Italians want apology for British wartime disaster

Click to follow
The Independent Online

It is one of the Second World War's forgotten disasters, a disgraceful episode that is almost completely unknown.

It is one of the Second World War's forgotten disasters, a disgraceful episode that is almost completely unknown.

When Mussolini took Italy into war on the German side, Italians living in Britain were rounded up and dispatched to internment camps overseas.

The first batch to leave, crammed into a luxury cruise ship, the Arandora Star, set off for Canada from Liverpool, with heavy weapons visible on deck but with no escort. On 2 July 1940 it was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Of 734 Italians on board, 486 died.

Now the president of a Tuscan province from which many of the victims originated is to write to Tony Blair asking him to make a formal admission of British responsibility for the tragedy, and to consider financial compensation for survivors and families of the victims, too.

"If guilt is acknowledged there may be financial consequences according to British law," said Andrea Tagliasacchi, the president of Lucca province.

"Many of the people on the ship were innocent civilians who had been living in Britain for years," Mr Tagliasacchi said. "This is a forgotten disaster."

Comments