These photos have come to us from Marco Zinzani whose family hail from Faenza, Italy a town that was liberated by the Allied Forces, including the Maori Battalion.
These are from inside Marco’s family farmhouse located in the Castel Raniero area just outside of Faenza. The family recently discovered graffiti markings during renovations. It appears that probably in a quiet moment, the soldiers whiled away the time by writing with pencils on the wall in the upper part of the fireplace their name. The names may show the disposition of their beds in that room.
The family have done a little bit of research and they believe that in December 1944 some soldiers occupied a room with a fireplace in a building which is immediately adjacent to the farmhouse. The house is situated within the circle marked “D/28” in this map. This indicates D Company of the 28 Maori Battalion. The area saw hard fighting in that period, as the walls of the building in question still show. It should be noted that other units were also in the area at the time including 23 Battalion NZ, 2/4 King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and a Battalion of 169 Brigade, 56 Division.
Three names appear easily identifiable: Pearson, Thomas and Harrison. The remaining two names are more difficult to identify. one name is probably Hodgson, the other one is hardly recognisable.
Marco says “I find such informal testimony of the soldiers’ presence in the house during the wartime particularly important and I would like to do some research into the lives of the soldiers who stayed there.”
Based on the aforementioned map reference to D Company, these Maori Battalion soldiers may have been in the farmhouse: