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Introduction

The following written statement was provided by Captain Lascaris for the court-martial of Theodore Schurch.

The Statement

76th Section SIB, CM Police, 28 May 1945.

Statement of: Captain A.G. LASCARIS (202650), Intelligence Corps, C.S.D.I.C, C.M.F.

On the 14 September 1942 I was on board HMS SIKH attached to 11th Battalion The Royal Marines, when this unit attacked Tobruk from the sea.

At about 1300 hours 14 September 1942, my party and I were captured at sea about 2 miles off Tobruk, by the Italians.

We were taken to what was known as Navy House, TOBRUK, searched and given some food. About 1400 or 1500 hrs the same day we were placed in buses, that is the Officer’s only, and taken to DERNA, where we arrived at about 0030 hours on the 15 September 1942. The officers were segregated from the men; the officers being put into a square fort known as the RIDOTTA TARANTO which was on the top of a small sand hill overlooking the sea. We stayed there until approximately 1200 hours on the 17 September 1942 when we were removed from this fort and taken on lorries to the DERNA Aerodrome from where we were flown to LECCE. Whilst at DERNA all the officer prisoners suspected the presence of a "stool pigeon". We all suspected the South African interpreter who had been there for some time and who was the only person allowed outside the fort. This interpreter was the only British O.R in this P.W Camp, all the others being officers.

On the 28 May 1945, at the request of Captain Archer of the Special Investigation Branch, Rome, I attended an Identification Parade at the CARCERE MINORENNI ARIST IDE GABELLI PRISON, ROME, for the purpose of identifying any person or persons I had seen in the uniform of a British Officer, in the Fort at DERNA, during the period of my detention there. From a list of eight soldiers all dressed alike in American fatigue uniform, I, without hesitation whatsoever, identified one of these soldiers, whom I now know to be Ike, Theodore, John William, SCHURCH, of the RASC as having been in the POW cage at DERNA, with myself and other officers captured with me. When I last saw SCHURCH at DERNA he was in the uniform of a British Officer, but I can’t say by what name he was then know.

I have read over the above statement, it is correct and true.

Sgd. A.G. LASCARIS, Capt.

Rome 28 May 1945.

Statement taken down and signature witnessed by Captain R.A. Archer, DAPM, 76 Section, SIB at Rome, on 28 May 1945.

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