Tempora, Mores, now the Italians are more English than the English

An Italian 90 year old grandmother is to be presented with service medals for her actions in WWII:

“It’s really very unexpected,” she told The Daily Telegraph from her home in Pitigliano, a medieval village clustered on top of a cliff in the Tuscan countryside.

“I never thought this would happen. People of my generation just got on with what we had to do. We never really talked about it after the war – even my children and grandchildren know very little of what I did.

“I’m deeply honoured but a bit embarrassed too. I’m an old girl now and it all happened 70 years ago, for God’s sake.”

That r

7 thoughts on “Tempora, Mores, now the Italians are more English than the English”

  1. Correction: “As” English “as” the English.

    Military men still don’t boast. If you hear someone telling a war story you can bet the closest he’s been to a fight is down the Dog and Duck.

  2. bloke in france – gotta love walts though. My favourite was this guy:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Mcilwraith

    The best part was when he set up his own Wikipedia page saying:

    “Special Force’s Trained Capt Mcilwraith is know throught the military world as a man that can get things done and thought of as a hero that the United Kingdom and NATO can look to in times of trouble.”

  3. My pop similar age. In the Home Guard. Doesn’t talk about it. Have had to fill in the gaps, so now in my mind he basically is Private Pike.

  4. bloke (not) in spain

    “If you hear someone telling a war story you can bet the closest he’s been to a fight is down the Dog and Duck.”

    I’ve got one of them here. Nothing heroic, but…And I’ve been listening to this bollocks for years.
    But then along comes the interweb & the convenience of being able to do a bit of research for the effort of a mouse click. And, of course, I’ve now been to a lot of these places. Know them well.
    Whole thing’s unraveled like a cheap sock.
    Why?
    I’m guessing, for that generation The War was the biggest thing ever happen in their lives. Before & since. Particularly since. Putting on a uniform made them part of something big & important. Heroes by association. Living on the pages of their own novel.
    Except.
    There was a member of the family piloted a Lanc on the Dam Busters raid. Not a dickie bird. Only thing I know about it is what I’ve read in the books.
    Mum was in front line combat from ’40 on. Went through the Blitz in Docklands, the raids, the rockets. Lost her brother in a Wellington. Ask her about any of it & you’d have been steered into talking about something else.
    Lot of the people who found themselves at the sharp end didn’t regard it as the biggest thing in their lives. Just the worst thing. Better forgotten.

  5. bloke (not) in spain

    “Quite typical of her generation – they just got on with stuff without moaning.”
    Well no. I know from my own family, Some got on with it & did their patriotic bit. Some found the whole thing a thorough inconvenience & went to considerable lengths to avoid participating. A couple profited most fulsomely & must have looked back on it as fat city.
    And that’s the UK.
    In the adopted French family, the old girl – now sadly deceased – was like our brave Italian lady & active in the Resistance. But now we venture onto difficult ground & risk opening old wounds. Because not everyone in the Occupied Territories were similarly minded. Not even in the same family. So Grandemere D’s exploits along with the actions of some other locals are not something needs exploring or particularly comparing in the C21st.
    Wars create myths but the people lived through them weren’t mythical.

  6. Murky waters indeed, bnis
    Renault was a resistant, and deliberately provided crap tanks and cars to the Boche. (Sell them the milk, not the cow, as he put it) He got expropriated after the war. (Though I note that his insistence on unreliability is still a proud tradition.)

    Meanwhile an enthusiastic collaborator got elected president. At least he had the grace to make his annual homage to Petain’s grave a private matter.

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