Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

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Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby Lutherman » 01 Oct 2014, 05:40

I am seeking any information about a brilliant but very troubled and deluded young man named Antonio Soro who was saved from life in prison in Australia by his Italian family who brought him home to fight for his country in World War I. He was from Sardinia or Sardegna.

Soro FACE.jpg


I am sure he has military records since he was a murderer and had already been released from a death sentence. He would never have been let out of jail except to join the military, according to Australian law. Of course he was a very troubled soul. He was a savant in the area of music and engineering at a very young age, but he was too obsessive and could not control an imagination that seemed to have a life of its own. In 1914 he imagined that the girl of his dreams wanted to have a suicide pact with him, even though she was engaged to someone else. After he shot her in the park, he tried to shoot himself, but the bullet went through his cheek, and then his last bullet misfired. So he was doomed to live with his terrible mistakes. I want to learn the rest of his story. I want to know if his intelligence was able to save him when he went back to Italy for a fresh start.

Here is what I know about him.

As a youth, Antonio Soro had obtained a partial degree in engineering in Italy. He might have been born around 1885-1886, but this could be off by several years. He was said to be 28 years old in a police note written September 14, 1914. He was 5 feet and 6 or 7 inches tall, with curly black hair and dark complexion. He was a fancy dresser and frequented wine shops.

In 1914, Mrs. Soro (Antonio's mother), lived with her married daughter at 59 Humffray near the Ballarat East Railway Station, Victoria, Australia. Mrs. Soro's son-in-law was Charles D'Albora. Soro lived in Australia from at least 1912 to 1918. About September 1913, Antonio moved to Melbourne and worked as a mechanic, engineer, and/or engraver, boarding at 37 Brougham Street in Maribyrnong, North Melbourne, Victoria. His landlords were James and Maria Bickett, and it was their daughter, a 23-year-old schoolteacher Patricia Angela Bickett, that Antonio unfortunately was in love with.

Antonio had met the Bicketts two years before the murder when they were living on Victoria Street in East Ballarat, and after they moved to Melbourne, he eventually moved in with them. Mrs. Soro and her daughter were not proficient in English. The Soros felt that Antonio had obtained permission to court Patricia Bickett, but the Bicketts considered him something of a stalker, though a polite one, so he was allowed to stay in their home while his brother-in-law made preparations to move to Melbourne. They refused to accept rent from him. The Bicketts had another fellow picked out for their daughter to marry, but he was working in another area.

Up until the time when Soro started to get his name in the newspapers, he was working all hours on his invention, some kind of engine and/or compressor that ran on compressed air. It was patented in New Zealand, Switzerland, and supposedly 8 other countries. I have the Swiss patent No. 65794 of June 1912, which is in French, but I haven't found the English version, New Zealand Patent 31346(?) "Means for Obtaining Power" May 16, 1912.

In mid-June 1912, Soro claimed that his financiers, Mr and Mrs Giovanni Guiliano, fruitiers, had stolen the secret part that was a key to his invention's functioning. The case went to courts and newspapers, but there was no satisfactory conclusion for Soro. The accused had more credibility than did the youth making the complaint, who could prove nothing. Mrs Guiliano was Annette Portelli, both she and her husband were born about 1875-76 in Italy but I don't know where. From at least 1909 to 1914 they lived at 215 Sturt Street, Ballarat West, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.
In late June 1912, Soro disappeared without warning, and when found days later in a bad state, he claimed he had been kidnapped and taken for a long ride in a flying machine, finally escaping by forcing the aeroplane down over a lake, and swimming to shore. By now he was being ridiculed by the newspapers.

In 1914, he was imprisoned for the murder of Patricia Bickett which took place on September 14, 1914 in Royal Park, Melbourne. He was sentenced to death, but this was changed to life in prison.

In early May 1918 (see below), his family managed to get him released so he could serve his country in the Italian war effort. I have reason to believe that he survived the war (see reference below) unless he changed his name before he entered the army.

I have a portrait of Antonio Soro and his prison record, but not his mug shot. I have many articles about his well-reported shenanigans in Australia. I know nothing about his life or relatives in Italy before or after Australia except that he was educated there and was from Sardinia.

Any assistance would be sincerely appreciated.
Scott Robertson
stumpednomore at gmail dotcom

reference: Argus newspaper, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
May 24, 1918, page 4 (excerpt)
"...Towards the end of last year [1917] the Italian Consul approached the Ministry for Soro's release, stating that Soro, who was a reservist, desired to return to Italy and fight for his country, and that the Italian Government desired his services. Appeals were also made by Soro's relatives in Italy. All the known facts were placed fully before the consul. Soro was not a naturalised British subject. There was a section of the Crimes Act which enabled such a person to be deported after serving two years of a sentence. In view of the representation by the Italian Consul, it was decided to put into operation the principle of law expressed in that section, and to recommend to the Governor that Soro be released on a bond that he would return to Italy and fight for his country. About a month ago the matter was completed, and early this month Soro sailed for Italy."

reference: this list of the war fallen has at least two Antonio Soros who do not fit his timeline.
website: cadutigrandeguerra.it
Albi serie 19 Sardegna
page 408 - 409
Caduti Province CA Cagliari e SS Sassari
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby PippoM » 01 Oct 2014, 09:24

I did some search in Australian National Archives...don't know if you already have this reference for an Antonio Soro born Jun 17, 1884; might this be the right one?

http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNR ... 093&isAv=N
Giuseppe "Pippo" Moccaldi

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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby PippoM » 01 Oct 2014, 09:28

I also found a reference for an Antonio Soro who arrived at Melbourne Dec 3rd, 1921.
Of course I don't know if this is the same person.
Do you know his mother's name?
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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby Lutherman » 01 Oct 2014, 11:17

Thanks for letting me know about the Australian archives. It looks like they have several files on one or more Antonio Soro's, though I won't be able to purchase copies at this time.

The reference you mentioned is about an Antonio Soro who arrived in Melbourne in 1921. This is probably the wrong person. When he was released from prison in 1918 and sent back to Italy, it was duly noted in dozens of newspapers across Australia, yet no mention is made of him or anyone else by that name after May or June of 1918. I can't believe that they would have let him come back, or that he would have wanted to return. However, I will try to get a look at the file sometime, and thanks again for your response.

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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby Lutherman » 01 Oct 2014, 11:30

PippoM wrote:I also found a reference for an Antonio Soro who arrived at Melbourne Dec 3rd, 1921.
Of course I don't know if this is the same person.
Do you know his mother's name?


This would be the person you mention who was born in 1884, but I don't think they would have let him back into the country so it's probably not the Antonio Soro who left in 1918. I don't know his mother or sister's name, but his brother-in-law was Charles d'Albora. His mother was called "Mrs. Soro" by the authorities.

I am going to make a research request at the site you gave me to see if they can glean any useful information from the files as they are too expensive to buy, just to see what's in them.

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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby PeterTimber » 01 Oct 2014, 18:02

forgive my intrusion here but I came across SORO ANTONIO-alleged Italian murderer 1928-1928, Adelaide,Date of decision 1/11/1993 and Date registered 6/10/1994

http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/SearchNR ... etail.aspx?

I am not aware if this is helpful but I thought I would run this by you. Peter
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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby Lutherman » 02 Oct 2014, 05:09

Peter,
Thanks for your valuable assistance. I had collected six file records from the Australia archives but your post prompted me to look at them more closely. In those days, there were no computers and Soro could have re-entered Australia hoping to not be detected, for example to help his mother or sister or so they could help him.

The following scenario now seems very likely, and I do now think that all the files listed below refer to the same person, Antonio Soro the inventor and murderer.

HYPOTHESIS:
Antonio Soro was born on June 17, 1884 in Sardegna, Italy. He moved to Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in 1908 with his mother to live with his sister, Mrs. Charles d'Albora. He was convicted of murder in 1914, as we know. He registered as an alien in 1916 while in prison. As we know, he was deported to serve in the Italian army, probably in early May 1918. In 1921 he returned to Melbourne, Australia undetected on the ship MONCALIERI. In 1928 he was reported to authorities and investigated. During World War II he was also investigated. His case was closed when he died. According to this theory he would have lived most of his life in Australia and died there, under surveillance by the authorities who kept his presence in Australia quiet, as there are no further newspaper notices that I've been able to find.

PIPPO can you please supply your source for the arrival date Dec 3, 1921? I didn't find that in the archives. If there is a passenger list available on line I would like an image of that! It would be very helpful.

Here are the main points of the six file records in Australia archives:

Item details for: D1915, SA1893
Title SORO Antonio - alleged Italian murderer
Contents date range 1928 - 1928
Series number D1915
Access status Open
Physical format PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)

Item details for: B741, V/4497
Title Antonio Soro - Report of
Contents date range 1927 - 1929
Series number B741
Access status Not yet examined
Physical format PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)

Item details for: MT269/1, VIC/PORTUGAL/SORO ANTONIO
Title SORO Antonio: Nationality - Italian [Portuguese]: Date of Birth - 17 June 1884: Arrived per MONCALIERI: First registered at Melbourne
Contents date range 1921 - 1921
Series number MT269/1
Access status Open
Physical format PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)
Extent 1 folio

Item details for: SP908/1, ITALIAN/SORO ANTONIO
Title Antonio Soro [date of birth: 17 Jun 1884] [Italian - arrived Melbourne, 1908; date of arrival and ship not known. Box 1122]
Contents date range 1908 - 1948
Series number SP908/1
Access status Open
Physical format PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)

Item details for: C123, 2415
Title Soro, Antonio (Italian - naturalised British subject) [9 pp; box 49]
Contents date range 1940 - 1945
Series number C123
Access status Open
Physical format PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)

Item details for: SP11/2, ITALIAN/SORO A
Title Antonio Soro [Italian - arrived Melbourne - ship's name and date of disembarkation unknown. Box 155]
Contents date range 1939 - 1945
Series number SP11/2
Access status Open
Physical format PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)
Extent 5 pp

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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby Lutherman » 02 Oct 2014, 05:36

This must be what PIPPO was referring to. This passenger list has been added to my request for free research at the archives.

Item details for: K269, 3 DEC 1921 MONCALIERI
Title Incoming passenger list to Fremantle "Moncalieri" arrived 3 December 1921 [includes Emergency Certificate of British Nationality for Agostino Sultana]
Contents date range 1921 - 1921
Series number K269
Access status Open
Physical format PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)

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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby PippoM » 02 Oct 2014, 08:29

Lutherman wrote:This must be what PIPPO was referring to. This passenger list has been added to my request for free research at the archives.

Item details for: K269, 3 DEC 1921 MONCALIERI
Title Incoming passenger list to Fremantle "Moncalieri" arrived 3 December 1921 [includes Emergency Certificate of British Nationality for Agostino Sultana]
Contents date range 1921 - 1921
Series number K269
Access status Open
Physical format PAPER FILES AND DOCUMENTS (allocated at series level)


Yes, this one!
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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby Lutherman » 02 Oct 2014, 13:41

I have made some solid progress today. Someone suggested I look at Victoria state archives instead of Australia national archives, and there I found his prison record, which I thought I had, but this single sheet has six photographs and his personal particulars, most of which I had already gleaned from the police records someone sent me before. But I did learn more of interest.

As confirmed below, the prison record states that he immigrated to Australia in 1909. He was 5 ft, 5 in, 10.7 stone (150 lbs). He was from Sardinia. The official date of his release to Italy was April 26, 1918, so this could be the date his ship left, or close to that time. From mug shots, he was obviously not shot in the face so I have misremembered what I read, he was probably just burned by the bullet which missed him.

The birth date given is just "1888" which is not specific enough to take seriously. From the photos I would guess 1884-1886 is more accurate.

Even more useful are the ship records I found. I have not seen the images of the passenger lists yet, but here are some interesting records from the Victoria state archives site (prov.vic.gov.au/research). The images would provide detail possibly confirming that there is only one Anthony Soro. The first record is certainly the right person and this confirms that his date of birth is not 1888 as per prison records but closer to 1885. The second record seems to refer to the same person; at least they are the same age. The third record could be Soro's sister since there is an infant named d'Albora traveling with her or at least on the same boat. There were no other Soro's and no Soro's leaving Australia at all that I could find. When he left in 1918 we don't know what route he took and maybe as a prisoner his name was kept off the manifest. More likely that he left from Perth or some other port, and I couldn't make sense of the Western Australia archives at all. I say left from Perth because there don't seem to be any ships leaving Melbourne for Italy in1918 at all. To get him out of the country in April or May of 1918, he might have been transported to another port to catch any available ship, or an unregistered trip on a cargo ship might have been taken.

Family Name, Given Name, Age, Month, Year, Ship, Port, Fiche, Page
SORO ANTONIO 24 FEB 1909 OROYA B 783 001
SORO ANTONIO 37 DEC 1921 MONCALIERI F 501 001
SORO ELISABETTA 30 MAY 1908 OROTAVA B 770 002
DALBORA GIUSEPPE 2 MAY 1908 OROTAVA B 770 002

We know that Soro's brother-in-law Charles d'Albora was planning to move to Melbourne. He was a fruitier according to one note. A retired fruitier named Alphonso d'Albora died in Northcote, Melbourne on May 5, 1935. A pensioner named Hilda d'Albora died in nearby Kew, Melbourne on 22 March, 1962.

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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby PeterTimber » 04 Oct 2014, 19:18

Dear Lutherman I used the website to good advantage some years ago in researching Oz and New Zealand using www.blaxland.com/ozships/plist.htm reflecting passengers in and out of Oz from 1788-1968 a number of years ago. The thought occurred that this might be useful to you. Peter
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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby suanj » 05 Oct 2014, 06:18

here the list of crews and passengers on the Oroya:

OROYA

OF LIVERPOOL, C.F. LAWS, MASTER, BURTHEN 3358 TONS
FROM THE PORT OF LONDON via MELBOURNE TO SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, 6TH FEBRUARY 1909

http://mariners.records.nsw.gov.au/1909/02/030oro.htm

I no see Antonio...
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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby Lutherman » 05 Oct 2014, 07:33

Thanks suanj. I have been in communication with the webmaster at the link you gave. Soro was not on the portion of the trip from Melbourne to Sydney because he got off at Melbourne. The mariners site covers only domestic shipping as per the title at the top of the page, "Mariners and ships in Australian Waters".

I will have to probably purchase custom images of the relevant passenger lists from the state of Victoria archives.

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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby suanj » 05 Oct 2014, 09:57

thanks for explanation,
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Re: Antonio Soro born about 1885-1886

Postby suanj » 05 Oct 2014, 10:56

D'ALBORA JOSEPH RONALD : Service Number - V146872 : Date of birth - 16 Nov 1904 : Place of birth - SARDINIA ITALY : Place of enlistment - CAULFIELD VIC : Next of Kin - D'ALBORA FELICITY

It could be Antonio Soro nephew?
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