New Zealand P.O.W's Escape Campo 78/1

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by limegreencamo, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. limegreencamo

    limegreencamo Member

    A lot of information to go through. I have already found out more than I could have ever imagined.
    Julianne limegreencamo
  2. Gavin Heath

    Gavin Heath Member

    My father, George E. Heath, escaped this camp with two NZ'ers. Would love to know who they were and try to connect with their descendants to hear stories.
  3. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    You will probably have to have a few more clues as there where many NZ'ers who escaped from 78/1.
    See NZ references above. From that ref:
    "The break-out of 300 other ranks from the working camp PG 78/1 at Aquafredda, leaving behind only a medical sergeant and nine sick men, has already been mentioned. They were organised in parties of ten, equipped with a stock of Red Cross food, and told to make for the surrounding thickly wooded and rather precipitous hills
    Many more made contact with Allied units near the Termoli-Campobasso road, among them 54 New Zealand other ranks (50 of them from Campo PG 78/1 at Aquafredda) and three officers from Campo PG 47 at Modena.
    By early November the Eighth Army had crossed the Trigno River and was advancing towards the Sangro; more prisoners came down from the hills to meet them at Palmoli, and later at Atessa and other places on the coastal slopes. Though they were nearly all from Campo PG 78/1, there was a sprinkling of men from Campo PG 70, from Campo PG 107, from Campo PG 120/5 near Padua, and three from Campo PG 145 at Campotosto, north of Aquila. There had been only a handful of New Zealanders at the last camp, from which about three-quarters of the prisoners had got away. Most of them made for Sulmona and then for the coastal plains; the three New Zealanders made their way south to Palmoli on 7 November."

    Bill Rudds site also lists the many ANZAC men who escaped from 78/1 by name, but your father is not among them.
    Welcome Letter | ANZAC POW Free Men in Europe

    Last edited: Jul 11, 2020
    Gavin Heath likes this.
  4. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    I suggest you get your fathers Military Records as this may give you more clues as where he returned to Allied lines etc.

    I also found this recent newspaper article that may help you
    Memorial to honour escape urged
  5. Gavin Heath

    Gavin Heath Member

    Dear Geoff. Thank you for this excellent information. My dad was one of 50 S. Africans in the camp and yes, he got to exactly the Termoli-Campobasso road, along with his two Kiwi mates, you describe. This account brings all his stories back to life. I really admire the detail and memorialisation the NZ authorities have put into this history; recent SA memorialisation depends almost entirely on privately published accounts. Regards, Gavin
  6. Gavin Heath

    Gavin Heath Member

    Dear Geoff. I did get his military record but it is very sparse, with only the most essential detail plus dates. Thank you anyway for the tip. Regards, Gavin
  7. Gavin Heath

    Gavin Heath Member

    Thank you for the newspaper article. My father's experience was exactly that- high drama. Don't know how he made it to the British lines alive. Regards, Gavin

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