I found with my father's posessions a small diary/calendar given to all Italian Prisoners of War by Pope Pius XII. There was a message from the Pope in the front cover:-

May the Lord grant His Christmas
peace to the prisoners of war of every
nation whom adversity has made doubly
dear to us. The longer and more painful
the separation from their country and
their dear ones, the deeper be this peace
within their hearts. At this holy season
of Christmas Our prayers for them are
still more fervent, and on them and
on their families we call down God's
choicest blessing.

Pius pp. XII

In this diary my Dad had written the following poems reflecting his experiences of war.

A Little Prayer

Hard to describe, our life in a cage,
Impossible to write on one little page,
But it's so easy to say right thro' the age,
Just “A little prayer”,

When you always feel hungry, think of good times,
The amount of happiness, FREEDOM brings.
Just think of “God” & your heart always sings
in “A little prayer”.

He watches over your loved ones, away far at home,
Guards & Guides them, how E'er far they roam,
So we're always together in a far different zone,
in “A little prayer”.

Let's be thankful to “God” for all he has done,
Who silently watches, whether rain or sun,
So think of “Him” always, when the battle is won,
in “A little prayer”.


Home Sweet Home

When the War's ended
And home I return
Sad hearts will be mended
No more shall I yearn.

I'll sit by the fireside,
In a cosy armchair
And thank “God” in his mercy,
For getting me there.


Each Day

Each day the darkness lessens,
Each day the warmth draws near,
Each day brings forth the longing,
That the hour of release is here.

The fog of Winter is lifting,
And the hard cruel frosts as well,
The sun's coming back in the heavens,
And the sounds of the Victory Bells.

We yearn to be back with our kin folk,
We pine for a glimpse of the shores,
Of the dearest land we know of,
And forget all discomforts & sores.

Forget too the filth of Derna,
And hopeless “Bengazi” as well,
Dismiss from our minds “Altamura”
And the other camps that were Hell.

The future is what we now live for
The past is a period dead
The dread of tomorrow forgotten
Our thoughts will keep forging ahead.

We pray that it won't be long now,
That the day of days is at hand
When once more we'll meet our Loved ones
In our own sweet native land.


Lost and Wasted Hours

For you dear one I'm ever yearning
How could I ever forget
My thoughts like homing birds returning
Where the heart is set.
Lead me down the paths of Peace
To memory's golden door,
Away from all the sin and din
And Tragedy of War.
We have our love, life cannot cheat us
Of this splendid thing
No power disheartens or defeats us
Time will only bring.
New buds of Hope, fresh flowers of Faith
To bloom in loves green bowers
When god at last restores to us
These lost & wasted hours.


Little Wooden Crosses

Little Wooden Crosses,
Bearing name and number
In the hot dry dessert sand
There our comrades slumber.
Lads with whom we laughed and joked
Played games & had our fun
Lads we slept with 'neath the stars
When the day was done.
Now beneath the alien earth
Their tired bodies rest
The only “Epitaph” they ask
“I tried and gave my best”
But we who live on after them
A great gift too must give
And dedicate our lives to prove.
The right to think & live.


Side by Side

We're going to the fabric in the morning
And hope to get a good warning,
If the Flieger should blow.
Away we will go, side by side.

We won't look for a shelter,
We'll just bale out, helter skelter,
And when we're in the clear.
We'll gently spazier, side by side.

Thro' the hills we'll wander.
Our chocolate ready to hand,
Cause that makes the Fraulein fonder
Of the lads in Sudetenland.

When the siren says it's all over.
We'll be lying in clover.
Blow the fabric to hell
We'll slaven well, side by side.