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Arandora Star - new memorial in Glasgow

 
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4947
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Wed May 28, 2008 1:01 pm    Post subject: Arandora Star - new memorial in Glasgow Reply with quote

on BBC news today that a memorial garden is to be created in Glasgow to commemorate this tragedy

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7421966.stm

\Paul
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Glesga Keelie



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Scotsman today.

Garden to help lay wartime shame to rest

Published Date: 29 May 2008
By MARTYN McLAUGHLIN
THEY were among the early generations of what is now one of Scotland's most vibrant and successful communities, but for years their descendants have had to live with a pain all but forgotten by the rest of the world.
Now, six decades after an inglorious episode in Britain's wartime history which claimed the lives of more than 700 civilians and prisoners of war, Scots-Italians will finally have a place to remember the plight of their forebears.

Standing alongside Alex Salmond, the First Minister, and Mario Conti, the Archbishop of Glasgow, at the launch of an appeal to raise funds for a memorial garden to the Arandora Star tragedy, Rando Bertoia remembered the morning of 11 June, 1940 as if it were last week. Aged 20, he heard the knock at the door of his home in the Gorbals. It was two police officers, waiting to take him and his father away.

The day before, Mussolini had declared war on the Allies. The 20,000 Italians, like the Bertoias who were resident in Britain, could no longer hope for an offer of sanctuary.

Instead, under a contentious policy of internment designed to root out so-called "enemy aliens", Rando and his father were among countless Italian men between the ages of 18 and 70 arrested and rounded up.

Three weeks later, Winston Churchill having decided that the dominions were the best place to send them, the men were herded aboard the SS Arandora Star. Mr Bertoia was one of 1,673 bodies crammed on to the converted cruise ship, which left Liverpool bound for Canada.

He was alongside his cousin Luigi, when, off the west coast of Co Donegal, a German U-boat struck, its torpedoes sending the Star to the ocean floor.

Having found space in a lifeboat, Mr Bertoia was picked up by a Canadian destroyer and taken to Greenock, where a roll-call determined who had survived. His cousin's name went unanswered. Luigi was dead. Some 445 other Italians suffered the same fate, among them Alfonso Crolla, the original partner in the Edinburgh delicatessen Valvona & Crolla, and generations of relatives of Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, the esteemed sculptor.

At the age of 88, Mr Bertoia is the last Scots-Italian survivor from the ill-fated crossing. In the time that has passed, there has been no permanent memorial, and neither apology nor compensation from the British government. As the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported, the Star appeared to have been "swallowed up by the silence of history".

Nowadays, Mr Bertoia feels no bitterness. "These things happen in war," the retired watch repairer said yesterday. All that mattered, he added, was being able to witness the start of a project that will give Scots-Italians a place to grieve.

The appeal, launched yesterday, aims to raise £1.5 million to build an Italian-style cloister garden in Glasgow. Already, 2,000 letters have gone out to the city's considerable Scots-Italian community asking for donations, with the chance to have their relatives commemorated in a wall.

"The garden will be more than a place for relaxation and meditation," said Mr Salmond.

"It will serve as a memorial to those men who were taken away from their homes, families and lives in Scotland following Italy's entry into the war."

'An oasis of tranquillity amid the city bustle – a place to sit and reflect'

CREATING a memorial garden to the victims of the Arandora Star tragedy will cement the historic bond between Scotland and Italy, Mario Conti, the Archbishop of Glasgow, said yesterday.

Speaking at the launch of the appeal to raise funds for the Italian cloister garden, he said it would be "a fitting symbol of the great bonds of friendship between Scotland and Italy".

He added: "The cloister garden will quickly become a much-loved oasis of tranquillity amid the city bustle, a place to come alone or with friends, to reflect, to sit awhile and to remember."

The garden is part of a number of refurbishment works planned for St Andrew's Cathedral, the mother church of Glasgow's Catholic community. It will be sited next to the cathedral in Clyde Street and will include a café, exhibition space and meeting room.

The cathedral will be given new floors, lighting, pews, decoration and heating.
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Glesga Keelie



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of the 805 Italians who were on the boat 446 perished at sea...27 of the 101 with a Scots connection who died had a Glasgow address and the majority of the rest had Edinburgh addresses. So the rest of the 359 casualties were either British servicemen or German prisoners of war do they not get a mention or do they not count...cannot understand why this memorial is being placed in Glasgow. And I cannot understand why we should feel guilty and ashamed when it was sunk by a German U-Boat...and why erect it in Glasgow. Rolling Eyes
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Adam Brown
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GK

Why erect a memorial in Belgium last year to Scots who died over 90 years ago? People feel a need for memorials -over 800 men died that night so I think that scale of loss justifies a memorial. Why Glasgow? Why not? She was built in Birkenhead, her home port was London and she sailed from Liverpool. She was sunk at sea and those who perished came from all over the UK, Italy and Germany so where do you have a memorial? Survivors returned to Glasgow so it's a good a place as any probably.

Numbers from http://www.bluestarline.org/arandora.html which differ from your numbers a bit.

she carried 1,673 people, made up as follows:

Officers & Crew 174
Military Guard 200
German Interned Males 479
German POW 86
Italian Interned Males 734

Captain E. W. Moulton and 12 other officers, together with 42 of the crew of the Arandora Star lost their lives. Of the military guard 37 were drowned, with 470 Italians and 243 Germans, a total death roll of 805 souls of the 1,673 carried

Guilt - It was a German U-boat but many of the Germans were pre-war refugees from Nazi persecution and many Italians had been resident in Scotland for many years so should they have been shipped off to Canada like prisoners of war?

To move on to less contentious subjects - A few bodies were washed ashore on the Western Isles and are buried there.

A few of the British soldiers lost were Lovat Scouts. I don't know if they were guards or were being dropped off at the Faroe Islands where their regiment was the garrison.

Regards

Adam
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Glesga Keelie



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Local politics in Glasgow will never cease to amaze me...several Great War Memorials have disappeared or have been demolished in recent years but here we are proposing to erect a memorial to the memory of men...many of whom were supporters of Mussolini and his party prior to the war.
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David McNay
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Joined: 14 Dec 2006
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Location: Lanarkshire, Scotland

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Please keep this topic to discussion of the memorial.

Regardless of the politics, this is a proposed war memorial in a Scottish city. As such it comes up for discussion. "Local politics in Glasgow" are not up for discussion.

This is not the place to discuss the rights and wrongs, or indeed any politics behind the decision.

Further comments of this nature will be deleted.
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Glesga Keelie



Joined: 24 May 2007
Posts: 49
Location: Glasgow

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2008 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok warning heeded...

Here is a interesting website that deals with the Arandora Star and a memorial to all those who perished.

http://www.colonsay.org.uk/arandoraPt1.htm
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MKMacdonald



Joined: 24 Oct 2008
Posts: 34
Location: Stornoway

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Lovat Scouts were acting as Armed Guards as the Arandora Star took the Italian and German internees to Canada. I think the Lovat Scouts did not become part of the Faroes Garrison until 1941 but I may be wrong.

Troopers William Colquhoun and John Connolly of the Lovat Scouts were from Benbecula and South Uist respectfully. Their bodies were washed up at Barra and the Irish coast (Connolly was born in Ireland).

Three Italians (with headstones) lie buried in South Uist and Barra but I coukld not find the German that is stated to be buried at Eoligarry (St Barrs) on the Isle of Barra (CWGC Inverness-shire booklet on burials).

Oreste Fisanotti (42), Baldassarre Plescia (25) and Enrico Muzzio (45) are interred in the Outer Hebrides and Vera Fisanotti was interred beside her husband in 1975.

The memorial in Glasgow should be for all the losses on the Arandora Star (including the Germans)and not for a specific grouping of passengers.
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Adam Brown
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Location: Edinburgh (From Sutherland)

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MKMacdonald wrote:
I think the Lovat Scouts did not become part of the Faroes Garrison until 1941 but I may be wrong


According to the publication below the Lovat Scouts arrived at Torshavn on 25th May 1940.

Melvile, Maj. Michael Leslie (1981). 'The Story of the Lovat Scouts 1900-1980'. St Andrew Press. ISBN 1904440037

Regards

Adam
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spoons



Joined: 09 Jan 2007
Posts: 4947
Location: St John's Town of Dalry

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just seen this news item http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tees/8129934.stm

they are unveiling a plaque in Teeside to 13 of Teeside's Italian community who died in this sinking.
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adb41



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 178
Location: Stornoway

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A memorial to the victims of the Arandora Star is being opened in Glasgow today (16 May 2011). More info here.
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Mike Morley



Joined: 17 Apr 2013
Posts: 5751
Location: Roberton, Lanarkshire

PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An article on today's BBC News website about the Arandora Star: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-53248157
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