Pte Stanley Alexander Easton, 4465708, 16 DLI

This account of the war service of Pte Stanley Alexander Easton, 16 DLI, is courtesy of his son, Brian. From his Army number, 4465607, it seems clear that Stan Easton was one of the original recruits to the 16th DLI on its formation in July 1940.

I have included the Army number sequence which features Stan and also the consecutive German POW number sequence, which includes his Stalag number 81185, at opposite right. Click on the headings for the longer versions of these listings elsewhere on the site. It’s highly probably that those numbers adjacent to his will include several Army and POW friends. Further details requested.

Stanley Alexander (Stan) Easton, Pte, 4465708, 16th Durham Light Infantry, POW Number 81185, held in Stalag 344/Stalag 8B in Lamsdorf, Poland.

Stan was a Gateshead man who joined the DLI in July 1940 at the age of 29. Not sure if he was conscripted or a volunteer.

Before joining the regiment he worked as a monumental sculptor in the Gateshead/Newcastle area, and joined the regiment at Brancepeth Castle, trained at Folkestone and Scotland before been posted to North Africa.

He probably took part in the Battle of Sedjenane, and was taken prisoner about the 2nd March 1943. After the war he maintained that the local Arabs were passing battle information to both the British and Germans for financial reward.

He was then transported across the Mediterranean Sea as a prisoner of the Italians. The POWs’ were battened down in the hold and whilst en route unsuccessful attempts were made to torpedo the ship by the Allies.
He was held in transit camps through Italy, Germany and finally to Camp 344 (Lamsdorf, Stalag 8B), whilst working in the camp he worked in a steel plant (not sure what it actually did), where he was made to move heavy girders etc, from A to B.

From the camp he had visual contact with compounds holding Russians, Slavs and Jews and was appalled at the treatment dished out to these unfortunate prisoners; he felt that the British POWs’ were well treated in comparison, and felt in general the German soldier guards treated him and his colleagues with respect bearing in mind the general conditions of a world war. He also stated that the British POWs’ would stand up to their guards and it usually took a German officer with a pistol to restore control over the situation.

On one occasion the works was badly bombed by aircraft and the POWs all scattered; my father and another POW were separated from the main work party and were making their own way back to the camp. They were stopped by a German staff car and questioned by a high ranking German Officer; they explained the situation and convinced the officer that they had no maps, food or water; at this point the German Officer explained he had been educated at Durham University and enjoyed his stay in the city, and left them with a salute and good wishes for the future.

Stan was liberated by the Americans from a POW camp (not sure which one); the Russians etc., were turned loose and committed some appalling atrocities on the public. The British POWs were kept in the camp and looked after by the Americans until events had calmed down. He was then taken to an airport to be repatriated, and witnessed an aircraft crash on take off killing the POWs on board, however it didn’t stop the next batch getting on board the next airplane.

Stan was married to Flo and had two sons. He worked until he was 65, and enjoyed 20 years of retirement before dying in 1984 and is buried in Saltwell Cemetery, Gateshead, where his headstone proudly displays’ the DLI badge.

At this stage I have no further information on Jock Clayton, although I can remember him when I was a young lad. They were pals during war service and after my father was repatriated from been a POW in 1945.


Sequence of consecutive Army Numbers featuring Pte S A Easton:

Willis, L/Cpl Frederick 4465688. 16 DLI. Died Sedjenane, 2 March 1943. See the 16 DLI Roll of Honour. Also see the 1942 B Coy photo.

Wilson, Cpl C, 4465689. 16 DLI, noted at 83 General Hospital in 2/43.

Mallen, Pte H 4465695. Enlisted July 1940. Stalag 11B in early 1945 German POW Number 140160.

Poll, L/Cpl JJ 4465697, 16 DLI. Stalag 344 in early 1945, German POW Number 81778.

Holdhan, Pte E, 4465704, Stalag 18A in early 1945, POW No 6134.

Easton, Pte S A, 4465708, Stalag 344, POW No 81185. 16 DLI.

Weymes, Sgt R 4465720. 16 DLI, noted at 183 Field Ambulance in 4/43

Bland, Cpl Joseph 4465725. 16 DLI. Died 19 September 1943 aged 33.

Brown, Pte E A 4465728. 16 DLI, noted at 83 Gen Hospital in 2/43.

Burn, Pte J R 4465729, Stalag 8B in 1/45, German POW No 34068.

Gibson, Pte Allen 4465742. 16 DLI. Died 23 September 1943. See the 16 DLI Roll of Honour. Also the 1942 B Coy photo.

Lynn, L/Sgt Freddie, 4465754, 16 DLI, 183 Field Ambulance in 4/43. Later commissioned, served as officer with another DLI Battalion

Walton, L/Sgt G T, 4465767, Stalag 357, POW No 226261. Possibly 16 DLI at capture.


Sequence of Stalag numbers featuring Pte S A Easton:

81100 344 Shepherd, Pte W R, 4459735, DLI

81105 344 Edwards, Pte C, 4469944, DLI

81133 8A Llewellyn, Cpl L, 4080931, SWB

81148 8C Parry, Pte J T, 4279838, DLI
81149 8C Parkin, Pte S, 4400087, DLI

81159 344 Richardson, Pte J W, 4469614, DLI

81180 344 Baker, Pte W L, 4469434, DLI. Enlisted direct to Recruit Coy, 16 DLI, Folkstone, 1/42.

81182 344 Blackmore, Pte C, 5951339 DLI. Ex Beds and Herts, Possibly 16th DLI.

81184 344 Campbell, Pte R S, 2987470, DLI
81185 344 Easton, Pte S A, 4465708, DLI.

81193 357 Griffiths, Cpl N C, 4460210, KSLI
81254 8A Jackson, Pte G, 4454675, DLI

81259 344 Lane, Pte L, 4469726, DLI

81269 344 Hodgson, Pte R, 4462462, DLI
81270 8C Bell, Pte G W, 4464485, Bk Watch

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