Steve Dickinson at the grave of his uncle, Robert Dickinson, in Milan War Cemetery. May 2009.
After escaping from prison camp, Robert Dickinson was sheltered by a family in Gassino (a small town near Turin in northern Italy).
Steve Dickinson, Robert’s nephew, believes he was hidden by a family with the surname of Bauducco at a farmhouse on Via Armando Diaz in Gassino. (A loose page in Robert’s diary, “Servigliano Calling,” bears the address of “Bauducco, Via A. Diaz, Gassino.”)
While in Gassino, Robert fought with the Italian Partisans against the German forces. He was killed in action on March 3, 1945. Initially, he was laid to rest by his Partisan comrades in Viali Cemetery in the town of Asti. After the war Robert’s body was moved to the Milan War Cemetery.
Steve Dickinson first visited Robert’s grave in August 1992. This month he made a return visit to the cemetery.
He also traveled to Gassino. In advance of his trip, Steve created “request for information” leaflets, translated by an Italian friend into Italian, for distribution in Gassino.
On returning to his home in the UK, Steve wrote:
“Spent some time in the village where Robert was hidden and left some of the fliers in various places. Several shops including the pharmacy said they would put them in their windows. Also left many in post boxes on Via Armando Diaz. Doubt I’ll get a reply but given the visit I had to try.
“Following this I visited Robert’s grave in Milan. I was greatly pleased to see that the cemetery was as well kept as when I had previously visited. In fact, probably better as the roses were in full bloom. As with my previous visit it was a moving experience. I probably spent an hour walking around the cemetery taking photos and reading/observing the graves. I found 5 graves buried all together, these being the crew of a plane shot down over Italy. Also found another grave of one of the Lincolnshire’s due to the Lincolnshire’s emblem (The Sphinx) on his gravestone.”