Trooper Victor Kensett Styles 1918-2001 - Italian WW2 irrugular activities
Trooper Victor Kensett Styles, my uncle, was a POW escapee from PG 52 – CHIAVARI Chiavari Liguria region, he not talk about his activities, but when he died in 2001, I started to do some research, but with time information has faded.
Trooper Victor Kensett Styles joined with the Italian partisans after he escaped from PG 52. fought with a Russian detachment with the partisans'. With British & Italian patrols he destroyed German vehicles and was ‘Mentioned in Despatches’. He escape from a train out side the area of Piacenza Italy near Milan, on the 13th Sept 1943 escaped from a train in December 1943, he was in the area of Castel di Sangro near Campobasso & Avezzano. And was recaptured by the Germans taken to Frosinone, then he escaped, in the Modena, near Bologna in the north of Italy.
He hid for 3 months in Tugliacozzo near Avezzano. April to June 1944, he met up with more partisans, their HQ was at Montefiorino under the command of Major Johnston. In July 1944 met up with Russians at Monte Cantiari, they also went to Monte Tondo, Soave, Verona. Sept 1944 Was in Villa Minozzo, near Modena. Sept 1944 Lama di Monchio, Palagano, south of Reggio nell 'Emila was then sent to Musiara, Neviano degli Arduini, Italy, action on the Pontrremoli November 1944, He was involved with mission called Operation Envelope Blue in February 1945 with Captain Michael Lees. Which I was the attack to the German 51st HQ at Albinea, he was also a team leader in many sorties, but he did not hold an officers rank.
Eventually he was repatriated and was interviewed by MI9, he was recommended a holiday and officer training, later he resigned and decided to take on teaching in London. He was also recommended the British Empire Medal, he never got it because his files had a secret life of 85 years, but I ask for review under the Freedom of Information Act and was released. When he escaped from POW camp and on active service with the SOE, he never got paid! He also did not get his Italian Star until I ask for it in 2009. If you Google his name you will find more information about him.
Following his return to the UK in January 1945, Lance-Corporal Styles was Mentioned in Despatches for his conduct in Italy, and attached to 161 Reconnaissance Regiment. In September of that year he was posted to 100 Officer Cadet Training Unit. He was released to the Army Reserve in June 1946. His military conduct was recorded as exemplary; "A very capable man of excellent appearance and character.
He is meticulous in his work and thoroughly honest and sober." His Mentioned in Despatches citation reads:
As a result of his capture at EL MECHILI on 8th Apr 41, STYLES was, at the time of the Italian Armistice, a P/W in Camp 52 (CHIAVARI). Obeying the instructions of the Senior British N.C.O. he did not try to escape until the Germans had occupied the camp. On 13th Sep 43, during transfer to GERMANY, he and two commandos jumped from the cattle truck near CAORSO, through a hole they had made in the floor. With various companions, and occasionally alone, STYLES travelled to LA META, where he was recaptured on 1st Dec 1943. Three nights later he and another prisoner used a blanket rope to leave their temporary prison, which was inadequately guarded. To avoid suspicion they followed various herds of cattle being driven towards the hills, and in this manner STYLES reached CASTELLA FIUME. Early in April 1944, he decided to try to reach FRANCE; at PIETRALUNGA, however, he joined a partisan group, but after a week's service this was dispersed by the enemy. At the beginning of June 1944, STYLES accompanied a guerrilla unit in two raids on Fascist militia posts near MONTE FIOMINO. Transferring to a more efficient group, he remained an active member until the band was attacked for the second time by Germans at the end of July 1944. He then became attached to a British group, and after participating in sorties against German transport, STYLES was guided with other escapers to an American unit near AUGSIMA at the end of November 1944.