Domenico Chiocchetti

1910 - 1999

Domenico Chiocchetti
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Domenico Chiocchetti

Creator of the noted 'Italian Chapel' on Lamb Holm (Orkney). Born in Moena in the Italian Dolomites, Chiocchetti was one of several hundred Italian prisoners-of-war brought to Orkney in early 1942 to work on the Churchill Barriers. The Italians had been captured in North Africa.

At "Camp 60" on the uninhabited island of Lamb Holm, a need was identified for a chapel for the prisoners and the War Office supplied two corrugated-iron nissen huts. Chiocchetti led a small team who created the most remarkably decorated interior, together with a pedimented Italianate facade, from scrap and other simple materials. Chiocchetti painted a representation of the Madonna and Child above the altar, and also created a grand statue of St George slaying the dragon outside.

Still incomplete by the end of the War, Chiocchetti remained behind to finish the Chapel, giving it with his thanks to the people of Orkney who had shown the Italian prisoners great kindness. He returned twice to Orkney to see his Chapel; in 1960 he was able to restore some of the paint-work during his visit, and again with his wife in 1964.

Chiocchetti died in his home village of Moena but a Requiem Mass was held for him in his chapel on Orkney.

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