T/74645 William BANKS, Royal Army Service Corps: POW; Various questions about Service

Discussion in 'RASC' started by James Banks, Mar 30, 2020.

  1. James Banks

    James Banks Member

    I am researching my grandads war history and he was captured in North Africa in Tobruk 1942. I have found out that he was held in a camp near Benghazi number 116 apparently and then camp 153 in suani south of Tripoli. It is also mentioned that he was held in a place called Naomi?? It says it is also south of Tripoli but I can’t find any reference to this at all. Is there any official lists of camps in Libya during the Second World War!? Any help would be greatly received. My grandad was William Banks and service number was T/74645 his pow number was 7054
    Chris C likes this.
  2. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello James,

    Here's the list of camps in Libya/Egypt taken from Italian site www.campifascisti.it:

    Camp No. & Name Location
    Camp P.G.. n. 151 di Tarhuna Tarhūnah
    Camp P.G.. n. 152 di Trik Tarhuna not identified
    Camp P.G.. n. 153 di Suani Ben Adem Suani Ben Adem
    Camp P.G.. n. 154 di Castel Benito Ben Ghashir
    Camp P.G.. n. 155 di Bova not identified
    Camp P.G.. n. 156 di Zliten Zliten
    Camp P.G.. n. 157 di Sirte Sirte
    Camp P.G.. n. 158 del KM 8 (rotabile Tripoli Zavia) Along the road from Tripoli to Zavia
    Camp P.G.. n. 159 di Homs Al-Khums
    Camp P.G.. n. 165 di Benghazi (El Coefia) Benghazi
    Camp P.G.. n. 166 di Benghazi (Sidi Hussein) Benghazi
    Camp P.G.. n. 167 di Barce Barce Al-Marj (to be verified)
    Camp P.G.. n. 168 di Derna Derna
    Camp P.G.. n. 169 di Tobruk Tobruk

    Camp P.G. n. 170 di Marsa Matruh Marsa Matruh (to be verified)

    There's no Camp PG 116 but you'll see that PG 166 was near Benghazi.

    Could this be Homs?


    James Banks and Tony56 like this.
  3. James Banks

    James Banks Member

    Thanks so much for this. In my grandfathers diary he says Naomi 5 miles west of Tripoli. He only stayed there according to his diary 14 days and then was moved to Suani.

    the Benghazi camp he says dated the 4th September 42 that he has been informed the camp is registered as 116 P.M.85. This is where I got the 116 number from. He was in this camp from 29th June until 15th October 1942. He did stop at Derna for 4 to 5 days also
  4. James Banks

    James Banks Member

    Looking at the Map it could have been the KM 8 camp 158 that’s west of Tripoli
  5. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

    You may find this map useful. It is from the official NZ war history, but I cannot lay my hands on the website at present.There is also another map which I will try to locate.
    Paul Nield and James Banks like this.
  6. GeoffMNZ

    GeoffMNZ Well-Known Member

  7. James Banks

    James Banks Member

    I have my grandads discharge letter from when he left the army after the war had finished. I was wondering if anyone knew what BEF if it is BEF to 19.5.40 to 16.6.40 would stand for!? Any help would be greatly received. I have attached a picture of the letter

    Attached Files:

  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

  9. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member


    Welcome to the forum.

    BEF = British Expeditionary Force - the title of the units who served in France & Belgium Sept 1939/June 1940.



    If you want details of his time as POW you ought to apply to Swiss Red Cross 25th May. It’s a free service. An online application form ought to be on the site by 8am - if not check every 30 minutes for it. Complete and submit it very quickly as the application window is often only open for 2 hours or so before it closes due to the limit being reached.

    You get a reply through the post about 4 or 5 months later.

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

    You can also apply for his full service records from UK MOD - cost £30.

    Requests for personal data and service records: a detailed guide
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
    Tony56 and James Banks like this.
  10. James Banks

    James Banks Member

    Thankyou for that. In the diary I have which only starts in 1941 he does refer to something in North Africa as another Cherbourg again. Would Cherbourg have been used to extract the army!? That may seem like a fairly stupid question actually because I am sure they more than likely would have
  11. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Not all troops were evacuated through Dunkirk.

    Some returned to UK via Cherbourg (some, including Canadians, actually arrived there post Dunkirk with the forlorn hope of continuing to fight on French soil) and other ports.
    James Banks likes this.
  12. Tony56

    Tony56 Member Patron

    Might be better to keep everything on one post as you are likely to end up with bits of information spread all over which will make it difficult to follow, other post here:
    Pow camps North Africa

    As per post #3 above really recommend sending for service records.
    James Banks likes this.
  13. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Threads merged; title amended to reflect that.
    Tony56 and James Banks like this.
  14. James Banks

    James Banks Member

    Would anyone know where the 1st armoured division were based in the uk between June 40 and August 41? Or anyone point me in the correct direction so I can find out myself? I think they were stationed at Blandford Camp a mile from where I live for a period but I can’t find anything to confirm this.
  15. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    Grandad was in a RASC unit that was well behind British lines, or his tasks took him far back from the lines. As such he was not caught up in the German encirclement that resulted in the Boulogne/Calais and finally Dunkirk evacuations, Operation Dynamo. he was in RASC possibly a lorry driver or stores etc. delivery. His unit was in what was generically but officially called a Lines of Communication unit. There were 100,000 of these trapped in France after Dunkirk fell on June 4. Most knew, because they probably arrived in France that way, that Britain was using all the western Channel ports and those on the Bay of Biscay as the major entry/exits to France. LofC units pulled back to these to see if a ship was there. After Operation Dynamo, came Operation Cycle for Le Havre/St Valery run from RN Portsmouth and then Operation Aerial run from RN Plymouth for ports from Cherbourg round to the Spanish border. 190,000 came out through these. Technically these men were now serving in the Second BEF that had been created but few are aware of that, or that these other evacuations even happened. Well done Grandad. Mine was also lucky this way.
    James Banks likes this.
  16. James Banks

    James Banks Member

    Did your grandad serve in North Africa after or was he stationed somewhere else?
  17. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    He was in both wars and served in the RE in 1940. He was just south of Guderian's advance from Sedan to the coast. He got out at St Nazaire, also on 16 June.. He should have gone to Algeria in 1942 but was too ill and discharged from the army as unfit to serve.Thanks for posting your grandfather's story.
    James Banks likes this.
  18. James Banks

    James Banks Member

    A couple of things really....I have found my grandads service book it says he joined up on the 7th of July 1939 in Invergordon all it says is supplementary reserve... is that like the territorial army!? and I now know from the 11th February 1941 he was attached to the 22nd armoured brigade, RASC. Which is stamped in his book. He has also got written down a number with a few letters before which I am struggling to make out with Rifle Number written above it. Would they have there own rifle number!?
  19. Osborne2

    Osborne2 Well-Known Member

    My answer needs confirmation by your further research or other replies. He may have been one of the first intakes under the Militia Act 1939, where one did six months training and then were in the reserve for three years, but allowed back in civvy life. However, grandad would therefore still be in the army on 3 September doing his six months so he was in it to win it. If you find out more please post, or correct me.
  20. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member


    According to the war diary of 22nd Coy RASC (Armd Bde) they were shipped to the Middle East on HM Troop Ship Orion (WO171/1296):

    14 August 1941
    Company had breakfast at 04.30 hours and provided with haversack ration.
    Petrol Sub-Park had sent over previous night, four cooks for preparing breakfast, and 25 vehicles for conveying personnel to Malmesbury Station. Embussing and entraining goes very smoothly under Section arrangements. Major Franklin is at the Station to wish the Company Bon Voyage. On arrival at Avonmouth, port of embarkation, the men are taken straight on board H.M.S. ORION, baggage put on quay and quickly carried on board. Men pleased with move as it is done with no hanging about. Perhaps due to the fact that we are the first Unit to report. Officers are provided with excellent quarters, the men at first slightly overcrowded, due to lack of experience in roping hammocks. Food for all ranks excellent.

    15 August 1941 On Board H.M.T. ORION
    Company is detailed Ship’s Duty Company, having to provide 90 men for guard duties and 130 fatigue men. Arrangements are made with O.C.T. for paying men. Much appreciated by men as there is an excellent canteen on board.
    Company Office is opened and Company life continues.

    I hope that is of interest.


    James Banks likes this.

Share This Page