were in 24 Gds, but that's off top of my head.

    Scots Guards
    The 1st Battalion served in the campaigns in 1939 Norway, in North Africa and in Italy, including the Anzio Landing. The 2nd Battalion served in Africa from the Western Desert to Tunisia, in Italy including the Salerno Landing, and in North West Europe.

    Quickest way to get some details if he was POW - look for Liberation questionnaire at Kew. If there is one, it should have unit, date & place of capture, depends what he may have added to the form ... also, there is the SG Missing personnel file. If he was on patrol there'd have to have been some kind of listing - for confirmation of bn that is. Don't even know if I have SG missing for Italy, will check that also.
  6. Verrieres

    Verrieres no longer a member

    Whilst no expert on this I did a quick search under 2SG for those who are buried at Cassino (Posability?) using Geoffs Search Engine and can find only one SGT 2 SG (A Military Medal Holder);-

    Initials: R H
    Nationality: United Kingdom
    Rank: Warrant Officer Class II (C.S.M.)
    Regiment/Service: Scots Guards
    Unit Text: 2nd Bn.
    Age: 24
    Date of Death: 12/11/1943
    Service No: 2695982
    Awards: M M
    Additional information: Son of John Stephen and Elizabeth Ann Little, of Crosby, Isle of Man.
    Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
    Grave/Memorial Reference: III. C. 20.

    Best wishes

  7. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    2 SG were part of 201 Gds Bde which landed as the 56 BR Inf Div's reserve on 9-10 Sep 43 at Salerno. 1 SG were part of 24 Gds Bde who landed at Anzio on 22-23 Jan 44.

    1 Gds Bde were at Cassino and made up of 3 WG, 2 COLDM GDS and 3 GREN GDS.

    If I recall correctly, men from 2 SG would be buried at Cassino because 201 Gds Bde were involved in the battle for Monte Camino, south of Cassino but not involved in the Jan-May 44 battles for Cassino - the dates certainly match.


  8. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    To add to Frank's comments -

    I note that John Ellis refers to 201 Guards Brigade being temporarily attached to the 5th British Infantry Dvision following their Garigliano River crossings near to Minturno. They were "committed on 21st (Jan 1944)....The Scots Guards went to the aid of the Yorks and Lancs who had been almost immediately pushed off Monte Natale.."

    Quite a number of 2SG men are buried at Minturno CWGC cemetery from their actions during the latter part of 1943 and the first two months of 1944.

  9. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Hi Adam
    As the above have mentioned, the 2SG were at Camino not Cassino they were part of the 201 Guards Bgde and the date of the death of the CSM coincides with the battle / s for Camino
    Mike (rotherfield)
  10. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    Thanks for help everyone, I believe the liberation questionnaires may be a very good way forward... if one exists for this guardsman. A date of capture and Bn is what we really need.

    I have asked the original enquirer to come forward and join in the discussion and see if they can add anything, hopefully something will surface which will allow a more in detailed invitation.
  11. Moseydeth

    Moseydeth Junior Member

    Hello all,

    I am the original enquirer that Phaethon was kind enough to help. I can add only a little to the puzzle but hopefully someone may know something so that I can fill in a few blanks.

    My grandad's name was William (Bill) Moyes and he was captured in Italy after having seen combat in North Africa. He was part of the Scots Guards, as has already been established, and from Thornton in Fife (he enlisted in Kirkcaldy, 1942 when he was 18). Details of his capture vary whoever you talk to in the family but I'm fairly certain it was around the time of Vesuvius erupting as my grandad always talked about witnessing the event and helping a little with the aftermath. I believe he was captured when on patrol with his sergeant and another soldier after a brief firefight which killed one man and seriously injured the other two (my grandad had a scar on his right cheek where a bullet had gone through). I remember he told me that he woke up in a hospital where he was interviewed by German soliders before being patched-up and marched to a PoW camp somewhere, I believe, outside of Berlin. The sergeant, who was also captured, died of his wounds.

    Unfortunately, that is all the information I have on his capture. I was hoping to find out a location in Italy where it happened as well as the name of the PoW camp he was in (if it helps he told me there were Americans, Brits and Russians there). I have my grandad's army number (2701233) and a cigar box of medals and flashes, nothing more. His battalion and any other information would be greatly appreciated.

    Having read through this thread I am intrigued at the possibility of finding his Liberation questionnaire. However, knowing him and what he was like, I wonder if he even filled one out. To access these do I have to get in contact with the National Archives or can they be found somewhere online? Also, it may be naive of me to think so but would there not be a record of PoWs, their army numbers and what camp the were in?

    I thank you all in advance for your help in this matter.

  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Welcome to the forum.
    Since you have nothing concrete ref unit details, I think the best way is to have a search done at Kew for Liberation questionnaire. There are a few folks here who go there, some might do you a favour, others charge very reasonable fees in comparison to TNA, so that's not a problem to go forward with.

    As to the questionnaires themselves: not every liberated pow was given one, so there's a doubt already if there is one for him in the archives. If there is one, you might have a very quick answer to the important missing details of bn, date of capture, place of capture. The information supplied though very much depended on the attitude at the time of the form filler. Imagine being liberated and you're thinking of getting home at last ... and then someone says, just a minute mate, we have to process you first.

    Another route for similar 'capture and camp' information etc is the Red Cross. He will have likely been in a few main camps as well as work camps. They will deal with enquiries from relatives but if I remember correctly they, like the MOD with service records, may take months to reply. You can apply online via their website, and the sooner the better really, and I believe relatives do not have to pay a fee. There might even be a photo.
    ICRC Archives

    I have arranged to get a copy of SG Missing personnel file for Italian campaign, and with any luck your granddad's name will be noted under a bn, even if no other details are present. Bit of a lucky dip what's in these files, they can be very disappointing info-wise and scrappy to say the least.

    Can you or the family remember any names of any of his mates?
  13. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    If your grandfather was witnessed the Mar 44 eruption then I would suggest that he was in 1 SG. They were withdrawn from Anzio in early Mar 44 and went back to the Sorrento Peninsula along with the rest of 24 Gds Bde. He would have witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius from there.


  14. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Having narrowed it down to post-March 1944 we are looking at 1 SG. 2 SG had also been pulled back to Pozzuoli with 1 SG. Gdsm Moyes must have been one of the 480 other ranks and 17 officers that were transferred from 2 SG to 1 SG; 2 SG returning to the UK as a cadre in early April.

    Assuming the roll of honour in Erskine's The Scots Guards 1919-1955 is 100% correct (and I've not missed anyone), there are two possible candidates listed having died as POWs after Mar 44:

    1 SG 2700550 L/Sgt Walker J S MM died 28/10/44 while PW in Italy
    2 SG 3188308 Sgt Wallace G died 21/01/45 while PW in Germany

    Wallace isn't mentioned in the text but Walker is for his MM at Castel di Brolio on 05/07/43, with a footnote explaining that he was "taken prisoner during the final stages of the Battle of Monte Catarelto in October, and was later killed by the Germans while attempting to escape." Catarelto ran from 28 Sep to 3 Oct 44. Walker was in C Coy when he won the MM.

    Has anyone got access to the British Prisoners of War lists that might pin down a date for Gdsm Moyes?
    dbf likes this.
  15. Moseydeth

    Moseydeth Junior Member

    Hello again and happy new year to you all,

    I have found a little bit more information about my grandad's capture, or at least the sergeant who was with him. The name of the sergeant was James Small Walker from the 1st Battalion Scots Guards - one of the two mentioned in a post on this thread. As he was captured along with my grandad and the fact that he witnessed the Vesuvius eruption, it would point to him being in 1st Battalion, not 2nd as I had thought. They were both taken to a hospital in Mantova (It. Mantua) and the sergeant is buried in a British cemetary in Padua.

    Can someone point me in the direction of information about the Battle of Monte Catarelto or even just its location? I have searched for the site on maps but cannot find it nor any details of the fighting. As well a this, is there anywhere to read a good account of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards' exploits during the Second World War?

    I am also still waiting for requested information from LIberation Questionnaires and am still attempting to find where his PoW camp was.

    Thanks again.
  16. idler

    idler GeneralList

    That was a good guess, then.

    NMP have reprinted the regimental history and it's a steal at the moment. It covers all battalions which I think will be important as your grandfather could have served with both battalions.

    Glad it's all coming together.
  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Sorry it's taken me so long -
    From the SG Missing personnel file for Italy, confirmation of 1st Bn, date declared missing, Sgt Walker having DOW while POW.


    Unfortunately, as is so often the case, there was no statement about your grandfather's patrol actually included in the file.
  18. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    From The Scots Guards 1919 - 1955, David Erskine, page 276:

    First Battalion, Italy 1944:
    On 2nd October the GRENADIERS went forward by much the same route and met much the same difficulties as had the SCOTS GUARDS two days before, and it was not until the Germans withdrew during the following night that the top was finally secured. [October 3] An hour later Bucciagni was also reported clear and the battle of Monte Catarelto was at an end.

    A careful inspection of the battlefield now revealed the true extent of the defenders' strength. A full battalion reinforced by an additional company had originally attempted to hold the mountain: a force numbering perhaps four hundred men. Further companies, makig the ultimate strength about two battalions, had been brought forwards during the battle. Forty bodies were found on the field, from which figures, allowing for others removed for burial before the end of the action, a conservative estimate of the total casualties was put at two hundred and fifty. It is now clear that CATARELTO had been a main bastion between the SS Division and the 4th Parachute to the East and the value of its capture was shown by the rapid advance the Americans of II Corps were now able to make.

    In numbers the Battalion had lost heavily, particularly in Left Flank. Captain R.T. HUNTER, C.Q.M.S. A. COONIE and twenty-two men had been killed, fifty-eight had been wounded, including Major HARVEY, Lieutenant D. TYLDEN-WRIGHT, C.S.M. ROBERTSON and C.S.M. F. HALL, and nine men had been taken prisoners of war. The Companies were brought back for rest in CASTIGLIONE, where they received several visits of congratulation. Generals CRITTENBERGER and POOLE came to thank them for the great fight they had put up against superior odds. The Battalion had in fact been called upon to attack too strong a position with too small a force. What it had been asked to do was, in the event, probably beyond the powers even of a fresh battalion, and certainly beyond those of a tired one. Throughout the action those supporting arms it had been possible to deploy had been used to great effect. All their crews had given of their best and had undoubtedly saved the Battalion many casualties. But even if it had been possible to deploy more heavy weapons it is doubtful if one battalion alone could ever have taken MONTE CATARELTO.
  19. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  20. Moseydeth

    Moseydeth Junior Member

    That's great information, thank you! To know the general area where he was captured and to even see official documents with his name on them is wonderful.

    Thank you again and I'll let you know if I ever get information about from my grandad's liberation questionnaire or if I find the Stalag he was in.

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