Partisan group of Nicola Prospero.

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Giacomo Vieta, Dec 11, 2014.

  1. KevinBattle

    KevinBattle Senior Member

    You may already know, but there is no CWGC record for anyone linked to Cramond Terrace.
    There is one for 43, Cramond Street for a WW1 casualty.
    There is a Cramond Terrace, but presumably not included in Additional Information, for whoever this chap was.
  2. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member


    Thanks for that. I had tried Geoff's Wonderful Search Engine searching additional information, without success, and I can't find a CWG entry.

    The other "English" name on the Forno Canavese memorial is " Edward Arnold Peter", but I haven't tried to ascertain who he may have been, killed in Forno Canavese on Day 8, counting from 8th December 1943, so about 16th December 1943.

    Gunner Hayden mentioned another victim ( not previously mentioned on this thread ) to investigators, who was possibly called "Thomas Carney", killed in February 1945 ( the heading of the letter refers to February 1943 ) at a place called Cuorgne by public hanging. See attached letter for the unpleasant details. Investigations were closed due to lack of evidence other than Gunner Hayden's. From WO311/1265.

    Hayden re Cuorgne.jpg
  3. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everybody,

    More on D. Russell. First a quote from earlier in the thread

    I, John Ronald PARRY, of the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards stationed at TEDDINGTON, Glos ( Service No. 2662193 ) with permanent home address at 13 Bowens Terrace, TREDEGAR, Monmouthshire, make oath and say as follows:-

    On the 21st June 1942, whilst I was serving with my Regiment at TOBRUK, I was taken Prisoner and sent to ITALY arriving in that Country on the 6th August 1942. I was taken to a camp at LUCCA, where I first met Donald RUSSELL, a Private in, I believe, the Cameron Highlanders. If it was not the Camerons, I am quite sure it was a Scottish Regiment.

    During May 1943, I was transferred, together with RUSSELL and 73 other British Prisoners of War, from LUCCA to a Working Camp at TURIN. The Camp number was 112/1 and it was in the charge of Italians.

    I have found a Private D. Russell, no. 2935392, in Campo PG 60 Lucca in WO 392/21. Parry states that they were both captured at Tobruk and this would tie in with the date in the newspaper cutting above - 21 June.

    Here comes the problem. Private D. Russell, no. 2935392, is in WO 392/1 as being held in Stalag 4G in Germany.


    So, who was the man at Forno Cavanese?

  4. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member


    Thanks for the information. Hopefully Private D. Russell 2935392 lived at 43, Cramond Terrace, Springboig and returned home safely, having given his address to an Italian and then having been recaptured and sent to Stalag 4G, which is possible.

    Here's another statement about the partisans who were shot in December 1943 at Forno Canavese with a list of names. 1.jpg S.B.2.jpg
  5. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member


    I've requested Donald Russell's Liberation report, should there be one.

  6. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Vitellino, I do hope so.

    The newspaper report linking a Cameron Highlander to the address noted down on the back of a photograph ( of an unrelated scene ) held by an Italian in or about Forno Canavese in late 1943 also settled the question of regiment since the Judge Advocate General thought he was a Royal Northumberland Fusilier because one of the witnesses had suggested it, but Parry was sure it was another Scottish regiment if it wasn't the Cameron Highlanders.

    Earlier on in this thread Giacomo ( who started it ) mentioned Donald Russ a New Zealander.

    There are two "Dead Victims" cards for D. Russell in the JAG card system. One is for someone who died at Forno Canavese and whose name appears in the charge sheet of a minor war crimes trial which was held ( see above ) which did not lead to a conviction. This thread is concerned with identifying this Donald Russell.

    The second was a proposed trial of a suspect who had escaped, and another German who the authorities could not trace in 1947.

    The second was the death of another Scot called L/Cpl David Russell 30169 New Zealand Infantry in a different region of North Italy, buried in Udine War Cemetery. He deserves another thread so I'll start one.
  7. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    N o liberation report for Private D. Russell 2935392.

    I hope that CWGC whom I have contacted will be able to confirm or deny that they collected a body from the Civil Cemetery in Forno Canavese.
  8. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Thanks for trying to find the report.
  9. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everybody,

    Here is the reply from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

    18 October 2016

    We do have a record of an Unknown Soldier being removed from Forno Canavese Civil Cemetery. He is buried in Milan War Cemetery in Section 5. Row A. Plot 15. Initially he was believed to be a soldier called Russell who died fighting with the partisans.

    The name ‘Russell’ was provided by the Secretary of the Commune when he was interviewed by the NZ Graves Registration Unit in Feb 1946. Based on this, a Cameron Highlander J.D. Russell was initially suggested as the casualty, but this idea was later dropped as he apparently survived. No further information was found on the body as it was buried in civilian clothing, although the casualty is believed to have died on the 7th December 1943.


    Last edited: Aug 26, 2020
  10. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everybody, Russell has cropped up again in a War Crimes file WO 311/34. This is a compound file referring to various episodes but the last few pages relate to the shooting of a 'renegade' POW at Pinetti, in the same zone as Forno Canavese. In March 1945 this POW talks of a Captain Russell (whose signature he forged). Russell would appear to have been leading a group of 200 ex.POWS.

    By looking at the list of officers with the surname Russell in WO 392 21 (POWs registered as having been in Italy, document dated August 1943), there was a Captain A.P. Russell, RAMC, who prior to the Armistice had been held in PG 49 Modena. He does not appear in the list of Russell officer POWs in Germany in WO 392/1 so presumably either died or was not recaptured and sent on there. ( Will check the deaths with CWGC and edit.) There were two other officers with the surname Russell, both Majors, who had been held in PG 29 at Veano and do not appear to have been sent to Germany. Their initials are L.D. and R.D.

    So, it would appear that a soldier named Russell was operating with the partisans in the Forno Canavese area but was still alive in March 1945.

    I have attached part of the War Crimes report but have deleted the name of the 'renengade' POW who was shot by the partisans for having collaborated with the Germans just in case his relatives use this site and were not aware of the circumstances of his death..


    Attached Files:

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  11. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Guy, can I ask where you sourced Donald's birth details from 1915 and his date of marriage to Elizabeth Coats in 1938 please? If you found them via the website Scotlandspeople, can you upload the extracts from the birth and marriage registers so I can look at parents names.

    Using the birth address you gave, 287 Main Street, Shettleston, Glasgow there was a tenant living there by the name of Daniel Russell on the property Valuation Rolls from 1914. Could be Donald's father.

    Looking closer at the 2nd address mentioned in that Daily Record news article for wife Elizabeth Coats (12 Trainard Avenue, Tollcross), when Donald was reported missing, I found the tenant of that address was a George Coats on the 1930, 1935 & 1940 Valuation Rolls.

    George was possibly Donald's father in-law or brother in-law.

    Using Donald's service number alone in the Find My Past search engine, in the Casualty List collection, it returns 8 separate hits, all for a D. Russell.

    I should add Donald was listed as the tenant at 43 Cramond Terrace, in the district of Shettleston on the 1940 Valuation Roll (the first address mentioned in the Daily Record).
    Guy Hudson likes this.
  12. Guy Hudson

    Guy Hudson Looker-upper

  13. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Many thanks for the attachments Guy.

    Looking further at the address Donald gave in 1938 when he married Elizabeth Coats, 934 Shettleston Road, Shettleston, Glasgow, Donald's father Daniel Russell was the tenant at this address on the Valuation Rolls 1920, 1925, 1930, 1935 & 1940.

    When the Scottish 1921 Census is released online next year by the Scotlandspeople website, we shall be able to see if Donald had any siblings.

    His father Daniel Russell married Janet Anderson Simpson in Maryhill, Glasgow 6th Feb 1912. I believe Janet was born 1890 in Slamannan District in 1890 and she died age 62 in 1953 in the District of Shettleston.

    Donald's wife, Elizabeth Coats, I think was born in Camlachie District, Glasgow in 1913. Her parents George Coats & Elizabeth Kelly married in the Blackfriars District in 1905.

    Her mother died age 78 in the Old Monklands district in 1962 (est year of birth 1884). Her father may have also died in the same district and same year age 85 (est year of birth 1877).

    I cannot find a death entry for Elizabeth, but deaths that take place after 1974, you can check using the mother's maiden name.

    The following maybe siblings of Elizabeth Coats.
    James Coats died 1991 age 85 (there were 2 James's born in Camlachie, one in 1905 and one in 1906).

    George Coats died 1996 age 88 (one born 1907 in Dumfries and one born in Row/Rhu 1907)

    Robert Ferguson Coats died 1996, age 76. He was born in 1920 in Camlachie.

    James, George & Robert all died in Glasgow with mothers maiden name of Kelly.

    Possible son's born to Donald & Elizabeth following their 1938 marriage
    David Russell born 1938 Shettleston
    Daniel James Russell b. 1938 Cambusnethan
    Daniel Russell b. 1939 Hamilton
    Daniel Russell b. 1939 Dalziel
    Donald Marshall Russell b. 1939 Camlachie
    Donald McIntyre Russell b. 1941 Townhead
    Donald L. Russell b. 1941 Larkhall
    James Dunn Russell b. 1942 Camlachie
    Daniel Russell b. 1942 Dalziel
    (All above births in the Lanarkshire County. Scottish tradition usually has the 1st born son named after paternal grandfather, but it's not always the case).
    Guy Hudson and Tricky Dicky like this.
  14. amberdog45

    amberdog45 Senior Member

    Elizabeth Coats father George was age 34 on the 1911 Census, wife Lizzie (Elizabeth Kelly) age 28, son James age 5 and son Duncan Ferguson Coats age 2 in the Camlachie District.

    Her father George was born in either the district of Paisley or Dennistoun in Glasgow.

    Given George's first born son was called James, I assume this is George age 4 with his father James on the 1881 Census PDF attached.

    Attached Files:

  15. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    From Scotland's People:

    RUSSELL ELIZABETH married SKINNER WILLIAM 1946 REF. 644/1 147 Shettleston

    A marriage certificate might be useful, though I notice from the above one that Scottish certificates don't say whether the bride/groom were single, widowed or divorced at the time of marriage, though it does ask for mother's maiden name.


    Edited to add that I think this should be in the Prisoners of War thread
  16. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everyone who has shown an interest in this case.

    This morning I applied for Donald Russell's POW record to the IRC,

  17. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Active Member

    My Father John Grasby Escaped POW was with the Partisans Group and was one of the witnesses. He gave evidence to the Judge Advocate General's Office in London in January 1946. He states that he was sent from PG 53 Macerata to a work camp in the north - PG 112 Turin I have a old Letter and Family photos sent to my Father from an Italian Partisan who made friends with my late Father who died in 1975
    Ps. I have been in touch with Vitellino from the WW2 Talk sit and sent him the Italian Letter a Photos and he is Kindly going to send me a Translation back
  18. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Active Member

    My Father John Grasby My Fathers witness statement  in 1946 WW2 war crimes2.jpg

    Attached Files:

  19. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Here's the reply from IRCC regarding DONALD RUSSELL.

    Have already sent to GLASGOW for his records.

    Attached Files:

  20. ArmyBoyandMan

    ArmyBoyandMan Active Member

    Many thanks vitellino that's Great

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