The Arandora Star
Memorial for war victims
A memorial will be created in Liverpool to more than 800 Second World War POWs who died when their transport ship was torpedoed in the Irish Sea.
The city has joined forces with the Italian Consulate to remember the souls lost on the Arandora Star in 1940.
The ship was carrying 470 Italian and 243 German POWs, as well as 79 Allied guards and crew, from Liverpool.
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2008, All Rights Reserved.
The Arandora Star Campaign
Memorial for WWII PoWs killed by torpedo
Feb 23 2008
by Michelle Fiddler, Liverpool Echo
A MEMORIAL to remember the victims of a sunken wartime liner will be created in Liverpool.
More than 800 people were killed when a German submarine torpedoed the Arandora Star off the Irish coast in July 1940.
The ship was carrying internees and prisoners-of-war from Liverpool to Newfoundland.
There is still no official British commemoration to those who died.
But in a renewed spirit of European cooperation, officials from Liverpool and the Italian city of Palma are to unveil an official memorial to the victims.
Cllr Flo Clucas, Liverpool’s executive member for Europe, said: “470 Italian and 243 German prisoners-of-war were killed when the Blue Star liner was torpedoed.
“Twelve officers, 42 crew and 37 guards also lost their lives.
“Because the incident involved people of different nationalities, some of whom were at war, there has never been an official memorial.
“Now, as members of the European Union, we are all working together to commemorate all the victims.
“It is a good example of what a difference us being European has made to the peace in the world.”
Cllr Clucas met Nunzia Bertali, from the Italian consulate, to discuss the plans earlier this week.
Source: Liverpool Echo
Wednesday, 2 July 2008
A star which scarred a community
The Arandora Star was sunk by a torpedo from a German U boat on 2 July 1940.
Hundreds of internees on board died. Picture courtesy National Maritime Museum
By Giancarlo Rinaldi
BBC Scotland news website
When I was growing up they were the two words which could bring a cloud into any conversation.
They were whispered in the back shops of the Scottish Italian community or muttered quickly in the hope that they would never need to be mentioned again.
I thought everybody knew the story of the boat which sank off the Irish coast with the loss of nearly 700 lives - the majority of them Italian nationals.
As I got older, however, I realised this was not the case.
Indeed, there were only puzzled looks when you mentioned the name of the liner which sank during World War 2 while carrying hundreds of Italian and German internees.
Winston Churchill called for Italian
nationals to be interned
Yet 2 July 1940 is a date which carries a terrible echo for descendants of the many immigrants who died.
It brought home the reality of conflict to hundreds of people who had spent the pre-war years selling ice cream or fish and chips.
Italy had only entered the war against Britain a few weeks earlier.
That prompted Prime Minister Winston Churchill seek the internment of thousands of immigrants.
Many Italians were taken to a camp on the Isle of Man but hundreds of others went on board the Arandora Star in Liverpool, destined for Canada.
Most Italian families who have been in Scotland since the 1930s or before know somebody who embarked on that journey.
My own grandmother's first husband was on the ship when it was struck by a torpedo from a German U boat.
He was one of the "lucky" ones who survived, unlike 446 of his fellow countrymen.
He was brought ashore and put on another ship, this time bound for Australia.
He died not long after he got there.
The recriminations about the incident have continued despite the passing years.
It has been claimed the Arandora Star was not properly identified as carrying internees, had inadequate lifeboat provision and was grossly overloaded.
However, many of the victims' relatives - like my grandmother - did not want to make a fuss.
Plans were unveiled for the memorial
in Glasgow earlier this year
She moved on, married again and started a family - although she never forgot the disaster.
Earlier this year, an appeal fund was launched to build an Italian cloister garden in Glasgow to commemorate this "forgotten tragedy".
Campaigners hope to raise £1.5m to construct the memorial next to St Andrew's Cathedral in Clyde Street.
Details of the project were announced by First Minister Alex Salmond and Archbishop Mario Conti.
Archbishop Conti said at the time he hoped the monument would be a "fitting symbol" of the friendship between Scotland and Italy.
For some people, it does not go far enough, and they would like to see an official apology or compensation come from the UK government.
However, at least after 68 years, some kind of significant tribute is being made to those who lost their lives.
It is just a shame that so few of the people directly affected by the tragedy will be around to see it.
Source: BBC NEWS | Scotland
Plaque unveiling salutes 800 who perished in torpedoed ship
Jul 3 2008
by Peter Elson, Liverpool Daily Post
ONE of the forgotten tragedies of World War II was commemorated when a bronze plaque to the lost Liverpool liner Arandora Star was unveiled yesterday by the Italian ambassador.
More than 800 people lost their lives when the liner was torpedoed off north west Ireland 68 years ago, on July 2, 1940, by the German submarine U-54.
Arandora Star was carrying Italian, German and Austrian internees, plus crew and British guards, from Liverpool to Canada.
Two of the three known survivors of the sinking, Evan Morgan Jones, 89, formerly of the Welsh Regiment, and Rando Bertoia, 88, an ex-internee from Glasgow, were present at the plaque dedication.
They were joined by several hundred relatives and friends of the dead, plus diplomatic representatives from Italy and Germany, at the service at Liverpool’s parish church of Our Lady and St Nicholas.
At least half of those killed were Italian and many of them held British nationality. They were interned as soon as Italy declared war on Great Britain. Her Liverpool master, Captain Edgar Wallace Moulton, was also lost.
The Most Rev Mario Conti, Archbishop of Glasgow, a city from where many of the internees came, gave the address.
“What is poignant about this loss of lives is that these were civilians who were happily integrated members of British society,” said the Archbishop, a fluent Italian speaker.
“They were innocents caught up in the enmities of war, yesterday’s friends becoming today’s enemies.”
Dr Giancarlo Aragona, the Italian ambassador to the UK, said: “This is a very important event to us and I am so pleased it has been commemorated here in Liverpool. It will be recognised as a very good day for relations between Italy and Great Britain.”
The commemorative day was organised by Nunzia Bertali, Italian honorary consul for Liverpool District, Cllr Flo Clucas, and Graham Boxer, of Liverpool City Council.
The plaque was designed by Fred O’Brien, of Northern Design Unit, and will be relocated to the Pier Head when building work there is finished.
Cllr Clucas said: “People have come from all over Europe to attend this commemoration day for those who lost their lives on the Arandora Star.
“This shows how fantastically important it is for the families to have a sense of closure 68 years after the tragedy.”
After a commemorative concert and readings at Merseyside Maritime Museum, wreaths were cast into the river from a Mersey ferry.
Source: Liverpool Daily Post
Saturday, 16 May 2009
Memorial plans for liner victims
A campaign has been launched to raise money for a memorial to the Welsh Italians who died when a liner they were on was torpedoed in World War II.
The Arandora Star was a former luxury liner that was painted grey and covered in barbed wire during World War II.
Picture courtesy National Maritime Museum
Over 800 people - the majority of them of Italian descent - died when the Arandora Star sank as they were being sent to prison camps in Canada.
A group now plans to unveil a plaque in a church in Cardiff on the 70th anniversary of the disaster in 2010.
Other memorials are already in Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Italy.
Bruna Chezzi, secretary of the Arandora Star Memorial Fund in Wales, said the group, many of whom had relatives on the ship, believed it was time Wales also had a way of commemorating the men.
"A lot of the Italians on the Arandora Star were from Wales and I feel very strongly that something should be done to remember these people," she said.
"Liverpool had their memorial last year and it made us realise that Wales has not got anything to mark what happened.
Zappa's Debz mentions this in her book because of the obvious Italian connection.
Keeping It Real !!!!!!!!!
Yes Ged Debz does mention it in her book because her relative Antonio D'annunzio drowned on board.
Debz & The Lord Mayor with the Arandora Star plaque,now at the Pier Head.
My Grand Uncle joined the crew of the Arandora for that fateful journey.
He was 20 years old and joined as a scullion and thankfully, he was one of the lucky survivors.
I find it hard to comprehend just how he, at such a young age, and everybody else must have felt. It must have been sheer terror.
The experience though never deterred him from going back to sea. It was his life and he worked up the ranks over the years following the disaster.
It was a horific event and I hope never forgotten in time. When remembering all the internees, please share a thought for all those other innocents. My uncle never married or had a family of his own, but I will make sure my own family never forget.
By kevin in forum Liverpool Sailors
Last Post: 04-07-2010, 02:34 PM
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