PG47 (Campo 47) escapees and the suicide of the NZ Camp CO

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by davidbfpo, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. andy007

    andy007 Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum Charles, great to have another kiwi onboard.

    Looking forward to reading more about your Grandfather.
     
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  2. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2021
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  3. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

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  4. Charles Black

    Charles Black Member

    Yes the 24th.

    Ill upload some papers later today but I found this one that may be of interest.

    Im aware of the cenotaph.I actually was given all my grandfathers papers and interesting things he kept from his escape and war effort.I have been meaning to scan the photos and upload his bio to the cenotaph but covid has made everything difficult with access to offices and a host of other issues.
     
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  5. Charles Black

    Charles Black Member

    Attahced is a record of recommendations for awards for escapes from PG47
     

    Attached Files:

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  6. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    The SBO at PG47 was Lt.Col. Shuttleworth and previously the CO of the 24th Infantry battalion. An unexpected piece of the jigsaw appears, long after I rested from the topic.
     
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  7. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    Interesting his MID says he was with 31 Batt, which I understand is a 2NZEF "holding' Battalion. My father was also originally posted to 31 when he enlisted in the UK and transferred to 24 when he arrived in Egypt in July 41.
     
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  8. Charles Black

    Charles Black Member

    Yes I noticed that too

    Im pretty sure he was 24th Battalion.He was from Thames.Perhaps a typo??

    Im trying to find out more information about what happened when he was captured.He was taken on the 28th? when they were expecting the South Africans to arrive in support.Instead a group of Germans brazingly walked up with the their arms up and caught them unaware.

    Does anyone know if Shuttleworth kept daily diaries?

    Also my father has faint recollection of grandad being involved in a incident with a burning truck and helping some men.I don't know anything of this.

    When I read about the battle of sidi rezegh it is unclear which company my grandfather was part of?
     
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  9. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    From the official History page 77/78

    CHAPTER 3 — Sidi Rezegh | NZETC

    "About 3.30 p.m., the enemy commenced to move forward down the slope of the feature behind which they had assembled. They presented a wonderful target again for our gunners, but our luck was out as communications from the OP to the batteries had been severed, and also the whole of the guns were on a regimental shoot in support of an attack which was being carried out to the north by the 4th Bde. Hence another golden opportunity was lost…. The enemy continued to press forward but by this time his barrage had slackened considerably in intensity as contact had been made with the forward elements of the 24 Bn. After a bit of desultory fighting I intercepted a radio message to the effect that A and D Coys 24 Bn had surrendered. This seemed unbelievable as the fighting had not been severe. I looked forward and saw troops moving with hands up, but through my glasses they appeared to me to be Huns. The next moment I noticed troops moving towards them also with their hands up. The position seemed most confused but I was able to determine that the latter troops were our own. It transpired that Jerry had pulled his old trick of moving forward behind some of our troops whom he had taken prisoner. These had their hands up and when he was close enough he turned on the works. Unfortunately our boys fell for it. In all about 100 of 24 Bn and 70 of 21 Bn who were attached to the former were collected. Lt.-Col. Shuttleworth, immediately realising the position, went forward and reorganised his front line. Also realising there was a weakness in the centre I called in two of my platoons—one from D and one from C Coys—and sent them forward to the 24 Bn to help fill the gap."

    So he was part of either A or D Company?
     
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  10. Charles Black

    Charles Black Member

    Geoff thanks for your post

    who was your father/grandfather? surname?
     
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  11. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    24 Btn Casualties Western Desert B Page 8.jpg My Father is Maurice Muir #890 stretcher bearer & medical orderly in 24Batt and captured at Sidi Rezegh on 1st Dec.
    So far the OH is the best source of information. I have been to National Archives and the Battalion Diary for the 28th is sparse with much less detail than the OH.

    Your GF is mentioned in this document I found. The date of 13th Dec is an administrative place holder at the time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2021
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  12. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Charles Black cited in part:
    I have never come across any sign he kept a diary. Others will know if keeping a personal diary when on 'active service' was permitted, if a diary was kept minus military details its value would be much diminished. Nor have his family mentioned this, so I will ask just in case.
     
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  13. Charles Black

    Charles Black Member

    Hello David

    Only ask if you know the family is happy to be contacted.I can imagine it just brings up sad memories.

    David I was doing a bit more reading today.I found a thesis paper written in 2006 by a New Zealander studying escapes.It was quite comprehensive and I just really skimmed it but it did talk in parts about the mental aspects of becoming a POW and depression.Have you seen this?I can find it again and upload if interested.

    My parents sent me my old school project today.Its too big to upload and will take me a week or so to rescan.We are in lockdown in Auckland so services are limited.If you read a post above from papers past it outlines much of my grandfathers story.He had to travel 400 miles to get back to safety so it raises the point of why the stay put was mooted when the guards left the camp.It was massive undertaking and the reality is it was damn dangerous.If shuttleworth had said in a gung ho manner that everyone should have a crack what would have been the risk that many would be killed.He really had a hobsons choice I think.

    Thinking about Shuttleworth and his suicide reminds me the movie Shawshank Redemption.Theres and old chap who's spends his whole life in prison and then is released at eighty into a changed world.He has no idea what to do and where to go and he commits suicide.I can imagine it would have been similar for Shuttleworth.He had been an officer for twelve years before the war as well so really only knew a military life.Im sure the stress ,compounded with more bad luck and a wife that passed away got too much.
     
  14. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Charles and others,

    The 'Stay Put' order is the theme of this thread, so you may find understanding the context and what actually happened is there: Italy 1943: the 'Stay Put Order'

    I have a recollection of reading a NZ PhD thesis and cannot recall using it - I will check the final paper. By all means add a link to it. To be fair it was only at the end I wondered what caused Clayden Shuttleworth to commit suicide.
     
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