On the Trail of L/Sgt John Henry Jewell


Lance Sergeant John Henry Jewell, Service Number 5495162, of the Royal Hampshire Regiment

I received a note a few days ago from Jackie Keenan of the village of Whittlesford in Cambridge, England.

She and her sister, Margaret, have been attempting to trace the details of their father’s wartime experience.

“Our father, John Henry Jewell, was taken prisoner in North Africa on 3rd December 1942,” Jackie explained.

“I have been through [accounts of] other prisoners taken in the same battle, on the same day, from the same regiment and it would appear that they were taken to Camp 98 in Sicily on 5th December where they stayed until being moved on 31st December to Camp 66 at Capua. On 2nd March 1943 they were moved on again to Servigliano where they remained until 14th September 1943.

“After the POWs escaped from Servigliano, my father was reported missing until being traced as a prisoner in Stalag 7 in Moosburg.” His prisoner number there was 130605.

Jackie explained that as their parents died many years ago and today there are no family members living whom she and Margaret can question about their father’s past, their only hope of learning more is through their own research.

“We have just returned from Fermo and Servigliano. We found the people in this area so helpful and friendly. We talked with Giuseppe Millozzi and were taken to Casa della Memoria at the old railway station.

“We have a letter that was sent to my father 70 years ago, a copy of which I have attached. I am afraid it does not give a great deal of information. It is possible that Nelly Cifani helped my father, as I know many of the people around Servigliano put their own lives at risk to help the prisoners.

“We went to the archives in the Town Hall in Fermo where they tried to find Nelly Cifani in their records but with no success.

“My sister, who is ‘little Margaret’ in the letter, was only a few months old when dad left and she was almost 6 years old when he came home. I wasn’t born until after the war.

“I would be very grateful for any help, advise or contacts you could give me to try and find exactly what happened to our father in those missing months.”

If anyone who reads this post is able to contribute to Jackie and Margaret’s search, I would be pleased to hear from them (hilld@iu.edu).


The Christmas greeting from Nelly Cifani reads:

Natale 1946

I beg little Margaret to give my kind regards to her dear parents and to accept my best wishes for a happy Christmas. A thousand kisses.

Cordially yours
Nelly Cefani
ITALIA – Fermo – Corso Cavour 33

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