These images, provided by Ian McCarthy of Associazione Casa della Memoria, show the camp as it appears today.
Inside the walls (today used as a field for sports)
The patched hole in the wall, though which the POWs escaped in September 1943
Two surviving buildings outside the camp walls that were used as barracks for guards and/or storage
The brick infirmary
A barbed wire-topped stone wall
It is amazing to see the place where my great uncle Walter Austin Parker was held captive. I have heard stories from my mother and father, but most of the information was kept private as he was broken man when he returned home. Thank you for your story on them. Regards Malcolm Parker
Hi Malcolm, I’m so glad to hear from you. I understood from information I received from researcher Marco Soggetto that your great uncle was an Australian who escaped to Switzerland from northern Italy. However, I have no confirmation that he was in Camp 59. Early last year, I received a note from Dawn Hurst, who is Walter’s niece. I assume you know her? She sent me a list of camps Walter was in. I’d be glad to send that list to you. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. – Dennis Hill
As my father has passed away 25 years ago we have lost touch with the family, Walter’s brother Harold was my grandfather, so I have only found out about Walter in the last week, as we are tracking down our family history. Any information on Walter would be greatly appreciated. Regards Malcolm
Thanks for the additional background, Malcolm. E-mail to me at email@example.com and I can provide you with a bit more information.
My name is Pamela. I’m Jimmy Feehan’s daughter. Dad rarely spoke of his time during the war. Thank you you so very much for this. One thing of interest—dad had a stutter, but not when he was speaking Italian. I have pics of him and other soldiers in Egypt. Would love to share so others may spot their loved ones. Where do I send them?
My name is Laura. My Dad passed away in November 2018 at 96 years. He was in North Africa. Captured at Long Stop Hill battle in Tunisia during WWII. He first went to Camp 98 then was transferred to Camp 59. He escaped and was able to make it to British lines . He was then sent back to the states. He also didn’t talk about the war till he joined a Ex-Pow chapter. He told us he only told us a fraction of his experience and the knowledge would go to his grave with him. My Dad weighed all of 120lbs when he escaped with 2 other men they kept them at the starving level and weak. If not for the Royal Army the escape would not have happened, Camp 59 was going to be sent to a camp in Germany.
Glad to see this web site is still up Every year WW2 Escape Lines Memorial Society run a series of walks starting at the camp and going into the hills where the evaders were kept safe by the locals. The local support was never forgotten and Keith Kilby returned and started giving bursaries to young Italians to spend time in England to learn the language before returning home. Covid – 19 permitting, the walks will recommence. Ian, who is a contributor along with Rog Stanton deliver many stories of what happened after the night they all broke through the wall. I have a pic of Keith by “his hole” somewhere.