Arandora star tragedy

The sinking of Arandora Star represents the biggest tragedy of the Italian community in the UK. Among the 841 victims, 446 were Italians.

Memorials have been erected in the last years in London, Scotland, Wales and Italy to commemorate their lives. The most recent memorial to be inaugurated was the London memorial at St. Peter’s church.

As Victor Menozzi told us, “The Arandora Star London Memorial was a long overdue project in the current form of naming the London Italian victims. A group was formed via the Mazzini Garibaldi Club, consisting of Domenic Pini chairman, Peter Capella who designed the Memorial, myself, John Besagni, Sue and Osvaldo Antoniazzi, Peter Bertoncini and Kay Lorenzato.

The design of the memorial went through a few adjustments before the approval was obtained from the Diocese of Westminster Historic Churches Committee that we had to have before work could commence.

Funds were raised by a dinner that was organized on the behalf of the trust by the Associazione Valceno, at the Bishop Dougles School, attended by just under 300 people. We are extremely grateful to Adriano Morini and all his committee for the hard work. Funds were also raised from the M.G. Club dinner, a generous donation from Olive Besagni from the proceeds of her book, and individual donations. We also thank Father Carmello for all his assistance in enabling us to complete the project.”
Before the London memorial, others had been erected in the areas involved in the tragedy:

  • On the 2nd of July 2005 the Scottish island of Colonsay unveiled a memorial, near the cliff where the body of Giuseppe Delgrosso was found.
  • On the 2nd of July 2008 a memorial was unveiled at the Pier Head, on Liverpool waterfront  from where the Arandora Star set out in 1940.
  • A delegation of Italian public authorities including the region Emilia Romagna, Toscana and Lazio and the provinces of Parma, Lucca e Piacenza and some relatives of the victims went to Liverpool for a joint commemoration including for the first time British, Italian and German authorities. 
  • In 2009 a commemorative Plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of Middlesbrough in the Town Hall to 13 of the town's Italian victims.
  • On July 2nd 2010 Wales unveiled its memorial to the Arandora Star at St David's Catholic Metropolitan Cathedral, 38 Charles St, Cardiff.
  • On the 16th of May 2011 the most ambitious memorial to the tragedy anywhere in the world, an enclosed Italian Cloister Garden which holds a memorial to the Arandora Star, was opened in the presence of the last survivor, Rando Bertoia, next to St Andrew's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Glasgow.  
  • In 1990, the 50th anniversary of the tragedy, the president of the Italian republic Francesco Cossiga named Knights the survivors.

Every year from 1969 the committee for the victims of the Arandora Star of Bardi commemorates the victims of the tragedy in the only chapel dedicated to the victims in Italy in the cemetery of Bardi, Appennino Parmense. 

The music Band MBL, “Musicisti del basso Lazio” commemorates the victims in the song “Arandora Star” recorded in 2006.

On the 3rd of July 2010, 70 years after the sinking “l'Istituto Storico della Resistenza Apuana” and “l'Amministrazione Comunale di Pontremoli” remembered the 17 Piedmontese emigrated to the Uk who died in the tragic event with a commemorative stone on which is written “A ricordo dei laboriosi emigrati pontremolesi in Gran Bretagna sui quali l’entrata in guerra dell’Italia gettò l’ombra ingiusta del sospetto e che, destinati da governo inglese alla prigionia, perirono nel tragico affondamento dell’Arandora Star il 2 luglio 1940”.

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