Update—Search for the Soldier Hidden in Petritoli


The comune of Petritoli in the Italian Marche. Photograph by Monica Vitali (Wikimedia Commons).

There is a new development in the search for information about the escaped POW who was helped in the comune of Petritoli during the war. (See “Escaped Prisoner Sheltered in Petritoli.”)

My earlier post explained that Roberto Lucci is attempting to make contact with the family of an escaped prisoner who was sheltered by his great-grandfather, Luigi Lucci, in 1943–44.

Recently, Roberto was told by elders in Petritoli that William and David were part or all of the first or last names, so the soldier’s last name might have been something like David Williams or William Davidson.

However, since I published the earlier post, a document has surfaced in Petritoli identifying the escapee as “David Grif. prigioniero inglese” (David Grif. English prisoner).

Although the first name was recorded as David, is is conceivable that William was his middle name, or that William was his first name and David his middle name and that he preferred to be called David.

Grif is not a common English name, and the period suggests the name might be abbreviated. The “Alphabetical List” sent to me by Brian Sims, contains 81 soldiers with names beginning with “Grif”—Griffin, Griffith, and Griffiths.

There no soldiers in the list named Grif or Griff.

Only one of these men is identified as being interned in P.G. 59—I. G. Griffiths.

Thirteen have no specific camp identification. Of the 13, two stand out as a potential match for the name David Griffiths or David William Griffiths:

Griffiths, D. – Gunner – Army Number 917544 – Royal Artillery – R.O. Number 5

Griffiths, D. W. – Private – Army Number 4978406 – For’ters [Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)] – R.O. Number 20

Liberation of the Province of Ascoli Piceno (including Petritoli) by the Allied troops occurred on June 19, 1944. Therefore, the POW would have been recaptured by the Germans before that time.

Anyone with information concerning this POW can write to me at hilld@iu.edu.


Roberto Lucci’s grandmother, Elvira Lucci, was a young woman when her family sheltered the escaped prisoner. Note the civic tower of Petritoli in the distance in this photo.

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