Welcome to Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War a comprehensive archive of documents, artefacts, testaments, photographs and research relating to this compelling chapter in Australian history.
This is an international community history project involving Australian and Italian families from sixteen countries who have shared their stories so that this history is not forgotten.
The website operates as a ‘virtual museum’.
Over 18000 Italian Prisoners of War came to Australia from 1941 – 1945. Captured in theatres of war in North Africa, East Africa and Europe, they were transported to Australia via staging camps in Egypt, Palestine and India.
This research features Italian prisoners of war and their farming families in Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales. Articles cut across a range of topics: the battles in Libya, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Greece; the movement of prisoners from the place of capture to prisoner of war camps in Egypt and Palestine; interment in the camps of India; transport to Australia; repatriation from Australia and arrival in Naples.
The stories and memories of Italian and Australian farming families gives this history a voice. The diversity of photos and relics shared personalises what would otherwise be a very black and white official report.
The articles featured on the project’s website brings colour and personality to this almost forgotten chapter in Australia’s history.
Footprints of Italian Prisoners of War Project is a community project supported by Australians in six states and Italian families in sixteen countries.**
Did you know?
The website operates as a ‘virtual’ museum and library.
Over 300 articles have been written for the website.
The website has a wide reaching readership to over 120 countries.
What makes this research unique and diverse?
Contributions have come from far and wide: farmers, farmers’ wives, farming children, the town kids, families of Australian Army interpreters, children of Italians who were prisoners of war, Italians who were prisoners of war, the local nurse, the mother of an ex-POW, government policy and reports.
What does the research encompass?
Facebook Page: Prigionieri di guerra Italiani in Australia
Music Book: Notations for songs and dance music by Ciccio Cipolla.
Farm Diary: daily notations regarding farm life during war time including information on Italian POWs and Land Army Girls.
Feature article in Corriere della Sera [Italy] in March 2021.
Memories in Concrete: Giuseppe Miraglia from Enna Sicily and Adriano Zagonara from Bagnara di Romagna Ravenna.
Donations to the Australian War Memorial of two artefacts made by Gympie Italian prisoners of war
Two publications: Walking in their Boots and Costanzo Melino: Son of Anzano (in collaboration with Rosa Melino)
Journey of two Italian families from Italy to visit Queensland and ‘walk in the footsteps of their fathers’: Q1 Stanthorpe and Q6 Home Hill
POW Kit Bags: Adriano Zagonara and Sebastiano Di Campli
The Colour Magenta: The Australian prisoner of war uniform for Italians, Japanese and Germans.
Theatre Productions: Details of plays performed by the Italians
Handbooks: L’Amico del Prigioniero, Pidgin English for Italian Prisoners of War, Piccolo Guido per gli Italiani in Australia
Voices from the Past: testimonials from Italian soldiers who worked on farms.
Letterswritten by Italian prisoners of war to family in Italy, to their Queensland farmers and to the children of farmers, written by mother of an Italian POW to a Queensland nurse, written by the Italians to their interpreter, Queensland farmer to Italian, letters written between Italian POW places in different states.
Photographs of Italian soldiers in full dress uniform, Italian soldiers in Italian and Libya during training, Italians as POWs with their farming families, Italians on their Wedding Day and with their families, Italians in POW camps in India.
Handmade items: embroideries, wooden objects, cellophane belt, silver rings, paintings, cane baskets, metal items, chess sets, art work, theatre programs.
Contributions by Italian families whose fathers and family returned to Australia as ‘new Australians’.
Identification of buildings used as prisoner of war accommodation.
Publicationof three guides for Italian families to assist in their search for information about their fathers and grandfathers.
Collaboration with numerous Italian and Australian families; local museums and family history associations; journalists; translators; collectors of historic postal items; local libraries.
Discussion about our Queensland research at conference in Catania Sicily May 2019 on prisoner of war experiences.
My Wish List
In the beginning:
I had one wish, to find one Queensland family who remembered the Italians working and living on their farm. Thank you Althea Kleidon, you were the beginning with your photos and memories of Tony and Jimmy.
My adjusted wish list, to find three photographs of Italian POWs on Queensland farms. Then came Rosemary Watt and Pam Phillips with their collection of photos, a signature in concrete and a gift worked in metal.
To have the three Finding Nonno guides translated into Italian.
If I win Gold Lotto, to have Walking in their Boots translated into Italian or an upgrade to the website.
What started out as a personal journey to read about the Italian POW Camp outside of Home Hill has resulted in a comprehensive, diverse and rich collection of stories, letters, photographs, testimonies, artefacts, music, newspaper articles spanning over 80 years: the battles in the Mediterranean and in Libya 1940 to the present.
Over the past seven years, I have heard these words many times over, “but you have it wrong, there were no Italian prisoners of war in Queensland”.
And this became a focal point for the research: to record this chapter in Queensland’s history before it was completely forgotten.
But like ripples in a pond, Queensland’s history of Italian POWs expanded across and was part of a greater history and so the project extended and expanded: to other Australia states and to Italian families in sixteen countries around the world.
Join the journey and follow the footprints of the Italian prisoners of war.
Today I introduce you to Pasquale Landolfi from Frattaminore Napoli. Pasquale was 20 years old when he was captured at Tobruk 21.1.1941.
From 13.10.41 and his arrival on the Queen Mary into Sydney NSW until his departure on 28.6.1949 from Sydney NSW on the SS Surriento Pasquale travels through five states of Australia.
Tracing his journey Pasquale went from NEW SOUTH WALES: Sydney to Cowra Camp to VICTORIA: Murchison Camp. He transited through SOUTH AUSTRALIA on his way to WESTERN AUSTRALIA: No 8 Labour Detachment Karrakatta and Marrinup Camp.
Pasquale then crossed Australia again and returned to VICTORIA: Murchison Camp and then NEW SOUTH WALES: Hay Camp.
The next stage of his journey took him to QUEENSLAND: Gaythorne Camp and Home Hill* Hostel. After escaping from the Home Hill Hostel, he briefly ‘visited’ Bowen until his arrest and return the Home Hill Hostel.
He returned to Gaythorne Camp before a return to VICTORIA: Murchison Camp and the Dandenong after he escaped from a Murchison working party. Upon capture he was sent to NEW SOUTH WALES: Holdsworthy Military Barracks for detention.
Three Italian prisoners of war boarded the SS Surriento in Sydney on 28.6.49: Pasquale Landolfi, Giacomo Tagliaferri and Isidoro Cammaroto. The ship sailed from Sydney to Brisbane QLD before departing for Italy.
The newspaper article below records this unusual situation of a passenger liner carrying three prisoners of war and two political deportees.
The purpose of this article is to present the facts.
I have purposely avoided this topic because it is complicated.
Money is always a difficult topic because lack of money equates to hardships. Additionally, emotions are attached to discussions on money.
I present the information about the financial situation for Italian prisoners of war to provide the facts.
These facts are from primary source documents:
Dr Georges Morel’s reports for the International Committee for the Red Cross
Pay Sheets for Queensland
Camp Order No. 13
Various documents from the National Archives of Australia and personal records.
Pays for Prisoners of War
There were three levels of income for prisoners of war:
Prisoners of war were paid on behalf of their government at a rate agreed to by relevant countries.
This meant that on a monthly basis, Italian prisoners of war received a stipend [allowance]. This was deposited to the cash accounts of each man.
As of March 1945, the rate set was:
£-/15/5 for combatants (N.C.O.s) (fifteen shillings and five pence)
£-/10/9 for ordinary ranks (ten shillings and nine pence)
£37/14/1 for doctor (thirty seven pounds, fourteen shillings and one pence)
How do we verify this?
Pay records for Italian prisoners of war in Queensland have survived.
The extract from the March 1945 Pay Sheets for Home Hill Hostel displays the rate per levels of prisoners of war.
(NAA: J2255, 12)
2. Prisoners of war would be paid for work duties (other than fatigues while in camp)
In camps, work details were offered inside and outside camps.
This rate per day was £-/-/7 (seven pence) for unskilled work and
£-/1/3 (one shilling three pence) for skilled work.
For farm work and on government projects
The rate set was:
£-/1/3 per day
How do we verify this?
When a prisoner of war control hostel was approved, documentation was submitted which included the rate of pay. The example used is a document for the establishment of the Hume Hostel in Victoria.
NAA: A373, 6221
3. Income from the camp canteen profits.
This was used to purchase communal items for the use of men inside the camps.
This money was used for special foods for Christmas, books, records, musical instruments and sport equipment.
For the month of: December 1942 canteen proceeds for Camp 7 Hay was £232 and for Camp 8 Hay £188
January 1943 canteen proceeds for Camp 7 Hay was £135 and for Camp 8 Hay £102
Money debited was also debited from individual accounts. This could be for a breach of discipline [a fine] or damages to Commonwealth property (buildings and boots). 1946 saw fines for ‘boots beyond repair’. The authorities perceived this as a deliberate action to obtain a new pair of boots before repatriation as opposed to genuine ‘wear and tear’.
Umberto Liberto escaped, and the Department of Army had drawn up an invoice for money owed for his army issue clothing and kit. Presumably, if he was not ‘found’ or surrendered, then he would be charged for government property.
Accountability while in Australia
Camp Order No. 13 sets the following rules regarding the financial accountability of prisoner of war accounts:
16.– (1) As soon as practicable after the arrival of a prisoner of war at a prisoners of war camp a cash account shall be opened in his name by the Camp Paymaster in accordance with regulation 13.
(2) The Camp Paymaster shall be responsible for seeing that each cash account is kept in accordance with a proper system of accountancy and is kept up to date.
(3) Prisoners of war shall be informed as soon as practicable of the receipt of moneys sent to them and shall be informed from time to time upon request as to the state of their cash accounts.
(4) A prisoner of war shall be permitted to withdraw from his cash account (several provisos were provided regarding permission and limits)
How do we verify this?
Financial accountability was integral to the custodial situation for Italian prisoners of war. The Australian Department of Army held prisoners of war on behalf of the War Office in Britain. Every penny spent or claimed was accounted for. An example is the request for supply of Italian prisoner of war labour to work on army sties. This expense had to be costed and approved.
(NAA: SP196/1, 19 Part 3)
Another document highlights the income earned from the sale of lettuce which had been produced by Italian prisoners of war at Liverpool Camp.
NAA: SP196/1, 19PART 1
Dr Georges Morel makes note that Italian prisoners of war were able to access a statement of their account.
Money held in accounts at time of repatriation
At the time of repatriation, prisoners of war were issued with credit receipts for amounts in cash account. This would have included money relinquished at the time of arrival in Australia as per Property Statement. A copy of the Property Statement for Salvatore Fuino is attached.
(NAA: MP1102/1, PWI48983)
Arrangements were made by the Australian Department of Army to transfer all moneys held on their behalf to the War Office in the United Kingdom. The War Office in the UK then had the responsibility to transfer these funds. Eventually these funds were transferred to Italian authorities. The Italians then presented their credit receipts.
How do we verify this?
Statement of Account documents for Stefano Lucantoni and Umberto Cofrancesco have survived. It was not unusual to balances to be zero. Some Italians purchased items from the canteen which they knew to be in short supply in Italy eg boots, clothing material, soap, toothpaste, tinned food.
Statement of Account for Stefano Lucantoni (photo courtesy of Marco Lucantoni)
Property Statement for Umberto Cofrancesco (Umberto’s War by Pacifico Cofrancesco)
It is assumed that amounts were transferred to Italian prisoners of war when they returned to Italy and/or at some part of their discharge process.
Documentation exists regarding German prisoners of war having not received their money. An investigation was held by United Kingdom authorities. The issue was finally resolved in 1950.
Rate of Exchange from Pounds Sterling to Italian Lire
It appears that this rate was set via negotiations between the UK War Office and the Italian government.
The only reference found is from Australian War Diary log for a ‘cable’ received from War Office, London dated 15.7.44. “rates of pay converted to Stg. (pounds sterling) at 400 lire equals £1 Stg.; this rate having been officially accepted by Italian Government for general purposes and expenditure, out of date rate of 72 lire equals £1 cannot be permitted.”
Another reference is:
After the Allied invasion of Italy, an exchange rate was set at US$1 = 120 lire (1 British pound = 480 lire) in June 1943, reduced to 100 lire the following month. In German-occupied areas, the exchange rate was set at 1 Reichsmark = 10 lire. After the war, the value of the lira fluctuated, before Italy set a peg of US$1 = 575 lire within the Bretton Woods System in November 1947.
Money paid upon arrival in Italy
At the Military Housing Centre in Naples, the POWs were registered and given two months leave together with a payment of 10,000 lire. Technically, they were still soldiers of the Italian Armed Services.
How do we verify this?
Paolo Santoro wrote to his war time farmer Jim Fullerton in February 1947: “Italian government gave me 10,000 lire not for all my captivity but for 2 months leave in army.”
Post War, high inflation rates, lack of basic necessities and black racketeering devalued the value of ‘money’ the Italian prisoners of war returned home with.
Some Italians thought ahead. They used the money in their Australian accounts to purchase necessities to take home to Italy. Some farmers also understood the situation. Australians remember their dad sending a suit or shoes to the men once they returned to Italy. One Western Australian farmer wrote to the newspaper explaining the need to send food parcels to their ex-workers
There could never be compensation for loss of personal earnings as a result of war and imprisonment.
Alcide Stucchi arrived in Naples in January 1947. Over seventy five years later, I spent a beautiful spring day in Milan with Miriam Stucchi. We talked about her father’s memories, photos and a button and did a little sightseeing.
Miriam told me that she has a memory from her childhood of a button from her father’s Australian prisoner of war jacket. The button was memorable because of the map of Australia on the button. Miriam remembered that this Australian button was in a coffee tin with hundreds of other ordinary buttons, but she reflected that over the years it had been lost.
Alcide Stucchi had told his daughters that besides a few photos, this was the only souvenir he saved from the inspections when he arrived at Naples.
It is interesting to note that Alcide was one of 115 Italian prisoners of war transferred from Murchison Camp Victoria to Adelaide South Australia to board the Moreton Bay.
This was the first batch from Victoria (apart from Andes) to be repatriated. The total group included 41 officers and 733 other ranks. Accompanying the Italians were Captain F.E.R. Kafehagen and Roman Catholic Chaplin F.J. Conlan. At Fremantle, one man was taken from the ship by ambulance for xrays at Hollywood Hospital. He did not return to the ship.
Another interesting fact is that four of the Victorian prisoners of war on the Moreton Bay were men ‘whose priority repatriation was requested by the Italian authorities.’
In July 2022, I received a message from Miriam, “…at last, I found the button from my father’s jacket as a prisoner in Australia.”
Alcide Stucchi’s Australian Button
(photo courtesy of Miriam Stucchi)
Although the information below is from the Routine Orders: Repatriation Alcantara the orders were the same for each repatriation ship:
Officers will wear their uniforms
Other ranks who possess uniform will wear them. Those without uniforms will wear regulations issues [burgundy Australian uniforms].
The Australian ‘red’ uniforms were a symbol representing ‘prisoner of war’. I wonder how many Italians still had in their possession items of their Italian uniform. Possibly one of the first purchases in Naples with money received at the accommodation centre was a set of civilian clothing.
The Moreton Bay departed Adelaide on 14th December 1946. The group of prisoners of war consisted of 659 Italians from Loveday Camp South Australia together with the 115 from Murchison Camp Victoria.
November 1946 and there were over 10,000 Italian prisoners of war in Australia awaiting repatriation.
Some of these men had thoughts of returning to Australia and with the assistance of the International Red Cross representative in Australia: Dr Pierre Descoeudres, had completed their Form 47 Application for Permit to Enter Australia and attached theirForm 47 A Medical Examination (For Persons Seeking Permanent Admission into Australia)
In November 1946, Dr Descoeudres wrote to Department of Immigration to obtain another 200 Form 47s. He had already received 340 completed forms from Italian prisoners of war.
In February 1947, Dr Descoeudres received a reply stating that prisoners of war were: “not eligible for re-admission under existing policy” and that the 340 applications would not be processed.
Form 47 and Form 47A for seventeen Italians are archived and can be viewed online at http://www.naa.gov.au The file is titled: International Red Cross – General File – Dr Pierre Descoeurdes – Representative. NAA: A434, 1947/3/14
Some of the men included photos of themselves, most likely taken by their farming families.
Bruno Zignego included two photos of himself with his crafted models of ships:
Bruno Zignego (Ziniego)
NAA: A434, 1947/3/14
An interesting and perplexing question on Form 47 regarded RACE. While some of the men wrote European or White, Bruno chose to write LATIN.
This is a list of the Italians for which files exist and who had intentions to return to Australia:
Gesuino SCALAS from Cagliari Sardinia
Giuseppe MOLEA from Sant Pietro Amaida Catanzaro
Giacomo GAGGIOLI from Buriano Grossetto
Nazzareno DIMONOPOLI from Sava Taranto
Aldo DELLANNA from Lecce Apulia
Pietro DAIDONE (DIADONE) from Mazara del Vallo Trapani
Cola ARMANDO from Cerreto D’Esi Ancona
Riccardo ACQUAVIVA from Andria Bari
Bruno Zignego (Ziniego) from Fezzano La Spezia
Salvatore TERENZI from San Clemente Forli
Umberto SALA from Milano
Giuseppe CASTAGNA from Palermo Sicily
Angelo QUACINELLA from Siracusa Sicily
Giovanni PORTARO from Catania Sicily
Erminio Silvio NAVARIN from Casale di Scodosia Padova
The Ormonde departed from Sydney on 31st December 1946. The official army records record that 2231 Italian prisoners of war were on the boat: 52 officers and 2179 ordinary ranks. A group of 1992 Italian POWs came from the Liverpool Prisoner of War & Internment Camp in Sydney, as the above form highlights.
If your father or grandfather was repatriated to Italy on the Ormonde then you will find this file very interesting as it contains a list of the Italians on this ship:
[Repatriation of Italian Prisoners of War per Ormonde 24.12.1946] [0.5cm; box 9] Series numberSP196/1 Control Symbol 10 PART 16
The file can be found at the National Archives of Australia Find : Search the Collection and click on Go to Record Search. Enter the words repatriation Ormonde and you will be taken to the file.
I will explain a little about these National Archives files. The two personal files for every Italian prisoner of war in Australia, are available, free of charge. Other files like the file for the Ormonde is free to view because someone has paid for a copy. When this happens, the file is then available free to everyone. There are files for other repatriation ships eg Alcantara, Otranto, Chitral. You can view them if you visit the National Archives of Australia in Sydney. Or you can pay for a copy of the file and help other Italian families.
The newspaper photo below holds a clue to the journey of the Italian prisoners of war. The men boarded at Pyrmont Wharf in Sydney. Captain Morgan mentions Di Biasi, a former Fiat mechanic in the article below. The man mentioned is Benvenuto De Biasi, born in Belluno and resident of Genoa. Is the man’s surname Di Biasi or De Biasi? The newspaper article states Di Biasi and his record has De Biasi.
The Ormonde docked at Fremantle in Western Australia and boarded 20 more Italians. Worthy of note was that there were Italian Lieutenants onboard.
These newspaper articles are available from Australia’s archived newspaper website: Trove . This is another excellent resource. There are ways to ‘refine’ your search eg decade, years. If you search Italian prisoners of war, this title is too general. It would be difficult to navigate if you do not know English. I know I would have difficulty searching databases in Italian.
My research has been about finding the pieces of the puzzle and putting them all together. Documents, photos, newspaper articles, stories and memories are very important in recording this history in a context: footprints of Italian prisoner of war from the battlefields of Africa to Palestine to Egypt to India to Australia and return to Italy.
And another clue emerges: what pier did the Italians leave Melbourne from: Station Pier. Quite possibly it was also the place where the Italians arrived into Melbourne Australia in 1943 – 1945.
Col. A.W. Sandford, the son of Sir Wallace Sandford wrote an article Naples – when Italian Prisoners Return Home which was published in November 1946. While on his way to Hamburg to re-joining the British Army of occupation, he travelled in a ship transporting returning Italian POW.
The repatriation ship was most likely Chitral which had left Australia in September 1946 with over 2700 Italian prisoners on board.
From Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931-1954), Thursday 21 November 1946, page 6.
...From the decks below a constant murmur of hushed excited voices could be heard – over three thousand prisoners, straining their eyes to catch their first glimpse through the grey mists of the docks where they hope to find parents, wives, children, friends, lovers or at worst the attentions of the Italian Red Cross and a rail warrant to freedom.
The light grew slowly more intense as we approached the entrance to the harbor, and one could discern dimly the shaped of buildings in the distance and shipping nearer at hand. Quite suddenly as the pilot clambered aboard from this ramshackle launch, the first rays of morning struck a cluster of white and pink villas on the headland, away to port – Posilippo, the ‘garden suburb’ of the town. The city itself shielded by Vesuvius was still plunged in grew gloom, but these scattered villas and palaces on their romantic terraced cliff glittered fiercely in the sun.
By this time more passengers had begun to appear and were standing in twos and threes on the boat deck leaning over the rail. They watched the sun strike the ancient castle on Capodimonte as we slipped into the harbour mouth and stared in surprise at the city which began to appear, like a stage effect through the dissipating mist.
The harbour was impressive. The carved stone arms of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies still stand on the western mole, as they stood in Nelson’s day and between the pillars could be seen among the trees towards Posilippo, the glittering white cube of the Villa Emma, where Lady Hamilton held court.
The massive Castel Nuovo still dominates the docks but the splendid new quays built of reinforced concrete by the Fascists have stood far less well than solid Bourbon stone masonry the effect of high explosive bombs.
The Fort of Castell Dell’ Ovo 1944 Naples
(Photo from Imperial War Memorial)
The murmur of the returning prisoners of war had grown to a loud babble as they saw the Italian warships huddled ingloriously against the naval mole and two large liners burned out and rusted lying on the bottom of the city Side. Another liner had capsized just beneath the eastern mole, and in the centre of the docks, an American troopship was discharging across the hull of another capsized and rusting casualty. This they observed in a second and then all eyes were turned to the nearest quay which was clearly made ready to receive us. Stevedores were busy trundling gangways, there were lines of trucks drawn up, lines of carabinieri and here and there the scarlet caps of British military policemen.
Then all at once the prisoners seemed to see in the shadow of the damaged gallery rows and rows of dark-clothed men and women, and a good many children too. These struggled and shouted and gesticulated from beyond the police cordon in the shadows striving to make themselves heard above the yelling of soldiers and stevedores and the raucous braying of a brass band which struggled on to the quay without a conductor and burst at once into a rendering more vigorous than accurate of “Funiculi, Funicula”.
One of the questions often asked, is ‘why were the Italian POWs taken off farms to then sit idle in Prisoner of War and Internment Camps for over 12 months?’
Another often asked question is ‘how valuable was the contribution of the Italian POWs to agricultural production?’
The following ‘Letter to the Editor’ addresses both of these questions…
To the Editor
Sir- some of us can raise a lot of sympathy for those of the Indonesians who have co-operated with the Japanese but what of that poor underdog, the Italian POW? Six months ago two POW (Sicilians) assisted by an old man harvested, without tractor, 140 tons of hay, besides routine jobs of milking, tending sheep &c. One of these men was so outstanding that I left him in charge of my farm and took an extended rest in Melbourne. On my return everything was in order – house painted, winter’s wood supply split and stacked, &c. On March 13 most POW were again barbed in, a precaution recognised as necessary before repatriation: but the call-up was because of AWU pressure. Many are married and my two have families not seen for over six years. Their greatest worry is the dreariness of the dragging days of enforced idleness after the free busy life on a farm. War against Italy ceased 18 months ago, so maintenance of torture to men’s souls at this stage is a travesty of British justice. In spite of the AWU attitude, farm labor in the Naracoorte district is unavailable, through either the RSL and stock firms, and I am being forced off the land. My neighbor has been without help since his POW was taken away, and was so run down that his doctor insisted on his going to the seaside with his wife and three children, leaving over 1,000 ewes uncared for in the midst of lambing.
I am, Sir, &c.
from Advertiser (Adelaide, SA: 1931-1954), Thursday 27 June 1946, page 8
For Queensland farmers, withdrawing Italian POWs from farms resulted in an acute shortage of workers for the summer harvest….
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.