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’.
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. Begin your research journey in Italy. Apply to obtain a copy of Service Records for your fathers/grandfathers, from the Office of State Archives in their region in Italy. This is very valuable as it contains discharge details.
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 decipher. The attached document Finding Nonno. will assist Italian families with understanding the forms.
3. Una sorpresa… For some Italians, there is an extra Australian file: A7919 Victoria, A367 South Australia and Tasmania, K1174 Western Australia. This document: How to Order NAA will guide you through the process of obtaining a copy. c. $26.45 – $36.27 AUD.
5. The page POW Camps in Australia (found on the home page as a drop down menu) contains lists by state for the prisoner of war centres in Australia.
6. 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. NB Due to COVID 19, this service is currently not available.
7. Further Reading provides a number of links for India, England, South Africa as well as numerous places in Australia.
9. Red Cross: Croce Rossa di Ginevra, firstname.lastname@example.org International Committee for the Red Cross is grossly understaffed. They have quotas for applications for a given period. When a new application date is announced, apply quickly.