Aston Pigott Farm

We called them Joe and Vincy

During World War II, Aston Pigott Farm used Italian and German prisoners of war as farm workers. The prisoners of war lived with the family and to some extent shared the life of the family.

'We did have prisoners of war living with us during the War. First of all there were the Italian prisoners of war who we called Joe and Vincy, though I think they were Guiseppe and Vincenzo. They lived with us for probably one to two years, quite a long time...They lived upstairs in what we call the attic now...and they ate in the same room as us, but they had a separate table. The Italians were flamboyant - this was the way it was seen. And it was always said - I remember my father saying this - that the Italian prisoners of war always said that everything was bigger in Italy.

I grew up hearing that they were devastated when Mussolini fell. There was the impression that Mussolini was all that was big and strong and good. We had no wireless in the house, but there were other Italian prisoners of war on farms in the area and they heard a rumour that something had happened and they gathered together to listen and came back very subdued and quiet for a while.

A chess set carved by Italian prisoners of war.

The German prisoners of war didn't come until towards the end of the war - about 1944. They were Otto and George. I think that George came from East Germany and we didn't have any contact with him after the War. Whereas Otto came back, on a scooter, I think, in 1951 and visited the family. In fact, he has maintained contact with Paul [Paul Roberts, Janet's oldest brother] ever since and when I went up to Aston Pigott recently there was a Christmas card from Otto with photos of him and his wife.

Otto was a pharmacist and and the thing I remember about Otto was, when he did come in 1951, he came from a chemist shop and he did piles of photographs. He went round the farm taking photographs of everybody'.

Archive of Otto's 1951 photographs

Back to the top

Michael Roberts, 1951
Chess pieces carved by Italian POWs
View from the Attic