Lance CorporalRUSSELL, DAVID

Service Number 30169

Died 28/02/1945

Aged 34

22nd (Motor) Bn.
New Zealand Infantry

G C

Son of James and Jessie Russell, of Corsehill, Ayrshire.

Citation

An extract taken from the "London Gazette" records the following

"Like so many other escaped prisoners-of-war, Lance-Corporal Russell had obtained civilian clothes and was living with an Italian peasant, Giuseppe Vettorello. He was well-known and liked by the people of the locality. According to Giuseppe Vettorello, Lance-Corporal Russell maintained contact with a number of other ex-prisoners-of-war, visiting them regularly by bicyle. On about 22nd February, 1945, Lance-Corporal Russell was arrested by a patrol of Italian Fascist troops near the house of Giuseppe Vettorello. Giuseppe Vettorello himself was arrested on suspicion of having harboured Lance-Corporal Russell. Their captors were members of a mixed German-Italian police regiment. The prisoners were taken to the Compay Headquarters of Oberleutnant Haupt at Ponte di Piave. Here an attempt was made to force Lance-Corporal Russell to betray Giuseppe Vettorello, but he refused to do so, denying that he had ever seen him before. According to an Italian soldier who was present, Lance-Corporal Russell was beaten up by Haupt, but maintained his silence. Thanks to Lance-Corporal Russell's loyalty, Giuseppe Vettorello was released. The Germans were evidently convinced that Lance-Corporal Russell had been in contact with other ex-prisoners-of-war and Partisans, and were determined that he should disclose their whereabouts. He was chained to a wall in a stable, and told that, unless he gave the required information within three days, he would be shot. Again, on the testimony of two Italians who were present, Lance-Corporal Russell was beaten up, but he resolutely refused to speak. A civilian who took him food tried to persuade him to save his life, but he replied, 'Let them shoot me'. Haupt's interpreter, an Italian says: 'The behaviour of the Englishman was splendid, and it won the admiration of Haupt himself'. On the third day Lance-Corporal Russell was shot. The German warrant officer who witnessed the execution, says: 'The prisoner died very bravely'. There can be be no doubt whatsoever that Lance-Corporal Russell in the midst of his enemies and in the face of death, bore himself with courage and dignity of a very high order."

Buried at UDINE WAR CEMETERY

Location: Italy
Number of casualties: 402

Cemetery/memorial reference: IV. D. 2.

See cemetery plan
Cemetery details

CWGC Archives

DISCLAIMER:
This collection of documents was assembled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its predecessors as part of the processes involved in the commemoration of individuals. As a result, they contain many corrections and alterations which reflect their use as working documents. For further information concerning the history of the collection, please see our About Our Records page.
Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.
DISCLAIMER:
This collection of documents was assembled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its predecessors as part of the processes involved in the commemoration of individuals. As a result, they contain many corrections and alterations which reflect their use as working documents. For further information concerning the history of the collection, please see our About Our Records page.
Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.
DISCLAIMER:
This collection of documents was assembled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its predecessors as part of the processes involved in the commemoration of individuals. As a result, they contain many corrections and alterations which reflect their use as working documents. For further information concerning the history of the collection, please see our About Our Records page.
Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.