Group of six – GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL GVIR clasp PALESTINE, 1939/45 STAR, AFRICA STAR, ITALY STAR, DEFENCE MEDAL, 1939/45 WAR MEDAL awarded to: 6978970 FSR. M.SOMERS, ROYAL IRISH FUSILIERS – P.O.W. LEROS WWII........ Fusilier Somers, 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers, 234 Infantry Brigade. The Battalion left Malta in June 1943 and underwent three weeks training around Suez and later five weeks of mountain warfare on Mount Meron in Lebanon. In September they embarked by cruiser for the island of Leros situated in the Agean Sea between Greece & Turkey. The Italian defenders offered little or no resistance and the island was soon in British hands. Hearing that the Germans were preparing to invade the island, the Battalion set about constructing defensive positions. They were harassed by daily air raids and the invasion finally came in early November 1943 from the air. Soon paratroopers were dropping all over the island and bitter fighting ensued. The next day German troops started landing on the beaches. The Battalion managed to hold out until nightfall, but ammunition was getting short. The battle went on for four days both day and night, but in the end, the superior forces of the Germans won the day. British prisoners of war numbered about 3,000 from the islands of Leros & Cos. The prisoners were taken by boat to Athens and later by cattle train to Germany. The prisoners suffered badly on their trip north having only been issued with light summer clothing, many dying of dysentery and the cold. The trip to Nurnberg took fifteen days........ Somers was posted as missing on 16 November 1943, and later as a POW. He is shown on the roll as POW #141152 at Camp XIA (Altengrabow) 90km south-west of Berlin. On 2 May 1945 the camp was liberated by Allied forces who managed to evacuate most of the Western P.O.W’s before the arrival of Soviet Forces a couple of days later........ WWII medals mounted as worn, GSM loose. Extra Fine condition.