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Italian Luigi seeks the long-lost half-brother he has never met

Are you the boy on the tractor?
Are you the boy on the tractor?

Before his death, Antonio Passarelli told his son Luigi about his time as a prisoner of war in a camp in Spalding during World War II.

He also spoke for the first time about another son called ‘Tony’ who he said was conceived during his time there.

Luigi Passarelli's father Antonio as a soldier.
Luigi Passarelli's father Antonio as a soldier.

Now Luigi (62) believes the boy on the tractor in the photograph on this page could be his half-brother and is looking for help in tracking him down or finding out more about him.

He said: “The child’s name should be Tony, or Anthony or Antonio, I’m not sure.

“He should have been born in 1946, on November 17 or November 19.

“My father spoke about him in the last times of his life (he died on January 2016, aged 96).

The child’s name should be Tony, or Anthony or Antonio. From what I understand, my mother forced my father to cut all the links with this son when they married
Luigi Passarelli

“From what I’ve been able to reconstruct, after he came back from the UK POW (prisoner of war) camp he continued for some years to have an epistolary contact (via letters) with a woman I have a picture of.

“Unfortunately my mother (Caterina) destroyed all the letters after their marriage. The only things that remained are two pictures.”

One is of the boy on the tractor, and the other of the woman his father remained in contact with.

“During the war my father was a private,” Luigi said.

Luigi Passarelli, who is searching for his long-lost brother.
Luigi Passarelli, who is searching for his long-lost brother.

“He was captured at the beginning of his departure when he arrived in Egypt.

“From what I know he never fired a shot.

“According to his record of service he was called to arms on February 2, 1940, and was captured by the British army on January 4, 1941. If I remember well he was captured in Alessandria in Egypt.

“He was brought to India and then from India was moved to the UK.

“He said that he was in Spalding and worked in the fields.”

Italy originally allied with the Germans during the Second World War at the decision of Prime Minister Benito Mussolini.

After defeating German and Italian forces in North Africa, Allied troops crossed over to Sicily in July 1943 and took the island in thirty-nine days.

Italian leaders deposed Mussolini on July 25, 1943, and six weeks later they withdrew from their alliance with Germany and signed an armistice with the Allies.

Luigi’s father Antonio was born on November 11, 1946 in Tiriolo, in Southern Italy, where Luigi still lives.

“From what I understand,” he added, “my mother forced my father to cut all the links with this son when they married.

“He married her some years after he came back from the UK, in 1949. But she died too this year.”

Luigi also has brothers Giuseppe and Francesco.

He originally put up a post on social media site Reddit, before someone suggested he contact the Spalding Guardian and he hopes readers can help him.

○ If you can help Luigi find out more information about the boy in the photograph you can email him at: passarelli87@hotmail.com

Or contact us at: The editor, Spalding Guardian and Lincolnshire Free Press, Priory House, The Crescent, Spalding, Lincolnshire. PE11 1AB. You can also email via: spaldingeditor@iliffepublishing.co.uk or tweet us.

○ It’s not known exactly where Antonio Passarelli was held as a prisoner of war.

According to research, however, there was a Second World War prisoner of war camp called Fulney Park Camp in Spalding.

In an article written by Ivan Bateman on the South Holland Life website, the camp is said to have been situated at Low Fulney and was recorded as a dispersed German working camp.

In the official government numbering it was called Camp 153.

The article reads: ‘The camp is said to have covered about five or six acres, and included a reinforced concrete communications bunker, a large vehicle servicing workshop with underground fuel storage tanks, a cookhouse and mess, an entertainment hall complete with stage, together with numerous Nissen huts for accommodation, plus a brick built ablutions building.

‘There was also a hut built from insulated panels for use as a medical and sick-bay.

‘The whole site was all served by a purpose built sewage farm, with all the underground pipes being encased in concrete.

‘It was therefore a self-contained unit, and luckily escaped any direct war damage.’

It is also known there was a POW camp in Sutton Bridge.


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