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Woollen escape jacket


This grey woollen jacket, made from an army blanket, was worn by Brigadier Reginald Miles CBE DSO MC during his escape from a prisoner of war camp in Italy.

Miles was the commander of the New Zealand divisional artillery. He was captured when one of his field regiments was overrun by German Panzers near Belhamed on 1 December 1941, the biggest disaster to befall New Zealand gunners in the entire war.

He was interned in Castello Vincigliata (Camp No 12), a high-security prison for senior Allied officers near Florence, Italy. In March 1943 he made a dramatic escape with another New Zealand brigadier, James Hargest, after five months' tunnelling under the castle walls with a kitchen knife and iron bars. The pair made it to Switzerland and with the help of the French Resistance eventually made their way into Spain.


National Army Museum Te Mata Toa
Accession Number: 1980.6556

Permission of the National Army Museum Te Mata Toa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

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Woollen escape jacket, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated