Not sure how this was kept quiet in Home Hill!
On 2nd and 3rd October 1944, a military court was convened at the Home Hill Court House to try Private Bartolomeo Fiorentino, Private Luigi Tesoro and Private Sante Testa on the charge with a breach of the National Security (Prisoner of War) Regulations, that is to say: Army Act Section 9 (2) ‘committing a military offence, that is to say, disobeying a lawful command given by his superior officer.’
In attendance were:
Major E Mullins – President
Capt RN Shannon and Capt RJ Hatch – Members
Capt AD Barnard – Waiting Member
Capt KR Townley – Judge Advocate
Capt NH Wallman – Prosecutor
Lieut KG Wybrow – Defence
Sgt Samuel Casella – Interpreter
Sgt Concetta Zappala Interpreter Q6 PWCH Home Hill
Lieut Reginald James Hamilton 2/i/c Q6 PWC Hostel Home Hill
Sante Testa and Luigi Tesoro to undergo detention for one hundred and twenty (120) days.
Bartolomeo Fiorentino was found not guilty.
Reading between the lines:
Tesoro, Testa and Fiorentino had on 3.6.44 been awarded 4 days detention for disobeying a lawful command and failure to appear at parade. Tesoro and Testa on or around 28-29.7.44 were awarded 7 days for disobeying a lawful command. During this second period of detention, it was claimed that they were approached by Zappala as Interpreter and Hamilton as office in charge to return to which. The contentious point was whether they were ordered to return to work without pay. Testa and Tesoro wanted to clarify whether they would be paid if they returned to work. Hamilton said that whether they were paid was not his concern, his concern was the order to return to work, which they refused to do. There was conflicting information as to what Hamilton said, what Zappala interpreted and said and what Testa and Tesoro said. Regardless, the judge ruled that regardless of whether they were to be paid or not, they had disobeyed a lawful command which is a military offence.
What happened then:
Fiorentino was transferred to Gaythorne then Cowra. While at Cowra he was awarded 14 days detention for refusing to work. He was then transferred to Murchison.
Murchison, Australia. 2 March 1945. Group of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) interned in D2 Compound, No. 13 POW Group. Back row, left to right: 47595 A. Manzo; 45685 B. Fiorentino; 48416 B. Criscuolo; 63457 E. Savarino; Unidentified; 63927 G. Chiavozzi. Front row: Unidentified; 57724 P. Di Battista; 45924 G. Giuffreda; 64066 A. Del Pozzo; 47757 A. Terribile. Note: The number is an assigned POW number. Photo documentation suggests that names are listed, back row, front row, left to right. (AWM 030229/14 Photographer Ronald Leslie Stewart)
Tesoro and Testa were transferred to Gaythorne then Hay for 120 days detention. While at Hay, they were both given 3 days No. 1 Diet for giving a letter w/o permission to a POW. They were then transferred to Muchison.
Murchison, Australia. 2 March 1945. Group of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) interned in D2 Compound, No. 13 POW Group. Back row, left to right: 47848 F. Arancio; 57724 S. Di Battista; 56639 S. Gabriele; 46885 S. Testa; 48694 L. Testa; 49700 S. Mascaro. Front row: 47836 G. Quaranta; 48287 G. Picardi; 46838 L. Tesoro; 45479 S. Deledda; 48026 S. Dinardo. Note: The number is an assigned POW number. Photo documentation suggests that names are listed, back row, front row, left to right. (AWM 030230/02 Photographer Ronald Leslie Stewart)