Thursday, January 08, 2009

Monday 26th July 1943

Even the madmen here were elated today, when we heard on the radio that Benito Mussolini had ceased to be i/c Italy! One Private Cohen was first with the news. He's a very depressed little Jew, but on this occasion his face wore a lively expression as he danced into the ward crying loudly: “Mussolini – Finish!”
A brilliant piece of journalese described Musso's resignation thus: “The sawdust Caesar has collapsed amid the ruins of his cardboard Empire...” A more cautious newspaper commented, “This change in the Italian Government is certainly a step in the right direction...” It certainly is.

Yesterday I was down in the Italian prison camp, having a haircut, when a newspaper arrived and a bi-lingual Iti translated it, reading aloud in Italian. A group of prisoners gathered around him, with dark, gloomy faces. Wish I'd been there today!

But yesterday's headlines were not too cheery either, as far as they were concerned: “ALLIES MOPPING-UP IN SICILY” “ROME BOMBED” etc. A group of Englishmen would have looked equally forlorn on hearing that the invasion of, say, the Isle of Wight was almost completed.

But - “You want short?” queried the Iti barber, unperturbed, scissors in hand.

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