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Recollections of German Generals signing surrender in Italy

by Action Desk, BBC Radio Suffolk

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Archive List > World > Italy

Contributed by 
Action Desk, BBC Radio Suffolk
People in story: 
Mr. Alec Boswell
Location of story: 
Caserta and Concello, Nr. Naples, Italy
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
A4201228
Contributed on: 
16 June 2005

This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from BBC Suffolk Action on behalf of Alec Boswell and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr. Boswell fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

I was called up from the RAFVR on 8th September 1939 and served to 23rd September 1945 — number 901951 and was at various RAF stations.

At the end of the war — 2nd April 1945 — I was returning to my base an Cancello, nr. Naples from Rome. I passed through Caserta on a hot afternoon, and contrary to Italian habits — where they disappear for an afternoon siesta — it seemed the whole population had gone mad with excitement — flags, dancing and general fiesta in the streets.
It seemed so strange that on arriving back at Cancello, I mentioned it and was asked in surprise — ‘hadn’t I heard the news?’ Then I was told the first big news of the war — Berlin had been captured and unconditional surrender in Italy had been signed by the German generals at the Palace in Caserta that day.

The war in Italy was very unpopular as the Italians were pro-British and anti-German, but Mussolini and his fascists had forced it on them.

I covered all Italy from north to south and had a genuine welcome from the anti-fascist Italians. Indeed, Mussolini only found his deserts from his own people when the partisans extracted their vengeance.

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