FEPOW Memorial Church



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Italian Forces 


One little known group of POWs in Japanese captivity were a small number of Italian submariners.

In 1943, the Italian transport submarines Torelli and Giuliani had arrived in Keppel Harbour, Singapore after a 90 day voyage from Bordeaux, France, to refit. On 9th September 1943 Italy surrendered to the Allies; the 12 officers and 8 crew who refused to join German forces were immediately taken into captivity - their sabotage of key systems in the submarine earning them a severe beating from the Japanese. They were sent to Sime Road Camp, then Kranji and finally, in early 1944, Changi, where they joined Allied POWs. Along with Allied prisoners they were liberated in September 1945, and eventually returned to Italy via Suez in Spring 1946. All 20 survived their captivity.

The crest of the Italian submarine command hangs in the chapel at Changi to remember their captivity.  

This information was provided to us in early 2007 by Rear Admiral (ret.) Sergio Corsini OBE who, in 1943, as an Italian Naval Lieutenant, was second in command of the Torelli.