7890209 Sapper Robert Duckworth Erskine DAVIDSON, Royal Engineers & Special Air Serviice: POW

Discussion in 'Special Forces' started by dbf, Oct 5, 2023.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Army Number: 7890209
    Rank: Sapper
    Name: Robert Duckworth Erskine DAVIDSON
    Unit: Royal Engineers ; Special Air Service

    Date of Birth: 28 May 1920
    Place of Birth: Greenock
    Date of Enlistment: 3 Sep 1939
    Date of Capture: 16 Feb 1941
    Place of Capture: Palomonte, Italy
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2023
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  2. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Name: Robert Davidson . Date of Birth: 28/05/1920 . Place of Birth: Greenock . ... | The National Archives
    Reference: WO 416/89/25
    Name: Robert Davidson.
    Date of Birth: 28/05/1920.
    Place of Birth: Greenock.
    Service: British Army.
    Rank: Sapper.
    Regiment/Unit/Squadron: [Royal Engineers].
    Service Number: 7890209.
    Date of Capture: [unspecified].
    Theatre of Capture: [unspecified].
    Camp Name/Number: Stalag IVB Muhlberg.
    PoW number: 269988.
    Date of Death: [unspecified].
    Number of Photographs: 0.
    Number of Fingerprints: 0.
    Number of X-rays: 0.
    Number of Cards: 1.
    Date: [1939-1945]
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2023
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  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    View Record via Ancestry


    PART I.
    GENERAL QUESTIONNAIRE FOR BRITISH/AMERICAN EX-PRISONERS OF WAR.

    1. No.
    7890209
    RANK - SAPPER
    SURNAME - DAVIDSON
    CHRISTIAN NAMES - ROBERT DUCKWORTH ERSKINE
    DECORATIONS -

    2. UNIT (ARMY) -
    11th SPECIAL AIR SERVICE

    3. DIVISION (ARMY) -

    4. DATE OF BIRTH -
    28/5/20

    5. DATE OF ENLISTMENT -
    3rd SEPTEMBER 1939

    6. CIVILIAN TRADE OR PROFESSION -
    JOINER

    7. PRIVATE ADDRESS -
    8 CLARENCE ST., EDINBURGH 4

    8. PLACE AND DATE OF ORIGINAL CAPTURE -
    PALOMONTE, ITALY, 16th FEBRUARY 1941

    9. WERE YOU WOUNDED WHEN CAPTURED? -
    NO

    10. MAIN CAMPS OR HOSPITALS IN WHICH IMPRISONED
    Camp No. / Location / From / Till

    CAMP 78 SULMONA ITALY 3rd MARCH 1941 - 30 AUGT 42
    Screenshot 2023-10-07 at 13.08.10.png

    11. WERE YOU IN A WORKING CAMP?
    Location / From/ Till / Nature of Work

    CAMPO LAVORO 102 AQUILA ITALY 30/8/42 - 8/9/43 BUILDING WORKERS
    DRESDEN NOV 1944 - 14/4/44 GENERAL LABOURER FOR MUNICIPALITY

    Screenshot 2023-10-07 at 13.08.15.png

    12. DID YOU SUFFER FROM ANY SERIOUS ILLNESSES WHILE A P/W?
    Nature of Illness / Cause / Duration

    NO

    12 b. DID YOU RECEIVE ADEQUATE MEDICAL TREATMENT?

    -


    GENERAL QUESTIONNAIRE PART II TOP SECRET

    1. No.
    7890209
    RANK - SAPPER
    SURNAME - DAVIDSON
    CHRISTIAN NAMES - ROBERT DUCKWORTH ERSKINE


    2. LECTURES before Capture:
    ( a ) Were you lectured in your unit on how to behave the event of capture? (State where, when and by whom).

    YES, RINGWAY AERODROME, JAN 1941, SQUADRON LEADER KEELING
    ( b ) Were you lectured on escape and evasion? (State where, when and by whom.
    YES, RINGWAY AERODROME, JAN 1941, SQUADRON LEADER KEELING

    3. INTERROGATION after capture:
    Were you specially interrogated by the enemy? (State where, when and methods employed by enemy).

    YES. HUNGER, NOT SERIOUSLY, THREATENED WITH MURDER CHARGE OVER 2 ARMED CIVILIANS WHO WERE KILLED IN CAPTURING ANOTHER PARTY.
    Screenshot 2023-10-07 at 13.18.27.png

    4. ESCAPES attempted:
    Did yo make any attempted or partly successful escapes? (Give details of each attempt accurately, stating where, when, method employed, names of your companions, wherein when recaptured and by whom. Were you physically fit? What happened to your companions?)

    TUNNEL SULMONA APRIL 41, GARNER, RODRIGUEZ, SHEEHY & OTHERS. OPPOSITION FROM CAMP LEADER. SPOILED BY LOOSE T ?
    AQUILA THROUGH ROOF TO MEET SUNDERLAND FLYIN BOAT BY COAST. MY PARTY, SHEEHY, MAHER, 2 other PARTIES, LOOSE TALK, APRIL 14 '45, BY ROPE FROM TOP WINDOW AS SENTRY WAS ROUND CORNER. CAUGHT BY ENEMY SEARCHING FOR AMERICAN AIRMEN 4 DAYS LATER.

    Screenshot 2023-10-07 at 13.18.33.png

    5. SABOTAGE
    Did you do any sabotage or destruction of enemy factory plant, war material, communications, etc, when employed on working-parties or during escape? (Give details, places and dates.)

    STONE CRUSHER, DRESDEN, over period from Nov 44 - Dec. 44.
    UNKOWN INSTRUMENT FOR GERMAN NAVY , SEVERAL. KAMERAWERKE, NIEDERSEDLITZ, DRESDEN, POSSIBLY PERISCOPE PARTS, SHOVED BRASS RODS THROUGH TUBES. FEB. '45.

    Screenshot 2023-10-07 at 13.18.42.png

    6. COLLABORATION with enemy:
    Do you know of any British or American personnel who collaborated with the enemy or in any way helped the enemy agains other Allied Prisoners of War? (Give details, names of persons concerned, camps, dates and nature of collaboration or help given to enemy).

    SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE CAPTAIN came to camp describing himself as Sergeant Major ROMAIN, became Camp Leader, betrayed escaping attempts including my own. Was writing anti-British propaganda.

    Screenshot 2023-10-07 at 13.18.52.png

    7. WAR CRIMES
    If you have any information or evidence of bad treatment by the enemy to yourself or to others, or knowledge of any enemy violation of Geneva Convention you should ask for a copy of "Form Q" on which to make your statement.
    (NOTE: Form Q is a separate form inviting information on "War Crimes" and describes the kind of offences coning under this title.)



    GENERAL QUESTIONNAIRE PART II TOP SECRET
    (continued)

    8. Have you any other matter of any kind you wish to bring to notice?

    Used M.I. coded supplied by Captain LEE of my unit at MILDENHALL Aerodrome, and received no acknowledgement.
    AUGUST 41 reported deflection of mail in ITALY through German censor.
    SEPT 42 reported opening of large Hydro Electric Plant in hills near Aquila
    JAN 44 asked for escape material
    FEB 44 reported manufacture of unidentifiable instrument for German Navy by Kamera-Werkstt├Ątten, Niedersedllitz DRESDEN, possibly Periscope parts. Could not get decent look at them, and civilians would not talk.

    Screenshot 2023-10-07 at 13.10.50.png

    SECURITY UNDERTAKING
    I fully realise that all information relating the matters covered by the questions in Part II. are of a highly secret and official nature.

    I have had explained to me and fully understand that under Defence Regulations or U.S.A.R. 380-5 I am forbidden to publish or communicate any information concerning these matters.

    Date
    14/5/45
    Signature R.D.E. Davidson
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2023
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  4. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  5. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Loose Talk? I think this is his nickname for someone, possibly the camp leader.

    Vitellino
     
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  6. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Excellent work as ever D.

    Captured on Operation Colossus. Brief overview courtesy of ParaData here:

    X Troop 11 SAS | ParaData.

    For Fortunato, courtesy of Pegasus Archive:

    Fortunato Picchi

    Always remember, never forget,

    Jim.

    EDIT: For Janet, and all, some information from A.N.P.I.

    Fortunato Picchi

    Apologies if this appears as an afterthought. It is not.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2023
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  7. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    You should read the report of F/Lt Ralph Henry Lucky (MI9/PG/MISC/INT/813 and The Extraordinary Story of Ralph Henry Lucky - RAF Museum) who was attached to X Troop for the Tragino raid. Like the others he was captured but feigned a heart problems by smoking crushed aspirin in his cigarettes. He fooled the Germans and in September 1944 was repatriated to the UK on health grounds. He then appeared before an RAF medical board and passed with flying colours
     

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