D Feasey, 1937

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Special thanks to Ernie Feasey for providing the details, photographs and documents presented here regarding the war service of his uncle, Sgt and later CSM Daniel Feasey.

The account below is largely based on a original document written by Ernie. I have made some minor contextual revisions and also added links to relevant pages of my site as appropriate.

Daniel James Feasey was born in December 1918 in Shoreditch, London. He joined the Territorial Army in the Royal Artillery (Army Number 877462) in 1936. He joined the Regular Army with the Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire Regiment on 3 June 1939, still with his old RA number.

In late June 1940 he was among the 80-plus Beds and Herts NCOs and private soldiers who were posted from the Beds and Herts depot at Kempston Barracks in Bedford to train the brand new 16th Battalion Durham Light Infantry, which was forming at Edinburgh. At the time, the new battalion consisted of nothing more than several large drafts of raw new conscripts in a muddy tented camp.

The Beds and Herts men provided the NCO backbone of the new Battalion from the start and, indeed, for most of its existence. Many were still serving in 1945 and at least five were awarded gallantry awards, namely: Sgt P Griffin MM, Sgt J Hood MM, Sgt J Lewindon MM, CSM A Mattin MM and CSM A May, US Silver Star.

Danny was promoted to Sergeant during his time with the 16th DLI--see this enlargement from the 1942 Sergeants photograph.

For the full 1942 Sergeants photograph and caption, click here. Danny is not present on the 1942 photographs of B and D Company. My feeling is that he was probably serving in A Company when he was captured during the Battle of Sedjenane in February March 1943. His fellow friend and escaper, Sgt James Hood is documented in his Military Medal citation as being captured on 17/2/43, which I believe is typing error for 27/2/43, which is the day when A Company suffered its heaviest casualties at Sedjenane

After being captured by German Parachute Engineer troops at Sedjenane, Tunisia in February-March 1943, Feasey and his fellow POWs were sent by sea to Italy. At the time of the Italian surrender he and Sgt Hood were being held at Camp PG 82. Other ex-Bed and Herts 16 DLI NCO POWs included Sgt Charles Bray, who was at Camp PG 53 at the time of the Armistice.

After the Italian Armistice of September 1943, Danny and fellow prisoners were loaded onto a train to transport them to Germany, under German military control. Danny and two others POWs, Sgt James Hood, his colleague from the 16th DLI and Pte Herbert Crowle of the Hampshire Regiment, jumped of a moving train to escape. Danny injured his back during this escapade, an injury, which was to plague him for the rest of his life.

Danny and his companions joined up with Italian Partisans in the Sora Balsarano Valley area, and worked and fought with them for several months. Towards the end of this time, one of his companions was taken ill, and Danny went to try to seek help for him from a friendly, Italian Doctor. On his way back to where his friends were hiding, Danny was recaptured by Italian militia forces operating with the German Army.

Danny was carrying a Partisan map. Due to this, he was treated as a potential spy and was badly beaten by the Italians. Eventually, after about nine days, he was handed over to the Germans and was transported to Germany as a POW. He was assigned the POW number

Sgt D J Feasey, 16 DLI POW and Escaper
CSM D Feasey, 9 DLI, 1945-46

CSM D J Feasey is shown above during his postwar service with 9 DLI. Not the ‘Polar Bear’ 49th Division shoulder flash. The 1937 photograph is annotated by Danny himself and refers to his Royal Artillery TA service.