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My Uncle, My Hero

I am half Italian. My mothers maiden name was Smith and I grew up in London, but my dad was Italian and met my mother when she was on holiday and came over here to live when they married. We would go to Italy for a month every year and stay on my grandparents farm in a place called Forli. Mussolini was born in Predappio which is a province of Forli. Our Uncle Irlando (named after the Irish struggle against the British) spoiled us. He took us out and we just loved him more than I can express. As we got older we learned of his bravery and principles. He later became mayor of the Emelia Romangna Region of Italy and was head of Education and wrote published books on the subject.

I have just returned to Italy where I scattered his ashes in the mountains were he was a partizan during the war. From the beginning of the war the Nazis were after him and they nearly caught him a few times- once when he was hiding in an attic whilst they were searching the house looking for him. Had they caught him, he would have been shot and hung upside down from a lamp post in the town centre. That is what the Nazi's did to women and even teenagers who opposed them. Irlando was a teenager on national service before Italy was split by the war. He was part of a troop and was made second in command. When it was clear that troop would become part of a fascist army, and when the commander was away, my uncle -as acting leader - still in his teens signed papers to dissolve the troop.

He was on the run after that and became a partizan. He always cared about people and social justice. I recall in the 70s he fostered a young boy from Chile who's family were victims of the fascist regime there. There are many stories of the bravery of the partizans of which my uncle was one. In the cemetery in Forli there is a monument/grave to fallen partizans. One story was of a Nazi raid were thepartizans fleed. A young woman who was epileptic fitted. Knowing her husband wouldn't flee and seek to save her, she shot herself. You can find a picture of her and others they shot being hung upside down on the piazza lamp posts. It was a great justice that when Mussolini was captured, he was killed and hung upside down on a lamp post.

My Uncle had a good long life, but he always lived it with principles. He was brave, he was intelligent and he was the best of men. And now his ashes have returned to the place where he stood against fascism with his brothers. I wanted to share that because ordinary people are sometimes forgotten when we think of the war. But they are Heroes and together, British, Italian, French, Indian, West Indian, Canadian, American, Australian, they fought and risked their lives for right. I wanted to share my memory of my Uncle Irlando - the greatest of men.
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  • I am half Italian. My mothers maiden name was Smith and I grew up in London, but my dad was Italian and met my mother when she was on holiday and came over here to live when they married. We would go to Italy for a month every year and stay on my grandparents farm in a place called Forli. Mussolini was born in Predappio which is a province of Forli. Our Uncle Irlando (named after the Irish struggle against the British) spoiled us. He took us out and we just loved him more than I can express. As we got older we learned of his bravery and principles. He later became mayor of the Emelia Romangna Region of Italy and was head of Education and wrote published books on the subject.

    I have just returned to Italy where I scattered his ashes in the mountains were he was a partizan during the war. From the beginning of the war the Nazis were after him and they nearly caught him a few times- once when he was hiding in an attic whilst they were searching the house looking for him. Had they caught him, he would have been shot and hung upside down from a lamp post in the town centre. That is what the Nazi's did to women and even teenagers who opposed them. Irlando was a teenager on national service before Italy was split by the war. He was part of a troop and was made second in command. When it was clear that troop would become part of a fascist army, and when the commander was away, my uncle -as acting leader - still in his teens signed papers to dissolve the troop.

    He was on the run after that and became a partizan. He always cared about people and social justice. I recall in the 70s he fostered a young boy from Chile who's family were victims of the fascist regime there. There are many stories of the bravery of the partizans of which my uncle was one. In the cemetery in Forli there is a monument/grave to fallen partizans. One story was of a Nazi raid were thepartizans fleed. A young woman who was epileptic fitted. Knowing her husband wouldn't flee and seek to save her, she shot herself. You can find a picture of her and others they shot being hung upside down on the piazza lamp posts. It was a great justice that when Mussolini was captured, he was killed and hung upside down on a lamp post.

    My Uncle had a good long life, but he always lived it with principles. He was brave, he was intelligent and he was the best of men. And now his ashes have returned to the place where he stood against fascism with his brothers. I wanted to share that because ordinary people are sometimes forgotten when we think of the war. But they are Heroes and together, British, Italian, French, Indian, West Indian, Canadian, American, Australian, they fought and risked their lives for right. I wanted to share my memory of my Uncle Irlando - the greatest of men.

    Very moving, - thanks for sharing.

    RIP Irlando
  • Sounds like an amazing man. RIP.
  • Rest in peace Irlando, sincere condolences to you and your family too @MuttleyCAFC
  • Lovely post.
  • You always come across as a very fair minded individual Muttley, I’m sure there’s plenty of your uncles principles installed in you .

    RIP Uncle Irlando
  • RIP Irlando
  • Wow. That is an amazing story @MuttleyCAFC and a great tribute to your uncle. What a brave man he was.
  • What an incredibly brave man and very moving story
    RIP Irlando
  • RIP

    I visited the museum of the Liberation when I was in Rome last month. Lots of stuff about the Partizans. Well, worth a visit.
  • Sounds like a top bloke, RIP Irlando.
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  • A member of the greatest generation, RIP Irlando.
  • Brave man indeed. RIP. Thank you for sharing.
  • what a lovely story ,a life well lived bless him RIP
  • What a life he lived RIP Irlando
  • What an incredible individual. You are right to be proud.

    RIP Irlando.
  • RIP Irlando.
  • Sounds like an incredible man, many thanks for sharing
  • He was no ordinary person - he was an extraordinary man, and as Greenie says part of the greatest generation.

    Your pride in him shines through, as it rightly should.

    RIP Irlando - a hero.
  • Thanks for sharing Muttley.
    RIP Irlando
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  • Thank you for your kind comments - they mean a lot.
  • I am half Italian. My mothers maiden name was Smith and I grew up in London, but my dad was Italian and met my mother when she was on holiday and came over here to live when they married. We would go to Italy for a month every year and stay on my grandparents farm in a place called Forli. Mussolini was born in Predappio which is a province of Forli. Our Uncle Irlando (named after the Irish struggle against the British) spoiled us. He took us out and we just loved him more than I can express. As we got older we learned of his bravery and principles. He later became mayor of the Emelia Romangna Region of Italy and was head of Education and wrote published books on the subject.

    I have just returned to Italy where I scattered his ashes in the mountains were he was a partizan during the war. From the beginning of the war the Nazis were after him and they nearly caught him a few times- once when he was hiding in an attic whilst they were searching the house looking for him. Had they caught him, he would have been shot and hung upside down from a lamp post in the town centre. That is what the Nazi's did to women and even teenagers who opposed them. Irlando was a teenager on national service before Italy was split by the war. He was part of a troop and was made second in command. When it was clear that troop would become part of a fascist army, and when the commander was away, my uncle -as acting leader - still in his teens signed papers to dissolve the troop.

    He was on the run after that and became a partizan. He always cared about people and social justice. I recall in the 70s he fostered a young boy from Chile who's family were victims of the fascist regime there. There are many stories of the bravery of the partizans of which my uncle was one. In the cemetery in Forli there is a monument/grave to fallen partizans. One story was of a Nazi raid were thepartizans fleed. A young woman who was epileptic fitted. Knowing her husband wouldn't flee and seek to save her, she shot herself. You can find a picture of her and others they shot being hung upside down on the piazza lamp posts. It was a great justice that when Mussolini was captured, he was killed and hung upside down on a lamp post.

    My Uncle had a good long life, but he always lived it with principles. He was brave, he was intelligent and he was the best of men. And now his ashes have returned to the place where he stood against fascism with his brothers. I wanted to share that because ordinary people are sometimes forgotten when we think of the war. But they are Heroes and together, British, Italian, French, Indian, West Indian, Canadian, American, Australian, they fought and risked their lives for right. I wanted to share my memory of my Uncle Irlando - the greatest of men.

    Sounds like a great man. The type I would like to be like but.....

    If I knew how on my phone I'd post a link to the Partisans song Bella Ciao.

    Maybe someone else could.

  • You must be so proud to call this very special man "Uncle".

    Sleep tight, Irlando.
  • RIP Uncle Irlando.

    Did he ever say anything about his rather unusal name?
  • RIP. Thanks for sharing.
  • RIP Irlando.
    Great life, inspiration to us all.
  • RIP Uncle Irlando.

    Did he ever say anything about his rather unusal name?

    It's in the original post. Named in honour of the Irish struggle against the British.
  • edited May 23
    My Grandad was a bit of a revolutionary! My uncle loved Britain.
  • RIP Irlando. Sounds like a real hero. Sorry for your loss Muttley.
  • Great tribute to a great man. Well done Muttley and best wishes to all Uncle Irlando's family and friends.
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Roland Out!