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ARGUS (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848 - 1957), Tuesday 1 June 1943, page 6

PSYCHOLOGY TEST FOR LAND GIRLS

Because so many girls enlisted in the Women's Land Army have proved unsuitable for land work it has been suggested that girls enlisting in the Land Army should undergo a psychology test. This was discussed at the State Advisory Council meeting, and will be discussed again at the interstate conference of the organisation in Melbourne on June 8, 9 and 10. Also to help with the "settling down" of girls to their new life in the country, more matrons are to be trained. The first course of matrons began yesterday at the Land Army Instruction Depot, Mont Park.

Other matters discussed at the meeting and which will also be discussed at the conference are accommodation, flax mill training and the bringing into line of the AWLA with the other women's services. It has been decided to make representations to have members included in the Australian Comforts Fund distribution, and for concession fares on trains and trams. The question of accommodation will be thoroughly explored, and where possible girls will be billeted in private homes.

More girls are urgently needed for flax work, and it is likely that they will be employed not only in the field, but also in flax mills, for which they would have to receive additional training. About 60% of the girls who have joined the Land Army have enlisted for permanent service, while 33% have volunteered for seasonal work.

The YWCA has volunteered to send a letter to each member of the AWLA offering to help the girls in their shopping, with a lending library, correspondence course, or in any way with sports in their district.

AUXILIARY WORKERS FOR P O W

An organisation working quietly and unobtrusively for prisoner of war funds is the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft POW Adoption Fund, which in less than 2 years has raised 4,000 pounds by means of luncheons, bridge parties, raffles, and participation in two big market fairs.

The auxiliary was formed by relatives and friends in July 1941, after many of the men in the Regiment were captured on Crete. However, not only their own men, but other prisoners of war are helped by the auxiliary. The latest effort is a raffle for a chest of linen, a similar raffle last year raising 1,125 pounds. Helpers are needed to sell tickets for this raffle, and also to assist with the Friday luncheons, held from 12 to 2 in the Commercial Bank Buildings, 245 Elizabeth Street. President of the fund is Mrs. H. Curtis, and secretary Miss E. Rolling, Windsor 8887

ARGUS (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848 - 1957), Tuesday 1 June 1943, page 6

PSYCHOLOGY TEST FOR LAND GIRLS

 Because so many girls enlisted in the Women's Land Army have proved unsuitable for land work it has been suggested that girls enlisting in the Land Army should undergo a psychology test. This was discussed at the State Advisory Council meeting, and will be discussed again at the interstate conference of the organisation in Melbourne on June 8, 9 and 10. Also to help with the "settling down" of girls to their new life in the country, more matrons are to be trained. The first course of matrons began yesterday at the Land Army Instruction Depot, Mont Park.

 Other matters discussed at the meeting and which will also be discussed at the conference are accommodation, flax mill training and the bringing into line of the AWLA with the other women's services. It has been decided to make representations to have members included in the Australian Comforts Fund distribution, and for concession fares on trains and trams. The question of accommodation will be thoroughly explored, and where possible girls will be billeted in private homes.

 More girls are urgently needed for flax work, and it is likely that they will be employed not only in the field, but also in flax mills, for which they would have to receive additional training. About 60% of the girls who have joined the Land Army have enlisted for permanent service, while 33% have volunteered for seasonal work.

 The YWCA has volunteered to send a letter to each member of the AWLA offering to help the girls in their shopping, with a lending library, correspondence course, or in any way with sports in their district.

 

AUXILIARY WORKERS FOR P O W

 An organisation working quietly and unobtrusively for prisoner of war funds is the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft POW Adoption Fund, which in less than 2 years has raised 4,000 pounds by means of luncheons, bridge parties, raffles, and participation in two big market fairs.

The auxiliary was formed by relatives and friends in July 1941, after many of the men in the Regiment were captured on Crete. However, not only their own men, but other prisoners of war are helped by the auxiliary. The latest effort is a raffle for a chest of linen, a similar raffle last year raising 1,125 pounds. Helpers are needed to sell tickets for this raffle, and also to assist with the Friday luncheons, held from 12 to 2 in the Commercial Bank Buildings, 245 Elizabeth Street. President of the fund is Mrs. H. Curtis, and secretary Miss E. Rolling, Windsor 8887

2nd/3rd Prisoners Of War

 

Association records disclose that a total of 1,935 members enlisted in, or were transferred to, the 2nd / 3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

Similarly, our records disclose a total of134 members of the Regiment were captured by the Axis forces.

The majority (108) of these were members of the 7th Battery who were captured on Crete in May 1941.

The remainder (26) were members of the 8th Battery, who were captured in North Africa.

No members of the 9th Battery were taken as prisoners of war.

The great majority (90) of 2nd/3rd POW’s were held in Italian camps, with the balance being held in Germany.

The Association is grateful that researcher Katrina Kittel contacted us and offered to make those components of her research relating to 2nd/3rd members held in POW camps in Italy during WW2 available to us.

Katrina’s research draws on the extensive work undertaken by Bill Rudd OAM (VX39694) and as published at www.anzacpow.com and on Alex Barnett’s (VX41455) book ‘Hitler’s Digger Slaves: Caught in the web of Axis labour camps’

Badge LNAME Fname Title MbCateg MbStat BirthDate JoinDate Deceased ServID Unit Awards
2111 ALBREY Norman George Sgt Ordinary Vale 27/11/1913 21/06/1940 15/12/1972 VX40007 2/3 LAA Reg  
  ALMOND Leslie Wilfred Pte Ordinary Vale 27/11/1911 20/06/1940   VX33399 2/3 LAA Reg  
3472 AUSTIN Gordon George LBom Ordinary   11/06/1919 18/07/1940   VX44538 2/3 LAA Reg  
  BARKER Bryan Gnr Ordinary Vale 8/01/1919 24/06/1940 2/05/1992 VX32151 2/3 LAA Reg  
2427 BARLOW Geoffrey Charles Gnr Ordinary Vale 12/08/1907 5/08/1940   VX38006 2/3 LAA Reg  
  BARNETT Alexander Joseph R Gnr Ordinary Vale 19/09/1920 10/07/1940 23/05/2007 VX41455 2/3 LAA Reg POW
3136 BELL Ian Halbert Sgt Ordinary Vale 5/10/1916 9/07/1940 ../07/1966 VX40833 2/3 LAA Reg  
  BELL James Tweeddale Gnr Ordinary Vale 11/08/1916 10/06/1940 29/07/1994 VX21053 2/3 LAA Reg  
1903 BELL Keith Oswald Pte Ordinary   19/04/1919 13/07/1940   VX37243 2/3 LAA Reg  
3118 BERKLEY Jack Rae SSgt Ordinary  Vale 21/06/1920 15/07/1940 5/04/2012 VX36173 2/3 LAA Reg  
  BIRD Leo James Gnr Ordinary Vale 17/09/1908 5/07/1940   VX43209 2/3 LAA Reg  
1257 BONE Herbert Randolph Gnr Ordinary Vale 9/02/1915 12/07/1940 ../06/1985 VX46570 2/3 LAA Reg  
3243 BOURKE Walter James Gnr Ordinary Vale 12/10/1912 26/07/1940 14/12/1998 VX46399 2/3 LAA Reg  
2685 BRIGHT Edward Laurence J Sgt Ordinary Vale 26/02/1914 30/07/1940 09/10/2007 VX38277 2/3 LAA Reg  
0049 BUTLER Cecil Keith Lieut Ordinary Vale 8/03/1909 8/07/1940 30/11/1988 VX41867 2/3 LAA Reg  
2652 CALLISTER Ralph Leonard Sgt Ordinary Vale 6/03/1907 2/08/1940 30/04/1973 VX37039 2/3 LAA Reg  
  CAMPBELL John Selby WO2 Ordinary   21/04/1920 30/07/1940   VX38276 2/3 LAA Reg  
  CAMPBELL Robert Gordon Sgt Ordinary Vale 24/03/1914 30/07/1940   VX38262 2/3 LAA Reg  
2951 CARTER William Hamilton LSgt Ordinary Vale 15/04/1905 12/06/1940   VX25552 2/3 LAA Reg  
  CLIFFORD Wallace Stanley Gnr Ordinary Vale 19/04/1919 21/06/1940 ../12/1997 VX33303 2/3 LAA Reg  
  COURTNEY Edward James Spr Ordinary Vale 21/11/1909 2/06/1940   VX24598 2/3 LAA Reg MM
  COWIE James Gordon Gnr Fallen KIA 4/04/1920 19/06/1940 25/09/1941 VX33224 2/3 LAA Reg MID
  CROFTS Gordon Simpson Gnr Ordinary Vale 25/04/1920 29/07/1940 09/07/2012 VX47878 2/3 LAA Reg POW
3121 CUTTRISS Clarence Nixon Gnr Ordinary Vale 24/05/1917 8/07/1940 11/06/1977 VX41642 2/3 LAA Reg  
2308 DAVEY Leo Ayres Gnr Ordinary Vale 21/04/1913 18/06/1940   VX31750 2/3 LAA Reg  
3148 DAVIS Linton John Maj Ordinary   10/09/1915 6/05/1940   VX14123 2/3 LAA Reg  
2324 DAWSON Thomas William Sgt Ordinary Vale 12/07/1908 24/09/1940   VX38866 2/3 LAA Reg  
  DELAHUNTY John Thomas Sgt Ordinary   19/08/1920 13/06/1940   VX19595 2/3 LAA Reg  
2481 DUKE Arthur Bom Ordinary Vale 19/08/1909 9/07/1940 13/03/1960 VX40993 2/3 LAA Reg  
  DUNN Jack Gnr Ordinary Vale 2/02/1913 6/08/1940 13/06/1999 VX48062 2/3 LAA Reg  
3390 ELLARD Nathaniel Thomas Sgt Ordinary Vale 23/07/1918 24/06/1640 25/03/1988 VX33644 2/3 LAA Reg  
  EVANS Donald De Lacy Gnr Fallen DOW 9/04/1914 21/06/1940 25/09/1941 VX23633 2/3 LAA Reg  
1048A FARR Alfred R LBom Ordinary Vale 18/06/1910 23/07/1940 20/03/1991 VX36803 2/3 LAA Reg  
  FELLOWS Gordon George Cfn Ordinary Vale 17/02/1920 10/07/1940 13/01/1999 VX45773 2/3 LAA Reg  
1880 GENT Ivan Ray Cfn Ordinary Vale 8/09/1913 24/06/1940 30/12/1981 VX31598 2/3 LAA Reg  
2465 GOWTY George William Pte Ordinary Vale 4/05/1911 21/06/1940 31/12/1966 VX29822 2/3 LAA Reg  
2350 GREENWOOD Edward Gnr Ordinary Vale 7/05/1910 17/06/1940   VX31973 2/3 LAA Reg  
0169 GRIMWADE John Frederick T WO2 Ordinary Vale 16/09/1905 15/07/1940 ../11/1992 VX43343 2/3 LAA Reg  
3385 GROSS Robert Joseph Gnr Ordinary Vale 20/09/1918 18/06/1940 20/08/1991 VX28046 2/3 LAA Reg  
0974A GUY Andrew Keith Gnr Ordinary Vale 2/10/1912 23/07/1940 21/09/1996 VX37836 2/3 LAA Reg  
0179 HALLETT Harold Walter Gnr Ordinary Vale 20/07/1909 24/06/1940   VX32035 2/3 LAA Reg  
  HARDINGHAM Samuel James Gnr Fallen KIA 26/02/1920 18/06/1940 25/09/1941 VX28047 2/3 LAA Reg  
  HARRIS Thomas Jackson Capt Ordinary Vale 12/01/1915 9/05/1940 12/05/1971 VX14643 2/3 LAA Reg MC
2383 HARROWER Eric James Bom Ordinary Vale 30/11/1907 18/06/1940 28/02/1996 VX24479 2/3 LAA Reg  
3033 HAWKEY Thomas Ralph Gnr Ordinary Vale 27/10/1917 23/07/1940 22/09/2008 VX35634 2/3 LAA Reg  
2256 HAWTING Richard John Gnr Ordinary Vale 11/12/1916 24/06/1940 ../10/1997 VX34208 2/3 LAA Reg  
  HEATHCOTE John G Bom Ordinary Vale 6/06/1909 18/06/1940   VX30539 2/3 LAA Reg  
2023 HENHAM Cyril James Mr Ordinary   31/01/1918 18/06/1940   VX28034 2/3 LAA Reg  
  HILDER Douglas Gnr Ordinary Vale 24/10/1914 31/05/1940 06/02/1993 NX24654 2/3 LAA Reg  
  HILL Hugh William J Sgt Ordinary Vale 5/09/1918 15/07/1940 11/11/2001 VX31621 2/3 LAA Reg  
2112 HODGKINSON Joseph Holland Bom Ordinary Vale 23/01/1905 1/07/1940   VX32874 2/3 LAA Reg  
  HUTCHINSON Robert Morris Cpl Ordinary   6/08/1919 5/06/1940   NX28579 2/3 LAA Reg  
  INGLIS Norman Edward A LBom Other Vale 3/01/1911 17/07/1940   VX44067 2/3 LAA Reg POW
3068 KELLY Claude David Sgt Ordinary Vale 11/04/1908 29/07/1940 31/05/1984 VX47995 2/3 LAA Reg  
  KRUGER Charles James Sgt Ordinary   27/04/1919 21/06/1940   VX23786 2/3 LAA Reg  
0165 LANGDON Henry Clive C LSgt Ordinary Vale 14/10/1907 1/08/1940 29/11/1976 VX47571 2/3 LAA Reg  
2013 LIGHT Neil Douglas Lieut Ordinary Vale 9/03/1909 12/06/1940   VX25356 2/3 LAA Reg  
  LITTLE Robert Alexander Bom Ordinary   19/05/1919 18/06/1940   VX28287 2/3 LAA Reg  
  MACINDOE Stewart Campbell G Lieut Ordinary   15/01/1918 7/05/1940   VX14441 2/3 LAA Reg POW
  MACRAE Angus C Pte Ordinary   30/01/1919 19/08/1940   QX43773 2/3 LAA Reg  
  MALLETT James Robert R Gnr Ordinary Vale 3/05/1916 12/07/1940 ../06/1985 VX46575 2/3 LAA Reg  
0231 MARSHALL Walter Gnr Ordinary Vale 7/10/1901 19/07/1940   VX44965 2/3 LAA Reg  
  MATHEWS Thomas John Cpl Ordinary Vale 18/07/1902 5/08/1940 3/09/1985 VX36270 2/3 LAA Reg  
2214 MATTHEWS John Richard Gnr Ordinary Vale 4/05/1916 18/06/1940 3/09/1985 VX27103 2/3 LAA Reg  
2391 MAWDSLEY Francis William Bom Ordinary Vale 29/03/1904 26/07/1940 18/08/1973 VX46394 2/3 LAA Reg  
0545A MAXFIELD Gregory Norman Gnr Ordinary Vale 18/06/1905 18/06/1940   VX26095 2/3 LAA Reg  
  MAYNE Anderson Gnr Ordinary Vale 1/12/1909 26/06/1940 11/04/1978 VX33190 2/3 LAA Reg  
2917 MC BEAN Charles A Bom Ordinary Vale 31/12/1919 9/07/1940 11/07/1978 VX28192 2/3 LAA Reg  
0483 MC CASKILL Jack Lieut Ordinary Vale 12/05/1917 12/07/1940 03/10/1982 VX46580 2/3 LAA Reg  
  MILLER George Mr Ordinary Vale 12/01/1911 18/06/1940 29/11/1950 VX28068 2/3 LAA Reg  
2413 MILLER George Arthur Gnr Ordinary Vale 28/03/1914 25/07/1940   VX46281 2/3 LAA Reg  
2204 MILLER Leslie Arnold Gnr Ordinary Vale 27/01/1912 25/07/1940   VX46271 2/3 LAA Reg  
0856 MILLIGAN John Stewart Lieut Ordinary Vale 22/05/1914 19/06/1940 25/07/1995 VX22507 2/3 LAA Reg  
2390 MORRIS Ronald Woodford Pte Ordinary Vale 17/04/1907 23/07/1940   VX45684 2/3 LAA Reg  
  MORROW Valentine Gnr Fallen KIA 20/04/1911 22/07/1940 25/09/1941 VX37023 2/3 LAA Reg  
1960 MOULTON Noel Gray LCpl Ordinary Vale 13/08/1918 25/06/1940 31/03/2002 VX33114 2/3 LAA Reg  
  MURPHY Alan James Gnr Ordinary Vale 14/12/1917 1/08/1940 6/12/2010 VX48232 2/3 LAA Reg  
0532 MURPHY Thomas Arthur Pte Ordinary Vale 15/08/1919 12/06/1940 ../12/2010 VX25668 2/3 LAA Reg  
0858 MUSGROVE Valantine Thomas Bom Ordinary Vale 9/01/1919 18/06/1940 18/04/1983 VX27920 2/3 LAA Reg  
  NEVE Leonard Sydney Spr Ordinary   27/06/1917 24/06/1940   VX34111 2/3 LAA Reg  
3174 NICHOLSON Frank Henry Gnr Ordinary Vale 18/04/1915 25/06/1940 30/05/1992 VX34207 2/3 LAA Reg  
  NICHOLSON John Edgar Gnr Other Vale 19/01/1915 16/07/1940   VX28557 2/3 LAA Reg POW
  NORTON Bede Noel Gnr Ordinary Vale 3/12/1912 31/05/1940 22/06/1984 NX23228 2/3 LAA Reg  
2689 O'DONNELL Francis William Pte Ordinary   5/05/1917 11/07/1940   VX46170 2/3 LAA Reg  
  OWEN David Syd Pte Ordinary Vale 17/06/1914 19/02/1940   SX1750 2/3 LAA Reg  
  PAGE William Shimell Sgt Ordinary Vale 12/09/1919 21/06/1940 12/09/2013 VX29847 2/3 LAA Reg  
3024 PAYNE Percy Leo Gnr Ordinary Vale 6/12/1917 21/06/1940 19/07/1990 VX33299 2/3 LAA Reg  
0029A PHILLIPS Robert Davison Cpl Ordinary   19/09/1917 8/07/1940   VX44404 2/3 LAA Reg  
3003 POPE George J Bom Ordinary Vale 17/03/1901 25/06/1940   VX32933 2/3 LAA Reg  
0384 PORRITT Stanley Malcolm Pte Ordinary Vale 4/02/1920 19/06/1940 5/09/2011 VX24330 2/3 LAA Reg  
2398 PRIDEAUX Rupert Maurice Sgt Ordinary Vale 4/07/1917 15/07/1940 ../../1975 VX45370 2/3 LAA Reg  
  REED Francis Wilbur Capt Ordinary Vale 2/08/1911 27/05/1940   VX17654 2/3 LAA Reg  
3144 REID Henry James Cpl Ordinary Vale 3/06/1917 29/07/1940 ../../2000 VX44546 2/3 LAA Reg  
2796 RICHARDS Roy Leslie Lieut Ordinary Vale 6/06/1914 25/07/1940 27/08/1975 VX48294 2/3 LAA Reg  
0978A ROBERTS George Edgar Sgt Ordinary   1/08/1916 22/06/1940   VX33921 2/3 LAA Reg  
  ROBERTSON Hugh Ronald Sgt Ordinary Vale 14/02/1907 10/08/1940 23/02/1986 VX38151 2/3 LAA Reg  
  ROSENBERG Clive Simpson Lieut Ordinary Vale 7/08/1908 18/05/1940   VX15357 2/3 LAA Reg  
3037 RUSSELL Frederick H Gnr Ordinary Vale 21/10/1915 18/06/1940 18/09/1996 VX25210 2/3 LAA Reg  
0366 RYAN Richard Joseph Gnr Ordinary Vale 28/11/1912 19/06/1940 26/03/1995 VX33274 2/3 LAA Reg  
3129 SCHOLES John William Gnr Ordinary Vale 29/09/1914 24/06/1940   VX33168 2/3 LAA Reg  
0654 SCOTT Elton Trevor R Lieut Ordinary Vale 8/01/1917 8/05/1940 ../06/1965 VX14638 2/3 LAA Reg  
1050B SCOTT William Ernest LSgt Ordinary Vale 21/02/1907 18/06/1940   VX33011 2/3 LAA Reg  
0997 SIMPSON Thomas Joseph Gnr Ordinary Vale 7/07/1912 28/06/1940   VX34384 2/3 LAA Reg  
2925 SIMSON Charles E D Cpl Ordinary   2/06/1916 9/07/1940   VX28195 2/3 LAA Reg  
2243 SITLINGTON Keith Gordon WO2 Ordinary Vale 31/07/1908 22/07/1940   VX47207 2/3 LAA Reg  
0329 SLATTERIE Harold Neill Gnr Ordinary Vale 8/03/1901 22/07/1940   VX36515 2/3 LAA Reg  
3027 SLATTERY Leo James Sgt Ordinary Vale 5/05/1901 1/08/1940 24/04/1993 VX47497 2/3 LAA Reg  
  SLEEP Robert William J Gnr Ordinary   15/05/1919 18/07/1940   VX37745 2/3 LAA Reg POW
0867 SMITH Herbert Charles Gnr Ordinary Vale 31/03/1918 12/06/1940 20/04/1990 VX24757 2/3 LAA Reg  
  STEPHENS Harold Lancelot Capt Ordinary Vale 25/02/1912 7/05/1940   VX14417 2/3 LAA Reg  
3038 STEPHENS Leslie William Gnr Ordinary   27/01/1919 18/06/1940   VX25250 2/3 LAA Reg  
0597 STOKES Philip William C Lt Col Ordinary Vale 25/10/1906 19/07/1940 ../10/1983 VX47598 2/3 LAA Reg MID, OBE  ED
3175 STUART Alfred Ronald Mr Ordinary Vale 7/05/1919 22/07/1940 9/05/1992 VX36660 2/3 LAA Reg  
0328 TAYLOR David Frank LCpl Ordinary Vale 22/03/1919 22/07/1940 3/04/1991 VX37932 2/3 LAA Reg  
2277 TOM William Ernest Cpl Ordinary Vale 20/02/1916 23/07/1940 ../02/1982 VX37415 2/3 LAA Reg  
1944 TOY Frederick Raymond Cpl Ordinary   1/07/1916 11/07/1940   VX41790 2/3 LAA Reg  
2269 WALLACE Keith Gnr Ordinary  Vale 4/07/1920 22/07/1940 ../../2013 VX38005 2/3 LAA Reg  
  WALLIS Ivan Royce Pte Ordinary Vale 8/02/1917 27/05/1940 18/05/1996 NX17798 2/3 LAA Reg  
2104 WASHBOURNE Frank Herbert Gnr Ordinary Vale 18/07/1914 18/07/1940 15/09/2003 VX37764 2/3 LAA Reg  
0327 WAUGH Stanley Gordon Sgt Ordinary Vale 17/11/1907 28/06/1940 21/09/1989 VX32935 2/3 LAA Reg  
  WEBSTER Malcolm Reginald Gnr Ordinary Vale 25/05/1920 6/06/1940 26/07/2010 VX23397 2/3 LAA Reg POW
0965A WESTON William Edward Gnr Ordinary Vale 9/11/1909 23/07/1940 24/01/1992 VX38063 2/3 LAA Reg  
  WHITELY Arnold Pte Ordinary Vale 22/06/1900 21/05/1940   VX16131 2/3 LAA Reg  
  WHITLEY Alfred John Lieut Ordinary Vale 3/10/1907 31/07/1940 5/08/1958 VX38486 2/3 LAA Reg  
2782 WILLIAMS Leslie Ambrose Bom Ordinary Vale 20/08/1911 25/07/1940 28/11/1996 VX37941 2/3 LAA Reg  
  WILLIAMS Ronald Leslie Gnr Ordinary Vale 5/02/1917 21/06/1940 17/01/1999 VX40059 2/3 LAA Reg  
  WILLIAMS Roy Robert WO2 Ordinary Vale 11/11/1905 13/06/1940 10/05/1993 VX26182 2/3 LAA Reg  
                       
0547A WRIGHT Arthur R Mr Ordinary Vale 21/12/1901 9/07/1940 14/07/1982 VX23017 2/3 LAA Reg  
                       
                       

The Association acknowledges this file is the property of Mr. Owen Carlton, who compiled it as a tribute to the Rats Of Tobruk. The file contains the names and details of members the 2nd/3rd ALAAR who were legitimately Rats of Tobruk. Mr Carlton has authorised the 2nd/3rd ALAARA to utilise the list, and in return, our web site has a link to his web site - www.ratsoftobruktribute.com

Summary of 2nd/3rd ALAA Regiment Prisoners of War in Italy in Second World War

by Katrina Kittel

Katrina Kittel is a Graduate Historian member of the Professional Historians of Australia, and can be contacted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As part of the overall total of approximately 2000 Australians who became prisoners of war held in Italy, 90 men have been identified from the 2/3 LAA Regiment.  This number is approximate and may be refined with further information and with reference to records held by the Regiment Association. This summary of a number of 3LAA veterans who became prisoners of war will draw much from the words of the veterans.

Alex Barnett VX41455 set about the task of writing his memories into a book, “Hitler’s Digger Slaves”, after his retirement as a pharmacist. It is a valuable recount of the events that befell Alex and his mates during service in North Africa, and as prisoners of war. Alex described some of the action for Eighth Battery on 7 April 1941, the day that he was taken prisoner of war. Where identifiable, the service numbers for men mentioned by Alex are inserted in brackets within the following extract from p. xiii of his book.

“It seemed a miracle that the guns were still firing. The Panzer Units circled and relentlessly closed in. One gun was blown from the truck. The others were fast running out of ammunition. Sergeant Adams’ (VX44744) gun together with that commanded by Bombardier Neil Sloane (VX31655) continued firing. Gunners Charlie Little (VX48658), Ken Clements (VX25827), the twins Mick and Darcy Edwards (VX32445), Lew Potter (VX31007), Russ Morres (VX29826), Norm Colson (VX21603) and myself were kept busy manning the guns and acting as ammunition numbers until such time as supplies were exhausted. Our gun crews showed great courage keeping the guns firing under such difficult and dangerous conditions. The guns of Sergeant Tom Hawke (VX40783 Hawkes) and Bombardier David Syme (VX38984) were on fire and out of action. Their gun crews had no weapons for defence and still under heavy fire scrambled from the burning wrecks to take cover behind low rocks which offered no protection. Lieutenant Chester Guest (VX14424), revolver in hand, fired an occasional shot, moved among his men, called targets and directed the action.” Lieutenant Colonel “Spike Marlin of the 2/15 Battalion consulted with Lt. Guest, and they were compelled to surrender to avoid a massacre of the men. Alex paid tribute in these pages to Gunner Les Wilkin (VX38513) who was killed as he attempted to speed away on his motorcycle to raise the alarm. Les was 21 years old. Tribute was also paid by Alex Barnett to Sergeant Arthur Adams VX44744 who, on recommendation of Lt.Col. Marlin, was awarded a Military Medal in 1948.

Another significant date for the Regiment was 29 May 1941. The National Archives digitised service file for Leo Armitage VX37549 carries a Statement on which Leo refers to be taken prisoner of war with the 3LAA regiment on 29 May 1941. Leo wrote on his Statement that “During the evacuation of Crete, I was on the HMS Hereward which was bombed by Stukas and the ship was sunk. After being in the water 6 – 8 hours, I was picked up by M.T.B.’s on 29 May 1941”. He was “picked up by Italians”, in the Kaso Straits off Crete, and was held on the Isle of Rhodes from 3 June to 18 July, according to a Report given by Leo in 1944. Henry Greive VX31219, former fisherman, was captured the same day. Henry’s 1944 POW Statement reiterates the above and also mentions the men who he recalled were with him at the time - Norman Inglis VX44067 and Thomas Clifford VX47792. William Dellar VX37219 in a letter to the Army in 1979 also summarised this day of capture and  four years of overseas captivity. “I was with members of my troop manning Bofor guns defending the aerodrome at Heraklion on Crete, evacuated from Crete on the British destroyer ‘Hereward’,picked up by Italian motor torpedo boats when it was sunk by German bombers, and spent just on four years in Italian and German prisoner of war camps.”

Clarence Mannix VX37269 was another veteran who wrote of 29 May 1941: “Whilst in the sea, one of my mates looked like drowning (Gnr. T. Chadwick) and happened to be near him and helped him to pull through.” Clarence recorded on his 1945 POW Statement that Gunner Edwin “Ted” Rawlins VX48557 drowned on 29 May 1941.

In a memoir held at the Australian War Memorial, William “Bill” Waller VX47958 recalled that lifeboats had been destroyed and it was every man for himself, with hands used to paddle floats. Bill did not think he would survive that day. “I was engaged to be married and that among other plans did not look like taking place.”  He described his capture/rescue from the sea as “landed like a fish”.

With him were his 3LAA mates, Leonard “Len” Woolcock VX47950 and Malcolm Webster VX23397. Bill Waller, in a 1944 report, said that he was held on the Isle of Rhodes from 29 May to 20 June.

Leo Arnitage, a former textile dyer from Brunswick, was removed from Rhodes in July 1941 and transported to Italy to be held in several camps including the notorious prison camp PG57 Grupignano. Leo reported “unfair collective punishment” and the withholding of Red Cross Parcels by camp authorities. Henry Greive reported the same but added that he was “tied and handcuffed for 3 days”. Harold Lucas VX28382, one the older 3LAA veterans, born in 1899, reported the same punishment. The vast majority of 3LAA prisoners held in Italy were to be interned at PG57 at some stage. A small number of the 3LAA men were however held at an officer’s camp at Sulmona, PG78. Records indicate that the PG78 men included John Bartlett VX37285, James Guest VX14424, Clarence Mannix VX37269, Cyril Speers VX34115 and Leonard Woolcock VX47950. Another small group were held at Chiavari PG52 including VX33008 Humphrey Anchen (who reported being moved from PG57 to PG52 in February 1942), James Anderson VX25053, George Batty VX44432, Colin Bremner VX32474, Reginald Crawley VX26135.

Armitage, Greive, Clifford and Inglis were moved on from Grupigano in April 1943 to the rice growing area between Turin and Milan. Malcolm Webster and William “Bill’ Waller, their relocation to the ricefields meant leaving their mate “Len” Woolcock behind. Malcolm and Bill were also separated as were allocated to different farm camps. This new internment was under the PG106 complex of working farms. Although a precise number is not clear, perusal of service files, British War Office POW lists and other records indicates that over half of the 3LAA POW cohort in Italy were included in the group moved on to the Vercelli region. On the whole, this was a stroke of good fortune for these men. The men were to receive improved food rations in these working camps, and were able to be amongst Italian workers, male and female, during their working day. This gave them opportunities for interaction, and for information about the changing context and progress of the war.

Opportunity to escape became a real possibility, with the promulgation of news of an Armistice signed between Italy and the Allies, about 8 September 1943. With the announcement of the Armistice, there was general turmoil and confusion, with a number of camps being abandoned by Italian guards. It is known that at least 16 3LAA men reached Switzerland after escape from PG106 camps. Armitage, Greive, Clifford made it in third week of September 1943, whereas Inglis was to arrive in early October. “Bill” Waller included descriptions of several other 3LAA escapers in his company in northern Italy. “Jack” (John) Nicholson VX28557 was “a serious and capable redhead about my own age”. VX33099 “Tom” (Thomas) James and Allan Young VX47581 “were a little older”, and VX32728 Ernest Preiser was “the eldest, a plump forty years old.” Probably the last of the 3LAA escapers to make Swiss soil was VX47992 William Richardson who arrived two months after Inglis.

They were fortunate as most of the 3LAA POW Italy cohort were to be transferred to German captivity. In particular those who had remained at PG57 were not afforded opportunity to escape this camp after the Armistice announcement. One example of a 3LAA veteran who had the fortune to escape a PG106 camp and to spend time on the loose, only to be recaptured again, was William Garrigan VX32518.

The experiences and outcomes of the 3LAA Regiment POWs following the Italian Armistice are indicative, in general, of the wider Australian POW experience in Italy. Escapers sought assistance and shelter from brave families; and subsisted on low rations throughout their evasion. They crossed paths with various partisans of the Italian Resistance, which was very active during this tumultuous time in Italy. A November 1944 Interrogation Report on Reginald Crawley informs that he was with Humphrey Anchen at time of escape from a train taking them from PG52.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               With Phipps, he was involved with partisans and later met American lines in mid-November 1944. Malcolm Webster, VX23397, was also involved with Italian Resistance activities in a different part of Italy. Malcolm had escaped camp with fellow 3LAA, VX48409 Roger Wettenhall, but Roger was arrested in early 1944 and taken to German captivity. Malcolm crossed paths with another 3LAA POW escaper William ”Bill” Wrigglesworth VX46959 within a partisan brigade blowing up bridges and ambushing Germans.

On the National Archives digitised file Roy McLaren VX36761, his identity card for German camp can be viewed. Roy’s service file includes his thumb print and photo, as does the file for Kenneth Clements VX25827, a former engraver from Box Hill. Ken, a gun layer in 8th Battery, was captured on 7 April 1941 and after transfer from Italian to German captivity, he was moved between Stalags. At that time of his capture in the desert, Ken was under the command of VX14424 James Chester Guest who ended up in German Oflag.

Len Woolcock saw out the war in a German camp near Stuttgart. 3LAA prisoners of war who were transferred from Italy are listed at being one more of German controlled camps including Stalags 18A, 7A, 8B, 8A, 8C, 4C, 4F, 4G, 344, 357, and Oflags 5A and 79. In his book, Alex Barnett writes of the labour, and the forced marches in the bitter cold. John Confait VX44338 summarised his movement through locations of imprisonment -  “Tripoli, Italy, Austria, Germany, Poland.” Born 1919 in Prahan, John was married and was employed as a hairdresser when he enlisted to go to war.

Escaped prisoners also could spend long periods with brave Italian families, to remain ‘underground’ for nearly two years, or until liberation in 1945.  John Neil Sloane, VX31655, was one of these men.

A large transport of Australian POWs home from Switzerland arrived in Melbourne on 17 November 1944. On board a US troop ship ‘General A.E. Anderson’ were Arthur Caffrey VX32489, Harold Lucas, Henry Greive, Leo Armitage and Ernest Sparnon VX32109. Most of the former prisoners of war were single men but Ernie Sparnon of St Kilda returned home to his wife Jean and daughter Margaret. VX28382 Harold Lucas was also married before the war. He was a farmer at Rochester. He disembarked in Melbourne to be home just in time for his 45th birthday. Like many of his POW cohort, Harold requested discharge from the Army on compassionate grounds in 1945.

Tom Hawkes VX40783 was another older veteran of 3LAA, born 1898. Tom ended up in German captivity after the Italian Armistice. Those who ended up in German camps had longer to wait before they could return home from their war. James Power VX36491 was born in 1901 and also ended up in a German camp.

Frederick Jeffs VX31846 spent time in Stalag 357 and was repatriated via the UK, to arrive in Sydney in July 1945, four years after he was taken prisoner of war. His service file records that Frederick, a former woolpresser, served 1669 days of active overseas service. While most of the Swiss arrivals were on the journey home in November 1944, Humphrey Anchen met up with Allied hands in Florence. Humphrey Anchen VX33008 and Reginald Crawley VX26135 had escape from train windows en route to German camps after the Armistice. Thomas James VX33099, a former orchard labourer born 1906, had escaped PG106 and was also later recovered, safe in Allied hands. He was repatriated via the United Kingdom, and returned to his wife Violet in August 1945.

Alex Barnett pays tribute to fellow 3LAA veteran, Charles Little VX46858 on Page 272. “Charlie, a Melbourne University graduate with a high degree in Electrical Engineering enlisted in the second AIF in 1940...He remained with me through all the camps in Africa and Italy. But after the Italian capitulation he was taken to Gorlitz (Stalag VIIIA).” Alex adds that “Charlie” was relocated to Lamsdorf (Stalag VIIIB) and sent to work in the Silesian coal mine. Charlie was shipped home to Australia just before VJ Day 1945.

The exploration of recounts by the veterans, and an understanding of the historical context of Italy in 1943, brings increased awareness of the complex and dangerous environment in which prisoners, and escaped prisoners, were to become involved.

Alex Barnett closes his book with reference to his liberation from captivity in 1945, “released from the shackles of relentless captors after four lost years of ignominy and torture.” In the last sentence of the book, Alex speaks for his personal experience but the words speak for all of the returning prisoners of war from Europe. “I was freed from my nightmares!!! BUT WAS I?”

Download: The list of POW Escapees To Switzerland in PDF Version

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Sources include service files and interrogation reports held in National Archives of Australia, DVA online nominal roll, veteran memoirs, newspaper articles, POW reports held in UK archives, and the research conducted by, and in collaboration with, Bill Rudd. Alex Barnett’s book ‘Hitler’s Digger Slaves: Caught in the web of Axis labour camps’ was first published in 2001 by Australian Military History Publications.

Comments and corrections to this summary are very welcome, and will add to the existing information on our POWs in Italy. Further information is gratefully received.

The above research continues on from the extensive research undertaken by Bill Rudd OAM over many decades, and as published at www.anzacpow.com .

Katrina Kittel is a Graduate Historian member of the Professional Historians of Australia, and can be contacted via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..