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POWCollector, December 6, 2015 in Great Britain: Orders, Gallantry, Campaign Medals
Next up is a new medal for my collection, The General Service Medal 1918-62 with clasp Malaya.
Sadly, the recipient did not fill out a prisoner of war debrief report so I have been unable to carry out much research on him.
The recipient, 2328213 Signalman R Kirton of the Royal Signals was serving as the driver in charge, headquarters battalion of the Royal Signals.
He was captured, like so many, at Tobruk on the 20th of June 1942 and was taken through North Africa and over to Italy.
Kirton was held latterly in PG 70 Monturano near Fermo in central Italy. He was unlucky not to get away as many did after the Italian capitulation in September 1943 and was entrained through the Bremmer Pass into Germany.
Kirton ended the war in Stalag 4a at Hohenstein which was situated just 20 miles from Dresden. This was a particularly grim place to be a prisoner of war, especially due to the proximity of the camp to Dresden which was devastated by allied bombing in February 1945.
Kirton stayed in the Army after the war and was sent in 1948 to serve with the regiment in the Malayan Emergency earning the GSM pictured below.
I have contacted the Royal Signals Museum and hope to try and find out some more information about Mr Kirton and his more details about his service!
Thanks for looking, more to come soon!
Well done my friend. Was he eligible for any other awards not shown here?
Thanks for you comment.
Kirton would have been eligible for the 1939-45 Star, the Africa Star and the War Medal but as these were issued un-named, It is very unlikely that these will ever be reunited.
I am hoping that the Royal Signals Museum will be able to get back to me and give me some more information. Maybe he stayed in the service long enough to get his LSGC!
Ive got some more interesting posts coming soon, time is the only issue!!
Next up is my first pow group to somebody captured in the battle of Anzio and its a cracker!
John Edwin Francis Watson was born in Cardiff on the 6th of December 1918. He was the son of Major General Gilbert Watson CB DSO OBE who had joined up as a private soldier in 1914 and worked his way all the way to Major General!
John was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers, his father's regiment, and served with the B.E.F in France and Belgium being evacuated back to England before the Germans were able to capture him and his men.
The regiment were stationed on home service for the next two years before being sent out to India to fight against the Japanese.
John did not go out to India with his regiment and was in fact attached to the 2/4th Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry regiment and was present in the invasion of Sicily and the invasion of Italy. John was captured on the 1st of Februrary 1944 at Anzio.
John was sent to Stalag 7a at Moosberg where he had his details and photo taken by the Germans. Amazingly, John managed to get a hold of his German POW card which is shown in the image below. The smirk on his face is brilliant!
On the 23rd of August 1944, John was transferred to Oflag 79 at Braunschweig. The very next day, Oflag 79 was accidentally strafed by American and British aircraft killing three and seriously wounding 14. Luckily, John was unharmed.
John and his comrades were liberated by the Americans on April the 12th 1945 and he volunteered to jump back in to the action earning himself the France and Germany Star.
After the war, John was promoted to Captain and served out in Palestine earning himself the General Service Medal with Palestine 1945-48 clasp (a new medal for my collection).
I'm very happy to have this group with a new medal for the collection to a man captured in a new battle for the collection.
I believe that the group must be very rare considering no battalions of the Welch Fusiliers served in Italy. Watson may have been the only one!
I hope you enjoyed this one.
I dont see a photo...
For some reason GMIC is not letting me upload any photos from my computer or my phone!
Ill try again tomorrow!
OK. That is strange. Please let me know if this continues.
As always brilliant material. Thank you for sharing!!!
N.B. Driven by both inspiration and jealousy I too will open a thread on Soviet POW awards soon. Not as extensive as your but still...
Nice. I cannot wait to see those Soviet POW medals.
Thank you Egorka, I look forward to seeing the posts!
As promised, here are the pictures of Captain J E F Watson's medals and his mugshot picture from his German POW Card.
I love that photo. LOL
Here is a new auction lot which I got for a very good price indeed!
Denys Arthur Burnell was born in Ynysybwl, Pontypridd in Glamorganshire in Wales on the 13th of December 1919.
On the 16th of March 1940, Denys enlisted into the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment.
Serving first in Crete, he was captured on the 29th of January 1942 in Barce, Libya.
He was transported from North Africa to Italy being held in PG 66 Capua and PG 75 Bari before ending up at his final camp, PG 53 Macerata.
It was from here that Denys escaped on the capitulation of Italy. His story is taken up in his POW debrief report:
"We left the camp at 16:30 on Wednesday the 15th of September despite the order to remain in camp given by Captain Frewen, RAMC, the Senior British Officer of the camp. On the second day out of the camp, we arrived at the house of Carlo Lattanzi in Massa Feramo. Here we stayed two nights and then he took us to Giovanni Menecorzi, Montappone. We stayed there for 7 nights. My two mates Pte Astley and Pte Barry returned to the house of Carlo Lattanzi. I carried on and arrived at British lines on October the 6th 1943."
Under the sections 'White List and helpers' and 'Black List' on his debrief, he has named both Carlo Lattanzi and Giovanni Menecorzi as helpers and has listed his SBO Captain Frewen on the black list. Clearly he felt that his SBO had been acting on his own by ordering the men of the camp to stay put even though that order came from the top!
Denys arrived back in the UK on the 6th of November and although he was by this point a Lance Corporal in the Welch Regiment, decided to opt for a demotion and transfer to the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver.
He arrived in France on the 15th of July 1944 serving with 508 company RASC and remained with them until his discharge on the 10th of October 1948.
Denys passed away in August 1986.
What I particularly like about this group as that Denys' POW medal has the clasp 'ITALY' which I have not come across before.
I hope that you enjoyed this post, more to come soon!
Great story. Glad the medals are in good hands.
Next up is a partial group (Africa Service Medal is unnamed replacement so if anybody hears of the original please let me know!).
George Edwin Delaval Beresford was born on the 18th of February 1909. He was an audit clerk living in Durban at the time of his enlistment into the 1st South African Irish Regiment on the 19th of February 1940.
George was sent to North Africa where he was captured in the bitter fighting at Sidi Rezegh on 24/11/41. The South African Irish Regiment took heavy casualties and by the end of the battle, there were only 140 survivors of all ranks.
George was held in the infamous pow cages at Benghazi for two weeks before being marched down to the docks on 08/12/41 and boarding the Italian cargo ship 'San Sebastian' and was placed in the hold with the rest of the 2000 prisoners of board. On the 12th of December 1941, the San Sebastian was torpedoed by British ship HMS Porpoise. The Porpoise did not realise that the ship was carrying allied pow's as the Italians had neglected to paint red crosses on the ship as was the normal practice.
Prisoners reported that the Italian captain and crew decided to abandon ship into the lifeboats without any consideration for the allied pow's on board. It is estimated that up to 600 of the crew perished during the sinking.
Luckily for those still on board the severely damaged ship, the wind direction changed and the ship was blown onto the rocks off Patras in Greece. Once the wounded were evacuated from the ship, the prisoners were taken to a barn by a nearby submarine base and from there they were marched to the dungeons of the Pylos Castle. They were later moved to transit style camps at Kalamata and Aixia. Whilst on the move, the local Greeks lined the streets offering food and cigarettes but the Italians would beat them back with their rifle butts.
At the end of February 1942, George and his comrades were transported to permanent camps in Italy. George was initially held at PG 85 Tuturano from 06/03/42 until 07/05/42 when he was moved to pg 52 at Chiavari. George left Chiavari on the 20th of October 1942 and moved to pg 47 at Modena.
George stayed at PG 47, a monastery near Modena until the Italian capitulation in September 1943. On the Italian capitulation and Italian guards deserting the camp, George escaped but was recaptured by the Germans and entrained for a camp in Germany. He arrived at Oflag 5A at Weinsberg on the 9th of October 1943.
On the 1st of April 1945, he left Oflag 5A and moved to Stalag 7a arriving on the 4th of April. The camp was liberated by the US Army on the 29th of April and George finally left on the 7th of May 1945.
pics to come soon, images are not uploading due to errors
More excellent medals and write ups, thanks. Regarding the Burnell medal group, would he have been eligible for the Defence medal with his service?
thanks very much for the comment, I’m unsure if he wouldve qualified but I have other pow groups to men who got back into the action after liberation or escape and none of them qualified for the defence medal. I suppose I’ll have to apply to the mod for the service record to find out definitively.
Ive got another great post to come soon so stay tuned!
Here are the pictures of George Beresford’s medal group. It is unusual that only the Africa star has been gilted. As previously mentioned, only the 1939-45 star, Africa star and War medal are named to George so if anybody hears of the whereabouts of the Africa Service Medal, please do let me know!
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