Carro Armato di Hai

A special thank you to Nicola and Daniele for sharing this carro armato.

Ricordo-del-Prigioniere in Australia Campo Hai Marzullo-Giovanni

(photo courtesy of Daniele Marzullo)

Giovanni Marzullo from San Giorgio del Sannio (Benevento) arrived in Australia on the Queen Mary, 27.5.41.  He was one of the first group of 2000 Italian prisoners of war transported directly from Egypt to Australia.

The group photo below lists the names of the men.  The names do not correspond with their position in the photo.  Giovanni was quickly identified by his grandson Daniele; he is in the back row, first on the right.  Giovanni is 34 years old.

Daniele Marzullo from Rovereto says, “When I was a child, I always played with the tank made by my nonno during his imprisonment.”

Hay, NSW. 9 September 1943. Group of Italian prisoners of war (POW) interned at No. 6 POW Group. In this group are known to be: 46181 Giuseppe Musto; 45685 Bartolomeo Fiorentino; 46799 Angelo Scoppettuolo; 46188 Giovanni Marzullo; 47941 Donato Cendonze; 45519 Giuseppe Dello Buono; 45174 Andrea Cavalieri; 45290 Carmine Cogliano; 45363 Pasquale Cappello and 47996 Mario Cioccolini. Note: The number is an assigned POW number. (AWM Image 030143/10, Photographer Lewecki)

Giovanni was assigned to Camp 8 Hay. In March 1943, Camp 8 has listed under a heading: other barracks: a chapel, a barracks used for canteen in one half and administration in the other half, and a barracks used for recreation and manual work.

Engaging the prisoners of war in activities within the camps was a way of keeping them busy.  Schools were set up; classes were taught; men had an opportunity to complete the Italian schooling curriculum; learn English; undertake tuition in a trades course.

The men worked with wood or metal, worked on a lathe to make chess pieces, turned silver Australian coins into rings; made belts from the cellophane from cigarette packets.

Giovanni worked in wood and crafted a tank.  The level of skill in the carving of words on the bottom of the tank and the details of the tank reflects his occupation: carpenter.

Carro Armato di Hai, Marzullo-Giovanni (photo courtesy of  Daniele Marzullo)

In contrast is a tank made by Rosario Morello. Rosario was a baker and his tank reflects that his passion was not working with wood.

Carro Armato made by Rosario Morello (photo courtesy of Esme Colley (nee Townsend))

Icons of war were common themes used by Italian prisoners of war.  A statue at Camp 8 Hay features another much larger tank.

Guerre 1939-1945. Nouvelle-Galles du sud, camp 8 de Hay. Médecin prisonnier de guerre et à droite un tank oeuvre des prisonniers de guerre italiens.

Camp 8 Hay March 1943: Italian Prisoner of War Doctor standing beside a tank made by Italian prisoners of war . (ICRC: V-P-HIST-01881-05)

What wood or metal items did your father bring home from Australia?

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