I have a firm belief that increasingly, the children and grandchildren of those Italians who were prisoners of war in Australia, will begin the journey to find traces and footprints of their ‘nonno’ or ‘papa’.
Unfortunately, research will not give you all the answers. The documents in the National Archives of Australia, will give you some information. It is over 72 years since the Italian prisoners of war left their farm placements. The relevant generation has passed away, and their stories lost. Below I give you some ways to locate information on your father or grandfather.
Murchison, Australia. 2 March 1945. Group of Italian prisoners of war (POWs) interned in C Compound, No. 13 POW Group. Photo by Ronald Leslie Stewart. AWM 030231/04
Family members can make the journey via the internet to locate documents and find answers.
1. Important for Italian families to know, is that families can obtain a copy of Service Records for their fathers/grandfathers, from the Office of State Archives in their region.
2. In the National Archives of Australia, for each prisoner of war, there are two files available to view on-line.
Finding these documents is just the start of research. These documents have a wealth of information, but they are hard to understand and decipher.
3. The attached document Finding Nonno. will assist Italian families with their research. An additional document: How to Order NAA will guide you through the process. In the future, I hope to have these documents translated to Italian. For some Italian POWs, there are additional files. You will need to pay for a copy of this folio.
4. Some Italian soldiers were sent to India first before coming to Australia. The document: Italian Prisoners of War in India.will assist you to obtain some information about the camps they were sent to.
5. Further Reading provides a number of links for India, England, South Africa as well as numerous places in Australia.
6. Photo stories of a number of Italian prisoners of war, is a visual story of the journey of the soldier and POW. A special thank you to Nino Cipolla, Davide Dander, Angelo Valiante, Tim Dwyer and Liborio Mauro Bonadonna. Finding the footsteps of Ciccio Cipolla, Antonio Arici, PANCISI Ferdinando. Angelo Valiante and Liborio Bonadonna has been an honour.
6. The Cowra Family History Group can also assist Italian families. Their research staff can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Another group is : The Cowra & District Historical Society : email@example.com