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Soldiers of the Regiment

Private Job Witton MM

Job Witton enlisted for military service on 15th July 1939,  as one of the many peace-time conscripts (or militiaman) who were called up for service prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.  After his basic training he was posted to the 5th Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Regiment.

He was with the 5th Battalion in France and Belgium 1940 and was taken prisoner by the Germans, but managed to escape and after travelling through France and Spain got to Gibraltar for a ship back home.  He was awarded the Military Medal (London Gazette 7th March 1941) and later transferred to the Border Regiment.  The full story of his escape is below.

Private Job Witton MM, number 3712731, 5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Regiment, Second World War.
Accession Number: Submitted

Military Medal for Escaped Prisoner of War

Captured on 29th May 1940 and final escape on 28th July 1940. Left Gibraltar 19th November 1940 and arrived Liverpool 4th December, 1940. Home address 237 Princes Road, Ellesmere Port, Wirral, Cheshire.

My unit was on the road to Armentieres to Lille when I was detached from them, and this was the last time I saw my Company. After losing sight of the Company I returned to Lille, where with about 60 other ranks I was captured on the 29th May. The Germans took over all our equipment and, on the march from Lille to Brussels treated us very roughly.

Escape and recapture.
Just beyond Brussels I managed to slip out of the column and hide in a wood until the road was clear. A little later at Fecamps I was recaptured and taken to Doullens Prison, where I spent a month and was made to do light work. Here I met Sergeant Phillips (RAF) with whom I managed to escape on 29th July.
We went south-east of Paris, keeping to the side roads, until we came to Challons s/Marne. We stayed there for a weekend and then made our way to Dijon and Challons s/Soane, and so into Free France.
After crossing the line of demarcation, we went to a barracks at Lyons, from where we were placed for two weeks at another barracks at Valence. Afterwards we escaped to Loriol and interned there in a camp. Later we were taken to another barracks in Grenoble but escaped from here and got to Perpignan.
On 15th September 1940 we crossed the Pyrenees with the help of a French gendarme, but were caught on the other side and taken to the internment camp at Figueras.
Later on we were removed to Miranda Del Ebro from where we were eventually released and taken to Gibraltar by way of Madrid.


© Images are copyright, Trustees of the King's Own Royal Regiment Museum.
 You must seek permission prior to publication of any of our images.

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