Entries by James Holland

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

20 January, 2004 Have just arrived back from a trip to South Africa – well, Johannesburg to be precise. Again, I was very lucky: I rang the South African National Museum of Military History and they put me on to Arthur Blake, a retired army officer with good links to local veterans associations. Arthur then […]

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Rotorua, New Zealand,22 October, 2003 Today I met Tini Glover at his home in Gisborne.   What a hard man!  Great fun, wicked sense of humour, but I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him!  I know the Maori are martial people, but Tini has evidently lived his life by deciding whether he […]

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Auckland, 18 October, 2003 Can’t believe I’m flying out to New Zealand for the second time in one year  – but needs must.  One of the themes I want to cover in both my North Africa and Italy books is that the Allied armies, especially, were a really polyglot force.  Back in July, when I […]

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Bologna, March 24 2003 Our last day. We were to meet three former Partisans, Gastone Sgargi, Hector Benassi and Carlo Venturi, in Bologna – actually, at Bologna FC to be precise, where Gastone has an office. All of they had been born and brought up in Bologna and for them running away to become Partisans […]

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Monte Sole, March 23 2003 I woke up early and decided to climb to the summit of Monte Sole before breakfast. It’s not a huge climb and I easily found a path. The summit was very wooded and I could easily see how the Partisans of the Stella Rossa and the other men of the […]

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Monte Sole, March 22 2003 We got up and after getting completely lost, eventually found Cornelia Paselli’s flat. We also managed to find a florist – arriving with flowers or a bottle of something is not just a common courtesy, but also shows, I think, that I’m not taking their help for granted. At least, […]

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Bologna, March 21 2003 Every so often I find myself getting a lead and then feeling a colossal sense of urgency to follow it up. When I read about the massacre at Marzabotto for the first time, I knew I had to find out more right away, even though I am principally working on my […]

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Christchurch, February 21, 2003 Christchurch is very different from Kaikoura – much more refined and cosmopolitan. Ken Neill was a former pilot with 225 Squadron. I was given his name and details by Bryan Colston, with whom Ken flew in North Africa. Although Ken went back to his native New Zealand after the war, the […]

Diary of Writing Italy’s Sorrow

Kaikoura, February 12, 2003 Today I met Bill McInnes at his home in Kaikoura. He was a small, wiry man, who wore nothing over his chest but an old vest. I got the impression he’d never talked much about the war apart from the odd anecdote to his family and he seemed quite surprised that […]