Sixty-eight Australians Who Passed through P.G. 59

Katrina Kittel visits with Bill Rudd, who turned 100 last December, at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance’s “Resistance: Australians and the European Underground 1939–45” exhibition this past summer.

My first post on this site concerning an Australian was in 2009—a short post entitled “Simmons’ Address Book—the Lone Australian.”

Since then, I’ve been contacted by several families of Australian soldiers—and one New Zealander, 3624827 Maurice French—and I’ve added their stories and photos to this site.

Now, thanks to the generosity of researcher Katrina Kittel, I’m able to share the names of 68 Australian POWs who passed through Camp 59—a complete or nearly complete list.

In addition to Australians on Katrina’s list, nine Western Australians were still in the camp at the time of the escape in September 1943.

Those P.G. 59 escapees were: WX12806 John “Jack” Albert Allen, WX14635 Thomas David Alman, WX10180 Arthur George Bell—who sometimes went by A. G. Jux, WX5012 Lawrence Mortimer “Lawrie” Butler, WX11634 Vaughan Lawrence Carter, WX17234 Robert Edward Albert Edwards, WX14366 James William Feehan, WX4445 Ronald James “Jimmy” McMahon, and WX4449 Leslie Worthington.

Katrina’s source has been digitized Red Cross cards at the University of Melbourne Archives and records in the National Archives of Australia (NAA).

When I was first in touch with Katrina in 2014, she explained, “I have been engaged in research of the wider cohort of approximately 2,000 Australian POWs in Italy, but also with a narrower lens to write about 50 men who escaped Vercelli camps.

“Some of the escaped prisoners, as you would know, were to have long periods of time on the loose. Others did not make it through 1944. A number had alias names, as part of partisan activity, or to blend in to Italian setting.

“Although my research started in 2011 as an initial search for more info around the experience of my father, NX60337 Colin Booth, it became clear to me that the history was not just of Australians; the history was of Australians with other POW nationals and significantly the history was a shared history with the Italian people whom they encountered as escapers. That last element is what I wish to pursue in my second book. My first book focuses on the various outcomes/locations for about 20 escaper groups leaving Campo 106 rice farms in September 1943.”

Katrina’s first book will be published and available for purchase in 2019.

Both Katrina and I have learned much from former POW Bill Rudd, who established and maintains the excellent ANZAC POW Freemen in Europe and Campo 57 Grupignano/San Mauro research sites. Like Katrina’s father, Bill had been taken prisoner at Alamein in July 1942, was interned in Italian camps, and ultimately escaped across the Alps into Switzerland.

Katrina writes, “My research commenced as a collaboration with Bill Rudd. More recently, as he broadened his research scope to other cohorts, I have continued to search the online and hard copy archives in Canberra to refine our draft Australian POW Italy nominal roll. Bill Rudd has been instrumental to the extensive work behind the Red Cross POW card digitization initiative.”

Katrina’s List of Australian P.G. 59 Internees

QX7678 – BROOKS, George
VX45215 – CHAPLIN, Alan
VX47656 – DAVIS, Thomas Clive
VX28613 – DEAN, Joseph
VX24151 – DONOVAN, Roy
VX34859 – DORAN, Arthur
QX7942 – DYSON, Alfred
VX40089 – EDMONDSON, Claude
VX31279 – EDWARDS, Eric
VX41808 – EDWARDS, Harold
SX8545 – EMES, Clarence
WX5279 – FRANCE, William
VX28862 – FRANCIS, Alan
WX7068 – FRANCIS, Ivan
QX3224 – FRASER, Alan
NX40919 – GALVIN, Cecil
QX3247 – GRAHAM, Edward
QX15045 – GRAHAM, Gerald
QX3989 – GRAHAM, James
VX34580 – GRANTHAM, Edward
VX29788 – GRIFFITHS, Frederick
WX5847 – GRIFFITHS, Harry
VX14424 – GUEST, James
NX17434 – HALL, Mervyn
NX21076 – HANCOCK, William
TX722 – HANSON, Bernard
QX5625 – HARRISON, George
QX3942 – HOPSON, Charles
VX47078 – HENMAN, Alan
VX31838 – HORSLEY, Lindsay
WX4695 – HUBBARD, Leslie
VX41016 – HUTCHISON, John
QX266 – IMISON, Donald
QX1656 – JOHNSTON, Rae
TX597 – JONES, Maurice
VX48290 – KARNATZ, Thomas
VX33543 – KEATING, Thomas
QX11368 – KEMP, Stanley
VX33859 – KENNEDY, Newton
NX14929 – LOTHIAN, Leslie
VX42282 – LYONS, Thomas
QX7536 – MACFARLANE, Archibald
SX6822 – MILBANK, F. J.
VX26194 – MILWARD, Douglas
WX10462 – MORLEY, Edward
VX32612 – MULLINS, Leonard
VX30876 – MULLINS, James
VX42334 – ORAM, Eric
VX34902 – RICKARD, G.
NX16213 – ROBBINS, Leslie
SX7267 – ROONEY, Gordon
VX32857 – RUDDELL, H.
VX31514 – RUSSELL, John W.
QX3697 – RYAN, John
NX44556 – SIMMONDS, Henry
VX29525 – SIMMONS, James
VX42361 – SMEDLEY, Douglas (his digitised NAA file also confirms 59)
VX33297 – SMITH, Frederick (his digitised NAA file also confirms 59)
NX15043 – SPOONER, Alfred
SX10177 – WENDELBORN, Lawrence
TX360 – WHYMAN, Loyal
VX40478 – WILLIS, Harold (his digitised NAA file also confirms 59)
VX34136 – WILLOUGHBY, Henry
QX5417 – WILSON, James
VX48470 – WINDSOR, Andrew
VX34994 – WOLTER, Lawrence
NX21869 – WOOLRIDGE, Robert

Note the letter of each service number is indicative of the serviceman’s state of enlistment in Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia).

For more posts about POWs from Australia and New Zealand, under “Categories” on the home page select “ANZAC Prisoners.” ANZAC is an an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

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