Harold Hamish AWMM
Also known as
Date of birth
Place of birth
Address before enlistment
Pre 23 April 1905 AWMM RD Dargaville, North Auckland, New Zealand AWMM
Post war occupation
Next of kin on embarkation
Mrs K.B. Jones (mother), Wellington, New Zealand AWMM
Pre 1 November 1940 AWMM Single AWMM
- WW2 POW - Derna, Benghazi and Gharian in North Africa AWMM
Sidi Rezegh, Western Desert AWMM
30 November 1941 AWMM
Captured by German panzer unit along with the greater part of NZ Division AWMM
- WW2 POW - P.G. 66 Capu, Italy AWMM
- WW2 POW - P.G. 52, Chiavari, Italy AWMM
- WW2 POW - P.G. 57 Gruppignano, Udine, Italy AWMM
- WW2 POW - Stalag VII-A Moosburg (Isar), Germany AWMM
- WW2 POW - Stalag IVB Muhlberg, Germany AWMM
- WW2 POW - Stalag IV-D Torgau (Elbe), Germany AWMM
Work Camp 116E AWMM
WW2 13 April 1945 AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
Came back to NZ from Fiji for 2 weeks leave before sailing for the Middle East
Mr Jones says he sailed in early 1942 from Tripoli for Italy. It was a bad trip as they were kept deep in the holds of a cargo vessel with no food, water or sanitation (many had dysentery). They landed in Naples and were taken to Capua.
They had to survive the coldest winter in 40 years at POW Campo PG 66 with only the tropical clothes they stood in, one blanket, and always being hungry. Transport in the form of freight wagons took them on the long journey through Rome to PG 52 Chiavari. This was a new camp surrounded by mountains with monasteries on every hilltop. Mr Jones recalls the continuous bell ringing, the cold, bad sanitation and washing facilities and the problem with lice and bed bugs. He had to spend 18 months in these conditions.
In mid 1943 he was transferred north to Campo 57, Gruppignano which by March 1943 had 1800 New Zealanders in it. It proved to be more efficiently run than Campo 52, Chiavari. However the Commandant imposed harsher punishment than some other Italian camps including spells in cells and handcuffings. Mr Jones remembers it was a bad camp with bad guards and to the north-east he says you could see the ice-covered mountains of Yugoslavia.
Mr Jones was then detailed to work at Abino work camp on the Lombardy Plains. He worked here until September 1943 when the Italians surrendered.
At this time 4 of them escaped, including Mr Jones. He says, 'With the help of the peasants we lived in the hills around Galzigano. Slept in open bush and sometimes in huts made from maize stalks. Very cold. Hunt for food - always hungry. Galzigano was not far from Padova, of 'Merchant of Venice' fame. The main family who cared for us was Antonio Gaffo, his wife had two daughters, Adelia (to whom I write) and Henriquetta. There was also a cousin called Gina. Luigi Zambotti and his wife also helped us. From a report I made when we returned to New Zealand, these two families were recompensed by the authorities.'
On New Years Eve 1943 Mr Jones and his group were recaptured in the middle of the night by the Germans, tied together with wire and marched down the mountainside to vehicles and taken to a civilian jail at Padova.
On 9 January 1944 they arrived in Trieste before passing on through the Brenner Pass to Munich, Germany. They arrived at Stalag VIIA, Moosburg on 14 January 1944. Here he recalls they were showered and deloused but that the guards were bad, and used Alsatian dogs. He says there were 'large numbers of men, women and children in rags and in shocking inhuman conditions.'
From Moosberg Mr Jones was sent to Stalag IVB Mulhberg for a short period. Here a German guard punished a Russian who was on icy ground by throwing a bucket of cold water over him.
On 7 March 1944 the group was sent to a larger work camp EI 116E Elsdorf which was attached to Stalag IVD Torgau. Here they work in and around a coalmine and saw about 1,000 bomber raids on Berlin, Dresden, Leipzig and oil works. The German's made the most of the free labour prisoners of war could provide in helping with the German war effort, getting the prisoners to dig out coal or iron ore, roads and railways. However the Germans strictly followed the rules of the Geneva Convention which meant no ranks, corporals up, were made to work.
Mr Jones and his fellow escapees were finally released by American troops on Friday 13 April 1945. They then travelled by plane train and boat (tank landing craft) to Belgium and across the Channel to Southend, London, England. On arrival in London Mr Jones met Charles Upham (VC2) at the Reception Centre at Margate. He had 1 months leave, including being there for VJ Day.
In June 1945 he left Liverpool for New Zealand via the Atlantic, Panama Canal and Pacific. The ship, 'Stirling Castle' after a collision in New York Harbour had had her bows filled with concrete. They limped into Wellington Harbour on one screw as they other had given 'up the ghost'.
Personal detail supplied by Mr Jones. General detail taken from David McGills book POW, The Untold Stories.
Mr H Jones advanced his age by one year on enlistment. Cenotaph record initially prepared with the serviceman in 1999. Some elements have not yet been verified: the service number and an embarkation for the Middle East have not been found in the Nominal Roll. Perhaps he embarked for Europe from Fiji ?. The unit 4 Reinforcements, B Force does not match embarking units we so far have found (Armoury notes 2010) AWMM
Date of death
Age at death
Place of death
Cause of death
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Harold Hamish Jones
- McGill, D. (1987). P.O.W. : the untold stories of New Zealanders as prisoners of war. Lower Hutt, N.Z.: Mills Publications. AWMM
- Mason, W.W. (1954) Prisoners of war. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
- Burdon, R. (1959). 24 Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
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