Died in Italian POW Camp

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by acd562, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. acd562

    acd562 Member

    Name: MacNICOL, Richard Sutherland
    Born: 1909 in Caithness, Scotland
    Rank: Serjeant
    Number: 4391394
    Unit: 7th Battalion, The Green Howards (Yorkshire Regiment)

    June 16, 1942, Captured near Tobruk

    Aug 3, 1942 Casualty List No. 892, listed as Missing

    Oct 19, 1942 Casualty List No. 958, listed as Prisoner of War (Italy)

    Feb 4, 1943 Died in Italian POW camp, age 34

    Buried in Ancona War Cemetery, Italy

    Two questions: What camp(s) might he have gone to and how did he die?

    I realize the cause of death may never be determined, but knowing which camp he was in would be much appreciated.

    Andrew Doucette
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    He may appear on one of the periodical Itallian POW lists that members have access to. I'm sure someone will be along shortly with a response.

    Your best bet will be to wait until Red Cross put all their WW2 records online - hopefully later this year. Keep an eye on their website. The records will be free and ought to give you all his movements.

    Have you found anything on his Commonwealth War Graves entry?

    Finally there may be something in his local area newspaper.

    Good Luck

    Steve Y
  3. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  6. Mr Jinks

    Mr Jinks Bit of a Cad

    He doesn't appear to be listed in WO21 (it is unreliable though?) :(

  7. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    He died before WO 392/21 was compiled, as I understand.

    If he is buried in Ancona it is highly likely that he was in one of the Marche Camps - either PG 70 Monte Urano, PG 53 Urbisano /Sforzacosta or PG 59 Servigliano.

    My experience on reading the Red Cross/ Protecting Power reports for the Umbrian camps and also PG 54 Fara in Sabina is that reference is always made to deaths in the camp. Should he have been shot by a guard there will also be a War Crimes report.

  8. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    I have just checked ou the National Archives website and an obvious document to look at would be that for the POW hospital at Sforzacosta, dates 1 Jan 1943 to 30 April 1943. Document WO224/165.

    Alternatively there are the Red Cross/Protecting Power reports for POW camps in the Marche:

    PG 70 Monteurano WO 224/130
    PG 53 Sforzacosta WO 24/120
    PG 59 Servigliano WO 224/123

    There's an outside chance that he many have been held in PG 78 Sulmona but I would try the above first,


    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  9. acd562

    acd562 Member

    Thank you everyone for such quick responses!

    Since the Graves Concentration Report indicates that Richard was previously buried in Fermo in 1943 and then re-buried at Ancona on 12 January 1945, I'd say that was a pretty good indication that he died while at Camp PG 70 halfway between Monte Urano and Fermo.

    I found a nice Google Maps link to PG 70 that shows the buildings all still there!

    Although there were literally thousands of POWs held at this camp, this report below does spark a possible scenario - Richard died on Feb 4th!
    WO 311/1221 Shooting of British prisoner of war at PG 70, Fermo, Italy, February 1943

    And finally The Aberdeen Weekly Journal clipping that started it all:

    As I live in California, visiting the National Archives in London to investigate all those possible sources of information you have pointed me towards would be somewhat prohibitive, but perhaps some day.

    Thanks again for the quick responses!

    Drew5233 likes this.
  10. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Andrew-Are you sure about the day of capture? I'm looking in the 7 GH's diary and nothing much is happening on the 16th June.
  11. acd562

    acd562 Member

    I'm not sure about the 16th - does the diary indicate a more probable date?
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Could be the 14th June...

  13. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    If I were you I would ask Drew 4233 to get you a copy of the War Crimes report from the National Archives.
    Drew5233 likes this.
  14. acd562

    acd562 Member

    Thanks, Drew!

    So, Sgt. Murray left with a fighting patrol at 9:00 pm on the evening of June 13th and when the patrol returned at 8:00 am the next morning, Murray and "1 O.R." were missing. The 1 Other Rank possibly being Richard S. MacNicol. Sounds like that fits.

    Fascinating reading. Not that it would lead to more info regarding Richard, but I found the "WWII Escapers and Evaders" record for Lieutenant W. Murray. He was sent to Camp 21 in Chieti and escaped on 26 Sept 1943 and was interviewed by MI9.

    Now, back to the Feb 4th, 1943 death of Pvt MacNicol in PG 70 that may or may not have been a criminal shooting...

  15. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    I looked up Richard Macnicol on the CWGC website and found his concentration form. Very interesting indeed. He,together with eleven other prisoners of war, was brought into Ancona War cemetery on 12 January 1945. All these men died between 26 October 1942 and 16 May 1944.

    i will contact CWGC in Rome to find out exactly where they were collected from - the indication TN 2126, when inserted into the echodelta conversion programme,
    gives a location in the Marche nearer to Jesi than Fermo.


    Concentration form here:

    pow brought in from Fermo.jpg
  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Does Murray's Liberation Report mention anything about his capture? I should have a full copy at home if you don't have access

    I would also consider the 7 Green Howards Missing Men file in the WO 361 series. A long shot but the rest of the patrol may have submitted reports regarding his capture.
  17. acd562

    acd562 Member

    I don't have access to Murray's Libration Report, or the Green Howards Missing Men file, but I did discover that after escaping from Camp 21 in Chieti in September of 1943, he was killed in action the following year in Italy on July 7th, 1944.

    Drew, could you check that WO 311/1221 file to see if the prisoner shot in February of 1943 in PG 70 was Richard MacNicol?

  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Hi Andrew - I can copy the file for you but it's a bit far for me to drive 400 miles to see if someone's in a file I'm afraid :)
  19. acd562

    acd562 Member

    I'm sorry, I'm all new to this. It was suggested I ask you to get you a copy of the War Crimes report from the National Archives. How is copying a file different than seeing its contents? I'm confused. Of course I should have noted from your profile that you live in Leeds, not London, and would never suggest you undertake such a journey on my behalf, but how did you provide me with images of the War Diary pages?

    Andrew, the 60-year-old newbie :rolleyes:
  20. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Andrew,

    On the CWGC website for Ancona I've had a good look at the fifteen men who died in February 1943 and are buried in the cemetery. Eight of them were brought in from Fermo - MacNicol, Stratford, Barrett, Barnes, Heyes, Davidson, Lodge and Mayne. So ti's fairly certain that the man who was shot is one of these eight.

    I also found on a website dedicated to Prisoners of War the following extract:

    Philip Newbury remembers that Campo 70 was in a village up in the hills and five miles inland from Porto St.Giorgio on the eastern coast. The camp was a disused factory of some sort with large concrete warehouses standing in a large field, surrounded with high barbed wire fencing. Not long after their arrival one of the men donned a pair of heavy gloves and tried to scale the barbed wire fence. He was seen by the guards as he reached the top and was shot dead. His body was left on the wire for three days as a warning to others.
    If you are still concerned to find out whether or not this man was MacNicol it seems you have no choice but to obtain a copy of the War Crimes Report, However, I should point out that is more likely that your man died in the POW camp from illness or in the Military Hospital in the town. This hospital, incidentally, is not on the list of Italian Military hospitals (published in document WO 392/21) in which Prisoners of War were treated.

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