Tag Archives: Andrea Favatella from San Biagio Platani [Agrigento]

Andrea in Australia

Andrea Favatella arrived in Australia on 26th April 1944 and by 29th August 1944, he was working within the State Conservator of Forest plantations in South Australia.

There were three forestry areas where Italian prisoners of war worked: Mt Burr, Penola and Mt Gambier. The hostel camp sites were at Rocky Camp-Millicent for Mt Burr, Nangwarry for Penola, Wandilo for Mt Gambier.

Additional information from Peter Dunn at ozatwar.com indicates that Andrea was at Nangwarry [Penola]. Andrea departed the S13 Hostel on 22nd March 1946.

Forestry Work Nangwarry South Australia: Andrea Favatella is the first standing on the left.

 (photo courtesy of Nino Favatella)

There were a number of state and commonwealth government projects throughout Australia which employed Italian prisoners of war.  Forestry work was one project; others were wood cutting for firewood, rice growing, vegetable production for armed forces; railway maintenance on the Trans Australian Railway Line. The relevant government department was the employing authority and responsible for providing appropriate accommodation.  Numbers of Italians in these hostels ranged from 75 to 250.  Andrea’s Australian books indicate that he used his free time in learning a little English and reading about Australia. Nino shares that his father had an elementary education, but he used language books to study a little English. Piccola Guida was issued free to Italian Prisoners of War.  Produced for Italian migrants in Melbourne it contained relevant information about Australia and also information to assist migrants to learn English.  Andrea’s copy was distributed by the Apostolic Delegate in Australia: Giovanni Panico.

The other two language books: Hugo’s Dictionary and Grammatica-Enciclopedia would have been purchased by Andrea.

Andrea Favatella’s Italian-English Language Books

(photo courtesy of Nino Favatella)

Andrea departed Australia 4.35 pm 8th November 1946 on the Strathmore which was moored at Outer Harbour Adelaide. It was reported: “The first large scale embarkation of Italian prisoner of war from South Australia was carried out smoothly…Clad in burgundy POW uniforms which many of them have worn for six years, [they] marched in from a special train from Loveday Internment Camp… Each man is allowed to take two kit bags containing his personal belongings”. Records report that there were 1500 Italian prisoners of war onboard.  The Strathmore arrived in Naples 6th December 1946.

Andrea in India

Andrea Favatella had c. 3 years in India.  As many families have found, information on these ‘India’ years is difficult to locate.

For some Italians sent to Australia, depending upon the version of A.A. Form A111, that is used, the From whom received section will provide the details of the previous camp the Italian prisoner of war was at: Andrea’s last India Camp is No. 5 (Bangalore).

Favatella Andrea (NAA: MP1103/2)

The ICRC audio-visual resources offers a glimpse of Bangalore Camp 5 as seen below:

Guerre 1939-1945. Bangalore. Camp no 5 de prisonniers de guerre italiens. Vue entre les baraques d’une aile du camp. Word War II. Bangalore. Italian prisoners of war camp 5. General view between barracks in one of the wing of the camp.

1943 View between the barracks of a wing in Camp 5 Bangalore (ICRC V-P-HIST-03469-36)

Amongst Andrea’s collection of books he returned to Italy with, is a copy of Breve Raccolta di Preghiere per I Prigionieri di guerra italiani in India.  A special thank you to Nino Favatella for sharing a photograph of his father’s prayer book. 

Religion was important to the Italian prisoners as is highlighted by the art work produced with religious images, the prayer cards the Italians kept, and the prayer and mass books prepared specifically for Italian prisoners of war in Egypt and Palestine, India and Australia.

Andrea Favatella’s Prayer Book from India

(photo courtesy of Nino Favatella)

Religious devotion is also illustrated with the chapels constructed within the prisoner of war camps.  The chapel below was built at Camp 5 Bangalore.

Guerre 1939-1945. Bangalore, camp de prisonniers de guerre N° 5. Extérieur d’une chapelle.

Exterior of the Chapel at Bangalore Camp 5 1943 (ICRC V-P-HIST-E-0420-7)

Connecting Italian families to this history is difficult after the passing of 75 years. 

William Shakespeare wrote: “There is a history in all men’s lives.”

Equally important: there is a history in every item your grandfathers and fathers brought home to Italy.