POW Raymond Russell Marshall - RASC

Discussion in 'Prisoners of War' started by Elliotgc, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. Elliotgc

    Elliotgc New Member


    I'm doing some research on behalf of my godfather, Keith, whose father, Raymond Russell, was a prisoner of war in Italy and Germany for three years. I discovered this forum while looking for information on Keith's uncle, Rowland Thompson Marshall, who was Raymond's half-brother and who is the Rowland Thomson Marshall mentioned on this forum a number of times.

    I am new to WW2 research, so perhaps if I tell you what I know then maybe you can point me in the right direction or assist me in my research.

    Raymond was born in Whitby in 1914 and he was a regular soldier before the war broke out. I believe that he joined up in 1938, but he may have joined up even earlier. He was in the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) and apparently played cricket for the 8th army cricket team. His commanding officer was Freddie Brown, who was England test captain. They were both captured in 1942 on their way to Tobrook.

    According to Forces War Records, Corporal RR Marshall (service number T61129) went missing on 20th June 1942, this was reported to the War Office Casualty Section on 1st August 1942. He went missing at Cyrenaica. He was registered as Prisoner of War on 2nd September 1942.

    In 1943, he was a POW at Camp 65, Cressina (Bari). The camp was also called Gravina Altamura.

    In 1945, he was a POW at Stalag 11a, Altengrabow.

    The story in the family is that Raymond was in Alexandria or Cairo in mid 1942 and was walking along the street when he bumped into his younger brother, Clifford Weatherill Marshall (known as Charlie). Both were in different regiments and neither knew the other would be there, so it was a total coincidence. They went to the pub to catch up, and who should they meet but their older brother, Rowland Thompson Marshall, again serving in a different regiment. A week or so later, Rowland was killed, Raymond was captured, and Clifford kept fighting until the end of the war. Raymond went missing on 20th June 1942 and Rowland was killed on 29th June 1942, so the dates tally.

    Is it possible to obtain a copy of Raymond's war record? Where else could I go to obtain more information? Does anyone know any information about the POW camps in question? Freddie Brown was involved in the Battle of Crete in 1941, and received an MBE for his efforts. I wonder whether Raymond was involved in that battle too.

    Are there any records available for soldiers who were in the army before war broke out?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Hi Elliot

    Welcome to the forum

    His service can be obtained by applying for it her - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/requests-for-personal-data-and-service-records#how-to-apply-for-service-personnel-records these should cover all his service in the military from whenever he joined until he left.

    POW - Germany
    Name: R R Marshall
    Rank: Corporal
    Army Number: T/61129
    Regiment: Royal Army Service Corps
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: XI-A
    Camp Location: Altengrabow, Saxony-Anhalt
    Record Office: Royal Army Service Corps Record Office, Ore Place, Hastings, Sussex
    Record Office Number: 29

    In my personal opinion I would stay clear of Forces War Records - his service records are the place to start. Following their receipt then obtaining the War Diaries for his unit(s) is your next move, if you read through the forum threads there are several members of this site who provide a copying service.

  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  4. Elliotgc

    Elliotgc New Member

    Hi TD and Bamboo,

    Thanks very much for your swift replies. That's really useful. I'll order his service record and hopefully that will lead to even more discoveries. It's fascinating reading the report on Gravina Altamura and seeing how the camp changed in a short time, and how it struggled to cope with the increase in the number of prisoners. Thanks for going to the trouble of scanning it all in.

    Interestingly, I discovered that Raymond Russell Marshall was a POW at the same camp (Stalag 11a, Altengrabow) as my own great uncle, one Sergeant Bertram Gooch of the Royal Armoured Corps.

    Starting research in a new area can be intimidating and it's often hard to know where to start, so thank-you for pointing me in the right direction. The work that you do on this forum is nothing short of amazing and you make a lot of people very happy, solving mysteries that have often plagued families for generations. Keep up the good work!

  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    I assume you already have this but just in case:

    Name: B Gooch
    Rank: Serjeant
    Army Number: 549920
    Regiment: Reconnaissance Corps
    POW Number: 138875
    Camp Type: Stalag
    Camp Number: XI-A
    Camp Location: Altengrabow, Saxony-Anhalt
    Record Office: Royal Armoured Corps and Reconnaissance Corps Record Office, The Drill Hall, Barnet, Hertfordshire
    Record Office Number: 3

  6. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    No problem Elliot, glad to have helped a little.

  7. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Another avenue for POW research is via the POW Liberation Questionnaires completed by some (not all POW's) on repatriation and now filed alphabetically at The National Archives.

    They are not available online but if you can't get to Kew some forum members may offer a free look up for you if you post a request - start another topic.

    The International Red Cross are part way through a digitisation process to make their WW2 POW files freely available on the internet. Keep an eye on their website.

    Good Luck

    Steve Y

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