Also known as the Jantzen and Sebastiano Venier
The Jason left Benghazi with 2000 British and Commonwealth POWs on the 8th December 1941. It was torpedoed by the British submarine. Porpoise with the loss of 500 men, including 45 New Zealaners. The Italian crew abandoned the ship, taking all the lifeboats. A Gerrman crewman remained on board.. The Jason stayed afloat, and the German got the engines going and managed to beach it at Methoni in Greece. Most managed to make it to shore. Those that were injured were taken by the Italian Hospital Ship, Arno, to an Italian hospital. The rest ended up in a make-shift POW camp.
These following photos I have taken from No Honour, No Glory (see bottom of page). I don't think Spence Edge would have minded me putting these on this page. I believe they were taken by an Italian. The photos show the Jason aground off Methoni with 1500 PoWs still on board.
I have a newspaper article that my grandmother kept (sorry I have no idea of which paper it came from, nor who the soldier was) which gives the story of one POW who got home to New Zealand after this ordeal. He says:
"It was snowing, and they were rounded up to be placed in an open compound, some standing naked except for a blanket. For a month they remained there with practically no shelter and little food. Disease and frostbite were rife. There were many deaths and soon the prisoners learned that the conditions were as bad among the Greek population It was estimated that 2500 (Greeks) died every month from starvation , and when the prioners were changed to another camp and saw the emaciated faces of Greeks, they had further evidence of the conditions"
The "other camp" was probably one at Patras, which although there were buildings there, was still very primitive.
By March 1942 all of the POWs from the Jason were in Italy. They were taken to Campo 85 at Tuturano, Italy.
To find out more please read 'No Honour, No Glory" by Spence Edge and Jim Henderson. This book was published by Collins, 1983ISBN 0002172089