The enduring ties between an escaper and the Italian family who sheltered him were reflected in the presence of two young men on MSMT study bursaries in 2014.
Matteo Salvi, who spent a month at CES-Oxford House, Wheatley, and his cousin Emanuele Nini, who also arrived in June 2014 and attended Central School of English in London, are great-grandsons of Francesco and Elena Loro. Back in 1943, the Loros found Major Anthony (Tony) Gregson in their manure heap after he had escaped from the POW camp at Bologna nearby. After leaving the family’s farm, Tony walked south down the Apennines for two months until he reached the Allies at Cassino.
After the war, Tony built a friendship with the Loros that lasted until his death in 2012. He often visited them, riding out to Italy on his Motoguzzi T3. Since he died, his own family has been retracing his escape route, despatching individual members out in stages to cover part of the journey.
During the boys’ stay in the UK they met up with one of Tony’s grandsons, Teddy Keen, who greatly enjoyed seeing them and says that Emanuele and Matteo voiced interest in joining the retracing of Tony’s escape.
Tony’s daughter, Myf Adams, said: “We were delighted Matteo and Emanuele had been awarded bursaries. Neither Dad nor Francesco and Elena Loro could possibly have imagined the far-reaching consequences of their acts of bravery and kindness 71 years ago, and it’s so special that the connections continue and that the younger members of both families were able to get to know each other during the boys’ stay in the UK.”
Myf’s account of her trek in Italy can be read at http://prod.msmtrust.org.uk/news/myfanwys-trek/