Grandad (RAF) and Nonno (Italian Army).
My English grandad, Walter Kershaw, joined the RAF at 18
In 1935. When war broke out he was a Sergeant; I am not sure where he was stationed . He had spent some time at Duxford, where he met Anne married my nan. She was a country girl. He was a city boy from the North of England. His whole war was spent behind a desk. He was good at what he did and after the war he started his own building business.
My Italian grandfather (nonno) was older. He had been
In the army for over 10 years, when Mussolini declared war on the Allies. He was a city boy too (and nonna a country girl). He was one
Of those men, who did not want the responsibility of command. He finished his war (early 42) a Corporal. He saw service in East Africa , then N Africa , finally invading the USSR. Fortunately, for all of us, he was invalided out before the glorious 1942 Campaigns. He was home on Florence for the Winter of 42/3.
Both my grandparents were excellent swimmers and divers. Grandad taught me about the war and kept me in model planes and tanks. Nonno rarely spoke of his experiences. When he did, he often started to cry. Russia was terrible, from what he said. Starvation, killings and very little good to be said.
Grandad died, aged 81, in 1998. Nonno, aged 94, in 2002.
I will never know their like again.