Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the reintroduction of the local lockdown restrictions, it was not possible for the Turin’s Esprit Club to hold its usual Remembrance Sunday service in the Turin Town cemetery. However, the 16 ‘Turin Men’ were not forgotten and were remembered both in Italy and in the UK. All known descendants had been contacted to update them on this year’s research and to remind them that their ancestors are still in our thoughts.
With the kind support of the Cemetery Services of the City of Turin, it still proved possible to commemorate the 16 ‘Turin Men’ today. Turin’s Esprit Club supplied Remembrance crosses and poppies and these were placed at the graves of the soldiers by Signora Renata Santoro, a member of staff at the cemetery. In addition, Peter Allen, Chairman of the Esprit Club and his friend Fulvio Baravalle prepared a lovely accompanying video to take the place of the usual Remembrance Service. This was based on last year’s Remembrance Sunday service.
Following the successful Remembrance event of 2018, the Esprit Club of Turin and Emma Pace held a joint commemorative Remembrance Sunday Service this year for the ‘Turin Men’. The service took place at the CWGC plot in the Turin Monumental Cemetery.
Peter Allen, Chairman of the Turin Esprit Club played a key role in organising this year’s event and reported that it was ‘a great occasion with nearly 40 participants including 7 uniformed officers of the British, Australian and Italian armed forces’.
After Peter had delivered the opening remarks, a selection of poems were read by Emma Pace’s students from the School I.S.S Blaise Pascal.
The service was led by Pastor Thomas Noffke with readings and the exhortation delivered by Esprit members. The names of all 16 soldiers were read out.
The Last Post was played by Bruno Faenzi, an Italian colleague of Esprit member Sean Stringfellow of the RAF, who is currently working in Turin.
The ‘Turin Men’ were commemorated in Turin, Meana di Susa and Oulx cemeteries on 11 November 2018, the centenary of the Armistice. Emma Pace and students of Class 5H from the school, IIS Blaise Pascal were able to pay their respects and lay poppies and crosses at the graves of the men whose stories they had been studying. Descendants of Evan Lewis and Alexander Mackay had sent their own tributes on cards and photos which were placed at the graves of their forebears. Other local people joined the ceremony along with representatives from the press and television, which had been arranged by Andrea Parodi from La Stampa. Mr Adam Jones from the British Consulate in Milan officiated and read the Exhortation.
Later in the day Emma made the journey to the cemeteries in Meana di Susa and Oulx to ensure that the two soldiers there were not forgotten. As in Turin, flowers and remembrance crosses were placed at the headstones.
Staff at the school, IIS Blaise Pascal have created a video from the ‘Turin Men’ commemoration on Remembrance Sunday using the photos taken on the day. Each soldier in the Turin, Meana and Oulx cemeteries is honoured. This lovely record of the event is available to view on the school website.