I wanted to go to Italy

Man Posed as Italian P.O.W. Police Allege

Francis Allen Allenby, of no fixed address, who allegedly posed as an Italian prisoner of war because he wanted to go to Italy, was committed at the city court today for trial on a charge of having created a public mischief. Sergeant J. S. Kirkbride, of the military police, said that on the night of May 15 he intercepted Allenby after a chase in Elizabeth Street.

When asked if he were an escaped P.O.W. from Balcombe Allenby said “Me no prisoner.” He made out that he could hardly speak English. Senior Detective H. J. Egerton said that Allenby told him his name was Camello Miano, and that he had escaped from Balcombe two days before. He had been brought out to Australia as a prisoner. He had a mother and four brothers in Italy. He wanted to go home.

Later he admitted that he was not an escaped P.O.W. and that his name was Allenby.”I get that way sometimes,” he told the police. “I would give anything to go to Italy.”

Allenby had said that, as a result of posing as an Italian, he had been interned in South Australia in 1942, but he got tired of that.

[1946 ‘Man Posed As Italian P.O.W. Police Allege’, The Herald (Melbourne, Vic. : 1861 – 1954), 21 May, p. 5. , viewed 19 Oct 2021, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article245403959]

Carmelo Miano who is mentioned in the article remained at large for almost three years. He was not recaptured until 15th March 1949.  Carmelo was repatriated on the SS Napoli on the 21st May 1949.

What is obvious from this event, is that the Victoria Police, Special Circular re: Escaped Prisoners of War was effective publicity strategy.

(National Archives of Australia)

4 thoughts on “I wanted to go to Italy

  1. Marie Formisano

    My Father Antonio was in Balcombe-Mornington Peninsula -at the end of his internment and well into his eighties(50+yrs later) he remarked on one of the fillings still in his teeth was done at Balcombe by the dentist and he remembered his name and rank.
    I had to laugh at Allenby and don’t blame him for wanting to go to Italy but he would probably have been shocked at the post war austerity. Wonder if he ever made it there or was just a frequent visitor to Carlton and the Italian culture there.


    1. Joanne in Townsville Post author

      Memorable moments for your dad. It is interesting what snippets of our lives we remember. Amazing that the dental filling lasted and the dentist’s name stuck. A kind act or conversation is often remembered.



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