Fellini would have loved it. An ill-assorted straggle of characters trudging across the Italian countryside one sunny February morning: a veteran of the British army; two young British officers in full dress uniform; a bersaglieri; a mayor; and a very tall, slim, but imposing silver-haired man who has borrowed the bersaglieri’s trumpet and is walking along emitting long melancholy notes.
But this is no film set, this patch of grass. Here, 30 miles south of Rome, Roger Waters’s journey has come to an end: a journey in search of his father.
Everything started – as so many things have – with a telephone call from Harry Shindler a few months earlier.
A 96-year-old veteran of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Shindler has devoted the last 16 years of his life to determining the fate of soldiers missing in action or never buried. The ex-Army man, who fought in Italy during the Second World War, has solved dozens of cases, patching together the last few hours of soldiers, sailors and airmen, using war archives, intelligence reports and military maps.
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