In a letter written after the death of Andrea Scattini, Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello (Bourbon del Monte) pays tribute to his comrade’s heroism and strength of character.

Following a transcript in Italian—immediately below—is the text of the letter translated into English by Luigi Donfrancesco, Andrea’s nephew.

21 marzo 1946. Nel dopoguerra il Tenente Uguccione Ranieri (di Sorbello) Bourbon Del Monte, al quale nel frattempo è stata conferita la Medaglia d’Argento, dal suo domicilio di Roma in Via Due Macelli 31, indirizza alla Commissione per il Riconoscimento della Qualifica di Partigiano di Ancona una relazione nella quale descrive l’opera del suo collaboratore Andrea Scattini durante la guerra di liberazione:

“E’ mio dovere segnalare a codesta Commissione l’opera di un mio collaboratore, Andrea SCATTINI, morto l’8 marzo 1944 nella guerra di liberazione.

L’8 settembre 1943, fuggito dai Tedeschi a Cento (Ferrara) dove prestavo servizio, riuscii a raggiungere Termoli, allora appena liberata, dove – previo assenso del nostro Comando di Stato Maggiore – presi servizio in un Comando inglese i cui compiti, di natura riservata, si svolgevano dietro le linee in territorio nemico.

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In “The Alphabetical List—British Soldiers A–B” I explained how in 2013 researcher Brian Sims gave me access to a booklet entitled Italy: Imperial Prisoners of War Alphabetical List, Section 1, British Army.

The Alphabetical List contains the names of thousands of British prisoners of war interned in Italian camps, apparently compiled in 1942 or the spring of 1943.

Below is a list of soldiers C–F who were documented as P.G. 59 internees.

A key to acronyms and abbreviations follows the list.

Page 26
Cade, J. W. – Gnr. – 1433324 – R.A. – R.O. No. 6
Cahill, P. – Tpr. – 3597294 – R.A.C. – R.O. No. 3
Cairns, G. F. – Tpr. 7887665 – R.A.C. – R.O. No. 3
Calder, R. – Drv. – T/17143 – R.A.S.C. – R.O. No. 29
Caldwell, G. – Gnr. – 1438906 – R.A. – R.O. No. 6
Cameron. N. W. – Cpl. – T/128221 – R.A.S.C. – R.O. No. 29
Cammack, H. M. – Gnr. – 1504725 – R.A. – R.O. No. 5

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In July 2013 my friend Brian Sims sent me a set of photographs of a remarkable document he had uncovered in the British National Archives.

One hundred thirty-eight pages in length, Italy: Imperial Prisoners of War Alphabetical List, Section 1, British Army, contains the names of thousands of British prisoners of war, along with their ranks, service numbers, and the military units to which they belonged.

The booklet is divided into sections for officers and “other ranks.”

Because officers were not typically interned at P.G. 59, only three are listed.

These officers provided healthcare to the internees: Captain T. R. Hodgson, Royal Army Dental Corps (serving as the camp’s dentist); Captain J. H. D. Millar, Royal Army Medical Corps (the chief medical officer for the camp); and A. R. Duff Royal Army Medical Corps (also a camp medical officer).

I am unsure of why Brigadier S. William, Royal Artillery, was present in the camp.

Sergeant Major T. W. Hegarty was P.G. 59 camp leader before Captain Millar assumed that role on September 9, 1943 due to Hegarty’s sudden incapacity. Hegarty, R.S.M. (Regimental Sergeant Major—a non-commissioned rank), Royal Armoured Corps, is listed among other ranks in this document.

This post contains the names of the officers and names A–B of other ranks—147 men in all.

I will share the rest of the British P.G. 59 internees’ names in future posts.

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First page of a letter from Major Luigi Stipa recommending that I.S.9 agent Mario Mottes be posthumously awarded the Italian Silver Medal of Military Valor (Medaglia d’Argento al Valore Militare)

In January 1944, Sergeant Mario Mottes was wounded in the area of Montalto Marche during a parachute drop, when his parachute opened too late to prevent a violent landing.

He continued on his mission, and two months later, on March 10, 1944, he was arrested by the Germans and shot with three escaped Allied prisoners of war.

Major Luigi Stipa proposed the Italian Silver Medal of Military Valor (Medaglia d’Argento al Valore Militare) be awarded to Mario. His letter of recommendation details Mario’s valiant service.

Access to this document from the “Stipa Papers” came through Dr. Luigino Nespeca of Offida. Luigi Donfrancesco translated the Silver Medal nomination into English:


Name: MOTTES Mario
Born: Belgium, November 18, 1919
Degree: Sergeant R.T. Paratrooper
Unit: Royal Army, Battalion Paratroopers
Enrolled in force on January 17, 1944
Shot at MONTALTO (MARCHE) on March 10, 1944

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First page of a two-page letter from Ermanno Finocchi to Don Domenico “Carlo” Orlandini

Last week, Luigi Donfrancesco sent me an English translation he made of a letter I.S.9 agent Ermanno Finocchi sent to fellow agent Don Domenico Orlandini, whose agent name was “Carlo.”

“I found it interesting, as it shows details of Plan MILKY WAY and the way agents operated in setting up Rat-lines (Ratberry lines),” Luigi explained.

Here are introductory notes from Luigi in Italian and English, followed by the letter in both languages:

Nota. Scritto a matita su carta di quaderno a quadretti. E’ fra le “carte Stipa”, gentilmente fornite dal Dr. Luigino Nespeca di Offida nell’Agosto 2015.

Non c’è data, ma è stato scritto subito prima della partenza di Ermanno Finocchi per Milano (il 15 Marzo 1944 in camion, riferisce “Babka” nei suoi Diari). Quindi le “molte notizie di carattere doloroso” sono:

  • l’uccisione di Andrea Scattini a Force (8 marzo);
  • la cattura di Fausto Simonetti a Palmiano (9 marzo);
  • l’attacco alla banda partigiana “Paolini” a Rovetino e Rotella (9 marzo) e conseguente smantellamento della banda stessa;
  • l’attacco ed eliminazione della base “Rat-line” di Porchia (10 marzo), con ferimento e cattura di Diego Vecchiarelli e arresto di altri collaboratori;
  • l’uccisione nei pressi di Montalto Marche del Sergente Paracadutista Mario Mootis (sopravvissuto alla battaglia di El Alamein) e dei 3 prigionieri di guerra britannici che erano con lui (11 marzo).

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Portrait of Andrea Scattini by Federico Spoltore, Lanciano, February 14, 1944

As a young man and a medical student, Andrea Scattini was enrolled in the Medical Corps of the Italian Army and assigned to the Celio Military Hospital, Rome, according to his nephew Luigi Donfrancesco.

In September 1943, after Italy signed the Armistice, Andrea was captured by Germans outside the hospital. He and several other young men were slated for transport to Germany when Andrea escaped.

He returned to his home in San Vito Chietino Marina, on the Adriatic coast.

In October 1943, in Termoli, Andrea offered his services to the Allies and was enrolled as an agent under Captain Andrew Robb, No. 5 Field Section, “A” Force (I.S.9). He was among the first small group of six Italians to be employed in that capacity (the others being Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello, Don Domenico Orlandini, Ermanno Finocchi, Fausto Simonetti, and “Guido”—full name unknown).

Andrea’s mission was to organize escape “Rat-lines” and to guide former POWs to safety over land and along the Adriatic coastline.

This was named Plan RATBERRY Section “A”, No. 5 Field Section, and Andrea and the other agents of his group were often referred to as “the Ratberry boys.”

Luigi is trying to acquire documents with details of Andrea’s missions and activities as an “A” Force/I.S.9 agent in the Marche and Abruzzo regions.

In a No. 5 Field Section progress report from Lanciano, Captain Robb states that on December 21, 1943, Andrea arrived at the Allied lines of the New Zealand Division, taking with him ex-POW Lance Corporal “Spiro.”

In the same report, Captain Robb states Andrea is “one of the original planners of MILKY WAY.”

“MILKY WAY” was a plan to extend RATBERRY in other directions, north and possibly east, to take prisoners to Switzerland and/or Yugoslavia.

On March 8, 1944, at age 26, Andrea was killed in the village of Force—the victim of an apparent ambush.

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I recently exchanged several e-mails with Luigi Donfrancesco, who lives in Rome. His uncle, Andrea Scattini, was an Italian I.S.9 agent during the war.

I.S.9 was a sub-organization of special Allied operations unit “A” Force. I.S.9 formed escape chains to evacuate Allied escapers and evaders (E & Es) from enemy-occupied territory.

Luigi sent me photographs taken by Dr. Luigino Nespeca of a monument at Villa Stipa at Offida (Ascoli Piceno, Italy) that commemorates No. 5 Field Section of I.S.9, which produced the largest number of E & Es of any I.S.9 land unit in Italy.

See “I.S.9 History—Operations in Italy, Part 2” for detailed information on No. 5 Field Section.

Villa Stipa was one of the main bases of I.S.9 “Rat Line” rescues.

“My uncle Andrea Scattini is improperly placed with the shot [executed] patriots, but he should be with the fallen in service instead, because he was never captured,” Luigi clarified.

“Also, Don Domenico Orlandini was never shot nor dead (they erroneously thought so), but survived the war and died later in his sixties.”

Here are the names acknowledged on the memorial:


A.M.G. MAGG. ROBB E CAP. R. W. LEWIS [Allied Military Government, Major (maggiore in Italian) A. Robb and U.S. Army Air Force Captain R. W. B. Lewis]
COMANDANTE CAP. G.A.R.I. [Genio Aeronautico Ruolo Ingegneri, Aeronautical Engineer Corps] STIPA LUIGI
CON ALGERI BARI E LANCIANO [wireless connection, Algiers with Bari and Lanciano]
SETTEMBRE 1943—18 GIUGNO 1944 [September 1943 to June 18, 1944]

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At left, Carl with twins Ron and Don, the last-born of his and his wife Nadine’s six children; right, Carl at home on the family farm

I first heard from Crystal Aceves in February 2010, when she wrote, “My grandfather was part of Operation Torch, subtask operation Brushwood. He made it through the amphibious landing and went on to Sicily, where he captured on July 17, 1943.”

Carl was transferred through several camps, the last of which was P.G. 59 in Servigliano.

He kept an account of his war experiences, in which he described the Camp 59 breakout:

“It was on the 8th of September we heard the allies were in Italy and Italy had packed in. What a day! We were free! That’s what we thought. We were held for six more days. We grew very impatient and started to smell a mouse, were they going to turn us loose, today, tomorrow, so we made plans of our own. We’d go on our own. Soon the Germans would come in and take us on to Germany. On the night of the 14th of September we went out under fire through a hole in the wall that had been chiseled by some of the prisoners.”

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I.S.9 agent, partisan leader, and Catholic priest Don Domenico Orlandini “Don Carlo” in the uniform of a military chaplain of the Italian Army, 1945

Several posts on this site concern Italians who, during the war, served as agents for I.S.9 (Intelligence School 9)—also known as “A” Force.

I.S.9′s chief mission was support and rescue of escaped POWs and evaders (E&Es) stranded behind enemy lines. I.S.9 was a division of M.I.9 (British Directorate of Military Intelligence, Section 9), a department of the War Office during WW II.

Last year researcher Brian Sims sent me a series of I.S.9 agent files from the British National Archives. Among the files, Don Domenico Orlandini’s lacks details contained in many of the others—parents, birthplace and residence, educational background, and so on. It does identify him as a priest, and offers this colorful description: “Fair. Medium build. Eyes deep-set. Very active & alert. High-pitched voice. (Smokes, drinks, gambles).”

See “I.S.9 Italian Agents, Part 4.”

Until recently, that was all I knew of Don Domenico. But recently two Italian authors wrote to me with further details.

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This photo was taken in the field of Dux di Pietragalla in 1943, near to the time when Robert Dulac’s plane, known as the Fyrtle Myrtle, was shot down. Vitangelo Di Fino, here 11 years old, is the first child sitting on the ground to the left, wearing a black shirt, a fez on his head, and with his hands crossed. Photos for this post are courtesy of Vitangelo’s daughter, Maddalena Di Fino.

Michele Potenza was 13 years old when he witnessed the downing of an American bomber from the skies over his village of Pietragalla, Italy. It was a memory impressed in his mind for life (see “Lost Airmen Remembered in Pietragalla.”)

Yesterday I learned from Michele of another child who was drawn into this disturbing event.

Vitangelo Di Fino was a boy of 12 when the plane came down, and he was the first on the ground to reach Robert Dulac. He quickly rendered emergency first aid when he saw that Robert was bleeding.


Detail of Vitangelo from the above photo

I asked Michele if he knew whether Robert had suffered head injuries or even had been blinded. Fellow crew member Edward Dzierzynski later noted in the official Missing Air Crew Report that Robert “was seriously injured around the eyes – head” by the crash.

Michele responded:

No, non era cieco. A causa del bail out, nel cadere a terra, si è fratturato il malleolo.

No, [DULAC] was not blinded, [but] due to the bail out, in the fall to the ground he broke his ankle.

Il teste DE FINO Vitangelo, in un’intervista che io ho registrato e che vedro’ anche di mandarti, racconta di aver trovato DULAC a terra, con il malleolo rotto da cui sgorgava molto sangue. DE FINO non dice niente sulle ferite alla testa ed agli occhi: come ripeto egli si preoccupo’ solo di evitare che DULAC potesse morire per emorragia e per questo,non avendo niente di specifico appresso (garze, fasce, disinfettante, cerotti, ecc.), con la sua maglietta fasciò la rottura e consegno’ DULAC ad altri che lo accompagnarono all’Ospedale di POTENZA.

The witness, Vitangelo DE FINO, in an interview that I recorded and I will see that send to you, said he found DULAC on the ground with a broken ankle from which flowed much blood. DE FINO said nothing of wounds to the head and eyes. I repeat, he worried only about preventing DULAC from bleeding to death and for that, not having relevant supplies (gauzes, strips, disinfectant, bandages, etc.), he bandaged the wound with his shirt and delivered DULAC and his companions to Potenza Hospital.

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