"He was taken prisoner of war 21 May 1941. He escaped in July 1941; served with M.I.9 in Greece; he was recaptured January 1942; he escaped Italy September 1943; and he served with the partisans in Nigurian Mountains from September 1943 through December 1944."
Maj J. W. C. Craig, MC and bar; Auckland; born Gisborne, 22 Aug 1911; accountant; p.w. 21 May 1941; escaped Jul 1941; served with MI 9 (A Force) in Greece; recaptured Jan 1942; escaped (Italy) Sep 1943; served with partisans in Ligurian Mountains Sep 1943–Dec 1944. (Source: Davin, D.M. Crete. p.118.)
'Strong bands of partisans had been operating in the Bobbio area among the Ligurian Apennines for some time, helped by a British mission and by supplies dropped from the air. In the autumn of 1944 it was decided to organise an escape route through Pontremoli, which would bring the escapers out not far from Viareggio. Before the Italian campaign was ended 31 parties of escapers and evaders came out by this route. The first New Zealander to use it had come south to the Etruscan Apennines from Campo PG 107/5, north of the Gulf of Venice. After living with a band of partisans, he was included in a party guided out near Barga on 19 November.
The other two New Zealanders to come by this route were from Campo PG 5, both having jumped from the roof of a train taking them to Germany in September 1943. Both were wounded and separated, and one, after lying for three days in a ditch unable to walk, was finally found by an Italian and taken to his house. As soon as he could he hobbled his way south, but was laid up for three months and cared for by Italians near Piacenza. In March 1944 he joined a band of partisans in the Bobbio area and remained with them until they were dispersed by Fascists in May. He was with another group of partisans in the Apennines when, in November, he joined an escape party which reached the American lines at Pietrasanta. A week later his companion of the train jump came out by the same route; he had been operating with another partisan band south of Pavia. This was the last party to come through on this route before the winter snows and increased German vigilance made it too dangerous to undertake further operations until the spring.
Capt J. W. C. Craig (22 Bn, seconded to ‘A’ Force). He had escaped from Greece in 1941, and returned there as a member of ‘A’ Force, but had been captured and sent to Italy. For his escapes and work while at large he was awarded the MC and bar.' (Source: Mason, W.W. Prisoners of War. p. 421.)
'A New Zealand officer who escaped through the lines during this period had first regained his liberty near Verona by jumping from a train taking prisoners to Germany in September 1943. With a companion he had reached the central mountainous region and had worked his way south. He had made an attempt to get through the lines north of the Sangro in December, only to be recaptured by a German machine-gun crew. By posing as an Italian workman he managed to escape from a transit barrack at Aquila, and made his way again to the hill village not far away which had previously sheltered him. German search parties made it too difficult to stay there, and forced him to eke out a cold and hungry existence in a shepherd's hut higher in the mountains, and for some weeks to throw in his lot with a group of Yugoslav francs-tireurs. In mid-April he and a Canadian parachutist again tried to get through the lines, this time at Alfadena to the east of Cassino, but they stumbled into a German outpost when within reach of freedom. While being taken north he again broke free by diving into the Salto River, then in spring flood from the melting snows. Nursed back to health in an Italian household from the resulting pneumonia, he remained in the hills and came down to meet the advancing British forces near Aquila in mid-June.' (Source: Mason, W.W. Prisoners of War. p. 417.) AWMM