un papa di Vittorito

About the time Baldo Valeri was transferred from Hay Camp to Yanco Camp, Baldo’s wife Cesira sent her husband a photo of his two daughters.

c. 1942 Daughters of Baldo and Cesira Valeri

(photo courtesy of Geremia Valeri)

Baldo arrived home to Italy in January 1947. During those five years since capture, his daughters had grown up. His wife and children had endured the bombings by the Germans, hunger and misery.

During the war, the Royal Air Force Baltimores were active in the area.  They bombed a chemical factory and road networks during February 1944 at the foot of the mountains near Popoli.

Popoli is five kilometres from Vittorito and suffered a tragic and direct hit from the Royal Air Force bombs on 22nd March 1944 at midday. On that day, people gathered in the town centre outside the town hall to collect rations.  Women and children were lined up waiting for rations in a long queue when the city hall was bombed.  The day is remembered as a day of sorrow when many people were killed or wounded.

How emotionally and mentally difficult it must have been for Baldo to know what was happening in Italy. How helpless he must have felt; unable to protect and comfort his wife and little girls.

Baldo and Cesira Valeri with a grandchild (photo courtesy of Geremia Valeri)

Baldo’s youngest child Geremia [born after his father’s return to Vittorito] explains the situation of his mother and father, “Per loro sono stati anni molto difficili, e senza la presenza di mio padre.Quando mio padre è tornato,si sono rimboccati le maniche,e lavorando duramente si sono creati un avvenire. Dopo la guerra  hanno avuto altri due figli….io sono l’ultimo.”

Figli di Baldo Geremia, Laura, Leda and Rosanna

(photo courtesy of Geremia Valeri)

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