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15 October 2014
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World War 2 Survivors Interview

by Romsey Community School, Hampshire

Contributed by 
Romsey Community School, Hampshire
People in story: 
Mr. Pipitone
Location of story: 
Africa/Glasgow/Romsey
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A2821907
Contributed on: 
09 July 2004

On the 17th May 2004 Jordan and Ian interviewed a man called Mr. Pipitone aged 88.
Mr. Pipitone fought on the Italian side. He got sent to Libya and then Ethiopia. Towards the end of the war his regiment was sent to South Africa for a few months until the British Ghurkars caught him. He got sent to a prisoner of war camp. He said "the conditions were alright for a POW". He then told us "when my captain surrendered on behalf of our regiment he shot himself in shame, I however was glad to be caught as the conditions in the camps were good and we were safe".
Even though he was Italin he hated Mussolini and he was very pleased when Mussolini got publicly hung at the end of the war.
After a few weeks in the camp Mr. Pipitone was asked if he wanted to go to another camp but they weren't told where they were heading for.The journey took over a month, when they eventualy arrived n Glasgow, Scotland in 1945.
From there he was sent to another camp just outside Glasgow. Then finally he was sent to Woodley, Romsey. He was sent to work at Ganger farm. He wanted go back home to Tunisia but the French wouldn't let him. So he stayed in England and met a girl and they later got married in Lockerly. They had four children, two boys and two girls. A car unfortunatley hit and killed their eldest, aged 45.
Rationing was not a problem for Mr. Pipitone and he remembers things on the radio about Dunkirk and the D-Day landings.
He has recently been to Italy to see his brother and catch up on old times and listen to Elvis music.
In the war Mr. Pipitone never got shot or wounded.

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Message 1 - re: World War 2 Survivor's interview

Posted on: 09 July 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

An interesting story of how an Italian came to settle in Britain, but I'm afraid that the account is confused.

Italian East Africa consisted of three territories: Eritrea, Ethiopia (formerly Abyssinia), and Italian Somaliland. This large territory was completely cut off from outside supplies and reinforcements from June 1940, although a trickle got through before then. Final pockets of Italian resistance came to an end in July 1942, following the commander-in-chief's surrender on 19 May.

After the defeat of Marshal Graziani's troops, the Italian army in Lybia became part of Rommel's Afrika Corps. They surrendered in Tunisia on 13 May 1943, after which there were no more Axis troops in Africa.

No Axis troops were ever in South Africa, nor were the Nepalese Gurkhas, the South African army was formidable enough to defend itself without outside aid, but they were never invaded.

Kind regards,

Peter

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Prisoners of War Category
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