From Intelligence Reports to 15th July 1943
War on Stoves
Following the report of a large stove in the hut of Lieut. Arnaldo GATTI many other small portable stoves were found in ‘B’ Compound, these mostly made from food tins line with baked clay. All were removed. Similar exploration of ‘A’ Compound resulted in the removal of one G.S.-wagon-load of various types of stoves. One contained a sewer grating which had been removed from the kitchen area. In writing home, Arnaldo GATTI ‘makes a pass’ at the camp authorities. He apologies for bad writing, as there is no heat in the huts and his hands are cold!
Myrtleford, Australia. 5 November 1943. Group of Italian officer prisoners of war (POW) interned at No. 5 POW Camp. Back row, left to right: Gisiano; A. Gatti. Front row: Francomano; De Maria; Alegnini; Russo; L. Gatti; Liberati.
The following appeared in camp newspaper “5B” – “The Australian policemen have made another incursion into our camps, taking immersion heaters and similar things. An exhibition of things made by prisoners of war would be interesting, if only for the interpretation of certain forms which these objects present. We speak not of clothing, but of hammers, saws and especially of immersion heaters. They are of all sizers from the ‘mignons’ for a single cup of tea to the ‘gigantic’ for a hot bath in one’s room. There are some with ‘goo’ [?] handles and with ten laminations to boil water in ten seconds, others with laminations adaptable to any recipient. The more they take away the more our comrades will make.
Soon they will take away the light even by day.
Luciano Gatti is the son of Arnaldo Gatti. Alan Fitzgerald in his book, The Italian Farming Soldiers, provides information about this colourful duo.
A thorough inspection of electrical layout of ‘A’ compound found that all fuses except four were found to have been removed and replace by copper wire, heavy steel wire or pieces of galvanised iron and tin – no doubt to carry the extra load required for illicit equipment such as immersion heaters and stills. On fuses being correctly replaced, the consumption of globes decreased noticeably during the following week. Only one globe had to be replaced against 25 supplied between 26 June and 8 July 1945.
Camp Cmdt has ordered that occupants of any hut in which interference with electrical installations takes place will be placed in cells.