No Regard for the Truth
Friendship and kindness. Tragedy and Injustice. Rowville’s Italian prisoners of war
March 1946. The war was over. Italian prisoners of war who had been captured several years earlier in northern Africa were interned in camps around Australia and waiting to be returned home. One Saturday evening, the commandant of the Rowville internment camp, Captain Waterston, shot and killed a prisoner, Rodolfo Bartoli, who he claims was attempting to escape. Rodolfo, a young prisoner from Florence, had met a local girl whom he was hoping to marry one day.
Only days before the shooting, a government inquiry into the alleged mistreatment of prisoners at the Rowville camp had been announced. Was it really an escape attempt? Was Captain Waterston justified in his actions? Using the original court transcripts, official documents and personal accounts, No Regard for the Truth follows the police investigation, Military Court of Inquiry, Coroner’s Inquest, Government Inquiry and the subsequent court-martial hearings. Disturbing revelations about the camp administration begin to emerge – drunkenness, prisoner assaults, theft of property, the reckless firing of weapons and a desire to brush away the facts.
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No Regard for the Truth – Darren Arnott
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About the author
‘Following up historic clues’ is the hobby of amateur historian Darren Arnott. Darren is a Melbourne based IT Security Consultant. Outside of work, he was a former editor for The Rowville-Lysterfield Community News. Intrigued by the history of Rowville’s Italian prisoner of war camp, Darren’s research has uncovered this incredible story.
Rowville Lysterfield Community News.
The Italian language newspaper, Il Globo published an article about No Regard for the Truth on 24 October 2019.
‘No Regard for the Truth’ was launched by Hazel Edwards OAM at the Victorian Archives Centre on 10 October 2019.