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A Tale Of Three Cities ISTANBUL 

-Bettany Hughes

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A Book Review – 5 stars *****

 

Byzantion of Greece’s ancient past,  the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire, famed Constantinople of New Rome and Muslim Ottoman Empire that today goes by the name of Istanbul, Turkish republic.

‘Istanbul is the city of many names’, writes Bettany Hughes: Byzantion, Byzantium, New Rome, Stambol, Islam-bol are just a few of them. And Istanbul today ‘is lapped by the Golden Horn, the Bosphorus, and the Sea of Marmara; to the north is the Black Sea and to the south, through the Hellespont or Dardanelles, the Mediterranean.’

A diamond mounted between two sapphires and two emeralds…the precious stone in the ring of a vast dominion which embraced the entire world as described in ‘The Dream of Osman’ c. AD 1280.

Hughes guides the reader around the city that I wish I had visited. It is obvious from reading this book that the author has walked Istanbul’s streets and knows the city well, and she has meticulously researched  its 8000 years of history. I can assure you that this is no dreary history book the likes of which bored us to tears at school. The ancient town of Byzantion’s King Byzas (legend has it that his father was Poseidon, his grandfather, Zeus) was well located at the intersection of trade routes. Eventually the Roman emperor Constantine decided that ‘Old Rome’ was too far away from all the action and over time the City of Constantine became Constantinople, the New Rome, capital of the Roman Empire itself. The gateway between East and  West. Constantinople’s Christian name was changed to Istanbul around 1923 after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The book has short chapters with clear and helpful titles, dated in both Western and Islamic calendar formats where appropriate.  It enables readers to navigate this vast book in piecemeal fashion, but I found it difficult to  put this book aside; it is so well researched and written, with personal written accounts from people who were present during many of the historical events, which made the book all the more fascinating. I particularly enjoyed the frequent references to current and recent archaeological digs the findings of which verify historical accounts.  Hughes includes several maps and colour plates, which I constantly referred to as I was reading. It is evident that the West owes far more to Eastern cultures than we have been ready to believe in the past. The Roman Empire pillaged much wealth from Egypt and the East and in turn the Ottomans pillaged from Roman territories. It is arguable that the rabble that made up early Western civilisation reached a turning point when it invaded and colonised Egypt.

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Ottoman and Byzantine territory in the east Mediterranean c. AD 1451

 

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Muslim and Christian lived in relatively peaceful harmony during the Ottoman era but both sides could be extremely brutal whenever their territories or power were threatened. The Ottomans, however, were far more than their harams and baths, which titillated and attracted travellers; they were skilled diplomats and traders. Christian slave boys ‘harvested’ from the West were trained as interpreters.  Called Dragomans, one of their critical attributes was their facility with languages, and some of them could speak up to seven languages which enabled the empire to spread its culture and bargain with valuable commodities to negotiate peace. When the Ottoman Empire began to crumble at the beginning of the twentieth century, Germany, France and Britain ‘fought over the spoils’ and it is apparent that the after-effects of this breaking up of once cohesive territories helped to turn Christianity and Islam against each other which we are still witnessing in modern times. Millions of refugees were displaced during the carve up of territories, and millions died.

This book, as well as being a great read, informs readers on how the current geo-political era came into being, and it does not always put the West in a good light. We owe so much of the great advances and wealth in our Western civilisation to the East, and let us not forget, to Islam

-Anne Frandi-Coory  27 October 2017

*****

Also here on Anne Frandi-Coory’s Facebook page: 

https://www.facebook.com/myhomelibrary/

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Julia Grego Smith was my grandmother Maria Grego Frandi’s younger sister. The following post was written by Julia’s grandson, Larry Smith. 18 October 2015.

Images and text copyright to Anne Frandi-Coory All Rights Reserved 18 October 2015.

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Julia and Herbert Smith

Julia and Herbert Smith (image: Larry Smith)

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Julia Grego married Herbert (Minto) Smith of Great Hockham, Norfolk in 1920 at the Church of the Holy Rood in Watford town centre – after Minto’s return from First World War service in the Middle East. On the marriage certificate, Minto is described as a 25-year-old bachelor and engineer’s fitter of 31 Ashley Road, Watford; and Julia as a 20-year-old spinster of 193 St Albans Road, Watford. Her father was Filippo Grego, a greengrocer. Their witnesses were Edward F. Didd and Filippo Grego (who signed with a mark). Both of Julia’s parents, Raffaela and Filippo Grego were illiterate.

Minto’s father and grandfather were agricultural labourers.  At the age of 19 Minto enlisted in the 4th battalion of the Norfolk Regiment in Norwich in September 1914. The battalion was training at Colchester, but in May 1915 it moved to Watford, which is when Minto met Julia. Unfortunately we have no stories about how they happened to meet.

Minto’s battalion was deployed to the Mediterranean in July 1915 and landed at Suvla Bay, on the Gallipoli peninsula, on August 10 – some months after the initial ANZAC landings in April. The entire Gallipoli campaign against the Turks was a failure, with almost 400,000 casualties on both sides. All Allied forces were withdrawn by late December 1915. However, in early December Minto had contracted typhoid and was evacuated back to England. After a year’s convalescence he was deployed to Egypt in January 1917 and was wounded in the second battle of Gaza. He was later posted to garrison duties in Egypt and ended the war as an acting sergeant.

After being demobilised at Purfleet in Surrey in July 1919, he headed for Watford to meet up with Julia again. After their wedding, Minto and Julia lived in Watford for a time and he worked for Filippo Grego briefly in the fish and chip shop. They moved around a bit before settling in Ashford, Middlesex in about 1939. At various times he was a chauffeur, drove a hearse and worked in a diesel engine factory. Julia and Minto eventually had two sons, Douglas and Roy.

Douglas enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment in 1939 and was deployed to North Africa in 1942, serving in Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Italy. After the war he spent two years in New Zealand as an approved migrant under the assisted immigration scheme, but returned to England in 1954 and married Valerie Diamond (d. 2010) in 1956.They produced no children.

Julia’s younger son, Roy, enlisted in the Royal Air Force and was posted to the Bahamas, where he married Barbara Malone, a Bahamian, on Harbour Island in December 1944. Barbara was the eldest daughter of district commissioner Ronald Malone (originally of Hope Town, Abaco) and Una Higgs (of Spanish Wells, Eleuthera). Roy and Barbara Smith went on to have two children – Larry and Luanne.

The Bahamas had been a British Crown colony since 1718, and it was the chosen place of exile for the ex-King (the Duke of Windsor) who was appointed governor for the duration of the war. Nassau (the capital) was used by the RAF as a training base for bomber crews, flying twin-engine Mitchell B-25’s and four-engine Liberator B-24’s.

Leading aircraftman Roy Smith was posted to the RAF’s No. 250 Air-Sea Rescue Unit. Equipped with motor torpedo boats, their function was to rescue the crews of aircraft which came down at sea (about four or five a year), to co-operate with naval forces in the area hunting German submarines, and to tow bombing targets. Some 3,000 British and Canadian personnel were stationed in The Bahamas during the war.

There were no hostilities near the islands, so operational flying training could be undertaken safely, and there was good flying weather year-round. The location also enabled Canadian personnel to crew up with their RAF counterparts. After training at Nassau, many crews would join 45 Air Transport Group to ferry aircraft across the Atlantic for active service.

Roy was transferred back to England in early 1945, and Barbara followed him a few weeks after VE day via train from Miami and convoy from New York. They returned to Nassau in 1948 where Roy helped start a wholesale business.The Bahamas had a population of about 70,000 back then.

In 1955, after the wholesale business foundered, my parents, Roy and Barbara moved back to Britain with their two young children, running a succession of small shops around London. But during a family reunion in Nassau in December 1961, they decided to return to The Bahamas for good. Roy eventually became manager of a large car dealership called Nassau Motor Company, which holds the Honda and General Motors franchises for The Bahamas. He retired in 1985 to Spanish Wells, where he still lives today. Barbara died in December 2011 at the age of 84 from complications due to a ruptured appendix..

Barbara’s paternal line descends from the widow of a loyalist militiaman from South Carolina, who moved to the Bahamas after the American Revolution. Her maternal line traces back to the Eleutherian Adventurers, Puritans who settled The Bahamas in 1648 from Bermuda.

Julia was born 25 February  1900 in Watford and died 18 June 2000 at a nursing home in Ashford. Douglas Percival was born in 1921 and died in January 2012 at a nursing home in Egham. Minto was born in 1895 and died at his home in Ashford in 1981.

-Larry Smith

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Roy Smith's RAF crashboat

RAF Crash Boat Roy Smith served on during the war (image: Larry Smith)

 

 

 

 

 

 

early 19C parliament buildings Nassau

Early 19th Century Parliament buildings in downtown Nassau on a Sunday minus traffic. Statue of Queen Victoria resides over the town square (image: Larry Smith)

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Julia’s sister Barbara Grego Johnson and brother  Joseph Grego double wedding.  

(image:Larry Smith)

Rear L to R: Filippo Grego, bride Floss’s brother, Jessie Grego with baby, bridegroom Joseph Grego, ?, bridegroom Laurie Johnson, Julia Grego, ?, Laurie Johnson’s father.

Front L to RPhilomena (Emmie) Grego, Raffaela Grego, bride Floss, bride Barbara Grego, Laurie Johnson’s mother, Lillie Grego.

 

Read More about the Grego family – Our Family Tree

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Remembering Them in Our Street Names – FRANDI STREET

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At 5.45pm on Friday 8th May 2015, the 100th anniversary of Ateo Frandi’s death at Gallipoli, a small ceremony to unveil a sign commemorating Captain Frandi was held at Frandi Street, Thorndon in Wellington, New Zealand.

Frandi Street in Thorndon is a quiet little residential cul de sac, once known as Grant Road North, and then briefly as High Street. On 14 June 1917 Wellington City Council confirmed a change of name to Frandi Street.

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Ateo Giusto Leale Frandi 1873 – 1915

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Frandi Street is named after Captain Ateo Giusto Leale Frandi, of the Wellington Infantry Battalion, who was killed at the second battle of Krithia. There are several versions of his death at the ’Daisy Patch’, either by machine gun fire or a sniper. Occasional references say he was killed on May 6th but the clear consensus is the 8th of May 1915.

With stalemate in the ANZAC area, ANZAC commander General Birdwood had sent Australian and New Zealand troops to support British, French and Indian troops attempting to capture the village of Krithia which lay between the ANZAC landing beaches and the British and French landings near Cape Helles at the southern end of the Gallipoli peninsula. Repeated attacks across open ground under heavy machine gun and rifle fire achieved temporary gains of barely a few hundred metres of ground and cost some 6300 Allied killed or wounded including 835 New Zealanders over just 4 days. Most of the dead including Captain Frandi were never identified, and were buried near where they died. After the war bodies were reinterred at nearby Twelve Tree Copse cemetery. One hundred and seventy-nine New Zealanders including Captain Frandi are commemorated there on the New Zealand memorial.

Ateo Frandi was born in Pisa, Italy on May 4th 1873, the second son of Annnunziata and Aristodemo,  emigrating with his family to New Zealand in 1876. At the time of enlisting he was single, a piano tuner by trade, and was registered as living at 16 Murphy Street. He had also worked for the DIC department store, and was an active member of the Garibaldi Club. See post re Frandi family’s arrival in New Zealand in 1876 OKURU SETTLEMENT

Captain Frandi had spent 24 years in the volunteers and territorials in Wellington, and for many years commanded the 31 Company (Wellington) Senior Cadets. He was rated as ‘one of the first authorities in infantry drill in New Zealand.’ His YMCA Cadets had won the New Zealand competitions for two years straight.   How Great Uncle Ateo’s War Service Medal found me.

In 1912 a dispute between Captain Frandi and the Defence Department over seniority between Captain Frandi and another officer was widely reported throughout the country and even referred to in Parliament on a number of occasions. Captain Frandi originally resigned over the dispute, but retracted his resignation and was able to resume his command of the Cadets.

Wellington was the embarkation port for some 60% of our soldiers, and Captain Frandi’s unit embarked for Egypt on 14 December 1914 with the Second Reinforcements. He arrived in Suez on 28 January 1915 and landed at ANZAC Cove on April 25th.

Major-General Godley, commanding the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli wrote, reporting Captain Frandi’s death – published in the Evening Post, “He did so much good service in Wellington that it should be known how well he did on active service” and “His company all say that they have never known any officer who gained so rapidly the confidence and liking of the men under him, and his bravery and fearlessness and qualities of leadership were most conspicuous.”

All the Frandi brothers enlisted; Lance Corporal Antonio Raffaello Frandi served in the 1st NZRB B Company, Driver, Alfredo Giusseppe Frandi (Anne Frandi-Coory’s grandfather) and nephew Driver Ricciotti (Richard)  Frandi, were both in the Main Body Field Artillery. Nephew, Gunner William Donald Frandi was in the 7th Field Artillery, and nephew Menotte Frandi also served. Nephew William Frandi, a gunner with the Field Artillery was reported wounded in the Evening Post of 27 September 1916 which said three others of the family were also serving at that point.

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Menotte & William Frandi

Ateo’s nephews Ricciotti and William Frandi

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Ateo’s Will named as first beneficiary  his sister Italia Corich and her daughters Helena and Elvira. The Pension Board granted his parents support in November 1915 on receiving confirmation that he had financially supported them. His father Aristodemo died aged 86 in 1919, and mother Annunziata aged 79 in 1920.

Captain Frandi was clearly held in high esteem. A concert in his memory was held by the Senior Cadets on the first of November 1915 in the Wellington Town Hall.

When the Carillon was built as a memorial to those who had served in the War, most of its 49 bells were named for specific battles, and in memory of individual soldiers. Captain Frandi’s sister paid for bell number 30, ‘Krithia’, in his memory. His mother donated a memorial shield for the Cadets, now held at the Army Museum in Waiouru.

I saw Captain Frandi’s name on one of the white crosses of remembrance at each of several local school and community commemorations recently. At ANZAC commemorations we say ‘At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.’ This Friday 8th as the sun goes down at 5.45, we will remember one of those men, as was intended when the Council of 1917 renamed a little street in Thorndon.

This post is taken from an article specially written by Wellington City Councillor, Andy Foster, for the commemoration of Frandi Street.

Photographs by Neil Price.

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Frandi St 4Frandi St 1

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Frandi St 5

Bugler, Andrew Weir, plays The Last Post

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Left to right: Paul Glennie WCC, Andy Foster WCC, Italian Ambassador His Excellency Carmelo Barbarello, Captain Paul Prouse Officer Commanding Wellington Company 5/7 Battalion RNZ  Infantry Regiment, Sub Lieutenant Sean Audain (HMNZS Olphert)

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The Last Post following Andy Foster’s reading of the dedication to Ateo Frandi.

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Frandi St 3

Wellington City Councillor Andy Foster reads a statement by Anne Frandi-Coory on behalf of descendants of Ateo’s parents, Annunziata and Aristodemo Frandi.

On behalf of all descendants of Aristodemo and Annunziata Frandi, I would like to thank Andy Foster along with Wellington City Council for this commemoration to Ateo Frandi for his long  and dedicated service to the New Zealand Armed Forces. Ateo was greatly influenced  by his father, Aristodemo, in fighting for a country he loved. Aristodemo was a brave fighter in Italy’s struggle to free itself from foreign rulers, before he and Annunziata emigrated to New Zealand in 1876.  Ateo in his turn was so proud to be a part of the  ANZAC contingent to Gallipoli, and he urged his brothers and nephews to join up as a duty owed to their country. Ateo Giusto Leale Frandi, we will never forget you or the ultimate sacrifice you made. —- Anne Frandi-Coory

***This page is copyright to author Anne Frandi-Coory. No text or photograph can be copied or downloaded from this page without the written permission of Anne Frandi-Coory.***

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Captain Ateo Giusto Leale Frandi killed at Gallipoli 8 May 1915

 The Mystery Surrounding His Colonial Auxiliary Forces Medal

Ateo Frandi original 2

Captain Ateo ‘Little Arthur’ Frandi

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As Fate would have it, on 8 May in 2014 a comment was posted on my blog on the opening page: My Life And Rhymes

The writer was Verna Crowley from Otaki in New Zealand:

Hi Anne, I came across your story while I was researching Ateo Frandi…I have in my possession a medal with his name inscribed on it. It was issued in 1911 for his long service with the Colonial Auxiliary Forces. I would dearly love for it to be returned to his family, he has no direct issue but if you know of a family member I can pass it onto I would appreciate it. Thanks.

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Head inscription reads: EDWARDVS Vll REX IMPERATOR

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Reverse and rim inscriptions read: For Long Service In The Auxiliary Forces; No 179 Col. Ser. A. Frandi. Zealandia Rifles 1911

I replied that I would so love the medal which I would treasure as would my family. The only memento I have from the Frandi family is a set of broken Rosary beads cherished by my mother, Doreen Frandi. Her father, Alfredo, was Ateo Frandi’s youngest brother and while Ateo died before she was born, Doreen knew Ateo’s sister, Italia, very well. By all accounts, Italia had a soft spot for the troubled Doreen. Ateo and his only sister, Italia, were close in age, both born in Pisa and devoted to each other. Both of Italia’s daughters were deceased and Italia’s only grandchild didn’t have any children. I truly didn’t know anyone else to recommend.

Ateo & Italia

Italia and Ateo

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We subsequently continued our conversation by private email. Verna goes on to explain how the medal came to be in her possession, which I was eager to discover. Was she related to the Frandi family I had asked?

The medal was among Verna’s grandmother’s treasured possessions which after her death were handed down to Verna’s mother. It was alongside her first husband’s WW1 medals and papers. Verna has no idea whether either of her grandparents and my great uncle knew one another, but it is possible that they did; the time frame fits, according to Verna. Her grandparents married in 1916, and had a daughter together, (Verna’s mother) but her grandfather never returned from the war. He is buried at Cologne cemetery in Germany. Verna’s grandmother later remarried and had more children.

Tragedy intervenes once again and Verna’s mother suffers the same fate as her mother before her; she also lost her first husband, this time during WW2, and he is buried in Belgium. She also remarried and had three children to her second husband of whom Verna was the youngest. Verna’s mother died in 1971 but none of her three children were given any of their mother’s possessions. Later, her father married again and had more children to his second wife. When Verna’s father died in 2007 Verna and her sister, (their brother was deceased), contested their father’s Will. Some of the few of their mother’s possessions the sisters received were her first husband’s medals along with her father’s.The medals were still in the same box that their mother had always kept them in.

Verna continues in a letter which accompanied Ateo’s medal:

I was looking through your blog and read your post, Letters To Anne Frandi-Coory. I was blown away and I truly believe that Ateo’s medal was meant for you all along. I am convinced a higher power, maybe my mother, encouraged me to find you. If all three circumstances hadn’t come together at around the same time, the medal would probably have been lost forever and never returned to its rightful home.

• My sister and I received, in 2009, the few things that belonged to our mother
• Your memoir and Frandi family history  Whatever Happened To Ishtar?  was published in 2010,
• This significant ANZAC year of 2014 prompted us to scrutinise carefully the papers and medals we received as a result of contesting our father’s Will. discovering that one of the medals had a different name on it.

I couldn’t get that medal out of my mind and so I decided to research the name and other details inscribed on the medal. I found a few clues and of course your web site. If we had rightfully received our mother’s treasures years ago, and tried to find Ateo’s descendents at that time we would not have been able to trace any and that would have been the end of it.

56 Hewer Cres blog

56 Hewer Cres, Naenae, Wellington NZ … My mother Doreen Frandi lived here for many years with her son, Kevin.

Your mother, Doreen Frandi, lived at 56 Hewer Crescent, Naenae in Wellington and her next door neighbours at number 54 were the Hardies; a father and three children, Trevor, Roberta and Marianne. Roberta worked at the Phillip’s factory nearby for many years, possibly alongside Doreen. We lived at 28 Hewer Crescent.

Many connections, but the mystery remains: how did Verna’s mother come to have Ateo Frandi’s war service medal in her possession? Did Doreen give it to Verna’s mother for safe-keeping (Kevin believes this is unlikely) or perhaps Verna’s grandfather and Ateo were war mates and Italia gave the medal to him? Perhaps someone reading this post could enlighten us.

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Capt Ateo & Signature 2

Autographed photo of Ateo Frandi

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My great uncle Ateo Frandi was born in Pisa Italy on 4 May 1873. His family emigrated to  New Zealand in 1876 and eventually settled in Okuru on the West Coast of New Zealand in 1877. (See blog post OKURU SETTLEMENT).

Ateo was killed on the Daisy Patch at Cape Helles in the Dardanelles on Saturday 8 May 1915 during an attack on the Turkish position. He stood up to give an order when he was shot in the head by a sniper, dying instantly. His body was never recovered.  His sister Italia Frandi Corich proudly paid for his name to be engraved on one of the carillon bells, named Krithia. There were originally a total of 49 bells erected in the war memorial Peace Tower in Buckle Street, Wellington in 1931. Each bell had the name of a soldier who died at Gallipoli and who had no known grave.

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Sargeant Ateo Frandi. 2

Ateo Frandi

There is a street named Frandi in honour of Ateo in Thorndon Street, Wellington New Zealand not far from where Ateo lived with his parents before he left for Gallipoli.

Read Here: The commemoration of Frandi Street in 2015 

-Anne Frandi-Coory

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