Walking in fathers SOE footsteps, Oltrepò Pavese, Italy

Discussion in 'SOE & OSS' started by peteden, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. peteden

    peteden Member

    My father, William Denley was W/T to Capt Basil Urwin in Operation Genesse.This September I will be down in the Oltrepò Pavese region to be able to see where my father was.
    I have copied Irwin report of the operation and also the details of his MC award to give me details of locations.

    A question for you experts? Would my father as the W/T have travelled around with the Capt or be based at one site.

    Many thanks to all you who contribute to this wonderful site.

  2. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Hi Peter,

    I just spent the last three hours having a listen to a 1987 interview with Basil William Seymour Irwin. Fascinating story. The timeframe with your dad will be in reel 5 but I don't recall him mentioning any radioman. In reel 2 he mentions his wireless man by name.


    The IWM audio site has been a bit hit or miss over the past year or so. But the past few weeks it's been working well.


  3. peteden

    peteden Member

    Thank you for the reply, and I believe Bob Wardle who as you state worked as W/T for Irwin in Yugoslavia and if I remember right he then decided to take a posting away and its here I think my father took over?. On Irwin,s report of the Genesse mission he list my father as his W/T.
    Many thanks for the link to the broadcast, I hope to have some time before I go to Italy to listen but time is running so fast, so much to prepare and only 3 weeks before we leave.
  4. alieneyes

    alieneyes Senior Member

    Hi Peter,

    One of the great things about these recordings is that they are broken into 30 minute segments.

    But his story was so interesting, I went from Reel 5 to Reel 1 and had a listen all the way through.

    Hopefully you post some photographs when you get back.


  5. peteden

    peteden Member

    Hi Dave,
    Have just listened to reels 5 & 6 and its in reel 6 where he talks about the time with dad. He only mentions it was "only him, his wireless operator and two South African soldiers". Regretfully he does not mention dad by name.
    Still it was rather weird listening to his voice knowing what he and dad went through together.

    Many thanks for giving me this link.

  6. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

  7. peteden

    peteden Member

    Well what a great time I had, visiting the area that my dad had been in March to May 1945. As W/T to Capt Basil Irwin he dropped into the Oltrepo Pavese, where they moved from village to village, their brief was
    1) to look at troop movements along the Via Emilia and over the Po and
    2) to assist the resistance leader to keep peace with between the three political units.

    That is all I knew together with the names of the places they were in at sometime, so together with my wife and daughter we visited these places. I cannot describe the feelings just standing in the streets etc thinking about dad but felt very proud that he had helped the Italian partisans.

    The owner of the hotel we stayed in, on learning the reason for our visit, arranged for a reporter from the local free paper to interview us and a report went out in the next addition.

    To our great surprise we have now received information of the four partisans that accompanied dad and his Captain during their time here and they remembered both of them. These were Lino and Ernesto Schiavi together with Carlo and Renzo Rossi. The Schiavi brothers were still alive and the son of one of them had written a book about the partisans, published in May this year, which I have now received along with a copy of the paper.

    A wonderful end to the holiday and we will be in further contact with these people and perhaps return at a later date.
    4jonboy likes this.
  8. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

    Pete-Thank you for sharing the story of your visit.
    Any pictures? :wink:


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