News of Robert Dickinson’s Death

A letter was sent to the family of Robert Dickinson soon after Robert’s death in Italy by Varesio Vincenza. Her family had cared deeply for Robert, and this touching letter reflects that deep affection and their grief in losing him.

Following is a transcription of the letter:


The scope of this letter is because of a sworn promise that I would send you news of your dear Robert. Unfortunately he is dead. He was killed by some ex fascists and Germans. He died on the 3rd March 1945. Dear Robert was seriously wounded in one of his legs but was able to draw himself as far as our village where his wounds were immediately attended to. He placed his machine gun and ammunition in a house from which he kept on firing right up to the last as a real warrior would do after which he took the smallest firearm and endeavoured to make his way to join his comrades, however, being wounded could no longer walk and because of firing against the Republic stayed near a small stream. All of a sudden he was surrounded by three ruffians who beat him to death. Poor Robert, whilst he could, he always called for his dear mother and family but no one could go to his help at that moment. When he died he was abandoned and he was eventually found by our partisans during the night when together with his friend, who was also killed, they were brought to a house and after a few days they were given a most honourable burial. His honour was very great. We cannot pray for him because we belong to a different religion, but this notwithstanding, I never miss to go to his grave every Sunday and place flowers on his grave.

The cemetery he is buried in is quite near to us. He has been placed in two coffins one of wood and one of zinc.

He always did his duty and always carefully listened to the advice of his officers, but destiny would be barbarously cruel to him. He told me a good many of his experiences. Now he is reposing and resting in peace. When his body was brought in I was able to wash him and clean him up. I have done so to a great many of the wounded. Robert did not seem to me he looked any different to when he was alive.

Do pray for him and always remember him because he was really good and a great warrior. To be able to write all about Robert it would take me a book. Many, many times he came to our house and have happy days but the Fascists would kill him. Now he rests in peace and do pray for him because he was such a good lad.

With kindest regards and with deepest sympathy

I am