Fontanellato’s former PoW camp

Fontanellato celebration September 2018

The town of Fontanellato, from where 600 Allied prisoners of war escaped in 1943 after the Armistice with Italy, has invited supporters of the Monte San Martino Trust to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the event in September 2018.

The Bund where PoWs hid

The celebration will take place over the weekend of September 7th-9th. The programme is likely to include visits to relevant places such as the former CampPG49 – now the Cardinal Ferrari medical centre – and the Bund, a dyke outside the town where the escapers hid during their first few days of freedom.

The citizens of Fontanellato, which is near Parma, showed great courage immediately after the Armistice on September 8th  1943 in hiding the PoWs from the German forces who arrived within a matter of days in an attempt to capture them and transport them to Germany. The camp’s gates had been opened by the Italian commandant, who was sympathetic to the Allied cause.

Fontanellato has maintained close links with the Monte San Martino Trust since its foundation in 1989. A large number of young people from Fontanellato have obtained MSMT study bursaries, including the present Mayor, Francesco Trivelloni.

The town was extremely hospitable to a big party of Trust supporters who visited in 2013 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Armistice. Several descendants of those who had helped the PoWs, before they embarked on their long walks in an attempt to reach safety behind Allied Lines, brought souvenirs from the camp and told of connections with prisoners.

Anybody interested in participating in the event in September 2018 should contact John Simkins and Christine English at info@msmtrust.org.uk