Farm accidents

Farming accidents were not uncommon.

Andrea Pesaola, aged 24 years from Roma worked on the Commonwealth Vegetable Project farms attached to the Q6 Home Hill Hostel. On the 16th October 1944, his first, second and third fingers on his left hand were severed. He was repatriated early on the Andes 3rd August 1945.

Yanco, Australia. 23 January 1944. Group of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) interned at No. 15 POW Group. Back row, left to right: 45593 Antonio De Sabatino; 49625 Oreste Piermattei; 49876 Goffredo Mangiasciutto; 46515 Andrea Pesaola; 45240 Cesare Nobilia; 48641 Luigi Salvati; 45417 Paolo Di Massimo. Front row: 49902 Giuseppe Ricci; 45732 Armando Guaazi; 46354 Mario Palma; 49489 Antonio Galea; 45730 Nicola Clemenzi. Note: The number is an assigned POW number. (Photographer Geoffrey McInnes)

Adolofo Giottoli a labourer from Busecchio Forli was working at Yanco Camp when he suffered traumatic injuries to his hand. On the 19th April 1943, he had been working on the saw bench, sawing wood. He crushed and mutilated his thumb necessitating amputation at the metacarpal phalangeal joint. His forefinger required amputation at the same site. His middle finger suffered two lacerations but was saved. The fourth finger was crushed as far as the 1st interphalangeal joint. The 5th finger was in a hopeless state and had to be amputated at the metacarpal joint. He was taken to the Leeton District Hospital and discharged the same day. Adolfo was repatriated on the Andes 3 August 1945. You can see Adolfo in the photo below seated first on the right, having carefully placed his right hand under his left arm.

Yanco, Australia. 23 January 1944. Group of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) interned at No. 15 POW Group. Back row, left to right: 46738 Guido Santunioni;46909 Giovanni Venturelli; 49725 Guido Tantini; 46788 Mario Salvini; 45698 Eugenio Ferrara; 46852 Archemede Montanari; 46087 Giuseppe Martari. Front row: 46904 Gino Uguzzoni; 46124 Olindo Magagni; 48050 Luigi Franchi; 48051 Anselmo Franchi; 45878 Adolfo Giottoli. Note: The number is an assigned POW number.

Raffaele Vecchio, a bricklayer from Grimaldi Cosenzo worked on the farm of Mr Davidson at Cameron’s Creek Bundara in the Armidale district. The newspaper reported that he had four fingers and a thumb severed in a chaff cutting accident in June 1944. His official card records that his right hand was severed. Raffaele also boarded the Andes for early repatriation on 3rd August 1945.

Cowra, NSW. 16 September 1943. Group of Italian prisoners of war (POW) interned at No. 12 POW Group. Back row, left to right: 45283 V. Cammarata; 46708 E. Sferrazza; 49894 V? Privitera; 49254 G. Ippolito; 49901 A. Rocca; 49945 R. Vecchio. Front row: 49851 s. Innocenti; 48934 A. Leto; 49813 A. Caruso; 49172 A. Mandrini. Note: The number is an assigned POW number. (Photographer Lewecki)

A lucky prisoner of war worker in the Tumut district was fortunate to have ‘a narrow escape’ from death as a result of a farm accident, as was reported in The Tumut and Adelong Times:

Italian Prisoner of War Injured


An Italian prisoner of war employed by Mrs. J. C. Forsyth at her ‘Yukon Park’ property Yellowin, had a narrow escape from death on Saturday last when he was pinned beneath a heavy tractor in a creek on the property. He is now a patient in the Tumut District Hospital, suffering from shock, cuts, abrasions and possible internal injuries.

The man was driving a tractor across a bridge near the homestead when it suddenly crashed over the side into a creek 12 feet below. The unfortunate Italian was pinned beneath the vehicle and was totally submerged in about a foot of water.

Mr. Jim Forsyth, who was some distance away, saw the accident and after unsuccessful efforts to lift the man’s head above the water due to the body being pinned down, he called for assistance and the tractor was lifted off. By the time this had been done the man had been under water for about four minutes.

On being carried up the bank the man was to all appearances dead, and artificial respiration was immediately applied by Miss Morphett, who resides with Mrs. Forsyth.

After some time he regained consciousness. He was carried to the house and wrapped in warm blankets.

The Gundagai -Tumut Ambulance and the doctor were quickly on the scene and the injured man conveyed to the District Hospital, where he was admitted suffering from the injuries mentioned above.

[1944 ‘Italian Prisoner Of War Injured’, The Tumut and Adelong Times (NSW : 1864 – 1867; 1899 – 1950), 4 July, p. 2. , viewed 08 Oct 2021,

Another Italian prisoner of war worked at the dairy farm of Mr Howe “Glen Iris’ Finley. The Italian increased the revolutions and speed of a cream separator resulting in the machine exploding. Pieces flew into the arm of the POWs arm causing ‘much blood loss’. It was fortunate that Mrs Howe was a nurse and attended directly to the injury.

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