|Author: John Riches||Published: 9th October 2018 12:06|
Melanina’s Barbato’s connection with Abthorpe all began with Alberto Guiliani from Modena in northern Italy close to the Ferrari factory. He was called-up to serve in the Italian Army and served in the North African desert campaign fighting against General Montgomery and the British Eighth Army. Alberto was captured and ended up as a prisoner-of-war at Slapton in a camp just a short walk across the fields from Abthorpe. When hostilities ceased Alberto decided to remain in England and settled in a cottage overlooking our village green. It wasn’t long before he met Melanina a fellow Italian who came from Avellino a small town in the shadow of the volcano Mount Vesuvius. She came from a big family and as a teenager she worked hard with her father in the fields. Several of her siblings emigrated to Brazil, South Africa and the USA. Melanina chose to come to England and obtained a job to work as a domestic at Bloxham School. Nora Hindes met her and was instrumental in bringing her to Abthorpe almost 70 years ago.
Alberto died back in August 1997 but Melanina lived on for another 21 years and passed away on 11th June this year.
Imagine our surprise when an e-mail – written entirely in Italian – was sent to us via the Contact Us facility on the Abthorpe village web site. Translated by Google it revealed that it was from Loretta Giuliani of Reggio Emilia an area close to Alberto’s birthplace of Modena. The e-mail stated::
“ Good morning. I am the nephew of Alberto Giuliani and Melanina Giuliani. I learned of the disappearance of my aunt. I ask to know who takes care of the testament of my uncles as they are heir. Greetings Giuliani Loretta.”
The e-mail was forwarded to the person locally who is dealing with Melanina’s case and to her known relatives in Brazil. A reply in English has been received from one of those relatives who works as a photographer on a cruise ship. It reads,
“................... thanks for the contact, so I don’t know who is this person, I only know about Larissa that is of our family, but this guy I don’t know, and as he said he is the son of ex husband of Melanina, by the way I thinks that he don’t have any rights about some heritage from Melanina, in my mind who has this rights are the brothers and sisters of Melanina.”