Private Alfred Appleby

  • RankPrivate
  • No4621487
  • Age25 in 1940
  • Regiment/Service1st Btn Sherwood Forresters.
  • Date of Capture1941
  • POW CampCamp 53-Sforza Costa near Macerata Italy
Alfred Appleby
Private Alfred Appleby

Alfred Appleby lived with his family at 121 Hindle House Arcola Street Hackney. He was in the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters and was captured prisoner of war early in 1941. A telegram was sent to his family informing them that Alf was missing, they did not know whether he was alive or not. 18 months later The Salvation Army informed them that Alf was alive in an Italian Prisoner of War camp. Alf was held in Italy camp 53 Sforza Costa near Macerata before escaping to Switzerland in what was probably the biggest mass-escape in military history.

Following the Italian Armistice in September 1943 some 20,000 Allied POW were temporarily “on the loose” in Italy. Some made it safely south to Allied Lines, some stayed “underground” in Italy, many actively fighting on with various partisan bands. Most were recaptured by the Germans, but 5,139 crossed the Alps, to the sanctuary of neutral Switzerland. Under the Hague Conventions governing the conduct of neutral nations in times of war, “evadees” were “Free Men” and the Swiss treated them as such. When the American Fifth Army opened up the Swiss border at Geneva, nearly all British “evades” were repatriated through liberated France and Italy3.


Sources:

  • WW2 Talk
  • Alice Monk
  • Anzac POW freemen in Europe – Escape from Italian prison camps.

Other Information:

  • Married 1947 to a Julie Gaton