I haven’t been on this page for a time, but I decided to spread the word about “Captured by the Enemy” in a fun and nontraditional way. My daughter was going to L.A. for a concert this last weekend, and with it being Veteran’s day, I wanted to do something different. I attached a sticker and sent 4 books with her. I couldn’t send more because it was a short trip and she didn’t have extra room to carry a lot of books. However, while she was there, I had her randomly leave the books at different places. This is a short video to tell a bit of what I did and what will come next. Join in on the fun. If you live in a big city, or you know some great places to leave a book, let me know. This could be a lot of fun!
I need your help. As I researched and put together my granddad’s story of Captured by the Enemy: The True Story of POW Carl Leroy Good, I ran across other men who shared his journey. One was the Lt. Col. for whom my granddad was driving when he was captured. The Lt. Col. was KIA and my granddad was taken prisoner. The other five men I am searching for were in POW Camp 59 (near Servigliano, Italy) with him when they escaped. I have searched for family of these men, but I have been unsuccessful in finding any. Now that the book is done, I want to share the story with them, but I need your help in finding them. Here is what I have gathered:
- Lt. Col. John Oliver Williams. He was KIA (Killed in Action) on July 16, 1943 in Sicily. He was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas on November 20, 1903 to Henry and Jennie(y). He married and had three children: John Jr. (1931), Nancy Ray, and Judith Ann in Texas. Perhaps we could connect with one of them.
- Private James (Jim) Martelli escaped from POW Camp 59 in a group of six with my granddad. He and my granddad paired off after a couple days and they remained in the Italian mountains until they headed to Allied lines over nine months after they escaped. They made it home, but Jim wanted to forget about everything that had happened and my granddad never heard from him again. His ASN (Army Serial Number) is 32423241 and he was from the Kings Co. New York area in the 1940s.
- Army Medical Dept. James (Jim) Snodgrass escaped with them from POW Camp 59. He was there for a longer period of time. His ASN is 20614252. He was enlisted in Illinois.
- Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. George Tucker escaped with them from POW Camp 59 in Italy. His ASN is 37175260 and was listed as being from Minnesota. He helped my granddad make it to the train that took them to Camp 59, after an explosion at the previous camp nearly took my granddad’s life.
- Army Air Corps Staff Sgt. James (Jim) Kingsland. There is some confusion on this name. It was reported that Kingsland went down on the same plane as Tucker. My granddad said they both arrived to the POW camp together. However, he pronounced the name as James Kingsley who was in the Air Corp as well. Nevertheless, Kingsland’s information matches better and it could have been just a misunderstanding in the pronunciation of the last name. I am going with Kingland, but searching for anyone who many have more information. Kingland’s ASN is 16024924 and he was also listed as being from Minnesota. He also helped Tucker get my granddad to the train that took them to Camp 59.
- PFC (Private First Class) Joseph Altomari. My granddad remembered the name as Joseph Olinix, but I could not find his information (British possibly?). However, Joseph Altomari was listed on the same paper as my granddad, Martelli, and Snodgrass after they made it back to Allied lines over nine months after escaping. This name needs to be proved. If you have any information on the name Olinix or Altomari, let me know. He also escaped from Camp 59 in Italy. Altomari’s ASN is 32105474 and he enlisted in Kings Co. New York.
Please share this information and help me connect with the families of these men. Many men did not talk about their WWII experiences. In fact, my granddad did not open up until he was older. Every man and woman who serve in war should be recognized, and I hope that I can share these stories with the families of these men. Thank you to all of our veterans and active duty military–you are the silent heroes walking among us.
Why should you buy this book–Captured by the Enemy? This book was written to retrace the steps of Carl Good through his WWII experiences. It combines history with his personal stories and recreates an amazing story. From his landing in North Africa to a second amphibious landing in Sicily, this book covers it all. When Carl was captured in Sicily, it details his experiences from the prison camps as he was moved ahead of Allied forces and into Italy. After a mass escape, he lived in the mountains of Italy for over nine months.
Learning more about WWII couldn’t be more interesting as the stories carry the history along. Since the majority of the civilian draftees were hard-working and clean spoken, this book has kept true to that element. It is a clean read and makes for a true story without all the vulgar, gruesome Hollywood scenes (true stories only.) This is what makes this book stand out against the rest. It can be read by advanced readers who are ready for WWII material and the atrocities associated with it, or it is a great read for adults as well.
Recently, it received a five star review on Amazon that compared it to the WWII book phenomenon–Unbroken. This one is for Carl–the quiet hero who never expected to be recognized, but deserved it through his amazing story of Captured by the Enemy.
Buy it from Amazon, or pay safely through PayPal here and get a SIGNED copy from the author for only $19.95!
I have mentioned several times that through my journey of research, I have connected with many wonderful people. Recently, I was asked to write a letter for Riccardo Funari.
For those of you who are new or who don’t remember who Riccardo is, let me briefly explain. Riccardo Funari was a WWII Italian Partisan who fought for a free Italy. He didn’t want to be repressed under the Fascist rule and especially not under the rule of Hitler when Germany took control after the fall of Mussolini in 1943.
How does this relate to me? Well, my granddad, Carl Good, was captured in Sicily and ended up in a prison camp in Italy. After a mass escape, his path crossed with Riccardo’s. Many years later, Riccardo was recognized for what he had done for his country and a memorial was set up in his honor. This year, the commemoration was held today in Italy, but through Riccardo’s nephew, Ricardo Funari, and his great-niece, Vanesa Funari, I was able to be part of this special day.
Although I couldn’t be there, my letter to Riccardo was read at the church and Ricardo and Vanesa were there to send pictures and keep me updated. Vanesa sent me a message saying it was very rainy and although I’m sure it was inconvenient for the commemoration, I found it somewhat fitting. The night before Riccardo was killed, it was raining. Staying under umbrellas, they put up a beautiful wreath in Riccardo’s honor, and then moved over to the church.
Once they were at the church, my letter was read to those who had gathered for this special day. Here is what I had to say (pictures of the area were sent to me by Vanesa and Ricardo Funari today and I have added them into the letter so you can see where this all took place.)
My name is Crystal Good Aceves. Perhaps you will better recognize the name of my grandfather, Carl Leroy Good. When my grandfather escaped into the mountains outside of Camp 59, he had no idea where he should go. He was with five other prisoners and they only knew they had to get as far away as possible. As they climbed the mountains into the night, the adrenaline pushed their weak bodies towards Monte San Martino. After going all night, they only made it to the edge of town where they hid in grass and brush to wait through the hot day until it was safe to walk again.
The next night, they started walking and met a man who was a neighbor to your family. His name was Giovanni Straffi and although he didn’t own his land, he was a good, hardworking, Italian farmer who wanted and believed in a better Italy.
Riccardo, I know you wanted the same thing. You could have stayed home and rested after being injured in war, but you chose to fight. You knew that Italy deserved more than to be under the control of the Fascists and the Germans. You knew that to free your family from the pain and suffering, you had to step up and join the fight from a different position.
Together with your friend, Gino, you were not afraid to join with Decio’s group of Partisans in the mountains. You chose to defend your country with other men who agreed that living in fear and punishment was no way to live. You were tired of the enemy stealing your things and threatening to kill you. Although my grandfather and his friend, Jim, wanted to join you, it was too dangerous with their limited Italian and American accents.
However, you helped them when you could. They hid in a ditch across the road from your house in a hut made of plants. The hope was that they would be secluded enough that the enemy would not find them, but it would also allow them to view the lower roads and the farms of the families who were helping them.
You took them food and information whenever you visited your family. You invited them to go with you to return the stolen grain the Germans had taken from the people back to the hungry Italians who deserved it. My grandfather was able to get some for the families who risked their lives to save his.
That rainy night in April when you went home, you stopped and talked to my grandfather and Jim. My grandfather said he would see you tomorrow, and he really thought he would. It tore him up when he woke up at the light of dawn to find the Fascists had discovered you at home. He could do nothing to help you as those Fascist pigs lined you up against the ox stall. They put your mother on one side of you, your father on the other side, and your brothe beside your mother. Then they shot you in front of them (this story differs from the family in that his mother wasn’t allowed to look out the window from where she watched or they would kill her too.) Then the enemy took everything from your home, including the livestock. Your mother screamed an unearthly scream. You were her son. You were her protector. She didn’t understand why you chose to risk your life and fight with the partisans. Her agony and pain of losing you was so deep that she scratched the wooden floors with her fingernails, but that wasn’t the end.
Even after sixty years had passed, my grandfather told me about you by name. He told me that you had a heart of gold. He wasn’t able to trust many at that time while he was hiding in the mountains, living day to day, but he trusted you. I could see the look of remembrance in his face when he mentioned your and Gino’s names as he slightly smiled. He thought highly of you two and respected you for taking the positions you did. You gave the ultimate sacrifice and several months later your Italy was freed from that oppressive power against which you fought.
My grandfather survived over nine months in the mountains near where you lived. You would be happy to know he made it to Allied lines on June 21, 1944—not even two months after you were killed. He made it because like you he was a fighter, but also because you and the community you lived in worked together and helped keep him alive.
Your family moved away from Italy after the war, but you were never forgotten. Your blood boldly runs through descendants who honor your name. I am privileged to call your nephew, Ricardo, and your great-niece, Vanesa, my friends because we have a connection through you. Now, seventy-one years later, I write you this letter to tell you thank you. Thank you for helping my grandfather. Thank you for fighting for justice. Thank you for giving the ultimate sacrifice.
Coming soon there will be a book that puts all of Carl’s war experiences into one true story. I will let you know when that is ready.
As many of you know, I wrote a book about my granddad’s WWII experiences. In fact, I worked on it since 2008. There were many reasons why it took me so long–the main reason being life. However, I did not quit. I kept working on it and researching and discovering. I tracked his steps from his landing in Fedala, Morocco, as he passed through Algeria into Tunisia, as he made a second amphibious landing into Sicily, his capture in Sicily just 6 days after landing, going from POW camp to POW camp and ending up in Camp 59 near Servigliano, Italy, and his escape into the nearby mountains where he lived near Monte San Martino for over nine months. Nine months may not seem like a long time, but when you’re in the open mountains during the wintertime with little food and people are out to kill you, it most certainly becomes an eternity.
On my journey of research, I found and connected with several people who answered questions and helped fill in the blanks. It is interesting how these people I had never met in person began to feel like long time friends. Here is one such story.
As my granddad was still surviving in the beautiful Italian mountains, he wasn’t able to enjoy the scenery as spring approached. Having just made it through the cold winter, starvation had become a very close neighbor. Not far from where he stayed, there was a young man who had become a partisan for Italy after being injured in the Italian Army and sent home. His name was Riccardo Funari. In short, Riccardo was discovered by the Germans and they went and shot him in front of his mother, father, and younger brother, Umberto. My granddad heard the commotion and saw the murder take place. There was absolutely nothing he could do about it, and the image was permanently burned in his memory.
Seventy years later, as I researched the story and put facts together, I found Umberto’s son, Ricardo. Umberto had moved to Argentina after the war and raised his family there. However, because Riccardo died for his country, he was listed as a hero of the people and not forgotten. Although Umberto had passed, Ricardo and his daughter, Vanesa, were most helpful. Ricardo was still living in Argentina, but Vanesa had moved to Italy and lived close to the area where my granddad had spent those nine long months. They were happy to hear from me and gave me some wonderful information that added to my story. They were proud of their family history in Italy and Vanesa shared stories and pictures. They also helped connect me to other knowledgeable people in the area who could help me fit missing pieces together and recreate such a fascinating story. I have enjoyed the friendships I gained, and I hope to meet them some day. This is the fun part of the many hours spent on research, and it was worth every minute.
This is just a very small part of what will be found in the book, Captured by the Enemy. I have lots of great stories to carry the book along and although it is a true story with lots of history, I promise you that it will not be a boring read.
I can’t wait for you to get to read it.