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.