I wish to tell you the true story of Gino Farnetti Bragaglia, a 5-year-old Italian boy orphaned and abandoned during WWII, who was found, nourished, and loved by Canadian soldiers during the Allied push into Italy in 1944.
My name is Tony Battista, former Canadian Defence Attaché to Rome. I came to Canada - like many young immigrants - as a ten-year-old in the hope of a better life. I served in the Canadian military 40 years! One of my last duties in uniform was as Canadian representative at the official ceremony in December 2012, when Gino received his actual birth certificate. He was almost 75!
A film production company, Combined Forces Production Collaborative has been selected to produce a documentary of this poignant story about Gino and his ‘Canadian Soldier Guardian Angels’.
In 1983 Gino was in his forties when he received a letter accompanied by an old photo of Canadian soldiers, from the Italian Campaign. Reading the name of Lloyd ‘Red’ Oliver, a light ignites inside of him. He remembers the name, ‘Red’, as one of the soldiers who took care of him during the war when he was found starving in a stone quarry near Torrice, in the Liri Valley of the Lazio region, south of Rome. This photograph and name bring Gino back to a mostly forgotten past, inspiring a need to rediscover his origins.
This incredible story is witness to the resiliency of the human spirit. For Gino, remembering the caring and friendship he received as a young boy by 4 Canadian soldiers, the letter opens memories which were buried by life, yet have still endured some 80 years after the war. We are working to document these memories to show how the past can have profound meaning in the present. Extraordinary acts of bravery and humanity by this young boy’s ‘guardian angels’, born in the ashes of war, will be captured in this film as examples of kindness and dedication by humankind. Our hope is to help future generations learn about the tragedy of war, while showing the world how Canadian values illuminate the best in the human spirit.
Here is a short preview of the Gino story:
A Child in Uniform: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=W2WtPgzMID4
As a proud Canadian of Italian descent, I would be humbled if you also join me in supporting this docu-drama production on the story of Gino with any donation, to allow us to continue with production of this important piece of Italian Canadian history. Below is the link from the production company with an embedded Go-Fund-Me sub-link.
With a grateful heart,
Colonel Tony Battista (Retired)
Canadian Armed Forces