1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Notes
  5. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
Air Force
World War II
Date of Enlistment
Date of Discharge
Place of Enlistment
Melbourne, Victoria

Personal Details

Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Sydney NSW
School(s) Attended
Burrinjuck Public School, Canberra Grammar School
Next of Kin
Roger Ansell (father), Yanco NSW

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
Final Rank
Warrant Officer
Final Unit
2 Medical Rehabilitation Unit


Ansell was a Wireless Operator in a Lancaster bomber crew which had completed 16 successful missions over Germany. His aircraft left on a mission from RAF Skellingthorpe in Lincolnshire on 26 February 1944 to bomb Augsburg in Germany when his plane was hit by enemy fire and the crew had to bale out over France. Ansell was rescued by the French Resistance and hid in local farmhouses until the Underground devised a plan for his escape through Spain. However Ansell was betrayed by one of his guides and captured about one mile from the Spanish border. He became a prisoner of war and, because he was regarded as a spy, he was interrogated by the Gestapo at Fresnes Prison in Paris. Over the next 18 months he was imprisoned at Stalag Luft III and then Stalag Luft VII. A keen jazz musician, Ansell formed a band while imprisoned. His father received a letter from another POW who was on a march with Ansell who apparently carried a piano accordion to keep up the spirits of the men.


WWII Nominal Roll
The Canberra Times - 14 December 1933, 15 May 1944
Image from 'The Canberran : Magazine of Canberra Grammar School', 1937 (p.34)
AWM Collections Record : P03075.001, P03075.002, P03075.003, P03075.004
NAA RecordSearch

Create Certificate
John Ansell, member of the Parkhill Cup swimming team 1937, Canberra Grammar.

John Ansell, member of the Parkhill Cup swimming team 1937, Canberra Grammar.

Share this page