James Osborn in Italian and German Camps

Above: Jim Osborn in 1945, at the time of his marriage to Betty Ephgrave.
Note that the crest on his cap seems to be that of the Royal Artillery, and the ribbon bar above his left pocket flap bears a number 8. I believe it is the Africa Star 8th Army bar.

I received an email from John Osborn, who lives in Derby, England, on January 12.

John wrote, “I am trying to trace the movements of a relative of mine who I have just discovered was a POW held at Camp 59 and who is not on your list. My uncle, James Frederick Osborn was a Gunner in the Royal Artillery of the British Army.

“My uncle Jim was born in Luton, Bedfordshire, on 26 July 1920. He was one of three sons of Frederick and Hilda Osborn. His brother Les was about a year younger and my dad, Ray, was three years his junior. At the outbreak of World War 2 the family was living in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, England, UK.

“The three brothers all volunteered before they were drafted, as their conscription age approached. Jim went into the Army, Les into the Royal Air Force, and my dad went into the Royal Navy.

“I have always known that Jim had been a POW from early on in the war and I have some vague memory that I was once told that he was captured in North Africa rather than France.

“My cousin Christine, Jim’s daughter, sent me photocopy of a POW postcard from Jim to Betty Ephgrave, who was at the time his fianceé. They married in 1945 on Jim’s return home.”

The return address on the card is Osborn, James Fredirick, Gunner 1602265, Camp PG No 59, PM 3300 ITALIA.

John continued, “Jim ended the war in Stalag VI-B at Mühlberg in Germany.

“Christine told me that at some time during his captivity, possibly at the end of the war, or possibly before he was transferred from Camp 59, Jim was involved in a breakout.

“During the breakout he lost what personal papers he had. These were found by a German soldier. Some years after the war (about 1948-49) this German returned the papers to Jim. From then on they sent each other Christmas cards and visited each other!”

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