A different D-day

6th Jun 1944, D-day. Elsewhere in the theatre of war, another story…

A couple of years ago my big brother Umberto, whilst researching the deeds of derring do of my grandad’s unit during the late stages of WWII, a tiny Air Force squadron of torpedo bombers, came across this news footage from the 6th Jun 1944.

The night before D-day, the Italians who had stuck with Mussolini after the Armistice in 1943 had planned a daring attack against the Allied fleet amassing in the Mediterranean, with many warships docked in Gibraltar.

The aim of the successful mission, which involved going across France and Spain and back overnight, flying very close to the ground and sea to remain undetected by radar, was to grab the headlines and give a boost to the sapping morale of the armies of the Axis.

… alàs, and for the good of the world, they were somewhat upstaged by the storming of the Normandy beaches.

What makes the movie Umberto found very special to our family is that, much to our surprise, my grandad features clearly for a couple of seconds: between 15-17”, shaking hands with the pilot after the landing and then turning to face the camera 🎥.

Nonno Stefano was a topographer and officer in charge of logistics and flight planning. Unfortunately my brother came across this a couple of years after he died (RIP).


*Note: a friend found these references to the Gibraltar attacks in wikipedia (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_history_of_Gibraltar_during_World_War_II#Italian_bombing_of_Gibraltar).

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