Has anyone seen ANY other mail from Italian POWs in Australia? Only piece I have ever seen.
1944 Official Italian Officer in Australia, POW Camp Lettersheet to a 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.
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.
The Good Capitano also reminds dealer Ackland he has spent £120 on stamps with him so far.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.