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Jack Davies is another of the 20 men whose addresses are recorded in Robert Dickinson’s “Servigliano Calling” journal:
11. Clent Avenue. Maghull.
Off Dods Lane. Liverpool.
I heard from Lorraine McLoughlin in October of last year. She wrote:
“I am just writing, with much excitement I must say, to find that I have information about POW Jack Davies of Camp 59.
“My mother was Jack’s daughter-in-law.
“Jack’s son, Rick Davies, was my mum’s (Ivy Davies nee Hindley) first husband.
“My mum is now 94 years of age but still remembers nursing her father-in-law, Jack, at 11 Clent Avenue, Maghull, before he died.”
A second note from Lorraine, two months later, informed me that her mother had passed away in early December.
Lorraine kindly shared scans of the covers of Jack’s St. John’s Ambulance First Aid Book. She wrote that it “was obviously with Jack during his time at the camp—as it has the camp address in the back cover.”
The inscription reads:
Campo P.G. No 59 3 Secttro 3 A/34
PM 3300. ITALIA
Jack was in the RAOC (Royal Army Ordnance Corps), a corps of the British Army that dealt exclusively with supply and maintenance of weaponry, munitions and other military equipment.
Fred looking very dapper on his motorbike in the desert, presumably before his capture and imprisonment in Italy.
Fred Druce was one of 20 POWs whose addresses are listed in Robert Dickenson’s prison camp journal, “Servigliano Calling”:
Sunny Side. New Road. Tyler’s Green.
High Wycombe. Bucks.
Many thanks to Anne Copley of Oxford, UK, for having found information on Fred Druce for me.
Anne’s inquiry to the Penn and Tylers Green blog, a site dedicated to news about Fred’s home village, yielded two photos of Fred and some amusing stories about Fred in his youth.
For some unknown reason his nickname was “Wedger.”
Here are the comments:
“Knowing his personality as a teenager when he was a ‘bit of a lad’, I can understand why he was a successful evader.”
“You are right about Wedger being a character, I can remember him and a friend, standing up in the swing boats at Penn Fair and working them way past the horizontal position. Also, I believe, he took on one of the professional boxers who used to challenge all comers at the fair.”
“I’m afraid I can’t add much to the facts about Fred Druce but oh what memories it brings back of such a character. As a kid delivering vegetables for my Uncle Bob Long in the 1950′s from his market garden up near Penn Church I used to stand listening to Wedger who was a gardener nearby. My young eyes popped out of my head as I learnt swear-words that I’d never heard before and was told endless unbelievable tales. Thank you writers for reminding me of happy days long before political correctness was invented.”
In later years—Fred Druce and his wife Betty at a wedding dinner.
Frederick Solberg, World War II veteran and a POW of Camp 59 and Stalag 17B, was filmed by the nonprofit Stoneham Theatre (Stoneham, Massachusetts) in 2009.
The short film was one of a series of interviews with “Greatest Generation” veterans from the Boston area shown in conjunction with the theatre company’s production of Studs Terkel’s The Good War: A Musical Collage of WWII.
While on a bombing mission during the war, Frederick’s plane was shot down. He and his companions were captured by the Italian forces. They were interrogated and then imprisoned in Camp 59.
After three months in camp, Frederick and two comrades “went over the fence.”
They roamed Italy for three months, assisted by sympathetic Italians. In winter the men were recaptured by Germans and sent to Stalag 17B (Krems, Austria). Near war’s end, the POWs were liberated by American forces.
Link to this excellent Interview with Frederick Solberg on YouTube.
Sadly, Frederick passed away earlier this month. I’m pleased to honor and remember him on our site with this video.
Sometimes recognition for meritorious service is quick, and sometimes it comes unexpectedly after a long passage of time.
For Luther Shields, much delayed honor came last October at in a Vista Grande Inn ceremony in Cortez, Colorado. He was presented with a half-dozen medals earned during World War II.
Read the story, WWII vet finally awarded medals 60 years after serving country, in the Cortez Journal online.
Also, several posts on Luther’s fascinating escape story are available on this site.