A War Hero

A man

Luigi Ferraro took part in the Second World War as a Volunteer. Admitted to the Reserve Officer Training Course and commissioned as Second Lieutenant, he was assigned to the 20th Field Artillery Regiment. Later placed at the disposal of the Maritime Artillery Militia (Milmart), which was subordinate to the Italian Navy Ministry, in 1942 he was given command of a anti-ship shore battery. He applied and was admitted to the Diving School in Livorno and, after obtaining the qualification, he joined the "Gamma" Group in the X MAS, of which he subsequently became the Deputy Commander and Instructor.

In May 1943, he was deployed to Turkey entrusted with the task of carrying out sabotage actions against enemy merchant ships. From information received, it emerged that this country was supplying England with chrome, a material of military interest. As a result, it was decided to prevent this maritime provisioning. Because of the geographical position of the Port of Iskenderun, on the mainland opposite Cyprus, steamships had to anchor in the roads two or three thousand metres offshore. The idea was that a commando could take limpet mines to the ships and subsequently mine them.

The solution was to employ a "Gamma" member and the man chosen for this task was Luigi Ferraro. Without drawing attention, he was sent to Turkey under diplomatic cover, with suitcases full of explosive devices, to become an officer at the Italian Consulate in Iskenderun. And thus Operazione Stella, as it is known in the coded jargon of secret missions, began.
Between June and August 1943, he led four sabotage attacks against enemy merchant ships in the ports of Iskenderun and Mersina. In Iskenderun, on the evening of the 30th of June, he attached two limpet mines to the keel of the 7,000 grt Greek steamship Orion , loaded with chrome ore, which sank on the following morning, a few miles away from the port. On the 9th of July, working from the port of Mersina, he performed the same operation on the 10,000 grt steamship Kaituna, , which sustained severe damage and was beached on the coast of Cyprus to prevent it from sinking. Ferraro repeated the action once more, in Mersina, on the evening of the 30th of July, on the British steamship the Sicilian Prince, which did not suffer any damage as an underwater hull inspection enabled British divers to remove the limpet mines.

The attack carried out on the 1st of August against the 7,000 grt Norwegian motor-ship Fernplant, , had a more successful outcome. She was also loaded with chrome ore and was anchored in the port of Iskenderun. Fernplant ended up sinking in the waters of the Syrian coastline.
His actions earned Luigi Ferraro the Gold Medal for Military Valour.

 

IMAGES

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Luigi Ferraro wearing  light diving equipment
Luigi Ferraro wearing light diving equipment
A mock up of limpet mines with two original clamps
A mock up of limpet mines with two original clamps
Original clamp
Original clamp


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Orion

June 30th, 1943 - Iskenderun - Turkey. The man swims on his back towards the ship, but keeps his arms hanging loosely along his sides, motionless, and advances using only his outstretched legs, alternately, just as in competitive backstroke. The thrust of his legs, aided by the pair of rubber fins he is wearing on his feet, compensates for the loss of arm traction. These fins were a secret device. They are heavy enough to hold the swimmer's feet under the water surface to avoid splashes or any suspicious noises. Utter silence and absolute invisibility are an essential part of the equipment and armament of any man enrolled in the “Gamma” Group.

Men belonging to the Gamma Group, in the Decima Flottiglia MAS of the Italian Royal Navy, have many problems to contend with. They are not allowed to emit a single sound and know only one colour: black. Black like the rubber fins, black like the dive suit covering the entire body of the commando, black like the ragged veil concealing his face, the thick woollen Phrygian cap supporting the greenish veil. A dive mask would be inconceivable, the front glass could reflect any insignificant glimmer of light and the invisible enemy would no longer be so.

The ship is still far out, there is no noise to be heard, not a voice. No light can be seen, not even a glimmer, which would help him to stay on course. Yet it is too close for the Gamma to be able to afford the luxury of a single cough, or exhaling like a whale to expel all the salt water entering his nose. Someone, on board, might be able to hear that faint noise and become suspicious, raise the alarm, direct floodlight beams against the black surface of the sea, then get the machine gun to aim at  the floodlit puddles - the commando would have no escape. Of course, if they aimed a burst of machine gun fire at him and a couple of shots hit one, or even both explosive limpet mines the attacker carries with him, the mission of the Gamma would fail. He would die in vane and the operations his fellow soldiers are preparing elsewhere in the Mediterranean would be uncovered and stopped in time by the enemy.

He slices through the water, kicking the secret weapon, his fins, and drags the limpet mines he has to apply towards the target. He keeps them at his sides, well packed with explosives, his arms resting on them so he can control them with his hands and be more comfortable. They are kept in place by two cords passing through the same number of rings, which, in turn, are fixed to the swimmer's shoulders with two braces. These, combined with the tight belt around the waist, form a strong harness. Supported by appropriate floats, he also uses the two devices for support and to catch his breath now and again.
Sometimes he swims on his side. Now on the right, now on the left. In this way, he can look around without ever losing sight of his target, while following the shortest route.

Finally, only a few dozen metres of dark water lay between him and his goal. The Gamma Man deflates the limpet mines' floats a little, with extreme care. The devices disappear under the surface but do not sink, they just remain there, hanging just below the water surface. He has only enough strength left to kick his fins and advance at an almost imperceptible speed, like that of a dead body adrift. His head tilted backwards, under the veil his eyes remain wide open in the darkness of the water. He is fully immersed, helped by the limpet mines, which are now slightly heavy. Only his nostrils and mouth show above the water. He expels the water from his mouth without any problems. But not from his nose. The Gamma knows that if he blew it out, the salty liquid would stimulate the mucous lining and he would inevitably cough. He makes up for it by swallowing. There is no other solution. He knows it will leave him burning with thirst, and that he will have to stand it, as he will have to stand the cold, the nervous tension, the fear. Minor troubles.

There is no sign to be seen or sound revealing his presence below the merchant ship loaded with chrome. Using the bare fingertips of his black-smeared hands, the commando feels the iron underside of the ship until he recognises the typical bulge of the welding; an unquestionable indication of the edges of two superimposed metal sheets. All he has left to do now is to tell, by touch, the long joints of the metal sheets indicating the hull's longitudinal axis from the short ones that run along the transverse axis.
By feeling, tapping and stroking the hull, the Gamma Man reaches what he believes is the centre of the ship and, from here, locates the bilge keel on the right side. His moves are confident and brisk, like a blind man since birth. The limpet mine is in place, a cylinder casing containing twelve kilograms of an explosive that is more powerful than trinitrotoluene (TNT), designed exactly for this purpose. The commando fixes it to one extremity of the keel with two clamps, tightening them firmly. His practised hands also serve as torque wrenches. He extracts the pointed knife from its sheath which he carries on his belt, and tears the limpet mine's float. Now he moves on to the second one, on the other extremity of the same keel. Because if the ship is equipped with a longitudinal watertight bulkhead, the section damaged by the mines would remain balanced and the ship would not sink. Instead, by generating two leaks on the same side of the hull, one at the front, one at the rear, the ship will tilt, then capsize and sink. Everything has been studied and calculated, each gesture is the product of careful thought and planning.

Should all go well, he knows there will be no letters of commendation or articles in the newspapers. He also knows that should it all go wrong, he could end up in a concentration camp with  POW imprinted on his coat (Prisoner of War). Should he get nailed ... he will not be held prisoner but shot at once. They would take him for a spy, a saboteur. Yes. But a civilian nonetheless. Someone to be executed without trial.

Now the second charge is in place. They will explode and the ship will sink outside territorial waters. The enemy will think it was hit by a submarine, as it incorporates a time and distance measuring device to set off the explosive. A small propeller that will only start spinning once the ship has reached the speed of five knots, releasing the catch of the clock. This, in turn, will trigger the detonator after a certain number of hours.

Mission complete.

But it’s too soon to say that; he has to return to the beach, his secret base, without letting anyone spot him. Now he beats his fins in silence in the direction of the beach, a good mile and a half away from the anchored ship that will sink in less than a few hours.

Finally he reaches land, in a wet, ragged silence. He is no longer carrying the limpet mines and advances, swift and invisible, in his black dive suit, the veil still concealing his face. It is three o' clock in the morning and, at last, there is not a soul in sight.

The Gamma Man dries himself off with the bath robe he left in the cabin, puts his clothes back on and heads to the Royal Italian Consulate. Giovanni Roccardi, D65 SIS agent who helps him out and who is the only person aware of Ferraro's true identity, anxiously awaits him. Mission complete. Now he can say it. The consul is also waiting for him. The secret agent has only just informed him of the true identity of this bizarre employee of his and on the nature of his assignment. Now that the consul is aware of it, he can stay here for the night. It is almost four in the morning. It is not worth walking all the way to his accommodation at the Carmelite Convent, where the secret service official from the Italian Navy placed him, as it was safer than a hotel room. And the monks know that he is a civil servant at the Italian Consulate in Iskenderun and would certainly not impose their time schedules upon him. Besides, what harm could someone like him do? Luigi Ferraro, a young man from Genoa who cannot even swim. Who, instead of going to war, managed to skulk behind a typewriter in a remote consulate, in a neutral country town. "A person with connections" the father guardian thought to himself, the moment he first laid eyes on him." (1)

IMAGES

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The fin employed in the wartime actions
The fin employed in the wartime actions
The woollen cap supporting the greenish veil for face concealing
The woollen cap supporting the greenish veil for face concealing
Original limpet mine floats with limpet mine mock up
Original limpet mine floats with limpet mine mock up
The eight fuse safety catches used in the wartime actions
The eight fuse safety catches used in the wartime actions
The original Panerai watch utilised by Ferraro
The original Panerai watch utilised by Ferraro
A sample of oxygen rebreather used by Gamma commandos
A sample of oxygen rebreather used by Gamma commandos
Panerai Compass and Nose clip donated by Ferraro to Comsubin who preserves them in the Historical Room with other relics
Panerai Compass and Nose clip donated by Ferraro to Comsubin who preserves them in the Historical Room with other relics


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Kaituna

The second operation takes place on the 9th of July in the port of Mersina. At 22:20 Ferraro lowers himself into the water and starts swimming in the direction of the merchant ship Kaituna, anchored two or three kilometres away. At one o' clock in the morning he is forty metres from the bow of his target. He floats along the surface of the sea, slowly creeping towards the ship, a veil concealing his face: a brown tuft of seaweed. As his body touches the steel bulb, the commando stays unmoving: he must regain his strength, slow his heart beat, his breath's rhythm. He is on his way again. The brown tuft of seaweed gradually rolls away, sliding along the right side of the ship.

As he reaches the bilge keel on the right he stops, and slowly vanishes into the sea. Ferraro starts breathing pure oxygen from his rebreather and has dived . Weighing on him, an unsettling feeling that he might have detected, by touch, of course, a verrina - a cable that is passed from one side to the other underneath the keel and run from bow to stern and back to check that there are no foreign objects on the ship; bugs, limpet mines or other tricks devised by the enemy. The commando immediately finds the keel, moves to the rear, attaches the first limpet mine, tearing its float and pulls out the fuse safety catch. One down. Now, without losing contact with the keel, he pushes towards the front where the second limpet mine has to be placed. Damn! And there was the verrina. Ferraro is perplexed, hesitant, worried. He still decides to attach the second charge, nonetheless, securing it well with the clamps. He takes all necessary actions so that the limpet mines are ready to explode. But he becomes uncertain: "should I remove those limpets? What if they find them with the verrina ... " He checks the sliding connector: he verified its functionality in person. It is a device that has been especially designed and developed to deceive the enemy's verrine: "no... it should work, they'll never find them ... "
After leaving the bilge keel, he approaches the centre of the hull, following the keel up to the bow. At 1:40 he returns to breathe in sea air, he repeats his forty metre "stroll", moving away from the position of the mined ship, swimming vertically. His face, a bush of brown seaweed again, floating idle on the water's mirror surface. And finally, weightless, he stretches out and swims as fast as possible.
At 3 in the morning Ferraro reaches the shore.
Following the explosion of the limpet mines, the Kaituna will sustain serious damage and, to prevent it from sinking, it will be beached on the coast of Cyprus.
(1)

 

IMAGES

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KAITUNA
KAITUNA


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Sicilian Prince

The third target: the Sicilian Prince, flying the British flag and 4,500 grt., is attacked during the night of the 30th of July.
The ship is distant, further away than the others: at least four kilometres offshore. Ferraro has covered just one kilometre when he hears a sound, a snort, a light gurgle, followed by the shifting of the water mass in which the commando is immersed. The unwelcome and unidentified travel companion re-emerges from time to time, breathing noisily. Then all at once, shortly before entering the "danger zone", within visual and hearing range of the ship’s crew, the mysterious beast recedes, leaving silence and darkness all around him.
Once again, the commando starts swimming towards his target, he has already wasted too much time. But he is winded. He leans on the floats attached to the limpet mines for a few moments, to catch his breath.
At 2 in the morning he is 30-40 metres away from the bow of the steamship. Then he reaches the ship, gliding through the water surface with imperceptible movements. His body, sheathed in his black dive suit, is entirely indiscernible, the limpet mines floating below him in mid-water. Sliding along the right side of the ship, he arrives at the bilge keel. He dives down, attaching a limpet mine by the stern first, then another by the bow, he fixes the connector ("There is no verrina here, but they could always run it later"). Following the same steps he took for the Kaituna attack, he gets to the keel of the ship, trails along it up to the bow, using his hands. Next, he emerges, swims away from the hull, vertically. And finally sets out swiftly, silently, invisibly towards the beach.
It is 2:30 in the morning. He has been in the water for four hours. He reaches the shore at 4 and finds the sack that the D65 left on a pier, as agreed. He places the equipment inside it and, with great caution, heads towards the back door of the Consulate, not more than ten metres away from the sea.
(1)
Ferraro's efforts, however, will be in vain on this occasion as the Sicilian Prince will be inspected by British divers, who will find the limpet mines and remove them before the ship goes out to sea.

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Fernplant

Less than two days later, right in Iskenderun, there is a great opportunity to make the best use of the last two limpet mines. At 2,000 metres from the beach, the Fernplant is anchored, a Norwegian steamship with an overall length of 127 metres, a tonnage of 5,274 tons and a deadweight tonnage of 7,000. It is loaded with 6,000 tons of chrome ore.
It's twenty minutes past midnight and Ferraro can proceed to attack.
Next to the Fernplant there is a Turkish merchant ship loaded with chrome ore that has to be transferred onto the Norwegian steamship. Both ships appear lit by the light of daylight: the right side of the ship is also lit and, at about 4 metres from the extremity of the bow, two powerful floodlights, one on each side, cast their beams of light onto the hull and over the water. Ferraro, keeping at a due distance, starts circling the target in the hope of spotting, along the side, an area that is not so bright, which would enable him to approach. But in vain: a battery of seven floodlights on each side pours powerful beams of light against the sides of the ship and over the sea. The only solution is to attempt an approach from the bow: by the bow the brightness dims a little, and it is less likely that there are people about.
It is two in the morning when the commando reaches the bow, his favourite point of attack. He surfaces for a few moments where no one can notice him. He looks up, checks all around, then starts breathing from his oxygen rebreather, dives again along the bow, using his bare fingers to keep contact with the keel. At this point, he measures the approximate distance he has covered by extending out his arms out like a compass. And when he believes that he is half way down the ship, he retracts from the keel heading towards where the starboard bilge keel should be. The dazzling glow of the floodlights, which before his dive posed the most serious danger, now turn in his favour: below the water surface there is no longer absolute darkness, but a diffused silver twilight that helps the Gamma Man to make out the outline of the starboard keel.
He places the first limpet mine at the front of the keel, tightening the clamps, fixes the sliding connector, extracts the pin that holds the propeller in place, tears the floats using his knife and moves towards the rear of the keel, repeating the entire procedure with confidence. All done. At 2:30 he re-emerges from below the ship, exactly in the same spot where he initially entered the water.
The motor-ship Fernplant will end up sinking in the waters off the Syrian coastline.

(1)

IMAGES

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Fernplant
Fernplant


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After September 8th

After the war was lost, Ferraro persevered with another war, until the final defeat in 1945. In this war, he didn't kill anyone, never fired against other Italians. On the contrary, in agreement with the partisans who, in theory, were his enemies, he saved men and important industrial estates from the Nazi retaliation.
The “Gamma” Group “Licio Visintini”, of which Ferraro was part, did not dissolve on September 8th 1943. Instead, it was fully handed over to the R.S.I. From November 1943, he was in Valdagno (Vicenza). In January 1945, the "Gamma Group" was split into various Squads, which would have had to act behind enemy lines to carry out sabotage as the front line advanced. In April 1945, some of these Squads were already stationed in the areas where they were scheduled to operate. The Command stayed in Valdagno with Ferraro and about forty men. The Commanding Officer Wolk was given another assignment and was transferred to Venice.
A partisan brigade named "Stella" used to operate in that region. It never attacked the lodgings of the "Gamma", on the contrary, it agreed a modus vivendi with Ferraro and his men, often requesting for the direct intervention of the Commander of the "Tenth" flottilla with the Germans, in order to avoid unnecessary destruction and death. In this respect, Ferraro reports as follows:

"On April 26th, the Council Secretary and two representatives of the C.L.N. came here and said: "The authority passed from the Social Republic over to the C.L.N., we need your help [ ... ] there is a German column that wants to blow up the bridge and the premises". I answered that I was and remained the highest military authority in the country. Therefore, in order to save the bridge and the Marzotto premises, I would have to intervene in person by leading the German column out of Valdagno, without causing any difficulty to the partisans.
I went to negotiate. The column wanted to pass through Valdagno and I needed some guarantees on the part of the C.L.N in order to make an agreement with the Germans.
Dressed as the "X Mas" Commander, on the day following the liberation I went into the village. I was looking for valid partisan leaders, but each one of them claimed to be a leader. Finally, I found two guys in the centre of Valdagno, whom I felt I could rely upon more. Same discussions, same promises.
Then, when I returned to the column's Commander, a German captain, and after I gave him the assurances I received, he said: "You have to follow me". I was on my motorbike. The Captain, pointing his gun at me, followed me together with the column. Everything went smoothly and we went through Valdagno without any problems. Outside the village, I said goodbye and came back.
This episode lasted around fifteen days. On one occasion, a German column, instead of stopping near Valdagno, decided to stop at Cernedo, 5 kilometers before the town. An official arrived with an interpreter from Trieste, saying that they intended to take a number of hostages. The discussion lasted for many hours. In the afternoon, a crackle of firearms came from the undergrowth. There was great alarm among the Germans. A marshal pointed a machine-gun at my chest, I snatched it away from him and started shouting curses at him and at everyone else. An officer rushed towards us, a Major, who, in a low tone, told me he was prepared to believe me and to accept my suggestions. "Head to Vicenza and go through the Schio valley".
They all followed me, the Major with the entire column. I led the way as usual, on my motorbike. Then we said goodbye. At the last moment, the Major said: "You should stop here, we have to go [ ... ] give me your motorbike, we need it more than you do". I gave him the motorbike, then I realised that I was 5 kilometres away from Valdagno and I was alone with a sailor. In Valdagno I was protected by the C.L.N., but there I definitely wasn't. So we went in the river and made our way back that way.
In the meanwhile, on a daily basis, I was discharging the sailors of the Group one by one, with safe conduct by the "Stella" Brigade. Eventually I was left alone with some non-commissioned officers. One day, to prevent the Germans from passing through, the partisans told me they intended to blow up the bridge, but I objected. It would have been a terrible mistake. "I will mine it myself" I told them "But I'll only blow it up if I'm forced to". I went there with my non-commissioned officers and I mined the bridge, standing by to detonate the explosive. "If the Germans execute me, go ahead with the blast, otherwise everything should stay as it is" I ordered the C.L.N. The Germans crossed over again and the bridge was saved.
On one particular day, during the second half of the month of May, something changed in their attitude towards me. The Command of the "Stella" brigade, informed me that they decided to transfer me to Valdagno di Sopra, where a dangerous mob was based. "No chance" I answered. "I have nothing in common with them. You approached me, asked me to cooperate and so I did. If that's how things stand, I'll go back to the barracks". Then another change in attitude. They started talking of safe conduct: it had to be the only logical solution.
"I sent all the Navy material to La Spezia, where it was delivered on a regular basis." As per the rest of the material, I sent it to the Municipal Administration. After gradually discharging all the personnel, I was left completely alone. At the end of May, when everything came to an end, we embraced and said goodbye and I headed to Bergamo where my family lived.
Once all the men were back home, I started hearing that some of them were arrested here and there. So I went to Venice to the allied Command to protest, and the Command sent dispatches to all police departments, so that those arrested were released immediately".

On May 27, Lieutenant Commander Lionel Crabb, a famous Royal Navy "frogman" and Major Antony Marzullo from the U.S. Navy, arrived in Valdagno and offered Ferraro cooperation with the allied navy forces in the war against Japan. Ferraro thanked them for the proposal but refused.
Taken from "Decima Flottiglia Nostra" by Sergio Nesi - Ed. Mursia

IMAGES

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The declaration signed by the Commanders of the "Stella" Brigade crediting Ferraro for his mediation action
The declaration signed by the Commanders of the "Stella" Brigade crediting Ferraro for his mediation action


ALLEGATI

English Text Translation.doc
 
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S. Giovanni Bianco

SAN GIOVANNI BIANCO - SUMMER '45. - "There he is!" As the comrade exclaims, our faces jerk in unison in the direction of the voice. Blimey, at the pier on the opposite shore the "Masked Man" stands upright. And who has ever come across a diver other than in comics? Not even the author of these lines has ever seen anything more than the port dock diver, despite his extended residence in San Remo due to his father's work. We recognise that young man with the chestnut blonde goatee by his athletic figure and his blue shorts. The same man who walked past us not long ago as he played with the little blond boy splashing about a few steps away. Now he is talking to him from the pier on our shore. Cautiously, we move towards the bridge. Rather than the strange goggles that almost cover his face, his enormous webbed feet and the equipment of that mysterious character, we are more intrigued by the object he is holding. It is certainly a weapon, but we have never seen anything like it before. And I must say, that after meeting the German Army, various militants from the Social Republic, partisans and other soldiers, we were used to seeing rifles and machine guns. This one, on first glance, reminds us of a machine pistol as it is longer and more slender, but it does not have
a charger and features a kind of "fork" at the barrel end.

The man breathed out and in deeply then lowered himself into the water. Moving his arms in a perfect "crawl", greatly admired by us since we can hardly manage a "doggy paddle", he dived in and started swimming in the direction of the "Orobica" dam. Following up the gravel bed with no further hesitation, we watched him as he moved against the tide together with the little blond boy. We got a glimpse of him stopping for a moment and rapidly manoeuvring his crossbow/musket. Then he re-emerged and we were suddenly surprised by the view of a nice trout dangling from the forked dart that went through it. Returning to the water, he soon had another catch. As he got back to the shore, one of the spectators from our gradually expanding group suggested that he should try in the deep pond underneath the spillway. Smiling, he replied that he caught enough for that day.

Some of my friends, who where present at the event, later told me that he went back and dived into that same spot a few days later: so that he could gather half a dozen trout and graylings, which were stranded in a ravine in the rocky seabed, whipped by the explosion of a carbide device (some think it was actually a hand grenade). It was one of us who threw it, one of the strongest of our gang. After re-emerging, the magnanimous harpooner approached the bomber holding the fish pierced through with a small willow branch and said "Here you go, take them to your mum". The young man left ecstatic with his wonderful treasure: food rationing still persisted at the time, and it was strict. It was only years later that they learned that the "Masked Man" was Luigi Ferraro, the Lieutenant Commander. The Italian Army grapevine circulated word that he was a secret service officer, an ace in the submarine war. Well, that wasn't all that far-fetched. He used to live in Villa Alexandra, with his young son and his wife, a pretty lady, and this was a fact. During his explorations in the Brembo area, he noticed that the seventeenth-century pillars were dangerously deteriorating. He warned the Council, who saw to it immediately. Maybe, if the charming Ponte dei Frati is still standing, we owe it to the sinker from Iskenderun.

Taken from “Le trote del Vescov dopo le navi di Winston” - by Bernardino Luiselli – Ed. 2005 Yearbook by the Italian Alpine Club of the High Brembana Valley.

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Orietta, his wife

In the winter of 1943, in northern Africa, the British Army's VIII Corps advanced after defeating the Italo-Germans in El Alamein and the fall of Tripoli was almost inevitable. Ferraro was then appointed to carry out sabotage actions in his adoptive city once the enemy had occupied it. It was not advisable to employ anyone who was foreign to the area for collaboration purposes, as they would have certainly aroused attention and suspicion.
So Ferraro suggested that they could benefit from his wife's help: they both used to live and work in Tripoli before the war broke out; their return would not raise any suspicion. He was trained for war but, by order of the Colony Governor he continued to carry out his duties as youth educator, so much so that he was called back from the front line he was about to reach. And, indeed she was a woman, and Italian women stay at home, they don't go fighting in uniform as American and British ladies do.
So, in Livorno, Orietta Ferraro started her transformation from P.E. teacher to underwater attacker.
Camouflaged as a sailor, she was picked up late in the morning every day and taken to the Navy Academy’s deserted swimming pool. Working as hard as a sailor or even harder, she got used to wearing the dive suit and the rubber wetsuit and to moving through the water by using her fins. Soon she'll start training and practicing in the sea, hours and hours of backstroke, even carrying mock limpet mines, without charges of course, but identical to the real versions in shape and form. She has less time than her husband but has to reach the same level of training. This took place for over 40 days after leaving her three year old son with his grandparents. But this was the extent of the Ferraro's family love for their home country. In 1848, Orietta's Grandad fought with Daniele Manin to defend Venice in San Marco's Republic.
Unfortunately, the fall of Tripoli took place much earlier than expected and Ferraro had to be sent away urgently without the help of his wife, who had not yet completed her training.
Ferraro himself only got as far as Zarzis (Libyan-Tunisian border) as Tripoli was occupied the day before. (1)

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Luigi and Orietta at their wedding
Luigi and Orietta at their wedding


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Warning: INSERT command denied to user 'Sql199271'@'62.149.141.103' for table 'watchdog' query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'php', '<em>UPDATE command denied to user &amp;#039;Sql199271&amp;#039;@&amp;#039;62.149.141.103&amp;#039; for table &amp;#039;node_counter&amp;#039;\nquery: UPDATE node_counter SET daycount = daycount + 1, totalcount = totalcount + 1, timestamp = 1623769415 WHERE nid = 1044</em> in <em>/web/htdocs/www.luigiferraro.it/home/includes/database.mysql.inc</em> on line <em>172</em>.', 2, '', 'http://www.luigiferraro.it/en/warhero', '', '18.204.2.146', 1623769415) in /web/htdocs/www.luigiferraro.it/home/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 172

Warning: INSERT command denied to user 'Sql199271'@'62.149.141.103' for table 'watchdog' query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'php', '<em>INSERT command denied to user &amp;#039;Sql199271&amp;#039;@&amp;#039;62.149.141.103&amp;#039; for table &amp;#039;accesslog&amp;#039;\nquery: INSERT INTO accesslog (title, path, url, hostname, uid, sid, timer, timestamp) values(&amp;#039;A War Hero&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;node/1044&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;18.204.2.146&amp;#039;, 0, &amp;#039;687217aabd7023f56b4c9a08aeb8d569&amp;#039;, 1583, 1623769415)</em> in <em>/web/htdocs/www.luigiferraro.it/home/includes/database.mysql.inc</em> on line <em>172</em>.', 2, '', 'http://www.luigiferraro.it/en/warhero', '', '18.204.2.146', 1623769415) in /web/htdocs/www.luigiferraro.it/home/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 172

Warning: INSERT command denied to user 'Sql199271'@'62.149.141.103' for table 'watchdog' query: INSERT INTO watchdog (uid, type, message, severity, link, location, referer, hostname, timestamp) VALUES (0, 'php', '<em>INSERT command denied to user &amp;#039;Sql199271&amp;#039;@&amp;#039;62.149.141.103&amp;#039; for table &amp;#039;sessions&amp;#039;\nquery: INSERT INTO sessions (sid, uid, cache, hostname, session, timestamp) VALUES (&amp;#039;687217aabd7023f56b4c9a08aeb8d569&amp;#039;, 0, 0, &amp;#039;18.204.2.146&amp;#039;, &amp;#039;language|s:2:\\&amp;quot;en\\&amp;quot;;messages|a:1:{s:5:\\&amp;quot;error\\&amp;quot;;a:2:{i:0;s:333:\\&amp;quot;user warning: UPDATE command denied to user &amp;amp;#039;Sql199271&amp;amp;#039;@&amp;amp;#039;62.149.141.103&amp;amp;#039; for table &amp;amp;#039;node_counter&amp;amp;#039;\\nquery: UPDATE node_counter SET daycount = daycount + 1, total in /web/htdocs/www.luigiferraro.it/home/includes/database.mysql.inc on line 172