Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A British Boy in Fascist Italy

As some of you will know, following my short account of wartime Italy in the BBC's WW2 People's War archive a commissioning editor for The History Press contacted me in late 2008 and suggested that I should expand it for publication. The result is to be published on 1 September.

What has surprised me is that it is already being advertised world-wide. Here are the major locations:

Amazon UK
Bookstores Co UK



Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Well done, Peter. It will make a very interesting read for those who have not come across what happened in Italy during the war. Often I think a book is better than articles on Internet sites (more permanent).

I have already kept a copy of your story from the "People's War" website. Will it be possible to get a signed copy directly from the author if I send a cheque?

Friday, 28 May, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...

How can you say that Joseph, that a book is better than articles on the Internet, when yours are so valuable!?
You know what you have to do now, if this is what you think: Use your immenes knowledge and documentation to write one as well, and you know who the first buyers will be!

Wednesday, 02 June, 2010  
Blogger Ron Goldstein said...


World Press ?

No less than than I would have expected !

I looked back at up my first presponse to your regarding your story on the BBC Site and reproduce it now below. The full story was here:

It's good to know that I still have the gift to recognise obvious talent :)


I should not have been surprised that anyone with such a fascinating background as your own should have been responsible for producing such a powerful story about his early years.

The unvarnished and often painful truth is evident in every word and paints a powerful picture of what life must have been like for an immature youngster trying to survive in wartime Italy.

As a so called 'Site Helper' I often make a point of thanking writers to this site for putting their stories on to the Public Domain.

In your case I am doubly grateful to you because I know that your story will surely stand the test of time and will be of great interest and value to future researchers and archivists.

Well done that man !


Monday, 07 June, 2010  
Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Some personal impressions about the book:
"A British Boy in Fascist Italy"
By Peter Ghiringhelli (2010)
Published by: The History Press', Stroud
ISBN 978 0 7524 5343 9

Peter Ghiringhelli was born at Lady Lane, Leeds in the West Riding of Yorkshire in June 1930. Like all children born in the 1930s the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 is an important part of his family history.

However, there is one major difference between Peter's wartime experiences and those of most British children of that era. The main divergence between Peter's story and that of most other children born in Britain in the 1930s really emanates from the fact his father was born in Italy.

Italy's entry into the war against Britain and France in June 1940 ultimately led to an enforced separation of Peter's extended family. His maternal grandfather Ferdinando Granelli, also born in Italy, was interned and sent to a camp in the Isle of Man. Regarding Peter's maternal uncles - born in the UK - one served in the Merchant Navy and one in the British Army (Pioneer Corps). Meanwhile Peter's grandmother remained in Leeds.

But these were not the only family members who left Leeds. Peter, his parents and 4-year old sister Gloria were deported to Italy. The family had to board a 'sealed' train from Leeds to Greenock where they boarded the 'SS Monarch of Bermuda' for the first part the voyage taking them to northern Italy, not returning until after the war in 1946. Generally speaking, war has a tendency to separate those who love each other in one way or another. But this family story of wartime separation is rather more extraordinary than most.

During WW2 Italy experienced oppression under the Republican Fascist Party, the invasion of the Allies in the south and the Germans from the north and a civil war. In this book Peter's personal memories of growing up in war-torn Italy are put into the overall national and international context of the war.

Within the pages of these written personal memories hopes and aspirations, defeat and victory, life and death - can all be found. After the war, Peter and his family returned to Leeds. In later life Peter served with the British Army in Germany and then worked in the Immigration Service in southern England, finally settling in Lincolnshire for a well-earned 'retirement'.

Between 2003 and 2006 Peter contributed his wartime experiences in Italy to the BBC "People's War" project and became a 'Site Helper' helping people from all over the world to find learn about their own family history of the war years. In 2006 the BBC "People's War" finished taking 'live' contributions from members of the public. Peter Ghiringhelli, along with some of the other "People's War" Site Helpers began the 'Second World War Blogspot', which operates on similar lines to that of the "People's War".

This book gives a fascinating insight into a time that in some respects is long ago and yet in others is so very recent. Children tend to be very robust - even in times of hardship and adversity. Perhaps partly because these are childhood memories the good memories outweigh the bad ones. Nevertheless, good or bad memories as related in this work relate the exciting life of a "British Boy in Fascist Italy".

Friday, 05 November, 2010  
Blogger Cathie said...


Friday, 05 November, 2010  
Blogger Gregory C. Randall said...

You are a tough guy to find. I am writing a novel that includes the Salerno Invasion in 1943. My characters, 3 Americans from Chicago, are stuck in near Salerno and can't get out. Can you help to direct me to information about how American Civilians were treated in Italy or if you have some suggestions that can help me add texture and color to the story all will be welcome. Again thanks and how do I get a hold of you at World War 2 Talk?
All the best.
Greg Randall

Thursday, 16 August, 2012  
Blogger JoWheeler said...

Dear Peter, I am writing a book about the internment of Italians in Britain during WWII. I was fascinated by your story and experience of travelling to Italy. Are you available for an interview for my book?
With best wishes,
Jo Wheeler (

Monday, 09 June, 2014  

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