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
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.