Category Archives: Prisoners—Other Camps

Wartime Wanderings, 1939–1945

Loftus Peyton Jones during the war

James Peyton Jones wrote to me last month about a recently published memoir of his father’s military service during the Second World War. First Lieutenant Loftus Peyton Jones was captured at sea and for a time was a prisoner of war.

“He was a POW in Italy, first at Camp 35 in Padula and then at No. 19 in Bologna,” James explained. It was from P.G. 19 that he escaped in September 1943.

“My father wrote this memoir primarily for family members in 1993. After he died in 2000, we received a number of requests for a copy from other friends and people he had known, and thought it might have more general interest and value as a way of honoring those of his generation (both in the services and the Italians who helped them during their escapes). We didn’t have the original files, so I re-created them and added some additional photos and copies of documents I found in my father’s archive in an appendix.”

James published the newly-edited memoir this spring.

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Escaped Prisoners and Airman at Fontanaluccia

A page from the register of the Partisan Hospital of Santa Lucia

I received valuable information from Italian researcher Michele Becchi several days ago.

He wrote, “I’m sending to you a page from the register of the Partisan Hospital of Santa Lucia, in the village of Fontanaluccia, not far from Montefiorino (the partisan republic).

“There are names of British ex-POWs that may be interest you.

“In the register are also some names of Allied pilots, Russians, and Germans.”

“The word ‘ospizio’ means hospital but also nursing home. Don Mario Prandi, the parish priest of Fontanaluccia, opened it in the ’30s and during the war, with the help of some antifascist doctors, it became one of the four or five partisan health centers of the mountains open to partisans, prisoners, civilians, and anyone needing help. The acronym ‘S. Lucia V.M.’ is a religious abbreviation for ‘Santa Lucia, Virgin and Martyr.’”

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Charlie Standing—Escapee from Camp 82

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Charlie’s brother Fred Standing (left) and Charlie in the doorway of their family’s home at 54 Lincoln Street, Brighton.

This month I received a note from Simon Hasler of Brighton, UK, addressed to Gillian Pink.

Gill’s father, Tom Ager, was a prisoner-of-war in Italian camp P.G. 82. Tom’s story is recounted on this site in several posts (read “Thomas Ager—Escapee from Italian Camp 82,” “On the Sheltering of Tom Ager,” “Unexpected Letter—News of Tom Ager,” and “Greetings Sent Via the Vatican.”)

Simon wrote, “your post really resonates with our family. My wife’s granddad was in the same POW camp as your father and left at the same time. His name was Charlie Standing. He was a private from Brighton, but in the Hampshire regiment.

“His story is almost identical, other than he stayed uncaptured.

“He lived in caves and was helped by locals near Viterbo. He even learnt Italian whilst on the run and mingled with locals whilst German soldiers were around.

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Coenraad Stoltz—Escapee from Camp 52

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Coenraad Willem Frederik Stoltz

As mentioned in the previous post, I heard from Conradt Stoltz, Coenraad’s grandson, earlier this month. (Read “Coenraad Stoltz—the ‘War-Box.’”)

Concerning the photo above, Conradt wrote, “This is photo the oldest photo I have of grandfather. It was taken around 1963 when he was in his late 40’s.”

Here is a short history of Coenraad Stoltz’s military service that Conradt sent me:

Pte. Coenraad Willem Frederik Stoltz
Private, 1st Regiment Botha, South African Army
Force Number 40011

27 February 1941: On strength – 1st Regiment Botha, Alfa Company (Basic Training)

9 October 1941: Embark HMS Mauritania in convoy with HMAS Australia

21 October 1941: Disembark Suez, Egypt, North Africa

26 October 1941: On strength – Mersa Matruth, Egypt / 2nd Regiment Botha, Charlie Company

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Coenraad Stoltz—the “War-Box”

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Letters dating back to the war are arranged on Coenraad Stoltz’s open “war-box”

Earlier this month, Frank Vaccarezza and I received a note from Conradt Stoltz, who lives in South Africa, concerning the March 2015 post on this site entitled “Vaccarezza Family—P.G. 52 Escapees Protected.”

Conradt wrote, “Regarding the escapees sheltered in your family’s barn, it seems quite possible that it could have been my grandfather Coenraad Stoltz and two of his compatriots‎, Migiel van der Schyff and Hennie de Bruyn.

“I have not been able to track down any of the two’s family or war records, as I do not have their service numbers. However, I have attached some photographs.

“Hope you can add something more, ‎as it would seem I have reached a dead end.

“It would be really amazing if it is verified these three South Africans were indeed amongst those sheltered by the Vaccarezza family between September 1943 and April 1944.”

Conradt sent several photos.

He continued, “The photographs are from my grandfathers ‘war-box,’ as we call it. There are several letters dated between February and August 1941 written by my grandfather to my grandmother.

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Interview with Gino Antognozzi

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Gino Antognozzi at age 24, July 27, 1950

Introduction

The transcript of an interview with Gino Antognozzi that makes up this post is courtesy of Gino’s nephew Alfredo. The interview comes to me by way of Anne Copley, who translated the transcript from Italian into English.

Last summer Anne located the family of Sydney Harold Swingler, known to Gino’s family only as “Antonio” when they sheltered him during the war, and put the two families in contact with each other.

See “Swingler and Antognozzi Familes United.”

Gino Antognozzi lives with his wife Annunziata in Montelparo, a small town about 30 km. from the city of Fermo. He is 89 years old today.

Last summer, on being shown a photograph of Sydney Swingler, Gino immediately recognized him, saying: “It’s him, it’s Antonio.”

“Why Antonio didn’t write a letter, a postcard?” he asked. “I thought he had been killed in war, and he could not go back to England.”

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Swingler and Antognozzi Families United

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This news article from the London area Ham&High newspaper is provided by Anne Copley. It’s the touching story of a contact made between the family of POW Sydney Swingler, known to the Italians as “Antonio,” and his Italians protectors, the Antognozzi family.

Family trace Italians who sheltered their father from fascists
Brave peasants risked their lives to help soldier Sydney

By Tom Marshall
Ham&High, London, UK
hamhigh.co.uk

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The familes of a Second World War soldier from Kentish Town and the Italian peasants who risked their lives to save him have been united after 70 years.

The children of Sydney Swingler have made contact with the Antognozzi family, who protected their father for several months during the war, after an amateur historian and the Ham&High helped bring them together.

Sydney was among the thousands of fighters who fled prisoner-of-war camps after Italy signed an armistice with the Allies in September 1943, then took refuge with Italian peasants as the countryside remained in turmoil.

Delighted

He was sheltered by the Antognozzi family in the Italian village of Montelparo, where they still live, before eventually making it back across Allied lines and returning to his Kentish Town home.

Sydney’s son Colin Swingler, 64, one of four siblings born at the former family home in Highgate Road after the war, said he was delighted to make contact with the Antognozzi family, who had risked their lives to look after his father.

He said: “If the Germans or Italian fascists had found dad, they could have been killed along with him.

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William Percy Hill—Escaped from Camp 65

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William Percy “Bob” Hill. Bob’s daughter-in-law Gillian feels this photo might have been taken while Bob was a prisoner.

Information for this post is from Gillian Hill, who lives in Beldon, Western Australia.

“My father-in-law was a POW in WW2. He was William Percy Hill, 1st Battalion, Rifle Brigade (Army No. 6917847), Gillian wrote. “He would have probably either gone by the name Bob, or Percy, rather than William.”

Bob was British. His address at wartime was 7 Emanual Road, Northwood, Middlesex UK.

He was captured in the North African Desert at Antelat, Libya, on January 23, 1942.

“Bob had a book on the Afrika Korps, “Gillian wrote. “He has handwritten notes throughout the book. He mentions he was attached to 7th Armoured Brigade as spotter for tanks in a bren gun carrier: ‘Last carrier left out of 44. Only 6 of us left.’

“He also mentions that he met Rommel in a field hospital.

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Unexpected Letter—News of Tom Ager

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Beginning of a four-page letter from Victor Parkin to Gladys Wash.

Early last year I heard from Gillian Pink about the experiences of her father, Tom Ager, who was an escapee from Camp 82 at Laterina, Italy.

His story and the story of Gill’s discovery of the family who protected him are posted on this site (see “Thomas Ager—Escapee from Italian Camp 82” and “On the Sheltering of Tom Ager“).

Gill wrote, “In my burrowings, I discovered a letter dated 5 November 1944 to my mother from a Victor Parkin, asking if my father had arrived home safely. He said he was with my father at first, but then they separated—so he might have been the friend my father mentions in his account. It seems he got away while my father was recaptured.”

Gladys was Tom’s fiancee at the time he was a POW; the two married on his return to England.

Here is the text of Victor’s letter:

Mr. G. V. Parkin
15. Pendennis Road
Staple Hill
No. Bristol

5/11/44 [November 5, 1944]

Dear Gladys,

Well first of all I think I had better introduce myself. I was a great friend of Tom Ager’s, perhaps he mentioned me in his letters at some time we were in the P.O.W. camp together. I should have written you before, but I had quite a difficulty in remembering your address, although Tom always talked alot about you.

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Greetings Sent Via the Vatican

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This Christmas greetings was sent by Camp 82 prisoner-of-war Tom Ager to his fiancee, Gladys Wash, by means of a Vatican representative. Note the light sepia drawing of a star with a scarp-life tail and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica behind the message. The document is courtesy of Tom’s daughter Gillian Pink.

The text of the greeting reads:

CHRISTMAS GREETINGS

SECRETARIAT OF STATE TO HIS HOLINESS

Date 23/11/42 [November 23, 1942]

Sender AGER THOMAS J
Rank PTE No. 6010271
Camp No. 82 Military Post PM 3200
Addressee MISS G. L. WASH
Street STATION ROAD
Town WHITE NOTLEY, WITHAM
County ESSEX ENGLAND
Country

Message (10 words – Season’s greetings only)

A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.
FONDEST LOVE, TOM

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This note of explanation accompanied the greeting.

VATICAN WAR ENQUIRY DEPT.
11 CAVENDISH SQUARE,
LONDON, W. 1

The Apostolic Delegate has much pleasure in sending the enclose message to you. The message was collected by a Representative sent by his Holiness the Pope to visit Prisoner of War Camps in Italy.

For more on Tom Ager, read “Thomas Ager—Escapee from Italian Camp 82” and “On the Sheltering of Tom Ager.