British Element Trieste Force 1945 - 1954
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An article in Il Piccolo of Friday 3 June was of an interview with an Englishman living in Trieste. His name is John Earle and he is now 90 years old. It seems that he was parachuted in to work with the Jugoslav partisans during the war. At 24 years of age he joined up with the Allied Command at Duino. Shortly thereafter married a girl from San Giusto.
He subsequently worked with Reuters but on retirement went back to live in Trieste. Seems like he is still going strong. I've got his phone number and intend to give him a call tomorrow to make contact on behalf of the Association. I'll see if I can sign him up as a member but with all his experience and his age, I'd recommend him for honorary membership.
Anybody ever meet him? Even one of our silent viewers, if one of you knew him.now would be the time to break silence and tell us.
Gene,if you read this, I am going to translate the article and when done will post it on Trieste Yahoo.
Night all. Have a nice weekend.
Google him and you find a lot of references, Larry, one of which should be close to your heart. On the Illy page is a reference as he wrote a piece in The Times, London in 1987 entitled "Why we ask for a cappuccino". Several of his books are still available on Amazon.
An update on John Earle. I have been in contact with him ever since I found out about him and have been including him in my sending of jokes, etc, that I receive from others. Got an e-mail from him tonight. He wants to know if any of you I Corps bods out there (or anybody else come to that), ever met any of the bods parachuted in to Jugoslavia or Venezia Giulia. He tells me he wrote a book which was published in 2005, called "The Price of Patriotism" about the secret missions undertaken by agents of MI6 and the SOE in Venezia Giulia and Jugoslavia. The book was published by the Book Guild, 19 New Road, Brighton, and there may still be one or two copies left, if anyone is interested. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I think I'll have a go myself.
Cheers folks, LARRY.
The only person in TSO known to have been in SOE and parachuted into France was Tom Carew, who was OC from !952. He was also parachuted into Burma.
The infamous M** seems to have told Petruzzi of Special Branch VGPF that he had been parachuted into Jugoslavia, been captured and had escaped, but wisely never told the story to anyone in TSO.
John Earle seems to be a remarkable man. I must try to trace his book.
Amazon has the book listed as "out of print-limited availability" Frank --30--
An interview with an Englishman, John Earle, living in Trieste.
(Copyright of the newspaper ‘Il Piccolo’ of Trieste).
The following is a translation of an article which appeared in the Triestine newspaper IL PICCOLO, on Friday 3 June 2011 on page 23 – Cronaca di Trieste.
I thought the members of the BETFOR Association and those of the TRUST Yahoo websites might be interested. Anyway, here it is.
“Trieste needs managers capable of forward thinking”, so says an Englishman who fought in aid of the partisans and who, for 30 years now, has lived in the city.
“We are becoming a provincial locality, there is need of a Baron Revoltella”./
AN INTERVIEW WITH JOHN EARLE
By Paolo Rumiz.
At 23 years of age, in the middle of a world war, he was dropped by parachute into Jugoslavia by the English to help the partisans get rid of the Germans. At 24 years of age he made contact with the Allied Command at Duino, lived unforgettable months in Trieste and, a short time afterwards, married a girl from San Giusto. At 60 years years of age, after a nomadic life as a journalist for Reuters and the newspaper “The Times”, he returned to the city at the head of the Adriatic. Today, at 90 years of age, a widower and curved over the sticks he uses, in his house in Via Udine, he still looks with passion at his adopted city. He explores the dark corners, dedicates books like Joan Morris, author of “The Meaning of Nowhere”. By name John Earle, he is an English gentleman with Scottish ancestry, of noble bearing and of a life which has been a romance. For thirty years he has been an attentive and discreet observer of events in Trieste. He looks with passion on the city which he has known in the difficult years at the end of the second world war and understands that he would like to see it more vital, more adapted to the magnificent place which God has given it between Central Europe and the Mediterranean. Listen to his testimony in a dialogue outlined by him together with Patrick Karlsen, a young Triestine studying history at the Institute of the Blessed Cross of Naples.
John: “Where is Trieste going?” Morris has found a ‘sense of nowhere’. Look, I fear that the city has been sucked into nothingness, disappeared from maps, is reduced to the furthest perimeters, an ‘island which does not exist’. I see the half-empty port and I say: “it has changed little since that day of the departure of the German guns in 1945”. The Italian railways no longer want to invest further east than Mestre…… Lubiana is only eighty kilometres distant and I would gladly go there but how ? I have a sister-in-law in Vienna but there are no more trains. Just the platforms, constructed by Austria, not by Italy. One of the motives for my return to Trieste was the dream of embarking for the Dalmation islands from here. Instead nothing. There is a ferry for Durazzo, but only that ferry. The fact is that Italy has no policies towards the East. I could say that it has no policies, none at all. It has no vision of a long term future. It looks only at surveys and those only work for a maximum of a week. Trieste belongs to this Italy. It was given to Italy in 1918 but Italy did not want it. There were already Genoa, Livorno, Naples and Venice. So Trieste became a periphery, after having been the outlet of an empire.
Maybe it would have been better if it had become an international city under the aegis of the United Nations, but on this there was no agreement, especially amongst the Western nations. But there is a special Statute of the Region. Yes, but Friule does not look to Trieste, it has other interests. This city should have another Statute such as the Hanseatic cities of Bremen and Hamburg. One only has to look at the past: once, Trieste depended directly on Vienna and things worked. As we are today, just one of the many ports of the country, we are going nowhere. And therefore?
We should implement the free-zones properly or else offer Austria an extra-territorial zone in the port area.
But try this old Scotch whisky. Just a finger. Just to warm up the atmosphere.
Paolo: What do you think of the local management class?
I would say that there is an absence of a Baron Revoltella, someone capable of looking into the future. He understood the importance of having a Suez Canal before anyone else. But the Court of Vienna did not want to listen to him. Someone like him is needed. But note that the fall of the managerial class is a European drama. Even in London, Paris and Brussels they don’t know where to go. One can only hope that the Euro holds. Euro, oh God, what a terrible name. What are we coming to? A small provincial city, a place where one can eat well, where one goes for a trip in the Carso. A modest and defined life just like mine. A place that’s all right for the elderly, not for the young who have a longing to fight. I have two nephews and both of them have had to leave. One is already abroad in Spain where he has found enthusiasm, friends, work.
Paolo: The city, do you feel it has been well administered over the past few years?
The Mayor who has just finished his term was not too bad. But the ‘governance’ in Italy is frequently obstructed by the ‘apparatus’. Also, here I see strong resistance of the burocracy to change things.
Example? The city is dirty, much more dirty that 10 years ago. Just go to Friule or Slovenia to see the difference. And believe me, foreigners notice it immediately. It’s not a very good visiting card. Would more patriotism serve? Certainly, patriotism is something healthy. It’s a defence of values. Nationalism is, instead, something ill-omened. Joan Morris said that nationalism will disappear in one generation. I am not so optimistic. Twenty years ago Jugoslavia began to disappear. States are not immortal. David Guilmore, in his last book on Italy, said that the country could fragment but that the fascinating diversities it contains would be saved. Meantime Italy celebrates 150 years. Yes, but I have seen very few flags here in Trieste. On the other hand though, I understand. Could Italy have existed in 1861 without Rome and Venice? It was a proclamation of a Kingdom, and we, until proved different, are republicans. If I was still 20 years old, how would I see the future? With preoccupation. At that age I could go round the world without fear from Arab countries to Russia, to Afghanistan. Today that is impossible. There has been an alarming fall in security. It is a cultural corruption fed by the media.
Paolo: Did you go to vote, Mr Earle?
No, I’m not allowed to! Great Britain has taken away my right to vote in my country of origin, because I no longer live there. And that is right, of course. But the fact is that Italy has never given me the right to vote, notwithstanding that I have been here for 30 years. Do you think that is democracy?
Thank you Larry. I think John Earke's interview should be put on a web-site page and kept. It seems a great pity that the feverish impetus to hand Trieste to the Italians in 1954 overcame any longer term view that her potential as a great port looking to the East was simply ignored. The Independence Front had all the arguments but the Allies were more concerned with the fear of a Jugoslav take-over and were eager to bolster the "moderate" political parties of Italy.
Italy had no need of yet another port, particularly one stuck out on a limb. Trieste could have become another Singapore or Hong Kong. Now it has become as, Jan Morris has said the road to "nowhere".
Well said, John Earle.
My thanks to Larry as well. I always wonder what James Joyce felt about TS in the closing days of the Austrian Hunarian empire before WW1. I would love to have been there then; with money in my pocket of course !
Roy, you should study the history of Trieste. Before WW1, it was not Italian but Slovene. It was the main port for the Austro-Hungarian empire but the population was mainly Slovene. It only became Italian AFTER the first World War when it was ceded to Italy as a prize for the valiant fighting of the Italians as allies of Britain and France.
Since the end of WW2, all the political in-fighting over the city and who is in control has led to Capodistria becoming the main port for south-eastern
Europe instead of Trieste. As John Earle says in his interview, Trieste has need of another Baron Revoltella, to lead it into the modern world. Anyone who has read certain editions of "Il Tuono", the ""Free"" voice newspaper which was forced to close by the 'establishment' of the 'powers-that-be' of the city will soon realise why the city has become nowadays an outpost of the Rerpublic, ignored by Rome and despised by Venice and Friuli/Venezia Giulia. And even with the 'King of Coffee' Illy, having once been the Mayor and now the Governor of Friuli/Venezia Giulia, I can see, as also John Earle can see, that there is little hope for the city, without a complete clean-out of the present politicians (crooks as the citizens call them), and yes, the older citizens would heartily welcome a return to the days of the rule of the Austrians.
What John Earle could have said in his interview but apparently did not, was:
How come Marghera and its area became selected for the establishment of the major Italian Petro/Chemical industrial zone and not TRIESTE. Agip already had a large petrol and oil implantation at Zaule just outside Muggia and the arrival of more oil tankers and huge tansporters would not have created any problems in Trieste such as they have created in Venice. The city of Venice is sinking at an ever increasing rate. There was a documentary on TV the other week showing what they are having to do to stop the buildings disappearing beneath the floods that occur now in rapid succession.
And, although Trieste had the infrastructure for the construction of ships, how come 'twas Monfalcone that got ItalCantiere and all the Cunard, etc., contracts?
You have to know who is who and what is what to try and solve the problems of Trieste. I wonder what our friend Petruzzi could say about all that. We would need to get Alberto Grassi to do some more research assisted by Ricchi Lonzar.
A weekend to ponder on the problems of the city we love and what could be done to solve them. Answers on a 2nd class stamp. please.
I have read where the book written by John EARLE titled 'The Price of Patriotism' is in short supply. Can I bring to the notice of readers that a website I use for secondhand books is "Abe Books" where only last night I was able to order the book.
My interest in BETFOR has come about in researching my family history. My wife's brother L/Corp Edgar John UPEX born 1928 died 1972, service number T14187119 served in Trieste where he married Otillia TAUCER in late 40's / early 50's, I'm seeking any Information about Edgar John UPEX.and his marrige to Otillia TAUCER, including other members and national contacts.
Keith. I have your email about tracing your brother-in-law's marriage. I think Larry Southgate could be the man to advise you. As a matter of interest I Googled the name Otillia Trucer and discovered that the name Trucer is very common in Trieste and even found the name Otillia Upex Trucer resident at Via Grego Antonio 44, 34148 Trieste, phone number 040 382190.