Manduria, Italy

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Sentimental Journey

Karen's father was a navigator during World War II, stationed in Manduria, Italy. We took the opportunity to see it for ourselves during our visit to nearby Brindisi. We visited both the airfield and the town. There's more to read about our visit to Manduria in our Letter to Home for that week.

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Castello - officers club
This castle or "castello" was used as a club for officers during the war. They held dances on the second floor. Now there's a café on the ground floor.
Bar and offices
During the war, through the left door in this building was a bar for the enlisted men; through the right side door was an office performing the war's unending paperwork.
Religious building
At the time, this building was used to provide a place of worship for servicemen. Roman Catholics could find a church anywhere, but everyone else held their services here.
Church, printing and press room
In front of this church, the newsletter for servicemen "The Bomb Blast" was printed. Later in the war, the place served as a press room for journalists covering events.
Box office
One building inside the town was used as a movie theater, showing films like Disney cartoons. This was once the box office for the theater. The building is now empty, the box office filled wtih concrete.
Barber
Francesco the barber once worked in this little shop, but he is remembered by the troops because he went out to the airfield and gave the men a shave. Notice how tiny a shop must be if it makes this little car look big.
Tales and Memories book
This book, written in Italian, compiles the memories of many who served in Manduria during the war. We were lucky enough to meet co-author Aldo, who was so generous with his time and knowledge about what Manduria was like during the war.
Airfield ordnance building
Our research told us that this building at the airfield had been used as officers' quarters, but this sign implies that the Italians used it for ammunition at one time before or after.
Airfield shelters
The airfield was five kilometers away from the town, and was no doubt a target on its own. We surmised that these were the entrances to air raid shelters during the war.
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This visit was important to Karen and her family, including siblings and nonagenarian parents Second Lt. Martin and his then-fianceé, now wife Gertrude. Being in the spot, if not the tent long gone, of that young brave man and his colleagues provided us all with clarity and some appreciated closure.