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Document Details


Title: Lansell West
Document type: Oral history
Accessibility: Free Only
Repository: Victoria. State Library. Special Collections. Australian Manuscripts Collection
Collection: Victorians at War - Oral History Project
Description: Lansell grew up in Kilmore, Victoria, and as a young man took various jobs working in a chemist, for the Forestry Commission and a baker before joining the Voluntary Militia. He fought with the militia in New Guinea and then decided to join the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) when France fell to Germany in 1939. Lansell trained for the AIF at Caulfield Racecourse and became part of the 7th Infantry Battalion. He was sent with his battalion to Palestine and arrived at Beitjorja Camp near Gaza, Egypt, in December 1940. Lansell saw active service in Libya near Tobruk, Barce (Al Marj), Banghazi and Mersa Brega. He was sent to Greece and then Crete, and fought the Germans with a New Zealand Maori battalion near Maleme in Western Crete. He was part of a group of soldiers given the job of capturing the town of Galatas with the Maori battalion but after some confusion when falling back was ordered to surrender to the Germans. Lansell was taken prisoner and marched by the Germans to an Italian Prisoner of War camp in Skenes and then to a camp in Salonika, Greece. Later he was moved to Germany by train and held in a prison camp at Moosburg. He also spent time in camps at Westendlage, Lamsdorf and Lazisk. The Germans marched Lansell with other prisoners out of Lazisk and kept them on the move for four months walking every day. He escaped from the Germans in Bavaria and hid out until discovered by American soldiers - he had been a prisoner of war for four years. After his release Lansell was sent to Britain and then back home to Australia where he was discharged from the army and returned to work as a baker.
Original Language: English
Audio: [Audio available]
Speaker: West, Lansell
Speaker gender: Male
Speaker race: White
Speaker occupation: Baker; Military personnel
Document date: Undated
Organizations discussed: Australia. Army
Historical events discussed: World War II, 1939-1945
Locations discussed: Asia; Australia; Israel-Palestine; Oceania; Victoria, Australia
Topics discussed - ASP terms: Asia; Australia; Australia. Army; Australia--Armed Forces; Australia--History; Australia--Military policy; Israel-Palestine; Oceania; Oral history; Victoria, Australia; World War II, 1939-1945; World War, 1939-1945--Veterans
ASP release: 2005-06
Document code: OHI0026774-28949