Arandora Star - Ship of Shame

Alfonso Pacitti

Collar The Lot

Many men of German and Austrian heritage living in the UK were arrested under the infamous Government Order 18B shortly after the start of WWII in 1939. When Italy entered the war on 10th June 1940, internment was extended to include Italian families and sympathisers.

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The Fateful Voyage

In May/June 1940, the Arandora Star evacuated troops from Norway. and France. Her final voyage in July was to Canada, transporting German, Austrian and Italian nationals, mostly 18B regulation internees and some prisoners of war.
Four hundred and forty two Italian civilians were to perish.

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Non Vi Scorderemo Mai

A simple, typed card is the only official documentation released concerning my grandfather Alfonso’s death on the Arandora Star. It is stored in the UK National Archives files concerning internment on the Isle of Man. Memorials have been erected throughout the UK and Italy.

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Cover Up

The lid has been kept very tightly shut by the UK Government on the Arandora Star tragedy. Initially subject to the usual wartime 30 and 50 year embargoes, much of the relevant material was subsequently and inexplicably extended to 85 years.

Is there something to hide?

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An Unnecessary Tragedy

865 males lost their lives on the Arandora Star: POWs, internees, crew and guards. Most internees were civilians who made their homes in the UK in the early 1900s; many so deeply integrated that they had sons and relatives serving in the British Armed Forces.

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Despite the scale and impact of the tragedy, this are very few mentions of the Arandora Star in Hansard over the last 75 years. My father Alberto Pacitti and my mother's brother Gino Bertolini are mentioned in this record. Both had lost their fathers on the Arandora Star.

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arandora star ireland

The Irish Dimension

The Arandora Star was torpedoed just 75 miles off the coast of Ireland.
Although Ireland was neutral during WWII, the tragedy affected small communities across the northwest coast - Donegal and Sligo in particular.

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