Contented prisoner of war returns

by Joanne Ciaglia

Angelo Marino Macolino was born in San Lupo on 31/3/1912 to Antonio Macolino and Filomena Cesare.  Angelo Marino worked on his family’s farm in San Lupo and did quite well on the land.  On 24/10/1935 he married Marietta Vaccarella in San Lupo.  Marietta was the youngest of five children and the only girl.

All her brothers went to America very young and they sent the family packages of clothes and money.  This would have made life a lot easier for the family in San Lupo.

Angelo Marino and Marietta had a daughter, Filomena Macolino, who was named after her paternal grandmother and was born in 1938.

Postcard sent to Marietta and Filomena when Angelo Marino was in training (photo courtesy of Macolino family)

Angelo Marino then went into WW2 fighting for Italy. While in the army he played a trombone.  He loved his music and dancing, although years later, Angelo Marino didn’t have time to go dancing as he was too busy working.

Angelo Marino Macolino with his trombone (photo courtesy of Macolino family)

Angelo Marino spent the first eight months fighting in Tobruk, Libya and then went to Bardia, Libya.  On 3/1/1941, during the Battle of Bardia, he was captured after hiding for three days in a fox hole.  He was sent from Libya to Sydney on the Queen Mary on 27/5/1941.

While in Australia Angelo Marino worked at Cook which was the No 3 Labour Detachment on the Trans-Australia Railway Line SA and WA.  He then returned to Hay POW camp in NSW. 

On 23/11/943 he left Hay by train and travelled to South Australia. He was allocated to farm work in four farming districts: Mount Barker 23/11/43, Mt Pleasant 14/4/44, Murray Bridge 18/7/44 and Clare 22/2/45.  Angelo Marino had one breach of discipline registered on his record card. While at his Murray Bridge farm, he left his place of employment without permission and was awarded 15 days detention. 

On 7/11/1946 Angelo Marino boarded the Strathmore for repatriation to Italy.  He arrived in Naples 6/12/46. Angelo Marino had spent five and a half years in Australia as a POW. 

During those years, Marietta had been left on her own with her three year old daughter.  She had to take over all the household duties and work the farm.  She lived in fear of the war and San Lupo was invaded by the Americans.  The American’s dropped a bomb near where she lived and her house was raided.  Food and clothes were scarce. 

After Angelo Marino came back to San Lupo, he and Marietta had Uliano born 1948, Tiziana born 1952, Lucia born 1955 and then he emigrated to South Australia with his family.  He thought so much of South Australia from his time spent there as a POW.  They went on to have one more child in Adelaide, Eduardo born in 1959. 

When his children were old enough, he asked them to help him find all the farms he had worked at while a POW.  He wanted to track them down to find the owners as they had been so good to him.  When they went to Murray Bridge and Gumeracha, they remembered him! Angelo Marino assisted his granddaughter Sandra with a school project and recounted his memories of his time as a soldier and prisoner of war. His memory was remarkably accurate when compared with his Australia prisoner of war card.

Sandra Mancini’s School Project: Grandpa’s Story (photo courtesy of Macolino family)

After arriving in Australia he got a job at British Tube Mills in Kilburn, Adelaide.  He was a storeman.  They were the only Australian factory making precision steel tubing for products such as hypodermic needles, milking machines, locomotives, golf clubs, vacuum cleaner pipes and bicycles.  He did shift work, working day shift for one week and night shift for the following week.  He loved his job and his nickname at work was Frederick.  He stayed there until he retired at the age of 65. 

Angelo Marino loved to dress like a gentleman all the time.  There was never a day that he never wore a necktie, regardless of the heat.  He even did the gardening well dressed.  He liked his children to dress well and he used to go clothes shopping with Marietta and would pick out amazing dresses for her to wear.  He loved fashion like all Italians do.  He also loved studying the world globe and would show his children where he had been.

Angelo Marino, Marietta and Tiziana (photo courtesy of Macolino family)

Angelo Marino sponsored paisani and friends from San Lupo to come over to Adelaide and they would spend a lot of time together.  They would live with Angelo Marino and Marietta until they found work.  His siblings also moved to Adelaide.

A year after arriving in Adelaide, Angelo Marino built a new house, with the help of tradies.  Angelo Marino had a huge garden out the back.  He grew grapes and tomatoes, amongst other fruit and vegetables, and used this to make wine and sauce every year.  His daughter Filomena still makes wine and sauce and his daughter Tiziana, still continues the tradition of making sauce with her children.

Angelo Marino died in Adelaide on 6/10/2002 and Marietta died on 26/10/2013.

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