When I was a wee child my granddad who’s now 84 (thus was born in 1932) used to tell me thrilling stories that dated back to WWII when he was a young lad and Europe had fallen under the treacherous hands of Hitler and Mussolini. The one I’m about to narrate took place on the night of 11th–12th in November of 1940 when the Royal Navy forces attacked the Italian naval forces in the inner harbor of Taranto, a coastal city located in Southern Italy. He says you can’t find this story in any book for it has not been officially recorded but you can still hear nowadays the locals babbling about the deed. Legend has it, an Italian official was married to an English woman. That night, before the bombing, there was a party where all the Italian officials were gathered, apparently, the English wife took advantage of the moment when the guard was lowered and tipped off the British Navy so that they could carry out the attack undisturbed. Meanwhile, the woman – who was not attending the party – ran away and went back to her motherland. Official accounts report 59 dead, 600 injured and 3 ships damaged.
Over the following months Taranto became unsafe, therefore my granddad’s family was forced to leave the city and move to the countryside where they could live off the land and drink fresh water from the river. They spent there the whole winter, then he moved with his mother and his younger brothers to a nearby town (Massafra, 1941). His father used to visit once a week to bring in food and money and he remembers he had to walk miles every day to collect water from the closest well. They could finally go back to Taranto in 1943 when the allies (the same people who attacked in the first place, plot twist uh?) freed the city and restored safety.