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William Dunne

141638, Corporal, South African Engineering Corps

 

Williams father, Michael, was an ex-soldier who had served in the Anglo-Boer war but subsequently worked on the mines near Johannesburg. William was one of three brothers and all three volunteered for service. William was 23 and single when the war broke out and living with his parents at the married quarters of Knights Deep Gold Mine near Johannesburg and working there as an electrician. He joined the South African Engineers on 22 June 1940 and became Corporal after a year or so. They left South Africa on 10 June 1941 and landed in Egypt 20 June 1941. They joined the forces fighting the Germans and Italians in North Africa. He went missing on 20 June 1942 and was confirmed a prisoner of war on 28 July 1942. The 20 June 1942 was the fall of Tobruk  - Rommel capturing a huge number of South Africans in that action which lasted two days – well described on many websites. I think most South African prisoners of war were captured at Tobruk and then taken to Italy.

 

The army records simply say he was “shot whilst POW – Europe” on 23/24 September 1944. In the confusion after Italy surrendered - September 1943 - and Germany took control I understand it was not that difficult to escape – so I’m guessing he did so at this time. He joined some partisans in the mountains (Grappa – not far from Venice) and lived(fought?) with them for a year before being caught up in an operation by the Germans to clear out this area. A number of atrocities were committed and documented in a book “Il massacro del Grappa by Sonia Residore and published in 2008 (in Italian only). Some 286 partisans, civilians, allied soldiers were killed. Of these 19 being taken to a small town Carpanè and shot near the railway lines. On October 4 2008 the mayor of Carpanè put a memorial, at the place of shooting, in memory of every soldier killed – including William Dunne – my great uncle. Unfortunately I do not have his medals but have some photo’s (that I seem unable to upload as too large).

 

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  • 4 months later...
On 12/30/2015 at 19:49, JonT said:

William Dunne

141638, Corporal, South African Engineering Corps

 

Williams father, Michael, was an ex-soldier who had served in the Anglo-Boer war but subsequently worked on the mines near Johannesburg. William was one of three brothers and all three volunteered for service. William was 23 and single when the war broke out and living with his parents at the married quarters of Knights Deep Gold Mine near Johannesburg and working there as an electrician. He joined the South African Engineers on 22 June 1940 and became Corporal after a year or so. They left South Africa on 10 June 1941 and landed in Egypt 20 June 1941. They joined the forces fighting the Germans and Italians in North Africa. He went missing on 20 June 1942 and was confirmed a prisoner of war on 28 July 1942. The 20 June 1942 was the fall of Tobruk  - Rommel capturing a huge number of South Africans in that action which lasted two days – well described on many websites. I think most South African prisoners of war were captured at Tobruk and then taken to Italy.

 

The army records simply say he was “shot whilst POW – Europe” on 23/24 September 1944. In the confusion after Italy surrendered - September 1943 - and Germany took control I understand it was not that difficult to escape – so I’m guessing he did so at this time. He joined some partisans in the mountains (Grappa – not far from Venice) and lived(fought?) with them for a year before being caught up in an operation by the Germans to clear out this area. A number of atrocities were committed and documented in a book “Il massacro del Grappa by Sonia Residore and published in 2008 (in Italian only). Some 286 partisans, civilians, allied soldiers were killed. Of these 19 being taken to a small town Carpanè and shot near the railway lines. On October 4 2008 the mayor of Carpanè put a memorial, at the place of shooting, in memory of every soldier killed – including William Dunne – my great uncle. Unfortunately I do not have his medals but have some photo’s (that I seem unable to upload as too large).

 

Jon that is an interesting story, yes have heard of it but not sure who was involved. Any idea where the medals are? Resize the pictures and try and post.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On 17/02/2013 at 16:34, brian conyngham said:

5544 Sgt Kenneth Thomas Wilkinson MID
Umvoti Mounted Rifles
POW Tobruk
Received MID for escaping


Kenneth Wilkinson had been born in Durban on the 13th April 1921 and worked as a Salesman. He attested for full time service on the 26th September 1940. He had served with the Cape Garrison Artillery in an A.C.F. capacity from the 22nd February 1939 until the 11th May 1940 with the service number 77992. His father F. L. Wilkinson was his nominated next-of-kin living at 272 Bree Street, Johannesburg. He came from a family who had a long line of military service, his father F L Wilkinson had been a member of the Natal Police in the 1906 Bambata Rebellion and his grandfather had been a member of the Natal Royal Rifles in the 1880’s.

After attesting he was posted to the Umvoti Mounted Rifles as a private. On the 21st July 1941 he embarked per SS Elizabethville for the Middle East. He disembarked at Suez on the 14th August 1941. He spent a number of days in and out of hospital from the 26th October 1941 until 11th March 1942; the last stay in hospital was due to a sprained ankle whilst skating off duty.

He was taken POW on the 20th June 1942 at Tobruk along with thousands of other allied troops. Nothing is known about the various POW camps he was interned in whilst held in Africa and his early stay in Italy. However on record at the National Archives at Kew in London is his citation for his MID, it appears he teamed up with a fellow South African Gunner Theodore Nel of the Transvaal Horse Artillery and after the capitulation of the Italians on the 8th September 1943 they construed to get back to allied lines at all costs, and here is their story care of the citation and it makes interesting reading:

NEL and WILKINSON were captured at TOBRUK on 21st June 1942, and were released from Camp 120/IX (Chiesanuova, San Marino) in September 43. Recaptured on 13 Nov 43, they succeeded in crawling under the fence and escaping six days later.

They attempted to reach allied hands, but owing to the snow did not proceed beyond AQUILA. They spent four months at SEVELLE before they were recaptured on 26 Apr 44.

Seven weeks later NEL and WILKINSON escaped from PERUGIA wearing German uniforms and accompanied by three German deserters. After reaching SPOLETO in a German convoy, they took refuge in the mountains until Allied forces arrived.


They rejoined the allied lines on the 19th June 1944. He was placed “On strength released POW list” on the 24th June 1944.

He emplaned for the Union on the 29th July 1944. On his return to the Union Wilkinson was granted leave from the 1st August 1944 until the 22nd October 1944. He reported to the Military College on the 23rd October 1944 until the 30th November 1944 attending course 1415 P. He was then taken on strength with the GSC/NEAS. On the 2nd December 1944 he was promoted to T/Sgt and on the 22nd December 1944 to A/S/Sgt.

He was finally discharged at Durban on the 27th February 1946.

His full medal entitlement was a 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, War Medal with MID emblem and Africa Service Medal.

Wilkinson%20gp.jpg

Hi Brian,

I absolutely love this group, brilliant multiple escaper group!

I wonder how did you find the Mention In Despatches recommendation?

Rob

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  • 1 year later...
On ‎14‎/‎07‎/‎2013 at 15:52, brian conyngham said:

Artillerist Martinus Johannes Bekker State Artillery

 

Martinus Bekker was born around 1872 and lived in the Waterberg district.

 

He attested into the State Artillery with the outbreak of War with the British from the 11th October 1899. He gave his rank as Adjutant on his Vorn “B”, however, there is another inscription placed by persons unknown that give him the rank of Artilleris.

 

The following actions are claimed by him:

Ladysmith (Siege) 1900

Biggarsberg (Battle of Dundee/Talana) 20/10/1899

Witrand?

Dalmanutha (Battle of Belfast Coalmine/Bergendal) 21-27/8/1900

Helmertia Machadadorp (Battle) 29/12/1900

 

En verskilende ander klein gevechte (English translation: And a number of other smaller battles/skirmishers)

 

He was captured on the 26th October 1901 at Zusterhoek. On the 17th January 1902 he departed South African shores on board SS Orient caring 1,050 prisoners for St Helena Island.

 

At St Helena he was held at Deadwood camp, where he is recorded as being an Adjudant. He was held at Deadwood until August 1902.

 

He was a late claimant for an ABO; his application being approved on the 22/3/1945.

 

No further info has been found on the life of Martinus Johannes Bekker.

M J Bekker.jpg

SS Orient.jpg

Deadwood,_Boer_POW_Camp,_Jackson_1903.jpg

ko1466-10--(54).jpg

ko1466-10--(95).jpg

ko1466-10--(104).jpg

Great photos, thanks for sharing

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