Australian 3rd Light A/A Battery

Living History

Good morning,

I am trying to find more info on the story and fate of the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, Royal Australian Artillery, 1st Australian Corps.

The reason of this search is very simple. Among the crewmen of the battery there were three prisoners of my list:

Bombardier

VX32995 Thomas Watson Russell

Gunner

VX32728 Ernest Baden Preiser

Gunner

VX47958 William Francis (Bill) Waller

They all escaped from the Camp PG106 (Vercelli) and entered Switzerland on October 6, 1943, in a 15 former prisoners’ roped party. They had to climb at more than 4000 meters and this is the main reason of my search. I am still trying to contact Russell and Preiser’s families but I am not so optimistic.

In absence of every possible information, and since the most part of my prisoners came from Tobruk, I supposed they were all captured at the fall of Tobruk on June 21, 1942. This also because the anti-aircraft artilleries were usually placed in the rear, with the exception of the AA guns used against tanks and enemy personnel as the 88s. Therefore I started looking for detailed info on the A/A defences of the town, and I was reading the excellent Lyman’s “Tobruk. The Longest Siege” about that.

But today I received an e-mail from Waller’s family and it would seem that Bill Waller was captured on May first, 1941. If so, it would be quite probable that his two fellow comrades shared his same experience.

It’s quite strange. The family told me they were reading the NAA file for Waller, but it’s currently unavailable with this strange explanation:

“33(1)(g) Information or matter the disclosure of which under this Act would involve the unreasonable disclosure of information relating to the personal affairs of any person (including a deceased person).” (?)

Thank you for your kind opinion and assistance,

Marco

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