This letter, from the town of Oleggio in northern Italy, dated May 5, 1947, was most likely sent to Bob Smith’s mother from the family whom he stayed with in Italy before his escape.
(The other two pages of the letter are at the bottom of this post.)
According to Bob’s niece, Carole Procter, “It was obviously a farm and I think it was probably the one he was allocated to from the POW camp, rather than the one he hid in when he first escaped, although that is only a feeling—no proof either way.
“The name at the end of the letter looks like J Roselli and on the Oleggio website it does say that Roselli is an old Oleggio name, with members of the family still living there.
“The little extra written at the bottom—from Mary?—is quite flowery and I can’t work out exactly what it says.
“The pencil writing was obviously done by someone trying to decipher the addresses but I think they got them wrong!”
Here is the text of the letter:
We have been very happy to receive your letter, but we are very sorry to hear that Robert has been ill for a long time.
All our family sends him and you the best whishes [sic] hoping he will recover soon and completely.
We understand very well all you have suffered for all that has happened to you, but now the most important thing is that Robert is well, or much better.
We should be very happy to receive his letter, as you have promised us.
We are very surprised to hear that the boys that were with Bob have not yet given there [sic] news, and that even you have not heard from them. Our mother wants to assure you she should have done much more for your son, if it would had been possible, but unfortunately times were terrible also for us.
Now if your son needs a little rest in Italy after his illness we shall be very happy to receive him, of course only as our guest. (he would have nothing to pay)
He would find again the friends—Mario—Bruno—Carlo, Dimitrio [or Quintius]—that still work in the farm.
We are all well and hope to receive soon an answer to our letter.
Many thanks of us all especially from mother
all brothers with mother and father
J Roselli [we think.]
Also is written:
Dear Robert—I do not now.
Much love from
Mary [and a name that looks like Reldi]
1 Marconi – 6 Oleggio