POW & Service Records

Discussion in 'Royal Artillery' started by Sally H, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Sally H

    Sally H Member

    Hello Everyone.

    I am new to the forum and am looking for some advice if possible.

    I have been researching my Uncle who was a POW in WWll. I have discovered that the National Archives seem to hold four records of him, one of which is showing that he was interviewed in Switzerland on the 23 October 1943, having escaped from Camp59 in Italy.

    Owing to mobility problems, a trip to Kew is sadly out of the question, and I was therefore wondering if there is any way I can get a copy of this record which I am assuming is a type of debrief interview.

    Also, I seem to be struggling to find any of his 'signing on' records, would this be due to dates and the data protection rule.

    Any assistance with this would be very much appreciated.

  2. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Sally and welcome to the forum

    Two people on this forum offer their services at the National Archives for a very reasonable fee - PsyWar and Drew5233. I suggest you send them a private message.

    Incidentally, what was your Uncle's name? It suspect that he was sent from PG 59 to a work camp in the North from where he escaped to Switzerland at the Armistice. Whilst you are waiting for information from TNA, there is an excellent website on PG59 - camp59srvivors.wordpress.com - which you might like to consult.

    You should also send for his records Get a copy of military service records

    Best wishes,

    Last edited: Aug 6, 2019
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  3. Sally H

    Sally H Member

    Thank you for your reply Vitellino and advice.

    My Uncles name was Harold Burgess army number 1559674, Gunner, 13Th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery.

    I have discovered the Camp59 website and they do have him listed, details provided by Briam Sims (I think). I have looked at the form for obtaining military service records, but I wasn't sure if I would be eligible as I am not immediate next of kin, however he has been dead now for over 25 years so I guess I'm in with a shout on that one.

    I will PM one of the two people you mentioned - thanks again for your help.

  4. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    I wouldn't get too bothered about the NOK issue. MOD don't ask for proof! I've applied for a couple of distant relatives service records & told a "white lie" about being closest NOK.

    You might want to apply to Red Cross in Switzerland for his POW papers when the next application window opens in September.

    It's a free service and it takes about 4 months to get a reply by post.

    Requests for information about people held during Spanish Civil War or the Second World War: Quarterly limit reached

    A drop down online application form will appear when the application window opens about 8am BST. You need to complete it quickly as the window usually closes by mid morning.

    Good Luck.

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    More Commonwealth Inmates of P.G. 59
    Harold Burgess
    Service Number—1559674
    13 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
    Captured April 8, 1941—Fort Michelli
    Camp 59 internment—January 30, 1942–June 4, 1943

  6. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    I could be very interested in your uncle should he have been sent from PG 59 to work camp 146 at Mortara as I have just translated a book about the prisoners who were up there working in the rice fields. The author, Prof. Giuseppe Zucca, is are looking to add to his list of prisoners.

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  7. Sally H

    Sally H Member

    Thank you very much for the application link for the Red Cross. I'll be setting my alarm early for the 23rd September.

    TD - Yes, I had noticed my Uncle's details on the Camp59 site - thank you.


    I have noticed on some records and the one TD mentioned above that he seemed to be at Camp59 until 4 June 1943 (thats if I'm reading it correctly). On a record taken from Find My Past, it states that he was interviewed in Switzerland on the 23 October 1943, so I'm not sure if he would have moved to Camp 146. However, should I find anything at all that suggests this, I will most certainly let you know.

  8. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member


    I'm an old hand at this game....trust me if I say he may have been sent to PG 146. There were other camps but the following should be of interest to you:

    ....put Allum in the search box at the top and you will find a post regarding two soldiers who were transferred from PG 59 IN JUNE 1943:
    You will find George Tudor's Escape report on the same thread.

    By June 1943 there was a severe labour shortage in Italy and prisoners in many camps were given the opportunity to move to work camps, both factories and farms, where there were given double rations. One of the camps from which men were sent north was PG 59. There was no shortage of volunteers for the northern camps - their vicinity to neutral Switzerland could wll have been a pull. The father of a friend of mine got into Swizerland at the Armistice from a work camp near Padua.

    If your uncle was in PG 146 he will, of course, be added to Prof. Zucca's list which we are preparing for the English version of his book.

    Here's hoping,

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  9. Sally H

    Sally H Member

    First may I apologise if it came across that I was doubting your suggestions, I would never doubt any contributor to this site as I know very little about 'all things military'.

    I am at present awaiting a reply to an enquiry I have made with Lee Richards regarding the Kew documents. Would you know if details of Camp 146 would be mentioned in the Interview Report of October 1943.

    Should I be able to get copies of these documents, I will come back to you to advise. Later today I will take a look at George Tudor's escape report.

    Thank you again for your assistance, it is very much appreciated.

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  10. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hey you - less of the old, leave that to those of us who are deemed old - ta you kids are all the same these days, no respect for your elders :-P

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  11. Sally H

    Sally H Member

    Well, thats you told Vitellino. :D:D

  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    I fear I might be getting too big for my boots ... lying about my age too ...:unsure: back to the subject in question

    Sally, you will see that George Tudor gives all the camps he was held in, including his last, PG 146.
    PG 146 had no central base - it was a collection of farms, hence the 146/18, the 18 referring to the number of the farm.

    When you get your uncle's report, if he doesn't name the farm but only gives its the number, there is a list of farms prepared by the late Brian Sims which can be found on Pegasus Archive.

    Check out Sarita Porter's father on this forum, who also went from PG 59 to PG 146 Mortara, to Rosasco.
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