Letters from Loved Ones


Following the fancy title page of Robert Dickinson’s journal is a simple, full-page inscription, which reads: “I dedicate this Book with love to Ida.”

Farther into Robert’s journal is a six-page record of the 225 letters Robert received while he was in Servigliano Camp 59, Bonservizi Camp 53, Casanova Elvo Camp 106, and Gassino Camp 112.

Dates for receipt of the letters are March 30, 1942 to September 8, 1943. Letters from Robert’s sweetheart Ida (129 in all) account for the greatest number.

On the one Valentine’s Day within this 18 month period (February 14, 1943) Robert received a letter from Ida, which she had written on January 18. Some letters, delayed for unknown reasons (particularly at the latter two camps) arrived all in one day. Sometimes four, five, or six letters—usually from Ida—arrived all at once.

Robert and the other prisoners eagerly anticipated arrival of mail. Robert wrote in his diary on March 30, 1942, “At last the long awaited mail!!!”

There were 57 letters from home.

Also writing to Robert were his brothers Jim and Bob, and Jim’s wife Olive. Aunt Min and Uncle Bert each wrote.

And there were other letters from friends and neighbors: Mrs. Topham, Sussex, Eagle, T.E.M. Barber, Rotherham, Mrs. Hudson, and Theresa.

An additional note during the holiday season of 1943 reads “+ Christmas cards.”


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