Monday, September 21, 2009

Italian Chapel

Italian Chapel


Stations of the Cross
Ribbed vaulting

Behind the false front

St. George...concrete over barbed-wire

Italian prisoners of war (from the first Battle of Tobruk, in North Africa, 1941) constituted the labor for building the Churchill Barriers; among other things they built was the Italian Chapel, two quonset huts joined together, now a tourist destination. It really is a trompe l'oiel masterpiece, given the circumstances. There were Italian POWs at Fort Missoula during WWII, similarly talented, who made contributions there as well, and about whom there are books and even a documentary film. Italy came over to the Allied side in 1943, and after that, these men were no longer POWs; the Brits kept them in Orkney, nonetheless, but paid them for their work. After the war, several took their Orcadian wives and children back to Italy. Of the Orkneys, however, none apparently said, as they did of Missoula, "Ah, POW camp in Missoula, the best three years of my life!"

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