Partisans Australia Inc
AUSTRALIAN WAS WITH PARTISANS
Having escaped from a prison the
day before he was to have been shot,
Private Desmond Peck (7th Batt)
was one of the repatriated prisoners
of war who returned to Melbourne
yesterday (11th April 1945).
Wounded and taken prisoner, he
escaped from Crete in 1941 and
roamed Italy for 12 months before
being recaptured and sent to an
Italian prison camp. Twice he es-
caped. On the second occasion he
and Noel Dunn, Wellington (NZ),
planned to leave on a submarine.
While they were in the hills await-
ing an opportunity RAF planes
came over and dropped a radio near
by. They were again captured by an
Italian patrol, which, seeing the
radio, treated them as spies.
They were taken, to Rhodes Island,
and broke away again, this time in
a rowing boat, and made for Turkey.
The boat sank in a storm. Four men
were drowned, but he. and three
others were picked up by an Italian
destroyer. They were to have been
executed as spies, but, on appeal,
the Germans sent for their papers
to Berlin, which proved that they
were prisoners of war.
Peck was then sent to a camp in
the north of Italy. A month later
he and three others got away, but
were caught as they were approach-
ing Switzerland. He was sent to a
punishment and discipline camp,
and later, giving more trouble, to
a camp for political prisoners. There
he remained until Italy broke with
Hitler. He worked with the par-
tisans in helping 1,800 Australian
and Allied soldiers through to
Switzerland, but in 1944 was
arrested by the Gestapo. He was
court martialled at Como and sen-
tenced to death. He again escaped
and reached Switzerland.
GERMAN PRISON CONDITIONS
Poor treatment, crowded accom-
modation, inadequate food, and de-
plorable sanitary arrangements was
the description applied to German
prison camps by Lieut G. F. Mum-
ford, of Sunshine.
Lieut Mumford (8th Batt) was cap-
tured in Greece on April 12, 1941,
and was in five different camps in
Germany. In the last one at
Eichstatt, near Munich, there were
120 Australian and 1,800 British
officers. But for the Red Cross par-
cels most of them would have been
dead in six months.
Working 10 hours every night in a
paper mills in Austria kept Sig A. J.
Kelson (28th Batt) busy, particu-
larly as their captors sometimes for-
got to feed them. He fell from 13st
51b to 9st 10lb in six months. His
workmates were mostly Russians,
whom he described as "the best
people in Europe."