Oldham M.M., Hasler M.M., Cocker M.M. 300 mile desert trek

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by Guy Hudson, Apr 23, 2020.

  1. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

    Left to Right Trooper Oldham, Hasler and Cocker

    7901894 Trooper Ralph Henry Albert OLDHAM M.M. 7th Royal Tank Regiment R.A.C.

    27th July 1918 - 25th October 2007 Eltham
    Originally captured 13th May 1941
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    Military Medal London Gazette 12th February 1942 p.704

    Trooper Oldham escaped with two others from a prisoner of war camp at BENGHAZI on 10th October 1941. They had previously managaed to secrete a store of tinned food and water and with this they intended to cross the desert to the Egyptian Frontier. Assisted by friendly Arabs they succeeded in reaching a place where they were found by one of our patrols. They bought back with them information of the greatest value which provided very welcome confirmation of our theories and filled in many gaps in our knowledge. They also provided accurate information on the location of dumps and installations.
    In the Prisoner of War camp all prisoners pooled information with the idea that anyone who succeeded in escaping would be able to supply us with the maximum information. Those three men were apparently the prime movers of this system. Trooper Oldham and his comrades only did their duty in escaping from BENGHAZI and providing most accurate and intelligently collected information, but they were influeneced in their action by unselfish motives. The definite impression was gained that their object in escaping was largely as a result of their appreciation of the information they had to impart and the necessity of transmitting it by the only means possible - themselves, regardless of the hazards and dangers they knew they must face in attempting to reach Egypt through the desert from BENGHAZI. Their action provides an outstanding example of what intelligent and courageous men can achieve when placed in an apparently hopeless situation.

    MIlitary Medal Citation WO373/18/209

    Subsequently recaptured 20th June 1942
    P.o.w. No. 260870 Stalag IVB

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    1095617 Gunner Kenneth Joseph COCKER M.M. 4th Royal Horse Artillery
    Originated from Umtall, South Rhodesia, transferred into 4 R.H.A. in 1940
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    10955630 Lance Bombardier Arthur Herbert HASLER M.M. 4th Royal Horse Artillery
    Originated from Salisbury, South Rhodesia, transferred into 4 R.H.A. in 1940
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    Hasler and Cocker originallly captured 19th May 1941
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    Military Medal London Gazette 12th February 1942 p.704

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    Mid Sussex Times 5th November 1941

    259295 2nd Lt. Kenneth Joseph COCKER commissioned in the Royal Artillery 23rd August 1942
    London Gazette 2nd February 1943 p. 593
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    Last edited: Apr 24, 2020
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Thanks for sharing.

    Surprised Hasler and Cocker were still in North Africa 5 months after capture. I appreciate it was the norm post Tobruk for men to be held in camps in Libya for long periods before being sent to Italy but didn’t realise there could be the same delay in 1941.

    My father was taken POW in Libya 23rd December 1941 and arrived in Naples 1st January 1942.

    Guy Hudson and JimHerriot like this.

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