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Campo 57 Gruppignano
Most men arriving to Italian prisoner of war camp Campo 57 , were captured in North Africa. Below shows a map of the passage from North Africa and the routes by which prisoners of war arrived in Italy , and some of the main allied prisoner of war camps in Italy.
CAMP POSTE MILITARE LOCALITY COMMENTS
P.G. 5 3100 SERRAVILLE
P.G. 12 3200 Vincigliata Located near Florence
P.G. 17 3200 Rezzanello
PG 21 3300 chieti located on the east coast
PG 27 3200 San Romano, Pisa
P.G. 29 3200 Veano Piacenza
P.G. 32 Bogliaco Garda lake near Salò, Brescia
P.G. 35 3400 Certosa di Padula Monastery, near Salerno
P.G. 38 3200 Poppi Monastery near Arezzo
P.G. 41 3200 Montalbo
P.G. 43 3100 Garessio Cuneo
P.G. 47 3200 Modena Officers, mainly from New Zealand
P.G. 49 3200 Fontanellato Orphanage near Parma.
P.G. 50 Caserna Genova Cavalleria - storage centre Rome
P.G. 51 3450 Altamura Villa Serena Bari - Transit camp
P.G. 52 3100 Chiavari
P.G. 53 3300 Sforzacosta Macerata. Over 10,000 prisoners
P.G. 54 3300 Passo Corese
P.G. 55 3200 Busseto Near Piacenza. 4 satellite labour camps.
P.G. 57 3200 Grupignano Near Udine, Mostly Australian and New Zealand other ranks.
P.G. 59 3300 Servigliano Ascoli Piceno (Greeks, Maltese, Cypriots, British, Americans, French, Slavs)
P.G. 60 Colle Compito Lucca
P.G. 62 3200 Grumello del Piano Near Bergamo. Mostly Indians and Cypriots. Seven satellite work camps,
P.G. 63 3400 Marinaro Aversa Near Arezzo. Mostly Indians.
P.G. 65 3450 Gravina-Altamura Bari
P.G. 66 3400 Capua Transit camp.
P.G. 68 Vetralla
P.G. 70 3300 Monteurano Near Fermo Ascoli Piceno
P.G. 71 Aversa Near Naples
P.G. 73 3200 Fossoli di Carpi Near Modena.
P.G. 75 3450 Torre Tresca, Bari Transit camp. One work camp.
P.G. 77 3300 Pissignano, Campello Tent camp Foligno
P.G. 78 3300 Sulmona
P.G. 78/1 Aquafredda Work camp Many New Zealanders.
P.G. 80 Villa Marina Near Rome
P.G. 81 3200
P.G. 82 3200 Laterina Near Arezzo.
P.G. 83 Fiume
P.G. 85 3450 Tuturano Transit camp.
P.G. 87 Stalia 6000 in camp
P.G. 89 Gonars Udine
P.G. 91 3300 Avezzano
P.G. 97 Renicci di Anghiari Arezzo
P.G. 98 San Giuseppe Jato Sicily
P.G. 102 3300 Near Aquila Transit camp
P.G. 103 3200 Monigo Treviso
P.G. 103/6 Ampezzo Udine
P.G. 103/7 La Maina near Ampezzo, at Sauris.
P.G. 106 3100 Vercelli 25 work camps, mostly Australians and New Zealanders
P.G. 106/20 Arro Salussola
P.G. 107 3200 Torviscosa Udine 5 work camps, Prati, San Donà di Piave, Torre di Confine, La Salute.
P.G. 107/2 Prati
P.G. 107/4 San Donà di Piave
P.G. 107/5 Torre di Confine
P.G. 107/6 ?
P.G. 107/7 La Salute di Livenza
P.G. 110 50 Carbonia
P.G. 112 3100 Turin
P.G. 113 3200 Avio (Trento) Near Marsciano, Rovereto
P.G. 115 3300 Marciano Near Perugia
P.G. 118 3200 Prato all'Isarco Near Bolzano
P.G. 120 3200 Chiesanuova Padova - work camps at Fattoria Bianco, Cetona, Abano, Fogolana.
P.G. 120/4 ?
P.G. 120/5 Abano
P.G. 120/8 Fogolana
P.G. 122 3300 Cinecittà Near Rome several work camps
P.G. 127 Locano Canavese Aosta
P.G. 129 3300 Montelupone Macerata
P.G. 132 Foggia
P.G. 133 3100 Novara
P.G. 136 3200 C.A.R.E Bologna
P.G. 145 3300 Campotosto, Montorio al Vomano (Province of Teramo)
P.G. 146 3100 Mortara Pavia
P.G. 148 3200 Bussolengo Near Verona. Labour camp for 250 prisoners,
P.G. 201 3200 Bergamo hospital in an almshouse
P.G. 202 3200 Lucca hospital in a monastery in Bergamo district.
P.G. 203 3200 Bologna hospital in Castel S Pietro
P.G. 204 3450 Altamura hospital in a school
P.G. 206 3400 Nocera hospital near Rovello
P.G. 207 Milan hospital
P.G. 339 Pisa
Dulag 339 Mantua
Stalag 339 Trieste Distinct (German)
P.G. 454 Brindisi Mainly Indians (German)
Panorama of Brindisi
Cividale Railway station. The last railway stop before being Marched to Gruppignano
Campo 57 was a WWII Prisoner of War camp that interned principally Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) non-commissioned soldiers with smaller numbers of British, Indian and South African men. The camp was situated close to the city of Udine, in the Province of Fruili in Northern Italy. Fruili itself lies in the foothills of the Alps and was close to the Yuogoslavian border.
Prisoners were transported to campo 57 by train with the last leg of transportation terminating at Cividale. The POWs were then marched through the hamlet of Premariacco to the site of the camp. The camp itself was set on flat terrain proximal to the river Natsionne. Surrounding the camp was predominantly farming land.
On the chosen site for campo 57 was a chapel known as San Mauro or Grupignano. The chapel was torn down to allow construction of the camp but was rebuilt by prisoners of war in 1943. The chapel still stands today and inside bears the signature of the POWs that rebuilt the chapel of Grupignano. Locating the site of campo 57 and its chapel can be achieved by setting your GPS to 46°4’36¨N 13°23’11¨or by following directions in this helpful newsletter http://www.second28th.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/TOBRUK-TO-BORNEO.pdf). More on the chapel of grupignano can be found here
On 8th September 1943, the Italian Defence Forces surrendered to the allied forces. The intent from British headquarters was that men detained in Italian camps would be liberated and repatriated by allied forces. To make this job easier an order was issued instructing POWs to remain in their camp. Whilst some obliged and obeyed this instruction, with their Italian guards now absent, many POWs took the opportunity to escape, and this was certainly the case with Campo 57.
The German high command were however quick to react to the Italian surrender and descended quickly into Italy and surrounded POW camps. Most of those who had escaped Campo 57 were quickly recaptured. POWs were then moved to various POW camps within Germany, Austria and eastern Europe.
With the camp disbanded following the Italian surrender, the camp itself was dismantled completely and the materials recycled by locals. What remains today is evidence of the accommodation blocks foundations and the rebuilt chapel.
Meanwhile many men, having escaped immediately following the Italian Armistice, had to endure great hardships and perils from the patrolling German army, and survive the cold and difficult conditions of a harsh North Italian environment. Survival was often dependent on the generosity and support of sympathetic Italian locals. Below is some beautiful footage of the Northern Italian regions, but perhaps it was not so greatly appreciated by the desperate escaping allied PG 57 soldiers.
For those who did not escape or were quickly recaptured by the German army, they were transported into northern Europe into a variety of POW camps including Stalags 18A, 18A/Z, 8B, 8A, 344, 4 A,B,C & D, and Stalag 11 being among the most common destinations
I've dedicated this website to my paternal grandfather NX 32639 Private Thomas Morley of the 2/3 Pioneers AIF. Whilst my father at the age of 15 was fighting against the Japanese on the Kakoda trail, my grandfather fought against Rommel's Afrika Corps and was captured at the battle of El Alamein on 31.10.1942. He was transported via several POW camps to Campo 57 in Italy. When the Italians surrendered he was taken by the Germans to Stalag 18 A/Z in Spittal/Drau and then to Stalag 18A Wolfsberg in Austria where he remained until liberated by the allies in 1945. This brief story will no doubt resonate with many of you whose relatives had similar journeys.