Robb-15-25-Jan-44

First page of Captain Robb’s seven-page periodic report

The transcription and notes in this post—a January 1944 “periodic report” filed by Captain Andrew Robb—are by Dr. Luigi Donfrancesco, nephew of I.S.9 agent Andrea Scattini.

Our original access to this document (from the British National Archives) was courtesy of researcher Brian Sims.

This document is a treasury of information, including details on operations and future plans, POWs and evaders recently brought across the lines, and a list of Italian agents at work for I.S.9 at the time.

In a remarkable passage of the report, Captain Robb refers to the outstanding service of these agents:

“In the performance of their extremely difficult and dangerous tasks, the incentive to turn back is great; the incentive to stay on the other side of the line is greater. And yet, of the nine most recently returned, two are hospital cases, three others are receiving daily medical attention. One walked for twenty-four hours through the snow, despite a case of malaria and a bullet wound; another crossed the [Mount] Maiella with a foot too swollen and infected to permit the wearing of a shoe. Only unusual loyalty and determination would produce such results, which, were it allied personnel, we believe would win them immediate military awards.”

Luigi Donfrancesco wrote, “This report gives a perfect idea of all the efforts and risks of rescue operations. It shows the excellent organizational capabilities of I.S.9 officers of the 8th Army and the tremendous job done by Italian agents and guides in helping and saving the POWs.

“We have to remember that winter 1943-1944 was particularly severe in that part of Italy and there was a lot of snow. That made harder the transfer at night and by foot of POWs across the front to the Allied lines.”

See additional I.S.9 reports at “I.S.9 Progress Reports for November 4–21, 1943,” “I.S.9 War Diary—November 17–20, 1943,” “I.S.9 Situation Report—November 3–4, 1943,” “I.S.9 War Diary—December 16–29, 1943,” and “I.S.9 Situation Report—November 12–13, 1943.”

For background information on Captain Andrew Robb, see “I.S.9 Officers—Biography.”

Some corrections in spelling have been made in the transcript below, including the corrected spelling of the comune of Paglieta for Paglietta; Alberto Pietrorazio’s name, which is spelled Pietrorazzo throughout the original document; and the comune of Manoppello, which is spelled Manopelle in the document.

MOST SECRET

PERIODIC REPORT OF No. 5 FIELD SECTION 15 Jan – 25 Jan [January 15–25, 1944].

Following the interrogation of my agent by 5th Corps on Jan 8, and the interest his information aroused, I have, whenever possible, supplied formations with such items of information as were of immediate interest to them. This finally culminated in 4 Ind. Div. [4th Indian Division] sending to me a Cpl. [Corporal] Bjorkman who was about to penetrate to find certain information required by them. Fortunately, as it happened I could give them some indication of where to look and a route through the enemy lines, one of those used by my agents. This was immediately followed by inquiries by 13th Corps; they were contacted. I returned to Lanciano. I was phoned and then told that some of my agents were at 13th Corps H.Q. [Headquarters] where they had been held for interrogation. This meant another visit to Corps at Paglieta and I foresaw that these calls for information, the holding back of agents for interrogation might get out of hands and seriously impede our only object – that of getting exP/Ws [ex prisoners of war] out.

As I had not previously visited the new G1 I Army H.Q. [Intelligence Army Headquarters], I decided to take an early opportunity of doing so and on Jan 20 presented myself at 8[th] Army H.Q. I met the Intelligence Staff and was told that the new G.1. was expecting me in his office. The meeting was as pleasant as it was successful. He said he had been keen to know what “A” Force activities were on his front and had been pleased with our latest haul of 31 [prisoners of war], which had made him the more anxious to meet us. I gave him a picture and the lay-out, stressing Termoli and No. 5 [Field Section] as being of immediate interest to him. He then went on to ask about information and I gave him the picture as above. It was decided, as I stated that my staff could certainly not carry out detailed interrogation of anyone, that the best move was for Army to put someone on the job. He asked which formation H.Q. was nearest to me, and went into detail about distribution of information, etc., and we agreed that the best place was with me at Lanciano. He has since put that into effect and a Sgt. [Sergeant] Callow, already known to me through the N.Z. Div. [New Zealand Division], arrived here while I was at Termoli having reported to H.Q 8 Army and been sent on here as attached to No. 5 “A” Force Field Section.

It was also suggested by Army Intelligence that such “I” [Intelligence] summaries and information helpful to us would be sent by Army.

The impression I got from my visit is that he is extremely interested and will help us in any way to further our efforts. This is further proved by his quick action in sending the Sgt., and he impressed on me that we would always be welcomed at Army HQ., and asked that a note from me about our work, or a visit would be most welcome. The visit lasted about one hour.

The next point of importance is the new plan – FIRSTBORN [evacuation of prisoners of war by sea] – to go into effect about 28/29. Following your signal from Bari I left at once for Termoli where [USAAF Intelligence] Capt. [Richard Warren Barrington] Lewis arrived from Bari the same day.

Major LeFroy, Capt. Lewis, myself and Ermanno [Finocchi] held a conference in the evening when the plan was discussed and finally agreed upon. Major LeFroy contracted to send a copy which should, by now, be with you. It has every chance of success, being extremely simple and as far as possible all contingencies taken care of in advance. It should begin to bear fruit, we anticipate, by the end of the Feb. [February] moon period.

Apart from its use on this plan, the W/T [wireless telegraphy] set will be invaluable to us with regard to RATBERRY A [rescue plan of POWs based on Post “A” – Villa Vinci at Cupra Marittima, Ascoli Piceno – and carried out by the six agents: Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello, Andrea Scattini, Ermanno Finocchi, Fausto Simonetti, “Guido,” and Don Domenico “Carlo” Orlandini] and the general picture and conducting of operations from both sides [of the front].

PART TWO

ACTIVITIES

A great harvest has been reaped in the last ten days, from seeds sown as long ago as November and as recently as the middle of this month. The combination of long-range planning and quick adjustment to circumstances succeeded in bringing through the lines, by the resourcefulness and courage of laboriously trained agents, a total of eighty-seven allied prisoners, from all sectors of the 8th Army front. These results are, of course, encouraging for the future: first, because they are strictly according to the plan, and second, because they prove that RATBERRY A is working as anticipated.

A. SULMONA

[Note. The full names and nicknames of several agents and guides from Sulmona were provided by Professor Ezio Pelino, from Sulmona.]

The return of agents [Alberto] Pietrorazio and Zopito [Di Camillo] with thirty-one prisoners on January 16 has already been reported. As a result of their information a party was immediately formed and dispatched back to Sulmona. The news that there were many prisoners in the Sulmona area – that is, in the town of Sulmona itself, and in the outlying villages to the south and west, along the foot of the mountain – and that among these was a group consisting of Brigadiers [“Generali di Brigata”] Williams and Anderson, Capt. Lawrence and two Sergeant Pilots. L/Bdr. [Lance Bombardier] Hay, who had been Brigadier Williams’ batman [“attendente”], arrived unaided at the last moment with further information which was added to the briefing just as the party was leaving. Hay also requested that a smoke signal be dropped between Sulmona and Introdaqua [Introdacqua] to notify the Brigadier that he had come through and that the route was safe. This request was passed to TAF [Tactical Air Forces].

The party returning to Sulmona included [Alberto] Pietrorazio, Domenico [Silvestri] (a civilian from Sulmona who has been aiding the Brigadiers and who volunteered to return) and two parachutists, Pino [cover name of agent Elio Tremaroli, from San Benedetto del Tronto] and Primo [cover name of Alcide Silenzi]. They carried with them medical supplies to cater to the lumbago and dysentery of Brigadier Williams and Brigadier Anderson respectively, aspirin and rum and a note from Capt. Robb. Their instructions were to proceed as a group to the hideout of the Brigadiers, whereupon two were to return with that party only and two others to collect as many other prisoners as practical and return with them.

These instructions were carried out to the letter and with complete success. The Brigadiers’ party was contacted and the supplies and the note given to them. As arrangements were been made for the return journey, the smoke signal arrived – in fact three signals, dropped by a RAF [Royal Air Force] fighter exactly in the zone requested. This strengthened the determination of the party to make the attempt to come back, and on the night of Jan [January] 24 the two Brigadiers, Capt. Lawrence and the two Sergeant pilots set out with Domenico [Silvestri] and Pino [Elio Tremaroli]. They reached our lines on Jan 25 [1944]. The entire operation, from the time the Brigadiers were first heard of and the plan conceived to the time the party was safely in Casoli [Chieti], took no more than nine days, and the actual operation from the time of departure of the guides to the safe arrival of the Brigadiers’ party a total of six days. Of the persons involved in the scheme, the greatest credit should possibly go to the parachutist, Pino [Elio Tremaroli], who carried out his instructions faultlessly, but very nearly equal commendation should go to all the others.

Meanwhile, Primo [Alcide Silenzi] and [Alberto] Pietrorazio had rounded up further prisoners, according to the plan. At the appointed time, only twenty-three, or about half of these contacts, actually showed up, and these were safely conducted along the route via Palena and Lettopalena to Casoli. This operation, likewise, was carried out according to the briefing given the guides here. Two of the officers rescued insisted on voicing the feelings of the whole party by composing a small report in which Primo [Alcide Silenzi] was commended “for all his work” and was described as most resourceful in a crisis, while [Alberto] Pietrorazio’s knowledge of the route was also commended. One of the crisis in which Primo’s resourcefulness was demonstrated was an encounter with a German sentinel, when Primo succeeded in hoodwinking and diverting until the party had safely passed by.

The total of prisoners brought through from Sulmona by agents from this section [No. 5] thus amount to fifty-nine persons. Other prisoners, however, have arrived and are arriving from Sulmona all the time now, and in fact a general mass movement of the several hundred prisoners previously hiding there is in progress. The news of our successful operations and of the simple and easily learned route has spread rapidly throughout the region, and the great quietus which had existed in Sulmona from October until recently has at last been broken. We have dispatched four more bodies to that area. It has been a most rewarding sideshow, but a sideshow only, and our interests continue to be concentrated much more on the Ratberry line.

B. RATBERRY A

[Note. Plan Ratberry “A” was so named as it was based on Post “A”: Villa Vinci “Boccabianca” (at Cupra Marittima), property of Count Zeno Vinci (see Major John F. Fillingham’s I.S.9 report.) Count Vinci’s wife Andreola, nickname “Babka”, wrote diaries containing details and dates of activities there. In 2007 her diaries, I Diari di Babka 1943–1944, aristocrazia antifascista e missioni segrete, were published by Alessandro Perini.]

RATBERRY A was planned to extend from Fermo to the Pescara river at a time when it was anticipated that the 8th Army would have crossed the Pescara well before Xmas [Christmas]. The line was established and was functioning exactly as preconceived, but as a result of the 8th Army’s bogging down at the Ortona-Orsogna line, prisoners were being bottlenecked at our last post near Nocciano [just north of the Pescara River]. The problem thus arose of how to set up yet one more link between the river and our lines to bring prisoners over this last hurdle. The successful solution of this problem is the achievement of the parachutist Marcello [Andriani? Mentioned in Captain Stipa’s papers], who returned on January 25 with twelve prisoners of the Ratberry variety.

Marcello was dispatched on January 15 with another parachutist, Gregorio [surname unknown], with the following instructions. He was to contact one Nicola [probably Mastrogirolamo, according to Donato Fantacuzzi’s report in Captain Stipa’s papers] at Manoppello [south of Pescara River] and set up there a halfway house. He was then to proceed across the Pescara river where he was to contact “Il Calabrese” [Sergeant Donato Fantacuzzi] in charge of the southernmost Ratberry posts [at Catignano, Nocciano, and Rosciano—all north of Pescara River]. He was to receive from “Il Calabrese” a group of prisoners previously collected there. He was to conduct these prisoners back to our lines, stopping overnight en route at Halfway House at Manoppello.

This is precisely what Marcello did. The other parachutist Gregorio was, unfortunately, seized by the Germans and impressed into carrying rations to and from Guardiagrele. He behaved very creditably throughout, and even found time to cut some German communications before escaping and returning here; but he did not succeed in getting up across the Pescara and so assisting the proposed mission. Marcello [Andriani?], however, went to Manoppello and organized a resting place for transient prisoners; crossed the Pescara; contacted “Il Calabrese” [Sergeant Donato Fantacuzzi]; collected the prisoners; brought them back to Manoppello, rested them at places provided by Nicola [Mastrogirolamo]; and conducted them safely down the rest of the way to Casoli. It would take a very long report to narrate the incidents wherein Marcello’s initiative and quick-thinking saved the day, for he had to shepherd the little group across bridges and highways and open fields under the very noses of the Germans.

More important, however, is the fact that Ratberry A is working and there is every reason to believe it will continue to work. “Il Calabrese” [Donato Fantacuzzi] had received this group of prisoners from the northern posts as arranged, and has already returned north to bring down another group, which will await the arrival of the next pair of agents we send up to him. If handled with discretion, Ratberry A should produce a steady stream of escapees from now on. There appear to be no insurmountable difficulties. The Pescara river was apparently the least of Marcello’s worries, the prisoners crossing it by the bridge below Rosciano in pairs, running counter to a huge amount of German traffic and saluting any German on foot with a casual “Buon Giorno”. This, as other things, was arranged on the spot by Marcello.

C. OTHER SOURCES

Two other groups of prisoners have arrived, brought in by two agents dispatched before Xmas. Antonio [Pantalone, from Guardiagrele], a local guide, conducted eleven through from the Chieti area, and Donato, a parachutist, came in on January 26 with five prisoners, also from this side of the Pescara. These two had been sent to scour a general area, the little pocket west of Chieti and south of the [Pescara] river; across the lines they split up and returned individually with their respective parties.

D. FUTURE PLANS

The two main lines of activity for the immediate future are both connected with Ratberry A. The one proposes to intensify the evacuation process from the present ratberry line, adding thereto the extra dimension of evacuation by sea [plan FIRSTBORN]; the other [MILKY WAY] plans to extend Ratberry North and possibly East to conduct prisoners to Switzerland and/or to Yugoslavia. Separate reports are been sent in on these plans, but they may be summarized here.

1. Activity along the present Ratberry line will be increased by the use of W/T [wireless telecommunications] which permits evacuation by sea, and by the dropping of parachutist agents, who have already crossed the lines and who can now serve as guides to bring back prisoners on foot via Halfway House at Manoppello.

The plan for evacuation by sea has already been transmitted in the form of the plan FIRSTBORN. It should begin to function on or after February 20, according to arrangement made between Major LeFroy, No. 5 Field Section and the agents and operator concerned.

Two parachutists are already in training. It is hoped to add to them, in time for dropping during February, at least five more, and at a later date still two more. These include the parachutists who know the Manoppello region and Marcello [Andriani?], who has already worked with Ratberry, as well as the two who performed so well in the SULMONA operation. Complete briefing for them will be available soon, but it is already planned to drop them at various points along the line, from which points they will work south through Manoppello to Casoli.

2. It is also hoped to extend Ratberry in the other direction [North and East], according to the plan MILKY WAY, a copy of which is attached. This plan speaks for itself, but it must be stated again that, assuming the time necessary for careful briefing and consideration of details, speed is the essential element.

E: APPENDICES

A. Nominal Rolls.

1. Brigadiers’ Party from Sulmona:

1. Brigadier [“Generale di Brigata”] Williams – C.R.A. [Commander, Royal Artillery] 7th Armoured Div. [Division] [“Divisione Corazzata”].

2. Brigadier Anderson – Cameron Highlanders.

3. Capt. [Captain] Lawrence.

4. S/Pilot [Sergeant Pilot] – R.A.F [Royal Air Force].

5. S/Pilot [Sergeant Pilot] Collett – R.A.F. [Royal Air Force].

2. Party conducted by Primo [Alcide Silenzi] from Sulmona:

Name. – Rank. – No. – Regt. [Regiment].

Thornbeck R. – Capt. [Captain] – 135812 – E. Yorks. [East Yorkshire Regiment]

Faulkner M. – Capt. [Captain] – 147293 – R.A. [Royal Artillery]

Jennings R. – Lt. [Lieutenant] – 124008 – R.A. [Royal Artillery]

Phillips L. – S.S.M. [Squadron Sergeant Major] – 2022916 – R.C.S. [Royal Corps of Signals]

Paterson T. – Fl/Sgt. [Flight Sergeant] – 1075398 – R.A.F. [Royal Air Force]

Lavery G. – Sgt. [Sergeant] – 2586874 – R.C.S. [Royal Corps of Signals]

Mebay W. – Sgt. [Sergeant] – 1533191 – R.A. [Royal Artillery]

Levesey J. – Cpl. [Corporal] – 4395787 – G. Howards. [Green Howards]

Beilby J. – Cpl. [Corporal] – 2035798 – R.E. [Royal Engineers]

Davis L. – Cpl. [Corporal] – 3908463 – S.W.B. [South Wales Borders]

Sevely A. – Cpl. [Corporal] – 2585453 – R.C.S. [Royal Corps of Signals]

Wilson C. – L/Cpl. [Lance Corporal] – 19631 – C.T.H. S.A.I. [Cape Town Highlanders, South African Infantry]

Cocum L. – Tpr. – [Trooper] – 10600475 – Recce. [Reconnaissance]

Longan J. – Pte. [Private] – 4395826 – G. Howards. [Green Howards]

Forsyth J. – Pte. [Private] – 792310 – B. Watch. [Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)]

Pursey L. – Pte. [Private] – 11855 – K.R. S.A.I. [perhaps the King’s African Rifles, South African Infantry]

Clarke H. – Pte. [Private] – 4983924 – S. Foresters. [Sherwood Foresters Regiment]

Holland W. – Rfn. [Rifleman] – 6915100 – R.B. [Rifle Brigade]

Dowler E. – Rfn. [Rifleman] – 6916868 – R.B. [Rifle Brigade]

Wright A. – Pte. [Private] – 4459146 – D.L.I. [Durham Light Infantry]

Jarvie J. – Gnr. [Gunner] – 15737162 – R.A. [Royal Artillery]

Stevens W. – Pte. [Private] – 219837 – R.A.S.C. [Royal Army Service Corps]

Gascor J. – Sgt. [Sergeant] – French Foreign Legn. [Legion]

Plus one Pole.

3. Ratberry A Party:

Ward P. – P.O. [Petty Officer, “Sottufficiale”] – D/JX134801 – R.N. [Royal Navy].

Brenner S. – Pte. [Private] – 2930147 – Q.O.C.H. [Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders]

Scott A.J. – Sgt. [Sergeant]– 1469252 – Q.O.C.H. [Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders]

Pallister S. – Pte. [Private] – 4385941 Worc. [Worcestershire Regiment]

Laird G. – Gnr. [Gunner] – 1120388 – R.H.A. [Royal Horse Artillery]

Turner A.J. – Pte. [Private] – 5258958 – Worc. [Worcestershire Regiment]

Demmer D.P. – Corporal – 214215 – U.D.F.S.A. [Union Defence Force (South Africa)]

Osborne W. – Pte. [Private] – 2983205 – A.S.H. [Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders]

Stubbs H. – Pte. [Private] – 2934656 – Q.O.C.H. [Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders]

Galvan C. – Pte. [Private] – 22120 – 2 N.Z.E.F. [2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force]

Finnie W.–S/C DR [Sergeant Chef Director] – 7589124 – R.A.O.C. [Royal Army Ordnance Corps]

*Lloyd E. – Pte. [Private] – 6458502 – E. Welch. [perhaps the East Lancashire Regiment of the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division]

This man was exhausted and is to be collected by an Italian farmer about 10 Kilometers from CASOLI.

Donato’s [Donato Fantacuzzi] party (three names missing):

Toye R. – Sgt. [Sergeant] – T/6973313 – 49 Cov. R.A.S.C. [49th Company, Royal Army Service Corps]

Bourke F.G. – Cpl. [Corporal] – 7890321 – Ist. D.F. [perhaps the 1st Infantry Division, Union Defence Force (South Africa)]

plus three others from Ratberry A.

B. Nominal Rolls of Agents at present employed.

No matter how careful the planning and the briefing, all operations depend in the last analysis upon the agents selected to carry them out. This section is happy to say that it has now a nucleus of agents upon whom it can depend to perform the missions assigned to them. The parachutists selected by Capt. Benello have done extremely well, as this report indicates. It is most important, however, not to engage agents in a haphazard manner or simply because they have at one time or another crossed the lines at some point. In the performance of their extremely difficult and dangerous tasks, the incentive to turn back is great; the incentive to stay on the other side of the line is greater. And yet, of the nine most recently returned, two are hospital cases, three others are receiving daily medical attention. One walked for twenty-four hours through the snow, despite a case of malaria and a bullet wound; another crossed the [Mount] Maiella with a foot too swollen and infected to permit the wearing of a shoe. Only unusual loyalty and determination would produce such results, which, were it allied personnel, we believe would win them immediate military awards. The point is that such loyalty cannot be expected from the normal person. It results first, of course, from the personalities of the agents involved, second, from the treatment accorded to them while they are with us and when they return to us.

The nominal roll of these agents, as requested by you, follows:

1. Parachutists

Lt. [Lieutenant, Tenente] [Alberto] Orlandi – In charge of the reception, dispatching and listening post at Casoli. [See “‘Remarkable Gallantry’ of Lt. Alberto Orlandi”]:

Pino [cover name Elio Tremaroli, from San Benedetto del Tronto] – Acted as “spy” at [Passo/Pass] San Leonardo [on Mount “Maiella”, East of Sulmona] to discover route through Canadian lines; led the Brigadiers’ party from Sulmona; now ready for paratraining.

Primo [cover name Alcide Silenzi] – Made one unsuccessful attempt to penetrate lines and was seized by a British patrol; conducted party of twenty-three prisoners from Sulmona; ready for paratraining when foot heals.

Marcello [Andriani? See Captain Stipa’s papers]. Established Halfway House [at Manoppello] and conducted twelve prisoners from Ratberry post at Nocciano to lines; now ready for paratraining.

Gregorio [surname unknown] – Dispatched with guide Marcello (perhaps Andriani, see above), but seized by Germans, escaped and returned here; now ready for paratraining.

Donato [surname unknown] – Conducted five prisoners from Chieti area to lines; ready for paratraining only after bout of malaria cured.

Antonio [Negri? Cover name “Renato Rossi”?] – Made unsuccessful attempt to penetrate lines and contact “Il Calabrese” [Sergeant Donato Fantacuzzi]; now undergoing paratraining [see report by Captain Stipa].

Angelo [surname unknown] – Made unsuccessful attempt as above with Antonio; now undergoing paratraining.

Mario [perhaps Mottes, or another] – Assisted in later stages of rescue of Brigadiers; now ready for paratraining.

Giuseppe [Pierantozzi] – Penetrated lines and seized by Germans; severe interrogation, escaped and returned to us [see Captain Stipa’s report]; now ready for paratraining.

Umberto [Baldini? from Nereto, Teramo? Brother of Roberto Baldini, Captain Stipa’s collaborator?] – Penetrated lines with another guide, non-parachutist [Marcello “il Gobbo” – “Humpback” – see below], to carry message to Hugo [Uguccione RANIERI di Sorbello, see “I.S.9 Captain Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello”]; still at large.

Plus one parachutist already dropped at RATBERRY.

[Note. Parachutists “Battista” [full name unknown] and Mario Mottes were dropped at Porchia (near Montalto Marche) on January 17, 1944. Mario Mottes’ parachute opened late and he suffered from ribs fractures, and therefore was unable to return to the Allied lines. On March 10, the Gestapo and S.S. raided the base of Porchia and captured him. He was interrogated and next day, on March 11, 1944, he was shot with three POWs. See reports by Captain Stipa and “Honor Recommended for Mario Mottes”]:

2. Other Italian Army Personnel:

Lt. [Lieutenant, “Tenente”] Dario [surname unknown] – acted as listening post and receiving post at San Vito [Chietino]; now C.C. [Corpo Carabinieri?] agents, stores, etc. to be part of scheme MILKY WAY [see above].

3. Local Guides

Antonio [Pantalone, from Guardiagrele] – has performed many missions; most recent batch of prisoners, eleven from Chieti.

Zopito Di Camillo – has already done good work since Nov. [November] Helped with the thirty-one ex P/Ws [ex-prisoners of war] from Sulmona.

Alberto Pietrorazzo [Pietrorazio, nickname “Le oss”] – several missions; helped bring through twenty-three from same area.

Marcello [surname unknown, nickname “il Gobbo” or “il Gobbetto” – “Humpback”] – Dispatched with parachutist Umberto [Baldini] to carry messages to Hugo [Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello, see link above].

[Note. This non-parachutist guide is mentioned in Captain Stipa’s papers as “Marcello “il Gobbo” or “il Gobbetto” – Humpback” or “Marcello secondo” – second, in order to distinguish him from the other Marcello, parachutist, listed above.

He is also mentioned by “A” Force Agent Elio Tremaroli (cover name “Pino,” see above), when interviewed in 2005 by Alessando Perini (see page 174 of his book I Diari di Babka). Elio says that after he and parachutist Molesini were captured by the Germans (end of February 1944, while trying to cross the lines near Guardiagrele) and interrogated, they suspected that Marcello “Humpback”, Captain Stipa’s collaborator from Milan, could have revealed secret information to the Germans. A few months later, USAAF Intelligence Captain Richard W. B. Lewis warned Elio that Marcello was probably an infiltrated spy and told Elio to eliminate him as soon as he was sure about it. But Elio replied “I am sorry, I will hand him over to you [the Allies], I am unable of killing cold blood.” Elio does not say what happened after that].

Emilio Galeo – in Hospital for operation.

4. Civilian Helpers

Domenico [SILVESTRI, nick name “Minguccio”] – resident of Sulmona; helped bring through 31 from Sulmona and returned to assist with Brigadiers’ party.

Gino [RANALLI, nick name “Mezzabotte”] – same as above.

5. Ratberry Agents On This Side [of the front]

Andrea [Scattini] – returned from Hugo [Uguccione Ranieri di Sorbello]; [In his previous December 16–29 report, Captain Robb states that Andrea arrived at the Allied lines of the New Zealand Division with ex-POW Lance Corporal Spiro on December 21, 1943]; presently acting as intelligence officer for briefing, etc. one of the original planners of MILKY WAY [Plan to extend Ratberry North and possibly East, to take POWs to Switzerland and/or to Yugoslavia, see above].

[See “Andrea Scattini—Youthful I.S.9 Agent” and “A Letter of Tribute to Andrea Scattini.”]

Ermanno [Finocchi] – same as above. [See “Ermanno Finocchi to ‘Carlo’ Orlandini.”]

Fausto [Simonetti] – awaiting immediate return to Ratberry.

[Spartaco] Perini – returning with Fausto [Simonetti]. [See “I.S.9 Agent Spartaco Perini.”]

[Andrew] Robb [signed]
Capt. [Captain]

No. 5 “A” Force Field Sec. [Section]
In the Field [Lanciano], Jan [January] 28, [19]44.

Advertisements