I couldn't believe my eyes just now whilst reading a Welsh book called Pant a Bryn (Valleys and Hills) a book written by a D.J. Morgan who use to write weekly articles in the Welsh Gazette referring to the farmers and their traditions etc., in Cardiganshire. On Page 11 - there was a reference to the Italians in Henllan!!!!!
Basically what he was saying was that the Italians were very sensitive people and refused to put up with some farmers who swore! Many returned to the camp because of it especially if the farmer would say "go to hell" which the Italians found most hurtful. They were not associated with the work carried out by some "Navvy's" which is a term used to refer to a very hard working - any job done- kind of person - The Italians were known for their cleanliness and their use of water and D. J. Morgan says that they preferred to clean out a cowshed and tidy up a dung heap or repair broken machines or instruments or even make things out of scrap rather than cutting and making hedges!
"They preferred a smile and a few kind words and once they returned to their homeland they would have fond memories of their time in Cardiganshire - and if you get an invitation to go to Italy - Never refuse"
I thought that little snippet was so interesting. I did note that reference was made to their uniform with a RED circle on their backs rather than yellow???? I will check this out.
Mike (my husband) reminded me that a family now living not far from Penrhiwllan - the Vasamy Family (sorry if I have spelt it incorrectly) they run an Italian restaurant in a place called Bwlchygroes - and their are descendants of one of the POW from Henllan - a lovely family and we like going there for a meal. It is called La Calabria.
I now live in Carmarthen SA312AT and have lived here for 54 years! a long time but my roots are in Cardiganshire and Henllan and its surrounding area is very close to my heart. My husband Mike and I have been doing the family trees now for over 10 years and I am proud to say that on both my parents sides the families are well rooted in Cardiganshire so looking into family history is a big part of our lives.
I recall my grandmother telling me - and my mother can also recollect the River Teify which runs alongside the camp in Henllan was apparently a popular place for the Italians to drop a bucket on a rope down to the path where local people would put some food and stuff in them for the boys! I am trying to find my book as I mentioned to you yesterday - it's in the house somewhere! Henllan's camp has always fascinated me.
My aunt and uncle remember the Italians walking up the road to their various farm destinations in their uniform with large yellow circles on their backs.
Delyth Lewis Rawlings
Carmarthern, 15 April 2013.
Your stories >