by Charlotte Tate
I remember Italian prisoners of war arriving in Quinton. They were dark haired and very deeply tanned. I believe that they had surrendered to the British Army in North Africa. They were housed, I was told, in a big house at the end of Manor Lane. They were put to work repairing our roads.
We children used to stand around the trenches that they were digging, watching them as they worked, and listening to their conversations, which were in Italian, of course. I thought that it was a very pretty language to listen to. They would smile at us as they worked.
One day a woman walked past as they were digging and said something unpleasant about them. One of the prisoners threw a shovel full of earth over her. He must have had some English language lessons in order to understand what she had said to them.
© QLHS 2005