South Africans in Italian POW Camps

Discussion in 'South African' started by HilikusZA, Oct 4, 2011.

  1. Robert Ross

    Robert Ross New Member

    Hello everyone, what an amazing scource of information this forum is.

    My grandfather was Eric Augustus Jordan POW number 224186. I have very little information on him apart vague references from my Mom that he was captured in Tobruk, possibly sent to Italy and then definitely ended up in Stalag ivb from where he was liberated and sent home. I know he was in Stalag ivB as the only thing I have from him is his tag. I have mailed the SANDF to get whatever they have on record but wondered if he appeared in any other records that members of this forum have.
     
  2. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Robert,

    Upon arriving in Italy your grandfather spent some time in Prisoner of War Camp 85 at Tuturano near Brindisi. He is registered as being there in a document held in the National Archives, London, catalogue number WO 392/21. (Copy of part of the relevant page attached) This information was collected by the International Red Cross and passed on to Great Britain and her allies and unfortunately is not always accurate.

    Campo PG 85, as it is called, was a transit camp, and before being sent to Germany to Stalag IVB he would almost certainly have been held in another camp in Italy. This information should be available from the report you have requested from SANDF.

    Best wishes,

    Vitellino
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Robert Ross

    Robert Ross New Member

    Thanks so much for your reply Vitellino, I will continue the search. It means a lot to me so thanks again for the time you take to research this and respond.
     
  4. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Please post the information you get back from SANDF.
     
  5. Robert Ross

    Robert Ross New Member

    Waiting for SANDF info in the meantime I have the following from my grandfather
    IMG_3761.JPG IMG_3760.JPG
     
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  6. dawie botha

    dawie botha New Member

    i am new to the forum and hope i am asking this in the correct way.I recently got my handwritten few pages from my aunt that my gf wrote.He was held at campo 52 and escaped together with Charly Bouwer( not sure if correct as diff to read his handwriting.)
    I know he ended up in Switserland with 4 other men but do not have the details how they got there.
    i am trying to fill in the blanks if anybody read his name somewhere. He was no 26055 D I Botha who served with the 5th brigade when he was captured.[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  7. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

  8. dawie botha

    dawie botha New Member

  9. Clock3r

    Clock3r New Member

    Looking for details on my grandfather Edward Joseph Phelan, he was a south african
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  10. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Clock3r,

    I have done a lot of research involving S. African POWs and their camps.

    I am in the UK at the moment but will look him up when I get back to Italy next week,

    Vitellino
     
  11. Clock3r

    Clock3r New Member

    Thanks So Much Vitellino
     
  12. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello Clock3r,

    Your grandfather was held at one time in Campo P.G. 65, which was at Gravina in Puglia, down in the heel of Italy. He may well have been moved on from there as the Allies advanced up the peninsula.

    I have a list of South Africans being held in Germany but it is a box somewhere - we are in the process of moving house.

    The only way to find out exactly what happened to him is to send for his service records from SANDF ( If you put this word into the search box at the top of this page you will get some more information).

    Best wishes,

    Vitellino
     
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  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member Patron

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  14. micky

    micky Member

    Hello Tarquini, you mentioned Captain Jobling.
    I have a picture of an "English airman, captain Hugh Jobling" that returned in Italy in the '50s to pay a visit to Don Ximenes Azzolini, priest of Villa Fogliano, near Reggio Emilia. Don Azzolini has hidden Jobling and another unknown British airmen for some time, later the two escapers was bring in the partisan held area in high Apennines mountains. Do you have more informations on him? Thanks in advance.

     

    Attached Files:

  15. Hi! I am looking for information for WJ Myburgh? Conflicting records stated that he died in Jun 44 and was a POW in CAMP 49 Italy. I need confrimation that he was in fact a POW?
     
  16. Campo Prigionieri di Guerra No. 65


    Based on the hand written memoir of my Grandfather, 197086, Corporal Rudolph Henry Sonnekus, 2nd Battalion South African Police. After the fall of the garrison of Tobruk on 21 June 1942 [Monday was the 79th Anniversary of the garrisons surrender] 10 721 South Africans suddenly found themselves ‘in the bag’ as they termed being a Prisoner of War (POW).


    Sonnekus was to spend the next six months being held in a POW Camp in the Libyan city of Derna before he was shipped over the Mediterranean Sea inside the holds of an Italian ship. Coming ashore in the Italian port city of Brindisi, Sonnekus like countless other Springboks before him, was transported the 118 kilometres up the Italian Adriatic coastline to the port city of Bari and the Campo Prigionieri di Guerra No. 75 [Prisoner of War Camp No. 75].


    The location of the camp can be found on Google Maps by searching for the Chiesetta Torre Tresca, [a church located on the old POW Camp grounds] inside Torre Tresca, Bari.


    Campo P.G. No. 75 was a transit camp and Sonnekus records that the camp was so full upon his groups arrival there that they were held in an almond orchard in the rain and mud, a consequence of arriving in the middle of Italy’s winter of December 1942. After two weeks, Sonnekus records in his memoir that he was transferred to his permanent camp, Campo Prigionieri di Guerra No. 65, located between the villages of Gravina and Altamura, 53 kilometres west of Bari.


    The camps location can be found on Google Maps by searching for Campo PG 65 Altamura / POW Camp 65 between Gravina and Altamura. Campo No. 65 consisted out of 36 barracks and was designed to hold almost 9 000 commonwealth’s soldiers captured in Tobruk and North Africa and was destined to become the biggest Italian POW camp during WW2.


    In the spring of 1943, Sonnekus was sent to work on a wheat farm in the Foggia district, approximately 140 kilometres north of the camp. This was allowed as the Geneva Convention allowed the forcibly employment all POWs below the rank of Sergeant into work of a non-military nature. Soldiers in the rank group Sergeant and above had to volunteer for such work details. With its everlasting boredom, no forcing was necessary, as most POWs fought for spots on these details just to get out of camp. Besides something to do, work details also received extra payment, Sonnekus mentions 1 Lire per day, and extra food, an important consideration. While working on the farm, Sonnekus, became dreadfully ill with malaria and was unconscious or in a state of delirium for almost ten days. He was transferred back to the hospital at Campo No. 65, where he doctors administered the anti-malaria drug Atabrine to him. Unfortunately, Atabrine should be diluted in water prior to being injected, but Sonnekus’ doctors gave it to him neat, which almost killed him.


    Sonnekus because he was still recovering from his bout of malaria remained in camp at Gravina when his fellow prisoners began to be railed to other camps further north, due to the Allied invasion of Sicily on 19 July 1943. He was thus able to witness first-hand the power of the Allied Airforce: “One morning we woke up to what became known as the thousand bomber raid on Foggia. Wave upon wave of Liberators flew over the city all that day – dropping deadly bombs. It was told that 10 000 people died that day”

    Sonnekus’ source of information was remarkably accurate, for the Allies on 19 August 1943 launched seven waves of Heavy Bombers consisting out of 233 Liberator B-24 and B17 Flying Fortresses against Foggia’s transport network and airfields causing 9 581 deaths amongst the city’s population.

    Soon after this bombing, Sonny was also transferred, his destination Campo No. 82 at Laterina, in the Italian region of Tuscany, located about 50 kilometres southeast of Florence and about 14 kilometres northwest of Arezzo. This was to be his last Italian camp, for upon the Italian armistice on 3 September 1943, Sonnekus was placed on a train and taken north to Kriegsgefangenen-Mannschafts-Stammlager IV-B, or simply Stalag IV-B, located 8 kilometres north-east of the town of Mühlberg in the Province of Saxony, just east of the Elbe river and about 48 kilometres north of Dresden.
     

    Attached Files:

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  17. Morning.

    Have you drawn his military record from the South African DOD Archives in Pretoria?

    Jean-Pierre
     
  18. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Dear Jean Pierre,

    Thank you for this information on your grandfather,

    I will put him on my Laterina website in the near future.

    You should alert Domenico Bolognese (see this forum) regarding this post as in late September of this year, Covid permitting, there is to be a ceremony at PG 65.

    Out of interest, Ann Marie Gerber told me earlier this year that she has written a book about her relative in Afrikaans.

    Vitellino

    Edited to say:

    The Italian armistice was signed on 3 September at Cassabile in Sicily but was not made public until the evening of 8 September, when prime minister Badoglio broadcast to the nation. There's a very good account of what happened at PG 82 following his announcement on my website.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
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