This photo of Arnold Chessell was sent to me by his son Roger Chessell of Lincoln, UK. Writing on the back suggests that it was taken in Camp 59 and sent home to England, perhaps as proof of his captive status:
PRE No 7264690. HUT 8.
CAMPO P.G. NO. 59. PM 3300
Arnold Chessell served in the Royal Army Medical Corps (R.A.M.C.) of the British Army.
Roger wrote of his father that “Like most men of that period he didn’t give us much detail about his war experiences, but he did say that he was captured in Tobruck [Libya] and ended up in a P.O.W. camp.” That camp was, of course, Italian P.G. 59.
Roger continued, “He told us a story that he was one of many that had walked out of the camp during the 24 hour period between the Italians leaving and the Germans arriving.”
Arnold’s medical records indicate that he had been bayoneted at some point in time.
His army records indicate that he was missing and believed a P.O.W. on December 12, 1941, identified by the International Red Cross as a P.O.W. on February 2, 1942, and repatriated to 15 F.H.S. (Field Hygiene Section), which was based in Alexandria, Egypt, in June 1943.
This last date of June 1943 seems an error, as the mass escape from Camp 59 occurred three months later, in September 1943. However, Arnold’s story of walking out of camp before the German’s arrived to take control fits the Camp 59 escape episode.
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