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This undated newspaper photo was clipped and saved by British former prisoner-of-war Denis Crooks.

The source, the Evening Standard, is evidently the London Evening Standard.

The caption reads:

“‘Welcome Home’ Sign in Italy

“So many Allied officers and men are escaping through the enemy lines to the Eighth Army that directional signs have been put up for them. One of the signs in the village of Vinchiaturo.”

[The stenciled sign in the photo reads “ALLIED EX POW REPORT HERE.”]

Two Transfer of Personnel Documents

Document No. 1—November 3, 1943

The following “transfer of personnel” document—my father Sergeant Armie Hill’s “ticket home” after reunion with the Allied forces following his escape—was framed and proudly displayed on our living room wall for many years when I was a child.

Armie and his escape companion Ben Farley made it to the Allied lines in 31 days, having traveled an estimated 300 miles on foot through the mountains in order to evade recapture. They escaped on September 14 and arrived at the British Eighth Army line on October 15.

These eight men were the first prisoners to turn up, and Armie later said, “They didn’t know what to do with us.”

All eight escapees listed in this document escaped from Camp 59 in Servigliano.

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On a sunny morning late last September, Marino Palmoni and his son Antonello took a group of us to see the area of Montefalcone Appennino where, during World War II, the Palmoni family sheltered escaped prisoners of war.

Along for this tour were: Anne Bewicke-Copley and David Runciman (who own a home in Montefalcone), Aat van Rijn (from the Netherlands, now a resident of Montefalcone), Steve Dickinson (visiting from England), and Mark Randolph and I (visiting from the United States).

The road to the Palmoni home—Casa Palmoni—in Montefalcone Appennino, Italy.

Casa Palmoni.

Casa Palmoni and the Marziali Property

This is the house where the Palmoni family lived for over 100 years. There were over 20 people living in this house during the war: Mario’s grandparents—Iginia and Luigi Palmoni—Luigi’s four brothers and their wives, and all their children.

They were contadini—sharecroppers working on the property of the rich Marziali family. The Palmonis didn’t own the house.

Marino remembers—as a boy—taking food to the prisoners who were hiding in the woods above his home. His family looked after four of the prisoners who stayed with them in the house—two English soldiers and two Americans (Louis VanSlooten and Luther Shields).

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