PG201 POW hospital at Bergamo

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by B Smith, Feb 16, 2020.

  1. B Smith

    B Smith Member

    We have just found 4 letters from my Grandfather - Paul Peillon, NZ Med Corp, 6th Field Amb, 2NZEF; to home and 2 replies from my grandmother back to him. One letter from my Grandmother was while he was still with his unit, but all the others are while he is a POW. I had thought he ended up in PG202 at Lucca, but have just found out from the letters that he went to PG201, probably as a patient I think - as he talks about being in hospital - but then he must have remained there to work as he also mentions that it is nice to be working again. Can anyone give me more information about PG201 as an initial search today seems to show limited info on the hospital. Thanks Belinda.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  3. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    PG 202 Lucca hospital in the Bergamo district is a WHOPPING ERROR on someone's part.

    Lucca is in Tuscany. Bergamo is in Lombardy. Here is the file you need:

    The National Archives, London:

    Reference: WO 224/148
    201 Italian P.O.W. Hospital Bergamo
    Date: 1942 Aug. - 1943 Sept.

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  4. B Smith

    B Smith Member

    Thanks TD and Vitelino,
    I have found limited information about PG201 and did realise it was in an almshouse in Bergamo. Thanks for the correction about the regions Vitelino, I think a lot of the sites you look at refer to PG202 being in Bergamo as well, which is probably where the confusion comes from.

    I am really just wondering if anyone has more info than the paragraph I have found on the site (and a couple of other places) and any photos. I spent probably 2 hours on google yesterday and didn't unearth too much. Just modern photos of the area. Thanks for the help.

    My Grandfather talks about sending home a magazine produced on the troop ship carrying them out. Does anyone know where I could find out what ship he would have been on which might help to work out what magazine he is referring to. I have found some sites, including Dunedin Library which have a good range of these troop ship magazines. Thanks again for any help. Belinda
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Without any details at all it would be difficult to comment on which ship he was on. You havent stated whether this was the ship that took from where to where (NZ to UK, NZ to North Africa, UK to North Africa) no dates etc - there must be details in the NZ archives or regimental museums that would help you resolve the question of which ship and what the magazine was, are there no veteran associations etc that have these sort of details

  6. B Smith

    B Smith Member

    As stated above he was part of the Med Corp, 6th Field Ambulance, 2NZEF, His service record say embarked 7.4.41 from New Zealand to Egypt, disembarked Egypt 17.5.41.
    He lived in Auckland, but certainly arrived back into Wellington, so may have left from Wellington as well, I am not sure.
    I am sure there are places to look, I am just not 100% sure where to start, as I have a family, work and only have limited time to look for info. Am just asking for a bit of help in the right direction. We live in Christchurch so are too far from the Army Museum in Waiouru in the North Island or the War Memorial Museum in Auckland.
    Thanks Belinda
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  7. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Now we have some details we can start to provide some answers - from your details that he left NZ 7th Apr 1941 'directly' to Egypt then

    Arnold Hague convoy database - misc convoys
    Convoy US 10
    From: Wellington Monday, 7 April 1941.
    To: Colombo Saturday, 26 April 1941.

    MAURETANIA Br 35,739 1939 3891 TROOPS
    NIEUW AMSTERDAM Du 36,287 1938 2642 TROOPS
    QUEEN MARY Br 81,235 1936 5724 TROOPS. SYDNEY NSW TO TR

    Then Convoy US 10B
    From: COLOMBO Tuesday, 6 May 1941.
    To: dispersed Sunday, 11 May 1941.
    AQUITANIA Br 44,786 1914 21 COLOMBO TO SUEZ
    ILE DE FRANCE Br 43,450 1926 11 4046 TROOPS COLOMBO TO SUEZ
    MAURETANIA Br 35,739 1939 31 COLOMBO TO SUEZ

    So my guess would be he was probably on the Mauretania


    List of Allied convoys during World War II by region - Wikipedia
    US Australia to Suez Canal

    RMS Mauretania (1938) - Wikipedia
    During the early stages of the war the ship transported Australian troops to Suez, India and Singapore but later she mainly served in the North Atlantic.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2020
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  8. B Smith

    B Smith Member

    That't fantastic thanks. Will look later on today.
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  9. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Hi Belinda,

    Tricky Dicky more than likely has the right ship. Just to be sure are you able to scan or take photos of your Grandfather's service record? It may have the ships transport number which will allow us to hopefully pinpoint it more accurately.

  10. B Smith

    B Smith Member

    I have his service records. Have never noticed any ship details on it - looking at it again I am wondering if this is it - The first bit is cut off the scanned page - .... Egypt ex HMT26 M/I NZMC

    Would that be the ship HM 26??????
  11. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    I believe that the following file is the source of confusion re Lucca & Bergamo.

    It is from the 361 series;

    WO 361 - War Office: Department of the Permanent Under Secretary of State: Casualties (L) Branch: Enquiries into Missing Personnel, 1939-45 War

    When read with using the published punctuation as follows-

    Reference: WO 361/1920

    Description: Prisoners of war, Italy:

    -Camp 202, Lucca;

    -Seriate hospital, near Bergamo;

    International Red Cross reports on conditions

    Date: 1942 Sep 01 - 1943 Dec 31

    Held by: The National Archives, Kew

    I think the file was originally set up for both Lucca and Bergamo Hospitals for this topic.

    Seriate is a suburb of present-day Bergamo, about 4Km from the centre of Bergamo.

    However the 224 series for;

    WO 224 - War Office: International Red Cross and Protecting Powers (Geneva): Reports concerning Prisoner of War Camps in Europe and the Far East

    Has separate files for each hospital

    Reference: WO 224/148

    Description: 201 Italian P.O.W. Hospital Bergamo

    Date: 1942 Aug. - 1943 Sept.

    Held by: The National Archives, Kew


    Reference: WO 224/149

    Description: 202 Italian POW Hospital

    Date: 1942 July - 1943 June

    Held by: The National Archives, Kew

    I have in the past provided feedback to TNA using the “Have you found an error with this catalogue description? Let us know” feature. but have had no acknowledgment.

    This error is perpetuated by Wikipedia and other sites that have copied it without verifying the information.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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  12. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    From the NZ Official History this is what there is about Bergamo POW Hospital.
    NZETC “BERGAMO” References

    1. Medical Services in New Zealand and The Pacific

    a. Prisoners from the Pre-Alamein Period

    As a result of the battles in the Western Desert in June and July 1942 at Minqar Qaim, Ruweisat and El Mreir there were 1800 more New Zealanders captured by the enemy, among them some 231 wounded. The wounded left on the ground at Minqar Qaim were promptly treated by German surgeons, but at Ruweisat many wounded were left by Germans unattended at RAPs for some hours – in fact some of the walking wounded were able to escape to British lines under cover of darkness. It seems, however, that the Germans had a large number of their own casualties to treat and were handicapped by limited medical supplies, and that in later battles the seriously wounded were attended to promptly. At rear medical units the wounded were treated adequately and were admitted to hospitals at Matruh, Tobruk and Benghazi. Thence they were taken by hospital ships to Italy and went to hospitals at Caserta and Bari, which, with the sick from the prisoner-of-war camps in Italy, became overcrowded. Although wards were sometimes set aside in Italian military hospitals for British prisoners, the Italians found it necessary to set up special hospitals at Bergamo and Lucca in July 1942, and later at Bologna, Altamura and Nocera. At the same time most of the British medical officers and chaplains were transferred from officers' camps to the hospitals. Thus all the eleven medical officers at Camp 35, near Salerno, were sent to Lucca on 11 July to be employed in minor capacities. Orderlies were also sent to the hospital, which soon held 530 prisoner patients, with 13 medical officers and 104 orderlies to look after them.

    British prisoners taken in North Africa were handed over to the Italians for custody.

    At Bergamo the hospital was housed in a large modern building with excellent equipment and a number of separate wards. British medical officers and orderlies treated the patients, but were still under Italian control. By the end of the year there were over 300 patients, mostly from Bari and Caserta.

    2. Prisoners of War

    a. The North African Campaigns of 1942–43—Prisoners in Italian Hands

    Of the new hospitals for prisoners of war only, Ospedale PG 201 at Bergamo opened in mid-July in what had been an old people's home. It was a huge, modern building with excellent equipment, and though not all of it was given up to the prisoner-of-war hospital, there was space for separate wards for officers, severely wounded, lightly wounded, and sick. By the end of the year there were over 300 patients, mostly from Bari and Caserta. All treatment was by British medical officers and orderlies, though under Italian control, and there were Sisters of Mercy attached for domestic duties. Plenty of Red Cross supplies enabled a high standard of diet to be maintained.

    b. Events preceding and immediately following the Italian Armistice

    The hospital patients at Nocera (Ospedale PG 206) had been transferred to Milan in mid-June and those at Altamura (Ospedale PG 204) a little later. Though moved out of the potential danger zone, their new accommodation exposed them perhaps even more to Allied air operations. A prisoner-of-war hospital (Ospedale PG 207) was set up in a school building opposite a factory in central Milan. On 13 August during a bombing raid the building was wrecked by blast, a number of prisoners losing their lives (including three New Zealand medical orderlies), and the remainder being evacuated to Ospedale PG 201 at Bergamo.

    c. Transit and Permanent Camps in Germany and Austria

    Patients in Italian camp infirmaries and hospitals were among the last parties to leave for Germany, and at least some of the 300 seriously disabled went through by hospital train. They went for the most part to Lamsdorf or to Spittal, and some to the prisoner-of-war hospital near Vienna. Some, like those in Ospedale PG 201 at Bergamo, remained in Italy for a while, sufficient medical staff being kept back to look after them. Some of the doctors and orderlies transferred to Germany from the hospitals were distributed to stalags and working camps where their services were needed; numbers of others were kept idle in oflags in accordance with the deplorable German policy already noted.

    3. War Surgery and Medicine

    a. Italy

    As a result of the battles of Minqar Qaim, Ruweisat, and El Mreir in the summer of 1942, 1800 more New Zealanders were captured and taken to Italy to join the 1600 captured in the Libyan campaign seven months before. From hospitals in Matruh, Tobruk, and Benghazi the 258 wounded New Zealanders were taken to Bari and Caserta, but these hospitals became overcrowded so that the Italians found it necessary to set up special hospitals at Lucca, Bergamo, and other towns. Captured medical personnel were transferred from camps to help staff these hospitals. Thus at Lucca 2 New Zealand medical officers and 80 orderlies were included in the staff of 13 captured medical officers and 104 orderlies who worked under Italians in looking after some 530 patients.
  13. This is a possible photograph of John Dallamore in H201
    John Escaped into Switzerland but passed away within 12 months of getting back to the UK because of TB he got in the camps

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  14. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Bang on Belinda, and with that this is very likely the ship board magazine your Grandfather sent back Cruisaiders H.M.T. 26 It is interesting to note that in the description those on the "Nieuw Amsterdam" transferred to the "Aquitania" (see tricky Dicky's post) at Singapore. Can't seem to find a photo of the cover sorry.

    I see you are in Rangiora, unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a copy in Christchurch but there does appear to be a copy in each of the Hocken Library (University of Otago) and the Dunedin Public Library. There are also copies in Auckland and Wellington.

  15. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    Also found this on Auckland Museum site:
    Magazine of H.M. Transport no. 25

    Helpful? While only the cover is available online, should you visit the museum, you may find out more from the contents, ie which units were on which ship?
    Was it HMT 25 or 26?
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
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  16. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Feb 20, 2020
  17. B Smith

    B Smith Member

    Thanks, that is so much help. I appreciate it
  18. B Smith

    B Smith Member

  19. B Smith

    B Smith Member

    Oh Thats great Geoff. Thank you.
  20. Prof John

    Prof John New Member

    I have just started researching my father's wartime experiences. His name was Bill Hunter and he was a POW at 201 Bergamo in N Italy as Senior British Medical Officer. He was a surgeon and this was in 1943. I am still trying to sort out dates. As far as I can ascertain at the moment 201 seems to have been a Hospital centred in some old almshouses. I have various photos but as he was later moved to a Stalag in Germany it's not clear which photos belong to which camp. I have some letters which talk about 201 (apparently the food was good!). I'm new to this and still working on it. Glad to know I'm not alone! John
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