Category Archives: Resources

A People’s Courage: Civil resistance in German-occupied Italy 

A People’s Courage: Civil resistance in German-occupied Italy, a book by Italian researcher and author Filippo Ieranò that was first published in Italy as Antigone nella Valle del Tenna, has been recently translated into English and published by London-based Monte San Martino Trust. It is available for purchase online.

A People’s Courage is described in this way:

“In September 1943 the quiet, rural region of Le Marche, in central eastern Italy, was thrown into turmoil by Italy’s Armistice with the Allies. The region’s prisoner of war camps were holding about 22,000 Allied servicemen who had been captured in North Africa. At the news of Italy’s surrender many of the prisoners escaped into the countryside. Hunted by the occupying Germany army and Italian fascists, they were in danger and in desperate need of food and shelter. They threw themselves on the mercy of ordinary people, in the main subsistence farmers, who themselves risked severe punishment, even death, if they were caught offering protection. Through interviews with members of the Italian families who hid escaped prisoners, historian Filippo Ieranò describes the tension and fear that afflicted the region until the Allies arrived to liberate it. He makes clear, too, the sacrifices made by these farming families, known as contadini: though poor, they shared what little they had with their unexpected guests. The Monte San Martino Trust, a British charity, today honours the protagonists in this remarkable story—one of courage and of great generosity in helping former enemies—by granting study bursaries in England to young Italians.”

The book, which is 222 pages in length, is available on Amazon in the UK and Amazon in America.

Two Recent Books by Janet Kinrade Dethick

I’d like to give a shout-out to Janet Kinrade Dethick for the two most recent books she has authored. I’m pleased to now own these two excellent volumes.

Some Corner of a Foreign Field: Deaths behind the Lines in Italy 1942–5 was published in 2022 and As if he were my brother: Italians and escapers in Piedmont, 1943–1945, was published in December 2021. The first book concerns POWs who met their deaths in enemy-occupied Italy. The latter covers the assistance escaped POWs in the Piedmont region received from local families and individuals.

Both of these books represent the type of academic excellence I’ve come to expect from this author. She is a meticulous researcher and a seasoned interpreter of WWII military records.

Janet has written several books and created more than a half-dozen websites. For more on her background and accomplishments, visit

Some Corner of a Foreign Field: Deaths behind the Lines in Italy 1942–5

Here is the publisher’s description of this book:

“Even after capture, the full horrors of war still persisted. Bombed and strafed by our own planes, and shelled by our own artillery, the words ‘For you the war is over, Tommy,’ had a hollow ring … November 1942, after five months in Suani Ben Adem, we sailed from Tripoli, en route to Naples. We were held in the hold of a coal boat, battened down, with only a few buckets for sanitation purposes. Packed in like sardines, we would have had no chance of survival, had the ship come under attack from the Royal Navy, not an uncommon occurrence.”

“These are the words of Private Bill Blewitt, 1st Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters, captured near Gazala in the Western Desert. He survived his capture, but over a thousand did not.

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Monte San Martino Trust Celebrates 30 Years

Keith Killby in June 2012

The Monte San Martino Trust has celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.

Founded by Keith Killby in 1989, the Trust has provided hundreds of young Italians with English language study bursaries in England.

The educational bursaries are in recognition of the bravery and generosity of Italian families who assisted escaped Allied prisoners of war during the Second World War.

The Trust also keeps the escape stories alive through annual Freedom Trail Walks, a newsletter, and an online archive of stories. Most importantly, the organization serves as a rich British-Italian cultural bond.

At their annual Fontanellato Luncheon last month, the Trust celebrated its three-decade history with the release of a Monte San Martino Trust Thirtieth Anniversary Video, which is now accessible on YouTube.

The inspiring film features brief interviews with former POWs, Italians who provided them with protection, and students who have benefitted from the Trust’s educational bursaries.

The film was created by director Zak Jarvis, a Trust supporter and the great-grandson of Ernest Day, who was a prisoner of war Gavi.

Trust founder Keith Killby remained active in the Trust until his death last year at the age of 102.

For more information, visit the Monte San Martino Trust website.

U.S. National Archives—Italian POW Records

Access to identity cards of American POWs of the Italian Army is now available on the website of the U.S. National Archives. Shown here is the front and back of the card for Delvaughn Elliot.

Dr. Greg Bradsher, Senior Archivist at the National Archives at College Park (Maryland) has recently prepared a 76-page Draft Inventory of the Records of the Allied Screening Commission, Allied Screening Commission (Italy), and the Prisoner of War Claims Screening Commission.

Here is a PDF of the document:

RG 331 ASC series external

This inventory is meant to serve as a finding aid for researchers accessing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) holdings of the Allied screening commissions as they relate to POWs, escapers and evaders, and their helpers in Italy.

Readers wishing to follow up with a reference request pertaining to these holdings can email it to Requesters should provide their full contact information with the inquiry.

In time, NARA may devote a web page to these records, as they have for other subjects and records, and over time more documents described in the inventory will be available online. In June, among the first of the records to become available online were the Identity Cards for American Prisoners of the Italian Army.

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