The search for the soldier without a name-Part 1

The Italian with the sword has stared at us Smillies for two generations now.

He stands proud in his uniform and his knee high boots.

His kepi cuts his face at an angle, as was the style in the 30s.

But just who is he?

The unknown Italian officer

There is no name scrawled on the back of those black and white photographs. His name and fate hidden for six decades.

The ten photographs came into our family as booty of war and it is not a pretty story.

My grandfather William Findlay Smillie told of how  in World War Two he took the Italian officer prisoner. There was an altercation.

In anger he stripped the Italian of all his possessions, something he said he had never done before.

Men do bad things in war.

Growing up and staring at those photographs I always wondered who that Italian officer was. There have always been questions.

Since a child I have always wondered just who this man was

Like, did he survive the war? Did he come home and start a family? Is he still alive?

If he is, he is a very old man, perhaps still haunted by a traumatic memory along time ago.

And I guess, his family has never seen those photographs.

Now my curiosity is demanding I do something, I need to find out who the Italian in the photograph is.

This is going to be difficult,  there is a good chance I might not succeed  or it might take a long time.

But I will tell the story of this search and of how we got those pictures on my blog, whether if fails or succeeds.

So, if anyone out there has any ideas of how to go about this, drop me a mail.

Who knows maybe a visitor to my blog might just find themselves staring at their grandfather. That would be first prize.

About Shaun Smillie

Journalist, with a love of bones, fossils and other things dug up. Fisherman and occasional beer maker.
This entry was posted in Smillie family history, The search for the Italian officer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The search for the soldier without a name-Part 1

  1. But who is the other dude in the pic?

  2. Geoff Blundell says:

    HI Shaun,
    The photos look like they were taken in Italy? If so, maybe you can put a location on them. Also, you might be able to identify the person’s particular regiment through the military outfit and accoutrements; if so, you might be able to locate regimental documents with names and locations as to where they were in the war as well. That might give you some leads as to where to go next. Maybe try the War Museum staff.

    All best for now.

    • Hi Geoff

      I have been in contact with the War Museum and they have given me some good advice. My worry I am not sure how complete the archives are in Italy, considering a lot of their military institutions were bombed during the war. Thanks for that

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