The 8th September 1943 was the day Italy surrendered to the Allies and changed sides to fight against her former Axis Powers friends.

The story of Italy's capitulation is well known as are the fates of her pre-capitulation war leaders which are graphically shown in these pictures

    On becoming a Member of the Allies, Italy was flooded with Allied troops. Morale, although high, as much as anything because the Allies had gained a new fighting partner, had to be closely watched and military provision was made by each Allied Nation in an endeavour to "keep the troops happy". However, military provision alone [good and ample food, hospitalisation and medication, recreational facilities in terms of sport, regular mail deliveries etc] were not enough to fulfil all needs, and a place, away from the military where one could truly relax, was a necessity.

In the very centre of Naples is a beautiful Royal Palace.  The building, began in 1599 [but completed well over seventy years later], was built by Don Fernando Ruiz de Castro, Count of Lemos, in honour of his King, Philip the Third of Augsburg, King of Spain and Naples. For us Brits, the Palace has an important part to play in our own Naval history. Nelson arrived in Naples on board the Agamennon on the 11th September 1793 and in the same year met Lady Emma Hamilton in the ball room of the Palace and fell deeply in love with this charming and beautiful woman.

The non-military side of the men's welfare was addressed by three groups, namely the NCS [Naval Canteen Service] : EFI [Expeditionary Forces Institutes] and NAAFI [Navy, Army, Air Force Institutes]. The EFI can be thought of as a pan-Allies organisation whereas NAAFI is of course unique to us the Brits.

The Royal Palace of Naples was chosen as the building in which men could relax and enjoy themselves in a responsible way. The NAAFI published its pamphlet on the facilities offered, so too did the EFI. The following images are of the front and back cover of the British pamphlet. Naples was an R.N., base @ Santa Lucia, for MFV's [and other small craft] performing duties in the Harbour, the Bay and surrounding coastal areas, including visits to the Isle of Capri, Sorrento, and Mount Vesuvius and occasionally the Tiber in Rome. This was controlled [tender] from HMS St Angelo in Malta.

Note the NAAFI badge.  This badge was used during WW2 and in fact was still in use during the Suez War of 1956. In the following two pictures, I show this badge on the left, and the now extant NAAFI badge on the right, as a comparison.

Below is the layout of the NAAFI/EFI and as you can see, all areas [and thus all historical and splendid areas] were put to good use

The pictures in the WW2 pamphlet are not the best of quality, but to give you some idea of the grandeur of the Club, here are samples of what was published.

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Chapel Cinema Front
 of
Palace
Inside
Rear
Cover
Official
Reception
Room
Ballroom
Restaurant Restaurant 2 Staircases Tearoom The
Lounge
Terraces
and
Gardens

Those guy's deserved such luxury, and, who would have believed that some near 150 years later, British soldiers sailors and airmen would have danced in a building and in a room, but this time with Italian women, wherein once danced Nelson with his English women, only then the wife of the British Ambassador ?  Incredible really, however portrayed ! 

The South East Theatre of WW2 [Italy, Greece, Mediterranean, etc] saw some of the fiercest battles of WW2 and many Allied servicemen lost their lives driving the Hun north towards his own back yard. When D-Day was launched these men were still in Italy [and other areas away from Northern Europe] and were therefore not available to be deployed on the Normandy Beaches.   Lady Astor [formerly Nancy Astor] although well known and admired by many, had enemies by the score and not just in Parliament or in Whitehall. Churchill had her measure at every level [professional and social] and there was no love lost between them. In 1944, it is claimed by some that she uttered a statement on record in the house that troops in Italy {ergo those not made available or involved with D-Day [6th June] }were, as we say in the navy, "skate" , although it left her mouth as yet another of her many and notorious gaffes, as "D-Day Dogers"  - DDD's. This cannot be vouched for and there is no mention of her saying this listed in HANSARDS: if it is not there, it wasn't said - full stop. She herself stated that she never said those words or anything like them. Malta and the troops on her and vessels around her, was just as vocal and as angry as our boy's and girl's in southern European mainland areas, along with other allied troops driving the Hun out of Greece, Italy and other Mediterranean countries. New lyrics for the tune Lili Marlene  were written and widely sung but with variants, ridiculing the very idea that they were not 'dodgers' because they were not on the beaches of Normandy. At some later point in 1944 the sixth verse was added or heavily altered to implicate Lady Astor, MP for the much damage naval city of Plymouth. With the new sixth verse added, it became the definitive and only version of the new lyrics associated with the Lili Marlene original tune, which was a German love song.  However, the original words in English were always a high favourite in WW2 especially when it was sung by the 'forces favourite,  Vera Lynn.

This poem was cleverly penned to answer what many believed was attributable directly to Nancy Astor, which she never robustly denied and no edict on high attempted to squash the humour of the troops. It was widely published by many separate Associations, Regiments, Ships and Squadrons and it achieved its aim which was to ridicule Lady Astor and her cohorts, many of whom, when talking about 'Theatres', knew only about London's West End "acting houses".

We're the D-Day Dodgers out in Italy -
Always on the
vino, always on the spree.
Eighth Army scroungers and their tanks
We live in Rome - among the Yanks.
We are the D-Day Dodgers, over here in Italy.

We landed at Salerno, a holiday with pay,
Jerry brought the band down to cheer us on our way
Showed us the sights and gave us tea,.
We all sang songs, the beer was free.
We are the D-Day Dodgers, way out in Italy.

 The Volturno and Cassino were taken in our stride
We didn't have to fight there. We just went for the ride.
Anzio and Sangro were all forlorn.
We did not do a thing from dusk to dawn.
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, over here in Italy.

On our way to Florence we had a lovely time.
We ran a bus to
Rimini right through the Gothic Line.
On to
Bologna we did go.
Then we went bathing in the
Po.
For we are the D-Day Dodgers, over here in Italy.

Once we had a blue light that we were going home
Back to dear old
Blighty, never more to roam.
Then somebody said in France you'll fight.
We said never mind, we'll just sit tight,
The
windy D-Day Dodgers, out in Sunny Italy.

Now Lady Astor, get a load of this.
Don't stand up on a platform and talk a load of piss.
You're the nation's sweetheart, the nation's pride
We think your mouth's too bloody wide.
We are the D-Day Dodgers, in Sunny Italy.

When you look 'round the mountains, through the mud and rain
You'll find the
scattered crosses, some which bear no name.
Heartbreak, and toil and suffering gone
The boys beneath them slumber on
They were the D-Day Dodgers, who'll stay in Italy.

So listen all you people, over land and foam
Even though we've parted, our hearts are close to home.
When we return we hope you'll say
"You did your little bit, though far away
All of the D-Day Dodgers, way out there in Italy."

The last verse to be sung with vino on your lips and tears in your eyes.

I particularly like verse SIX