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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:

REPORT ATTACHED TO PROPOSAL OF SILVER MEDAL “TO MILITARY BRAVERY, IN MEMORIUM” to Sergeant Radio-Telegrapher Paratrooper of the Army Mario MOTTES

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
Residence: PERGINE VALSUGANA (TRENTO)
Shot at MONTALTO (MARCHE) on March 10, 1944

Sergeant R.T. Paratrooper Mario MOTTES was air dropped on January 17, 1944 near the site of the “Stipa Group” in Appignano del Tronto, to start service as Voluntary Partisan Radio-Telegrapher, sent by the Termoli “A Force” Command.

His drop occurred at about hour 24 (midnight) in the area of Porchia [Montalto Marche] from an altitude of about 500 meters but, unfortunately, his parachute opened after considerable delay, such that MOTTES violently struck the ground, receiving severe contusions and wounds all over his body. He was helped by the Porchia section of Stipa group, commanded by Lieutenant “NANNI” Giovannetti. He was looked after there [at Porchia] and, as soon as he was able to move, he presented to me to establish contacts and agreements for missions of taking beyond the Pescara river groups of Allied prisoners collected in the area, as well as for radio-telegraphic connection with Bari, Termoli, etc.

After returning to Porchia from one of his missions, on March 10, 1944 Sergeant MOTTES was captured by Gestapo agents, who for some time had been investigating the ranks of the Marche partisan organization, and on same day he was shot by them with three Allied prisoners of war at Montedinove-Ponte Dragone, near Montalto Marche.

For the highest moral and military qualities shown by MOTTES in voluntarily undertaking the above most dangerous task, driven only by great love for his country and by a deeply rooted and admirable sense of military duty, as well as for showing courage in carrying out missions while physically crippled, and further, by resisting torture by his captors, without revealing anything that could cause discovery of the partisan organization and of his companions, preferring death to delation that could save him, I propose him for the award of “Silver Medal for Military Bravery, in Memoriam” with the following citation:

“VOLUNTARY PARTISAN FOR THE WAR OF LIBERATION OF NATIONAL TERRITORY FROM THE GERMANS, HE CARRIED OUT NUMEROUS CONNECTIONS BETWEEN THE CORNERSONES OF THE GROUPS HE BELONGED TO, ACTING BETWEEN THE DANGERS OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE IN ENEMY OCCUPIED TERRITORY AND REPEATEDLY CROSSING THE BATTLEFRONT TO BRING ORDERS AND PRECIOUS INFORMATION FOR THE ALLIES. AIR LAUNCHED DURING A DANGEROUS MISSION AND HAVING REMAINED SERIOUSLY CONTUSED DUE TO THE LATE OPENING OF HIS PARACHUTE, WITH HEROIC EFFORT OF WILL HE AVOIDED IMMEDIATE CAPTURE IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE TASK ENTRUSTED TO HIM. LATER, AFTER RETURNING FROM ONE OF HIS MANY MISSIONS, HE WAS CAPTURED AND SHOT BY THE ENEMY, HAVING BRAVELY RESISTED TORTURE INFLICTED TO HIM AND HAVING NOT REVEALED THE PARTISAN ORGANIZATION AND THE NAMES OF HIS COMPANIONS.

[HIS WAS A] MAGNIFICENT EXAMPLE OF LOVE OF HIS HOMELAND AND OF FAITHFUL DEDICATION TO DUTY.

Major Engineer Luigi Stipa

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The second page of Major Stipa’s letter

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Mario Mottes’s birth certificate

Luigi Donfrancesco requested a copy of Mario’s birth certificate from the comune of Pergine Valsugana in order to clear confusion regarding the spelling of his last name. The certificate confirms that it is Mottes. Therefore his surname Mootes on the Offida Monument is not correct.

Here is information from the birth certificate:

Mario Raoul MOTTES was born in Bruxelles (Belgium) on November 18, 1919.

His father was Achille Oscar MOTTES, born in Teheran (Persia, now Iran); his mother was Pia PAOLI, born in Pergine Valsugana (Trento, TN, Italy).

Mario’s birth abroad in 1919 was registered in Italy in 1930, when he was 11.

Luigi said Pergine Valsugana has no record of Mario’s death at Montalto Marche, Ascoli Piceno, in March 1944—at age 24.