Author Topic: Italian POW Camp PG60  (Read 6237 times)

Offline Anydogsbody

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Italian POW Camp PG60
« on: Saturday 19 May 12 18:53 BST (UK) »
My father's military record shows him to have been in PG60 in 1942. It is also possible that he was transferred to PG70.

I had understood that PG60 was closed in Nov 1942 but would be interested to know if that can be confirmed or if someone can provide a more extensive history of the camp

I read an item, in Italian so much of it was unintelligible to me, which seemed to suggest that there was a concentration camp housing the usual groups of prisoners, Jews, political activists etc. at Colle Compito, Cappanori, Nr Lucca. Can that be confirmed?

I am assuming that this was the former PG60 but can't be certain. I was able to glean that conditions in the area seem to have been very bad with marshy land, mosquitoes etc. Was this the reason its use as discontinued as a POW camp?

I have been to Colle Compito and it's in a beautiful location which is hard to equate to older descriptions. Perhaps the area has been drained and brought in to use for arable farming.

I would welcome any further info on PG 60

Offline ADM199

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Re: Italian POW Camp PG60
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 30 May 12 15:42 BST (UK) »
Red X Report of 15th Nov 1942 for PG70.

A large number of POW have been transferred from Camp 60 which has been discontinued"

"Others came from PG66 and PG 61.
Prisoners of War. North Africa,Italy and Germany

Offline ADM199

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Re: Italian POW Camp PG60
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 30 May 12 15:59 BST (UK) »
Telegram.
 
BM /1602   (PW2)  10/12/42

I.R.C.C. informed B.R.C.S that no British POW are left in PG 55 and PG 60 Had been closed.

Berne to Foreign Office Ref K.W. 16/29 Tel No. 4113  11th Jan 1942


"Points from Report on visit to PG 70 17/12/422"

"Camp now holds 5737 prisoners, many of whom transferred from PG 60 which has been Abolished".

An  I.R.C.C. visit made on March 11th 1943 shows an increase to 6899 prisoners at PG 70.

Prisoners of War. North Africa,Italy and Germany


Offline ADM199

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Re: Italian POW Camp PG60
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 30 May 12 16:25 BST (UK) »
PG 60 was opened 7th July 1942.

Two visits by I.R.C.C. were made and the following comments were made.

"Tented Camp in two sections with no Heating or lighting. Used as a Transit Camp."

In a September visit the Camp was described as "Damp & Cold with Fog at night".
Trench that runs through the length of whole Camp has to be dug afresh every day.

The ground was previously Marsh until efforts to drain 10yrs previously.
180 P.O.W. admitted to Hospital with Malaria.

Reg X visit of 15th Oct 1942 declared the Camp to be Healthy during the height of Summer

"There was an urgent neccessity now to close the Camp as early as possible."

The area is unsuitable for building a P.O.W. Camp.

4975984 Pte C L Warner Foresters died 9/8/19042
2928797 Pte W Murray  Q.O.C.H. died 13/8/1942
5879272 Sgt C H Jones Pioneers died  15/8/1942.


Hope this explains the difference in conditions from Summer to Autumn.


Prisoners of War. North Africa,Italy and Germany

Offline Anydogsbody

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Re: Italian POW Camp PG60
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 30 May 12 17:14 BST (UK) »
Here is an extract from a local history of Capannori which includes Colle Compito where PG 60  was located.

"Near Lucca, in the municipality of Capannori, we find an ex concentration camp, P.G N.60, opened in the September of 1943, in the fraction of Colle di Compito. The history of this concentration camp began in the area called "Il Pollino" that belonged to the Ravano family (ex Gherardesca) and, at the beginning of 1940, was used as a prison camp for english enemies. This camp rises at the end of an area called "Padule", under the village of Castelvecchio and next to the railway station of Colle, that links Lucca to Pontedera and connected Lucca to Piaggio until 1958. After 1943, month of September, in the camp were imprisoned both civils and political prisoners, jews and foreign enemies. They were crowded together into narrow shacks and in total promiscuity. To worsen the situation there were also the climate and the position of the camp: the proximity to marshes, the hot temperatures, the damp and the swarms of mosquitos."


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The dates given are incorrect for the camp described to have been PG60 which closed in late '42 but refer to the later use of the site as a concentration camp.

Offline desjef

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Re: Italian POW Camp PG60
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 26 December 12 04:05 GMT (UK) »
I hope this brief chronology helps answer a couple of the questions raised here.

My wife's father Kenny Breakey was transferred from CC60 to Campo 65, Gravina in Southern Italy on 16/11/1942. (His Diary)
After being taken prisoner at Tobruk, he arrived from Benghazi via Southern Italy and spent part of the winter in Section M, CC 60 near Lucca, according to his official war record, arriving on 31/7/1942.(Diary)
CC60 was clearly set to to house the North African captives having been just set up on 7/7/1942. (telegram)
It was as described in the telegram as a " Tented Camp in two sections with no Heating or lighting.
We have a pencil drawing of the tented camp done by "Brown", possibly Jack (John Thomas), the only visual record we have seen of what this camp looked like in winter 1942 as the inscription to Kenny states. It was done on the back of an Ali Baba page (in Italian) as you are aware, paper was rare and not normally used for drawing. :) Kenny kept it with him until he returned home which is quite incredible given what he went through after CC60. (Happy to share this with genuine people who will keep it private).
Kenny did not go to PG 70. (The SADF stated to that they did not keep a record of any information about "His" POW years in Italy and Germany except that he was a POW. Hard to believe but probably true of all the SA troops).
The malaria story from this chat refreshed Lucille's memory as Kenny definitely had malaria, as did many of his friends in the camp who told the same story directly to her after the war. (Up to now, we thought it was an African disease).
Given the inscription on the drawing done by the artist "Brown" which refers to "Grim days in winter" 1942, I would have guess this depicts Campo 60 in November in 1942 just before they left.
Kenny states "this camp condemned and we might go to Rome" so they knew they were going to move as early as August of 1942. (Diary)
Kenny was transported in bitter cold weather in unheated cattle trucks and arrived at Campo 65 Gravina on 18/11/1942  where they had no (heat) food or bunks so they slept on the cement floor. (Diary)
According to the Red Cross records he was still there in March 5 of 1943.
He left for Sagan Germany on16/9/1942 on German cattle trucks and arrived at Stalag VIIIC  on 25/11/1943. (Diary)
The Red Cross confirms he was there on 8 November 1944.

According to his war record, he was liberated by Patton in April 1945 after surviving the 6 week "Long March" in the dead of winter.

Let me know if I cane be of any more help.



Offline Anydogsbody

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Re: Italian POW Camp PG60
« Reply #6 on: Monday 31 December 12 16:58 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for the info. When I saw Sagan mentioned I thought he might have been in the famous "Great Escape" camp but the number is wrong.

Your post underpins the fact that that PG60 closed in late '42 so, wherever my father was after that, it wasn't there. I have no certain knowledge that he was transferred to PG70 and it is equally likely that he was in PG 65 Gravina.

I would be fascinated to see the sketch and so would my mother, who is now 91. I'm not sure if you can use the personal messaging system until after a few more posts but I would be happy to provide you with an email address if you are able to scan the sketch.

I'm quite intrigued by the way this thread has opened up since I started it and the amount of help I've had. Your post has added a few more snippets to the information pile!!

Offline desjef

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Drawing of CC60
« Reply #7 on: Monday 31 December 12 22:41 GMT (UK) »
Anydogsbody, the attachment would not upload. Send me your e-mail and I will send it to you.

Desjef

Offline desjef

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StalagVIIIC
« Reply #8 on: Monday 31 December 12 22:46 GMT (UK) »
Anydogsbody, this Sagan camp backed onto the great escape camp, Stalag Luft III. The pictures of Luft III towers and prisoner huts on the web were taken from VIII C.

Kenny told me that they had no idea what was really happening next door until after the war.

Desjef