A fundraiser to help commemorate the memory of an unknown Italian man who was found dead by a boy in 1940 has been set up.

The interesting story of the unknown man began during World War Two, when his body was found by a nine-year-old boy on a rocky shore near Lendalfoot, South Ayrshire.

With no means of identification on him, two days later the body was buried in a plain black coffin in the presence of the local parish priest at Doune Cemetery, Girvan.

But now, 83 years later, the Italian Garden Improvement Group (IGIG), a community group based in Glasgow, has discovered the identity of the man in the unmarked grave.

Following additional research by the Girvan and District Great War Project (GADGWP), the precise location of the grave was pinpointed and and it has been confirmed that grave contains the sole remains of Mr Francesco D'Inverno, born in Villa Latina, Lazio, Italy in 1901.

Francesco was living in London during the 1930s, worked at Selsdon House Hotel and had briefly married Ginevera Tasselli in April 1939.

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Sadly, Francesco, like many other Italians living in Britain, was arrested as an "enemy alien" following Italy's entry into World War Two in June, 1940.

He was detained as an "internee" and sent to the notorious Warth Mills Internment Camp in Bury, Lancashire.

From there, he was transferred to Liverpool where he was selected for deportation to an internment camp in Canada for the duration of the war.

Francesco was assigned to travel on the converted cruise ship Arandora Star.

However, on the morning of July 2, 1940 the Arandora Star was sunk by a torpedo fired from the German submarine U-47, around 75 miles off the northwest coast of Ireland.

More than 800 men lost their lives, the majority of whom were interned Italian civilians.

Francesco is the only known victim of the sinking to have been washed ashore on the Scottish mainland and recent research by Dr Terri Colpi confirms he is one of only 22 Italians to be formally identified.

The IGIG group is now looking to raise funds for a formal headstone for Francesco, and to trace down and contact his fimly.

A statement said: "We are hoping to trace any of Francesco's living relatives and we are following leads in the UK, Italy and USA.

"On July 2, this year, probably for the first time in over 80 years, flowers were placed on Francesco's unmarked grave by Ritchie and Lorna Conaghan of the GADGWP.

"Ritchie and Lorna have also made contact with the then nine-year-old evacuee from Rutherglen who found Francesco in 1940.

"For over 80 years he wondered about the man he found on the shore and now, aged 92, the mystery has been solved.

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"We believe it is important to both honour the memory of Francesco D'Inverno permanently and to maintain awareness of the Arandora Star tragedy by erecting a suitably inscribed gravestone at Doune Cemetery.

"We are working together with South Ayrshire Council and the Scottish charity Italian Scotland to make this happen but additional support is required.

"We are therefore seeking donations in support of our aim to buy a gravestone for Francesco and our target is to raise £5,000.

"Any donations in excess of our target will be used to maintain both Francesco's grave and the Arandora Star Memorial at the Italian Garden, next to St Andrew's Cathedral, Glasgow which honours all victims of the Arandora Star tragedy.

"Your support will help ensure Francesco and all other victims are never forgotten."

To contribute to their cause click here.