Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering stamps?

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Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering stamps?

Post by Global Administrator »

Listed this up for sale here this week, and it sold quickly, and thought it worth adding to the data base for posterity, as we were lucky enough to source a lot of photos of the writer and his camp. :lol: 8)

Has anyone seen ANY other mail from Italian POWs in Australia? Only piece I have ever seen.
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1944 Official Italian Officer in Australia, POW Camp Lettersheet to a stamp dealer!
1944 Official Italian in oz POW Lettersheet to stamp dealer!

1944 Official Italian in oz POW Lettersheet to stamp dealer!

What a gem. 8) 8)

Censored POW lettersheet. From Captain Mariano Iacona in the Italian Army, captured in North Africa, and transported by ship to the Australian POW Interment camp in Myrtleford, rural Victoria – near the Victorian Alps.

Britain shipped them 10,000 miles to HERE as they were nervous the German would invade and free all POWs if interned in UK. :idea:

On the special POW Stationery, identical to ACSC POW#2 (sans indicia) Cat $250, and even has the same printer imprint as outlined in ACSC Note #1 – “a.w. 200m 10/43”.

These are all scarce, and were NEVER available to the public or collectors, but only to POWs. No mint examples are recorded, according to ACSC.

Clean used to large Melbourne dealer William Ackland, chasing up orders for the 1935 Silver Jubilee stamps – depicting the King Of England - weird!! He was also chasing glassine envelopes and a magnifier. :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

The Good Capitano also reminds dealer Ackland he has spent £120 on stamps with him so far. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

The Australian War Memorial tells us to pay for POWs was -

The pay rate was £1 ($2) per week, of which only 1/3d (15c) was allowed to the worker.

So in a year a POW earned only 780p pence = 65/- or £3/5/0. So Our Capitano had spent on stamps so far, 35 years of his POW pay so far. Captiano Iacona had VAST independent means, it seems clear!

1944 official Italian POW letter Mytleford to Vic dealer

From POW Captain Iacona. Red and white "Opened By Censor" tape on reverse. Handstamped with the Diamond censor cachet in violet number "257" on both front and back.

"Approval for transmission by Camp Commandant" handstamp at left in violet. Below that, "ENGLISH" in Red - denoting letter was not written in Italian language.

Very nice, extremely clean shape for 73 years old. Those are stamp hinges on corners, not cellotape, (and look far heavier on long shot, heavily overexposed to show writing) and which will remove readily with hot water, and a camel hair brush.

NEVER owned a letter from an oz based POW before, and being mailed to a stamp dealer, in ENGLISH, a superb WW2 POW collectible. :lol: :lol:
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Photo including Capitano Mariano Iacona
Australian War Museum https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/030152/01/

Information on the Myrtleford Camp from https://www.alpinehistory.com.au/pow-camp.html

Panoramic view from a hill of No. 5 Prisoner of War (POW) Camp. Note the sentry box in the foreground looking over a number of buildings.

This is quite soon after the Camp opened. Note the number of tents. This period lasted for 7 months, until Engineering Services, Dept. of Army, built the blocks of huts.

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All prisoners at the Camp were Italian, captured during the North African campaign.

These men mainly, arrived by boat to Sydney, then came by train to Gapsted Railway Station, where they were marched into the Camp.

Over 80% of them were Officers.

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Prisoners were shipped over the period May 1941 to February 1945 to Australia.

From Egypt 1941 – 6 shipments of 561 Officers & 4,396 other ranks.
From India 1943/45 – 8 shipments of 20 Officers & 10,120 other ranks.
From India 1945 – selected from 7,000 alleged Fascists – 2 shipments totalling 3,067.
Also, 268 Merchant Seamen, making a Grand Total of 18,432.
Nearly 1,000 came to Myrtleford #5 POW Camp.

INTERIOR OF PRISONER OF WAR OFFICERS' MESS IN "A" COMPOUND 51st AUSTRALIAN GARRISON COMPANY PRISONER OF WAR CAMP WITH ITALIAN POW ORDERLIES AT THE TABLES.

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Letters from Italy were often up to two years late in arriving in Australia, knowledge of the fate of families unknown, and POWs often thought of themselves as forgotten men. Therefore, the opportunity to work outdoors with civilians, outside the barbed wire of Myrtleford Camp, brought them nearer to a ‘normal’ life.

Myrtleford Camp POWs commenced working on local farms in June-July, 1944. At that time, work included picking potatoes, harvesting wheat, hay carting and dairying.

Prisoners were released at a fixed time each morning, to return to camp at a prescribed hour. The pay rate was £1 ($2) per week, of which only 1s. 3d a week (15 cents) was allowed to the worker.
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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by PBR »

I have some airletters sent home by Italian PoW's. I will post scans once I have returned home from a trip to Taiwan next week.

Cheers

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by Global Administrator »

PBR wrote:I have some airletters sent home by Italian PoW's. I will post scans once I have returned home from a trip to Taiwan next week.

Cheers

pbr
Look forward to that!
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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by gavin-h »

Global Administrator wrote:The Good Capitano also reminds dealer Ackland he has spent £120 on stamps with him so far. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

The Australian War Memorial tells us to pay for POWs was -

The pay rate was £1 ($2) per week, of which only 1/3d (15c) was allowed to the worker.

So in a year a POW earned only 780p pence = 65/- or £3/5/0. So Our Capitano had spent on stamps so far, 35 years of his POW pay so far. Captiano Iacona had VAST independent means, it seems clear!
Not an uncommon situation in the military of most countries at that time.

My dad used to tell the tale of his time in the Royal Corps of Signals in WWII. The officer of the section he was in wanted to recommend him for officer training, but my dad said no.

When I asked him why he didn't want to become an officer, his answer was "Because I couldn't afford to!!!" The pay wouldn't have covered the cost of dress uniforms, mess bills etc, meaning that without independent means it would have been impossible.

Sadly, I suspect this was often the case with intelligent and capable men from a working class background.

His dad had worked on the railways and had died when my dad was 15, leaving a pension of the princely sum of 1/9 per week in the late 30s - a pittance even then.

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by Rod Perry »

Here's an early Post WWI, POW Liverpool cover to a Philatelic Trader:
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The addressee is Fritz Pleuss, proprietor of Victoria Stamp Market, 350 Flinders St, Melbourne.

Victoria Stamp Market is most noted, philatelically, for the early 1900s "VSM" brand philatelic postcards.

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The 16-page buying prices booklet, of December 1903, is a good read.
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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by Global Administrator »

Rod - one wonder if he too was buying Omnibus set of stamps bearing the head of the British King. That was the bit I found very humorous re the Italian Capitano. :lol: :lol:

Seems like the Sender of yours was E. Weiner.

We all know and love local dealer Ernest Weiner, but given his religion, doubt he'd have been fighting for Germany in either War. :mrgreen:

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by vikingeck »

Global Administrator wrote:
Seems like the Sender of yours was E. Weiner.

We all know and love local dealer Ernest Weiner, but given his religion, doubt he'd have been fighting for Germany in either War. :mrgreen:


Correction Glen,

Many German & Austrians of Jewish faith served in both armies in WORLD WAR I as Officers and as other ranks. The Nazi Anti Semitism really only manifested itself publicly in the 1930s.

However Civilians of German extraction were also interned in Camps.
whatever it is -------it's better than a poke in eye with a wet umbrella !

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by Global Administrator »

Ernest is Ultra Orthodox. The black hat and black dress cape and thick black glasses and ringlets - the whole 9 yards.

In the USA they also can get exemption from Military Duty due to yeshivas. Part of it is also the crew cut rule etc, as they will not cut their beards.

No idea what occurred in Germany, but until very recently, the ultra-Orthodox had been totally exempt from serving even in the Israeli military, since the creation of that state, in 1949.

While the army has the authority to conscript any citizen or permanent resident once he or she hits 18 there, teenage Haredim are able to avoid conscription by studying religious texts in institutions called yeshivas.

The Haredim feel that this study is a contribution to Judaism that is equal to - if not greater than - serving in the Israeli army. They see compulsory military service as a form of religious persecution, denying them the right to practice and pulling them toward a more secular lifestyle.

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by vikingeck »

OK Point taken. I accept Orthodox will have a different view point.

I had wrongly just assumed Jewish Faith as a group.

Many less strictly Orthodox did fight for the Fatherland in WWI which makes the Nazi Pogroms even less understandable to many of them come 1930.
whatever it is -------it's better than a poke in eye with a wet umbrella !

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by PBR »

Global Administrator wrote:
PBR wrote:I have some airletters sent home by Italian PoW's. I will post scans once I have returned home from a trip to Taiwan next week.

Cheers

pbr
Look forward to that!
Here you go. :D

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Sent from Myrtleford ( 9 AU 46) to Palermo, Italy, by an Italian PoW. Handstamped "Approved for Transmission by Camp Commandant / No. 5 P.W. Camp Myrtleford".

The sender was captured on 4 January 1941 at Bardia, Eastern Libya. He was transferred on the Queen mary to Sydney on 16 August 1941 and marched into Camp Murchinson the next day. On 9 June 1942, he was relocated to Camp Myrtleford. He was repatriated from Moreton Bay on 14 December 1946.


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Sent from Melbourne (9 Oct 1946) to Aragona, Sicily, by an Italian PoW.
Handstamped "Approved for Transmission by Camp Commandant". Additional handstamp on the back panel "P.O.W. Group Murchinson".

The sender was captured on 22 January 1941 at Tobruk, Libya. he was transferred on the Queen Mary to Sydney on 16 August 1941, from where he marched into Camp Murchsindon. He was repatriated on SS Oranto to Naples on 10 January 1947.


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Sent from Melbourne (4 DEC 1946) to Terreti, Italy, by an Intalian PoW.
Handstamped "Service of prisoner of war". On the back panel handstamped "P.O.W. Group Murchinson".

The sender was captured on 27 September 1941 at Wolchofit, Libya. He was first transferred to India, where he was interned at 15 Camp Baigarh on 17 October 1941. On 29 December 1944, he arrived at Melbourne on board SS Melon and marched into Campo Murchinson. he was repatriated on SS Oranto to Naples on 10 January 1947.


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Sent from P.O.W. P.G. Cowra (5 NO 46) to Ravanusa, Italy, by an Italian PoW.
Handstamped "Approved by Transmission / by Camp Commandant".


Cheers


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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by Global Administrator »

Nice lot. :)

Those are all the normal commercial Aerogrammes. Odd he did not use the specially printed Italian POW ones with front and back in Italian and German language.

They were mailed late 1946 well after the Wat had ended, so maybe they were treated a bit like tourists at that point. :mrgreen:

These for overseas use had impressed franking on them. Otherwise they were identical, down to the printer code on back.
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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by rossi »

PBR, if your letters have the content in Italian I can help you on translation.

p.s.
RAVANUSA
P. AGRIGENTO etc
the P means Provincia ( Province )
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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by jjarmstrong47 »

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This is one from my collection.

Lieutenant Silvio Sacconi was an artillery officer who was captured at Tobruk (Libya) on 22.1.41. He had been a clerk with the ministry of agriculture in Rome before joining the army. He had fair hair and blue eyes and was 5 feet 9 inches tall.

He was shipped to Australia on the Queen Mary, arriving in Sydney on the 16.8.41. He was initially sent to Murchison camp but was transferred to Myrtleford on 10.6.42 arriving there after a nine day march. Although some prisoners were sent to work on local farms, he spent the rest of the war at the camp, except for a three week stay in hospital.

The letter, on a standard prisoner form, is to his wife, Pina and carries one shilling postage, the air mail rate to Italy. It carries an Australian diamond shaped censor stamp and the camp commandant’s approval stamp plus an Italian censor stamp and a stamp showing it is written in Italian. The stamp is postmarked with the Myrtleford Military Post Office CDS, dated 20.5 43, four months before the Armistice.

It seems to have been a standard practice to photograph the prisoners in groups. This photo is similar to the one shown by Glen above.

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Lieutenant Sacconi is second from left in the front row.

Prisoners at Myrtleford were not repatriated until the end of the war. Silvio Sacconi was among the first batch of 195 prisoners repatriated to Italy on 4.8.45 aboard the RMS Andes. Unlike many other ex-prisoners, it seems that he never returned.

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by Chris W »

I also had a cover which was posted by Silvio Sacconi which from my notes was from September 1942. I no longer have it as now only collect Italian P.OW'S in camps in the Middle East or North Africa. I should have a scan of it somewhere so i will hunt it out.

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by W5LDY »

Wow, fascinating thread with lots of back story, putting faces to the letters, putting the 'history' into postal history.

My grandfather had Italian P.O.W.s living and working on his farm in Felthorpe, Norfolk during WW2, would love to find some similar items, sorry to say have never found anything, sadly no photos either.

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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by Wayne1951 »

March 28, 1946 Italian P.O.W at Myrtleford writing to a friend or family in the U.S.A. bemoaning still being at Myrtleford and not anticipating leaving until sometime in 1947.
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Post by Global Administrator »

Wow ... still a POW in March 1946. Wonder when they allowed them to go back?
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Re: Anyone seen an Italian POW in Aust. writing ordering sta

Post by mobbor »

vikingeck wrote:
Global Administrator wrote:
Seems like the Sender of yours was E. Weiner.

We all know and love local dealer Ernest Weiner, but given his religion, doubt he'd have been fighting for Germany in either War. :mrgreen:


Correction Glen,

Many German & Austrians of Jewish faith served in both armies in WORLD WAR I as Officers and as other ranks. The Nazi Anti Semitism really only manifested itself publicly in the 1930s.

However Civilians of German extraction were also interned in Camps.
I know it's a bit off topic, but I agree: it didn't start till 1933. Even Hitler was not particularly ill-disposed toward Jews- and he had good reason. The officer who recommended him for an Iron Cross, First Class, a rare honour for a corporal, was a Jew. And ironically, when he was homeless some time after the war and probably wouldn't have survived the winter, a Jew gave him a warm coat.

I think that all changed when he joined a secretive organisation which claimed the superiority of the Aryan race.
mobbor

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