In a beautiful tribute to his nonno, Damiano Lumia recorded the voice of Antonino Lumia telling his story as a soldier and a prisoner of war.
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: 46032 Raffaele Lomonaco; 46627 Giuseppe Restivo; 46007 Antonio Lumia (front row second left); 45586 Isidoro De Blasi; 46206 Gaetano Mineo; 45360 Giuseppe Cannata; 45103 Leonardo Barbera; 45997 Pietro Lomonte; 46221 Antonio Rondi and 47999 Leonardo Ciaccio. Note: The number is an assigned POW number.
(Australian War Memorial Lewecki Image 030143/33)
Antonino’s journey begins in Sicily and listening to his voice, we follow in his footsteps from his home town of Bompensiere to Toburk and Benghazi, then Australia. Finally, Antonino takes us back to Italy and his family.
Antonino Lumia begins his story with,
“My dear grandson, I had a lot of trouble. When they called us…”
and ends with…
“I saw your grandmother. I came down. I came home. I rushed to your father. Here is my story, dear grandson. The sufferings were severe, dear grandson”.
Damiano’s video Antonino Lumia POW in Australia 1941-1946 combines images of Bompensiere with photographs and documents from Australian War Memorial and National Archives of Australia to take the viewer on an intimate journey through time.
Antonino’s memories are told with humour and melancholy. English subtitles combined with Antonino’s voice, makes this accessible for those who only speak English. More importantly for those Queenslanders who have memories of ‘their’ Italian POW, it brings back to life their voices: the timbre and musicality of the Italian language.
“Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War in Queensland” has always been about connectivity between people, with the past, between Italians and Australians, with memories and history.
I am honoured and humbled that Damiano Lumia’s video has become part of this project for the oral histories of Italian prisoners of war are paramount to adding depth and perspective to this project.
Another aspect of the project has been to connect people with information. Research has provided Damiano with details about Antonino’s time in Queensland. Antonino Lumia was assigned to Q3 PWCC Gympie along with Giovanni Adamo. They were employed by Mr R – Mr Kevin John Rodney of North Deep Creek from 14 March 1944 to 4 January 1946. Miss Gloria, mentioned by Antonino is Miss Gloria Davis from Auchenflower. Mr R and Miss Gloria were married in St Stephen’s Cathedral in Brisbane on 6th May 1944.
Antonino remembers with clarity when he first met Miss Gloria. “The farmer was back. You could hear the horn of his car in the distance. His wife was with him. I had planted very beautiful flowers near the hut. I mad a bouquet of flowers. When they arrived near us… I offered flowers to his wife. He introduced us to his wife: Miss Gloria. They went home. For us the work continued. The next morning Madame served us the meal. A very nice woman. Every morning I brought wood to this woman for cooking”, speaks Antonino.
Antonino Lumia’s testimony is not only a voice from the past but also an important window into the past. Click on the above link and take a walk with Antonino through history.
HAY, NSW. 1944-01-16. ITALIAN PRISONERS OF WAR HAVING A MEAL IN THEIR MESS AT NO. 7 COMPOUND, 16TH GARRISON BATTALION PRISONER OF WAR DETENTION CAMP. PICTURED ARE: 46007 ANTONIO LUMIA (1); 45824 BRUNO GALLIZZI (2); 46734 ALMO STAGNARO (3); 48355 GIUSEPPE ARRIGONI; (4); 45087 ANTONIO BACCIGALUPO (5); 46620 MICHELE RIZZO (6); 46626 EMILIO RUOCCO (7); 46635 FRANCO RONDELLI (8); 45900 ALESSANDRO IANNOTTA (9).
(Australian War Memorial, Geoffrey McInnes Image 063371)