By I. Williams
Utilizing unique records, the Allied profession of southern Italy, quite Sicily and Naples, is illustrated through reading crime and unrest by means of Allied squaddies, deserters, rogue troops and Italian civilians from drunkenness, robbery, rape, and homicide to riots, demonstrations, black marketeering and prostitution.
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Additional info for Allies and Italians under Occupation: Sicily and Southern Italy 1943–45
55 The remaining 41 spent about two weeks at the Military Government School at Chrea, and then they too were despatched to Sicily. This first untrained contingent was followed by two further groups who had at least had basic civil affairs training. 56 While the calibre of civil affairs general recruits has been criticized, there has been little criticism of the police officers who served in civil affairs. 57 Police recruits […] were picked men released by the Home Office from an exacting and honourable service, eager to serve, but with good employment to which they could ultimately return.
There is a note of desperation in the memo circulated to all officers in April 1944 after a 45-minute air raid on the Naples Allied Officers’ Club had resulted in the lights being extinguished and candles lit instead. In that 45 minutes, ‘a considerable amount of Club property was stolen by members, including a complete set of drums and Soldier Trouble 39 a number of bottles of liquor’. 36 Violent Crime As well as the incidents of drunkenness and abuse, theft and looting, there were crimes of violence, including rape and murder.
12 The trouble often occurred because the soldiers were, as one report put it, ‘in cerca di vino e signorine’, ‘in search of wine and women’, and having found and drunk the wine were not particularly sensitive about how they found the young ladies. In addition, the soldiers were armed, which added another element to incidents, as the means were available for them to cause much greater physical harm than otherwise. 13 Other incidents escalated into more serious brawls: At 1500 hours on 9 April, some drunken allied soldiers looking for a fight provoked some civilians.
Allies and Italians under Occupation: Sicily and Southern Italy 1943–45 by I. Williams