William Redman was one of 20 men recorded in Robert Dickinson’s Address List in his journal, “Servigliano Calling.”
To date we have learned more about three of these fellows: Fred Druce, Jack Davies, and now William Redman.
In February, Jo Millard of Littlehampton (Sussex, England) wrote, “I have been researching my family tree, and I always knew my Mother’s brother was a prisoner of war in Italy but never knew where, as he very rarely talked about those days.
“Just by chance I stumbled onto your site and saw his name and address. So I now have a little bit more of the puzzle that is my family.”
Two months later, Jo sent her uncle’s story, which she found archived at the local government records office.
William’s POW Story
In due course, I joined up and very soon found myself in the Middle East, where I met up with Sef [William’s younger brother] in Cairo. After a short spell in the Artillery base, which was at Heliopolis—the biblical “City of the Sun”—I got posted to a unit somewhere up the desert. I was miles away from anywhere and after a while our captain warned us to be ready to move “up to the wire,” as the sappers would be cutting the wire for us to go into Libya.
The wire was a monstrous affair, quite eight feet high, four feet at the base, and tapered up until it finished at two feet at the top. It was one mass of barbed wire. I met up with a chap who had been with the Long Range Desert Group. He came with us to the quarry in Germany [the quarry—described later—was a work camp in Grimma, Germany]. He told me that they ranged all over Libya and as far as he knew the fence was all around the country.
We went through the cutting and turned south. There, in the vast uninhabited interior, we spent our time on maneuvers, getting ready for “the big one.” We had several skirmishes with the Germans and Italians whilst we prowled around there. Not too bad. I cannot remember if we lost any men. Then one day we were ordered to pack and go north to take up our positions for attacking the Germans, who were dug in around Tobruck. It was in November 1941. We opened up at about 10,000 yards according to our No.1, who timed another gun’s shell explosion. It was the commencement of the Battle of Sidi Rezegh. The 6th Tanks came through our guns, and their commanders, with their heads out of the turrets, waved gaily to us as they rolled on towards the enemy.