Alwyn Chamberlain, PG 70 Group Photo

British POWs Camp PG 70 Group Photograph 1942-43

This photograph of a group of British POWs at Camp 70 in Italy is courtesy of Alwyn Chamberlain of Leeds, who was later a POW with my father in Bad Schmiedeberg, Germany in 1943-45.

An RASC driver, Alwyn (predictably his Army nickname was ‘Nev’!) served in the 9th Light Field Ambulance in the desert from 1940 through to his capture at the Fall of Tobruk in June 1942. Alwyn is the 14th man in from the left in the back row, standing just under the dark part of the right window frame. His Army number was T/213834 and his German POW number, assigned at Stalag 4B, was 253201. Nev told me the photo was of ‘Group 5,’ which could well be their hut number.

Captured alongside Chamberlain at Tobruk was his friend Alfie Granger, also of the RASC and 9th Light Field Ambulance, who is sitting fourth from the right, front row. From Keighley, Alfie also ended up in Bad Schmiedeberg. His Army Number was 213952 and his German POW No 253198, just three numbers off ‘Nev’ so it’s obvious they stuck together throughout their POW experiences. Alfie worked as an overlooker in a mill prior to his Army service and emigrated to New Zealand after the war. Two other Bad Schmiedeberg POWs also feature on the photo:

L/Cpl F 'Phil' Garbutt, Essex Regiment, is second from the right, front row, sitting on the ground. Originally from Batley, but called up from Grays, Essex, his Army Number was 6029529 and his Stalag 4B POW Number was 253172.

L/Cpl Jack Kennerley is second from the right in the middle row in the sleeve-less pullover. Like Alfie and ‘Nev’, Kennerley served with the 9th Light Field Ambulance through to his capture at Tobruk in June 1942. His Army number was 216861 and his POW No 253171, adjacent to Garbutt’s, so it’s obvious they were together through Stalag 4B, too. Via Stalag 4B, these four men arrived a while after the main group of 20 British POWs in Bad Schmiedeberg, in late 1943 and this is reflected in their higher German POW numbers. Whereas, my father’s Stalag 4B POW number is 227987, Alfie Granger’s is over 20,000 thousand higher, at 253198.

To see these men on the 1944 Bad Schmiedeberg photograph, click here.

Further information and identifications of the men feature on the photograph above most welcome. It is quite probable that several of these men successfully escaped at the Italian Armistice. Most however, would have gone through Stalag 4B to the various Stalag 4D and 4C work camps in Germany from late 1943. There’s a lot of hidden history in those faces.

Next: Another Camp PG 70 Group Photograph

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