Tracing Italian POW in the UK during WW2

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BobSheldon
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Tracing Italian POW in the UK during WW2

Postby BobSheldon » 18 Jul 2011, 23:03

I was born in Mar 1945, my mother is Marion Sheldon, sadly now deceased. From gathering family information my father was an Italian Soldier interned at a camp in Treeton, Nr Sheffield and Rotherham. Many years ago I obtained my birth certificate and under father the space only contained a single line, no name. I was legally adopted by my grandparents but the adoption court in Wakefield have been unable to locate the court records despite me trying to encourage a greater search. I have been told by my mothers two sisters many stories about other women who had been in relationships with the Italians from the camp and that they also had children. I traced one family where the Italian soldier had returned and married the girl and stayed in the UK, sadly he had passed away and the family did not have any information to pass on. My father was known as "johnny" English I understand for "Giovani?" It is now many years since this occurred, I am almost 67 but I have a daughter and granddaughter who want to know more and maybe get a name or trace some of my Italian siblings! Where and what can be done to obtain Italian POW Personnel Records or Camp Nominal Rolls from this period. Can you help, do you know of any other similar events, heard any stories, do you have a father or grandfather who was a POW in the UK. I would respect any family confidence and would not wish to stir or raise such an issue that would or maybe cause any embarrassment whatsoever.

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ddevirgilio
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Re: Tracing Italian POW in the UK during WW2

Postby ddevirgilio » 19 Jul 2011, 13:54

Fascinating story. If you already haven't done so, I recommend reaching out to the International Red Cross. Without a specific name, they may be limited in what they can share, but there might be general camp records that they can share. Here is a link to their inquiry form: http://www.icrc.org/web/forms/webforms. ... E200322DD7

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johnnyonthespot
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Re: Tracing Italian POW in the UK during WW2

Postby johnnyonthespot » 19 Jul 2011, 14:29

There are other threads here on this very subject; I suggest you try searching the forum for "pow" to locate them.

One in particular, http://www.italiangenealogy.com/forum/topic12229.html may have some interesting info for you.

As to the name, certainly John/Johnny is a common anglicization for Giovanni, but there are numerous other Italian names equally likely:

Gianbattista
Giancarlo
Giandomenico
Gianfranco
Gianluca
Gianluigi
Gianmarco
Gianmaria
Gianmario
Gianpaolo
Gianpiero
Gianpietro
Gianuario

The first syllable of each of these would have an English pronunciation very close to "John" and a common nickname for any of the above would be simply "Gianni" which is about as close as you can get to Johnny. Try it here: http://www.oddcast.com/home/demos/tts/tts_example.php?sitepal

While Giovanni is commonly anglicized as John, it actually sounds nothing like that, the first syllable being more akin to Joe.
Carmine

My hobby is finding things. Having found most of my own, I am happy to help others find theirs. PM me! :)

BobSheldon
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Re: Tracing Italian POW in the UK during WW2

Postby BobSheldon » 13 Aug 2011, 22:08

Thank you for your suggestions, sadly the red cross site is of little use unless you have the name of the person being sought, you can see from my post that I don't have any personal information on my father. I am in the process of chasing the adoption court in Wakefield again and also writing to the Italian Authorities.

acartia
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Re: Tracing Italian POW in the UK during WW2

Postby acartia » 18 Aug 2011, 16:02

Hello Bob, what a hard task you have without much of a clue on your fathers name. I just want to give you my thoughts on it,though I can offer really little help. Giovanni in Australia is always equal to John.(same in the UK?).In a reverse manner I am John,(half Italian), but now and again over the years, some of my non Italian friends call me Giovanni. Carmine said Gianni does sound the most like Johnny, so that is certainly a possibility as well. Then of course all the other names that Carmine mentioned are possibilities. For me if you can ever get a list of names from these camps or wherever,I would be checking Giovanni first, then Gianni, and then the other group of similar names.Of course I suppose Roberto could be a possibility as well! Are your Mums sisters still alive? You would think sisters being sisters they would have some idea of your fathers name. But no doubt you have tried that avenue. I really find it disconcerting that you cannot find your adoption records.Adoption records like divorce and BDMs are essential government records, these are always kept, unless I suppose they are lost in some disaster. I would try a higher office for your record, if there is one. Maybe the local one needs a bit of stirring up to find your record, or at least give you a good reason what has happened to it.I know nothing about adoption records, but one would have to think that there may be a fair chance that your fathers name could be on it, and it may be your best chance of success.Just one other thing,maybe some of these low risk POWs were more under a local police supervision than the army.I really do not know, but I would see if police were involved with POWs and if records do exist from that era. I wish you and your family the best of luck on this, and let us know if you have a breakthrough. John


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