- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Herbert Thomas "Pat" Goodchild
- Location of story:
- Italy and Poland
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 28 October 2003
Herbert Thomas "Pat" Goodchild
My father, Herbert Thomas Goodchild, known as "Pat" for obscure family reasons, was a member of a British army tank crew in North Africa early in 1943. He was captured by Italian forces there and taken to Italy as a prisoner of war. I discovered only last year, through my sister, Brenda, that the camp he was taken to was called Campo 82 and was at Laterina in Tuscany.
After the Italian government of General Badgolio changed sides and switched over to the allies in 1943 my father was put on a train with other POW's heading for Switzerland. He thought he was being repatriated back to England through the Red Cross. However, the Germans did not accept the loss of Southern Italy and his train was stopped and he became a prisoner of the Germans. He and others were then marched all the way to Poland to a POW camp called Stalag 344.
The march was a grim ordeal, about which he rarely spoke. He spent the rest of the war in the German camp until it was liberated by the Americans in 1945. The camp was next to an IG Farben factory, where he and other POW's worked. He used to say that in the last months of the war he was more afraid of being killed by RAF bombers.The camp/factory guards would go into their bunkers just leaving the prisoners where they were when the RAF planes came over. Camp conditions damaged his health -- particularly his breathing -- and he died with lung problems at the comparatively early age of 56 in 1969. I am interested particularly to know more about life in Campo 82, and if anyone knew my father.
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