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An Extraordinary Italian Imprisonment (Hardback)

The Brutal Truth of Campo 21, 1942-3

WWII Prisoners Of War

By Brian Lett
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 251
ISBN: 9781473822696
Published: 3rd November 2014



As featured on the Howard Leader Show

Listen to an interview with the author on the BBC iplayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02rwrv2 The interview can be found 01:07:04 in.

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This book tells the story of prisoner of war camp PG 21, at Chieti, Italy, between August 1942 and September 1943. It was grossly overcrowded, with little running water, no proper sanitation, and in winter no heating.

Conditions (food/clothing) for POWs were so bad that they were debated in the House of Commons.

The prisoners suffered under a violently pro-Fascist regime. The first Commandant personally beat up one recaptured escaper. A pilot was murdered by an Italian guard following his escape attempt. Tunnels were dug, and the prisoners were even prepared to swim through human sewage to try and get out. Morale in the camp remained remarkably high. Two England cricket internationals staged a full scale cricket match. Theatre and music also thrived.

After the Italian Armistice, in September 1943, the British Commander refused to allow the ex-prisoners to leave camp. Germans took over the camp, and most prisoners were transported to Germany. Some managed to hide, and more than half of these subsequently escaped. After the war, a number of the Camp staff were arrested for war crimes.

Brian Lett's book pays tribute to the many thousands of men who were captured by the enemy during World War Two. It tells the shocking story of the notorious Italian Campo 21 where his father, Major Gordon Lett DSO, was imprisoned.

Somerset Life

Brian Lett provides us with a book that tells the little-known story of the prisoner of war camp PG 21, at Chieti Italy.

Recollections of WWII (Blog Spot)

As featured on.

BBC Radio Somerset

As featured in.

The Royal Gazette (Bermuda)

This book provides a unique insight into the Allied POWs held in Italian camps and specifically in Campo 21.


About Brian Lett

Brian Lett is a QC whose interest in the history of special operations stems from his father's involvement with SOE and the SAS. He is the author of "SAS in Tuscany" and "Ian Fleming and Operation Postmaster", both published by Pen and Sword Books. He has homes in Somerset and Kew.

Perfect Partner

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Of all the daring PoW escape stories that have come to light in the last 100 years and immortalized by Steve McQueen in the film The Great Escape, the story of J.L. Hardy has to be one of the most remarkable. A PoW for three-and-a-half years, Hardy made no less than twelve escape attempts while imprisoned by the Germans in the First World War, five of which being successful. In early 1915 he attempted to escape from Halle Camp, near Leipzig, by breaking through a brick wall into an adjacent ammunition factory. After five-months work the project proved impracticable. In the summer of 1915 he was…

By Captain Alan Bott MC

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