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Your contributions

The contributions you have sent us are listed here. They concern photos and documents of the survivors and the disappeared, of objects and memories that their families still cherish with devotion and that they wanted to share with us.

Here we want to thank all those who wanted to contribute to this collection and all those who want to further expand it.

Photographic archive by Magda Moschitz

Mrs. Magda Moschitz wanted to provide us with the photos published here in memory of her grandfather.

The family, while thanking us for our effort, remains in possession of a diary which they did not feel they wanted to publish on our site. We respect this decision with all our understanding.


Photographic archive by Franco Nenz

Franco Nenz, from Belluno, is the son of the radio-directional non-commissioned officer  Giuseppe Nenz, who fell on Rome and is buried in Mahon.

He wanted to provide us with a series of photographs of his father's life, which portray him in China, Africa and other places whose information has unfortunately been lost.

With gratitude, we publish the photographs received, in memory of Giuseppe Nenz.

Photographic archive of Italo Tufano

Italo Tufano, from Giugliano in Campania, is the son of the electrician non-commissioned officer Raffaele Tufano, who was lost on Rome.

In addition to the documents and honors, Italo wanted to provide us with a series of photographs of his father's life, which portray him in Taranto, Benghazi and other places whose information has unfortunately been lost.

With gratitude, we publish the photographs received, in memory of Raffaele Tufano.


Photographic archive of Cesare Bruno Soncin

Mr. Cesare Bruno Soncin is the grandson of gunner Bruno Socin, who was lost at sea on 9 September. He lives in Argentina, but he had the opportunity to visit our site and wanted to provide us with some photographs of his uncle whose end he knows through the stories of his father, who was seconded to Africa and interned in Kenya from '40 to '47. The published photographs come from the memories of his mother to whom our thoughts go


Gentili photo archive


The Gentili family has kindly made available the personal archive of the survivor of the RN Rome Evaldo Gentili, who died in 2005. The personal booklet contains the list of clothing and personal effects delivered by the Spanish authorities to the inmates during the period spent in Caldas de Malavella, including the material delivered by the Italian consular authorities. The document is signed by TV Antonio Leboffe, also a survivor of the RN Rome. These are precious historical details so far never been able to know precisely.

Vacca Torelli

Vacca Torelli Archive


Admiral Marcello Vacca Torelli was among the Association's hottest supporters. His contribution was fundamental historically and morally. He was not a great photographer and, like so many survivors, he spoke with difficulty about Rome: but he talked about it.

Here are some of the few photographs linked to his memories of Roma and his classmates


Francesca Saracchi Archive


Francesca is the granddaughter of the survivor Armando Saracchi and of Flavio Piccini, her grandmother's brother. Here are the photos of Armando, born in 1923, born in Carrara (MS), electrician. Armando was rescued by Attilio Regolo after many hours at sea. Armando was a friend of Dante Bartoli, a survivor of Rome, who remembered him like this:

To get out of the hatch of the armored deck, which was 38 centimeters thick and 36 wide, all steel, two of us passed, myself and one from Ventimiglia. And we came out and there on the deck everyone was running away and when we found ourselves at the stern I immediately found a friend, Saracchi. He was a really good guy, he was a phenomenon. [Bartoli recounts a previous episode of heroism in which this Armando Saracchi had thrown himself into the sea wearing a coat to save a companion, ed.] This boy, this Saracchi, was bestial, he was a boy to be admired. He was like that. And in fact I find him aft and he says: 'Dante, where do you have the life jacket?'. I say: 'I don't have it, it will have stayed down, I don't know.' And then he immediately went away and came back with a life preserver: 'Put it on now'.

Flavio Piccini, embarked on the Regolo, died trying to return to Italy on a fishing boat. He too was in Mahon with Armando. Armando Saracchi married Flavio's sister  Piccini: Anna. Flavio and Armando met on the ship. Flavio had some photos of his sister which he showed to the others and not to Armando who, intrigued, once back in La Spezia, during  a license went to the Piccini family and with the excuse to bring greetings he met her and fell in love with her.


Ippolito Archive

De Marchi

De Marchi Archive

Mario De Marchi was born in Candiana (Padua) -1920-. In 1938-39 he took courses in Mechanics at the Naval Academy of Venice. In March 1940 he embarked on the ship "Trento" until November 1941, when he was transferred to the ship Roma. After the sinking, he was saved by the torpedo boat "Pegaso", which together with the "Impetuoso" and the "Orsa" went to Mallorca, where it scuttled in the bay of Pollença. The sailors were housed at an air base in Pollença. On 24 September the survivors of Rome are brought to the Naval Base of the Port of Sóller. The crew of the Impetuoso interned in Andratx, and that of the Pegasus at the Son San Joan aerodrome.

On January 8, 1944, the inmates of Roma, Pegaso and Impetuoso in Mallorca were taken to the "Tariffs" ship in Mahón (Menorca), where they embarked on the shipwrecks of the Roma interned there. On January 9, the "Tariffs" set sail from Mahón to Barcelona, from where all the sailors are transported by train to Caldes di Malavella, where Mario is staying at the Gran Balneari Prats. In July the inmates in Caldes di Malavella are transported by train to Algeciras. On 12 July they were repatriated to Taranto on the Duca D'Aosta ship. Mario was transferred to the Cesare ship until September 6, then to the Libra ship until December 6, 1945, and then to the torpedo boat Fabrizi until April 30, 1946, when he was finally discharged. In 1963 he returned to Mallorca, where he settled until his death in 1980.

The son, Bruno De Marchi, wanted to provide us with some pictures in memory of his father.

Contribution by Michele Rubini

Michele Rubini sent us this correspondence concerning the Sailor Mazzola Mauro Giuseppe, a stoker on the RN ROMA and an expert on 9 September 1943.

The correspondence is between him and the sailor Lemma Salvatore, his fellow soldier and countryman from Barletta. After the training the two friends separated and the Lemma was embarked on the RN Vittorio Veneto and then on the Duilio where the war ended unharmed. Mazzola, on the other hand, was sent first to the La Spezia Depot and then for a period to Trieste. On February 8, 1942 he announced that he was embarked on the RN ROMA. His last postcard is from July 1943. There is a postcard from November 1943 from Mazzola's Mother asking for news of her son and confirmation of the separation from the Lemma then stationed in Taranto.
With a stroke of luck Rubini tracked down his daughter who told him that her father was unaware that her mother was pregnant having married in July of that year. Rubini sent copies of the postcards to his daughter Ms Maria Grazia Mazzola resident in Barletta. She herself authorized him to send us these postcards to display them on our site in order to keep the memory of his father alive


Contribution from the Puggioni family


Contribution from the Acampora family


Contribution from the Del Cima family

The last letter of the CV Adone Del Cima

A copy of this poignant letter was given to us by Commander Del Cima's nephew. It was addressed by the Commander of Rome to his mother, the day before he disappeared with his ship. It is full of sad forebodings.

My beloved mom,

if something had happened to me when I reached you this writing, think that my last thought was for my homeland and for you whom I adored more than myself.

History will judge events and understand our fate. Kiss me all of you in particular Romana and Violetta who have so much in mind.

With my Marina to whom I have donated all the energy. To dear sisters and to you I leave what little I possess under the guidance  dear Tonino and Gino

Forgive me and bless me

I hug and kiss you with infinite sweetness


Catalano Gonzaga

Contribution from the Catalano Gonzaga family

Contributed by Guido Bellocci



Mr. Guido Bellocci of Florence, survivor of the shipwreck, shows his identification tag and the key to his personal locker aboard the Battleship Roma


Contribution by Alessandro Fossatelli



With emotion we publish the letter that the sub-chief Arnaldo Fossatelli sent from Nave Roma to his family on 6 September 1943. Arnaldo Fossatelli disappeared at sea in the sinking and his nephew Alessandro, of which we publish the e-mail received and a copy of his uncle's letter, asks if anyone has news of the death of his relative.

"My Uncle Arnaldo Fossatelli who is missing at sea and who, on 6/9/1943, wrote this letter to his family on board. years and I believe that knowing how he died, where he was at the time of the terrible impact, could ease his pain for a brother so brutally passed away.


Thank you and cordially greet you.

 Alessandro Fossatell


Italo Pizzo


The Italian-Spanish grammar book purchased in Caldas de Malavella during the winter of 1944, which belonged to the survivor Italo Pizzo. Note the corners of the pages cut out for cigarette packaging. Today it is kept in the Naval Museum of Imperia.


Paolo Trigilio


Scale model (approx.) 1: 350 of the Nave Roma made aboard the battleship itself by the 2nd armored chief gunner Paolo Trigilio, lost in the shipwreck. Kept in the Naval Museum of Imperia, it is an exceptional piece: it is probably one of the very few existing "pieces" of Rome, made in the ship's workshops with the metal on board.


Ciro Orefice


In these images, the communiqué that the Goldsmith Family received from the Ministry of the Navy of the Southern Kingdom, through which they were informed of the good health of their son interned in Mahon and the diary that Ciro kept in Spain

Courtesy of the Orefice family, Genoa


The license sheet of Eugenio Pons


The 10-day special license sheet, from 31 August to 11 September 1943, signed on board the Battleship Roma, in the name of the Chosen Sailor Pons Eugenio, Radio Telegraphist Radarist having as a combat post the RT central in the command tower. In all likelihood this sheet was for him the passport for la salvezza the shipwreck, because on 9 September 1943 he was on leave in Turin!

Relatives of Luigi Rancati



My uncle Luigi Rancati was a gunner aboard the Roma, on the day of the sinking he was lucky enough to be saved.

Unfortunately my uncle returned aboard the Roma in 1977, my hope is that someone will recognize him, in order to show me exactly where he is fighting.



Salvatore Ipri



Mrs. Raffaella Sirabella kindly wanted to send us this tender letter from the Marò Salvatore Ipri, which is among those missing in the sinking.

Mrs. Sirabella, her great-granddaughter, is looking for information on Salvatore and where he was at the time of the sinking: she can be contacted


Antonio Vincis



Courtesy of Giovanni Antonio Vincis, nephew of the fallen homonymous


Giovanni Vittani


Mr. Giovanni Vittani, survivor of the Rome ship with the wooden case, built at the Submarine Base of Taranto, with which he made the journey back home together with his companion Italo Pizzo. Kept in the Naval Museum of Imperia.


Renato Gabelli


The Sergeant Pilot Gabelli Renato, decorated with the bronze medal at the VM, originally from Sambuci (RM), born on 25.02.1921, embarked on the Nave Roma, died on 9 September 1943. The nephew of the same name, wanted to provide us the documentation concerning the disappearance of the relative.


Angelo Zavattoni



Watch that Mr. Zavattoni wore on his wrist when he abandoned the ship.

Despite the damage to the mechanics and the dial, still visible, the watch was repaired by the same

Angelo and is still fully functional!


Antonio Del Giudice



Mr. Luigi Cappuccio had the courtesy to send us some documents regarding his uncle Antonio Del Giudice, born in Pozzuoli in 1922, Furiere Photographer of the Royal Navy, embarked on the Battleship Roma and declared missing after the sinking.

Del Giudice

Giovanni Civetti


The following images refer to the missing sailor Giovanni Civetti. Courtesy of the grandsons Bruno and Giovanni Guerrina.


The incredible story of Luca Dies


Dear Mr. Gonzaga,

I am sending you photos of an object that I found about 25 years ago on a beach on the island of Ponza.

It is a boatswain's whistle, which bears the inscription Regia Marina on one side and the inscription ROMA on the other, certainly engraved by hand.

At the time of the discovery I was about 15 years old, so I showed the object to others who told me about the Battleship Roma and its tragic end.

In my boy's mind, then, I imagined that the whistle could have crossed the sea, from Sardinia to Ponza, simply by floating, so I kept it as a special object, capable, by itself, of resisting the fury of the sea.

Only later, growing up, did I begin to imagine another reality, namely that that object had arrived there not alone, but together with its master, dragged by the sea in a long and harrowing wandering, and only at the end delivered to the sweet embrace of the Ponziana beach.

The beach in question is located immediately in front of the port, behind the caves of Santa Maria and behind the rock known as the Ravia, under the steep wall that precedes the Frontone beach.

It may be that the history of this object is different from how I imagine it, but the reality of the discovery is undoubted, and besides, I would have no reason to invent it.

On 9 September 1943 the odyssey also began for my father, Dies Salvatore, captured in Albania and interned for 21 months in the Nazi concentration camps in Germany, but luckily he returned safely to his family and loved ones.

Thinking of him who is no longer here today, it makes me think that perhaps there could also be human remains on the beach where I found the whistle, and that maybe they can and should be recovered in some way, also because the rock of the wall is of a friable nature and the point of discovery - which after so many years I can no longer identify with precision - is in any case located a few meters from the shoreline.

Attached are photos of the whistle. As soon as possible I will make better ones and send you those too.

Thank you for your attention and I greet you cordially

Battista Scameroni


The brother of the Sailor Battista Scameroni, Signor Dante, wanted to send us this series of documents of his brother, who was sunk and lost on 9 September on Rome


the Roma cable

These are the main missions for which he received the awards:


First pilot of an anti-torpedo hydro escort in a dangerous area, in full agreement with the observer officer he carried out with serene courage the highly effective attack against an enemy submarine, ensuring the safety of the escorted ships.

Sicilian Channel -  24 March 1941

Sky of the Mediterranean - September 1940 and October 1941


First maritime reconnaissance pilot, he participated in numerous war flights, demonstrating in all circumstances beautiful gifts of ability and daring.


Vehicle Pilot Officer RM, skilled and enthusiastic, he made numerous and risky night flights, he always helped to carry out all the missions entrusted to him with his skill and courage.

Sky of the Mediterranean - 11 June and 14 September 1940



Dario and Fabrizio Gallina want to leave these memories of the Pilot Officer Lieutenant Orecchia Germano who was one of the 4 Pilot Officers present on the Roma Battleship and lost in its sinking.

Lieutenant Orecchia Germano was the 2nd cousin and godfather of their father Giorgio who has carefully preserved his memories for all these years.


Pilot Lieutenant Orecchia Germano in his career as a pilot of the Italian Royal Air Force earned 2 Bronze Medals for Military Valor, 2 Crosses for Military Valor and 2 War Crosses for Merit.

Oreste Orecchia

Pilot of the RE2000 fighter (naval) for defensive missions and photographic reconnaissance, he fell as missing on 9 September 1943 in the sinking of the Battleship Roma.




The grandchildren of Farina Luigi di Monza, who survived the sinking of the Battleship Roma. In rearranging the papers of their uncle, who died on April 26, 2021) they found some documents

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The report of the Genoa Fire Brigade regarding the reclamation of the flooded galley of the RNRoma, dated 4 July 1943. After the damage reported by allied bombing in the port of La Spezia on 5 and 23 June, il_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_ 1 July the Unit was transferred to Genoa to be repaired, in the forward and aft area, undergoing an aerial bombardment and the delicate moments of the fall of Fascism, on 25 July. It was placed in Basin No. 4, Officine Allestimento Navi, where it remained under construction until 13 August 1943, then returning to Spezia. The aforementioned basin is still existing and fully functional, one of the objectives (fortunately missed) of the British naval bombardment of 9 February 1941 which still bears some scars on the buildings in Genoa. The arrow in the color photo indicates Basin # 4.



Priest officiating a mass on the deck of one of the destroyers during the celebration of the Virgen del Carmen feast, the destroyers and the Attilio Regolo anchored in the port of Mahón.

Guido Caputi

CONTRIBUTION by BRUNO DE MARCHI - The story of Lieutenant Guido Caputi

Here is the moving and almost unknown story of the widow of Lieutenant Guido Caputi, one of the deceased of the battleship Roma buried in Menorca: Bonita Castelgrand (or Castelgrande), a young American from Brooklyn (New York), went to Naples on a tourist trip with the his parents in 1937, he met Guido, fell in love instantly, got married, honeymoon in Capri. In September 1943, after several events, without knowing that her husband was dead, Bonita fled from the German repression with her little daughter of just 16 months and with a British friend, arriving in Lanciano, where they witnessed the tragic events of 5 days and 6 October and remained hidden in a cave with some inhabitants of Lanciano. When the British troops came out of the cave shouting "Stop", "Stop" in English, the soldiers were stunned to find an American and a British one there. She later learned that her husband had been declared "missing" in the sinking of Roma, and returned to the United States with her little daughter Barbara, where she lived until her death in 2004. Here is a photo of Guido and Bonita in the "happy days before" of war ", as Bonita's father, Joseph Castelgrand, said.

Ten. Guido caputi.jpg
Bruno De Marchi

CONTRIBUTION by BRUNO DE MARCHI - Telegrams for information on the castaways

In the days of September 1943 following the arrival in the Balearic Islands of the ships carrying the shipwrecked Roma, numerous family members of the sailors on board rushed to the Spanish Consular Agencies in Italy to ask for news of their loved ones. Here are some radio telegrams transmitted by the Agencies to the Spanish naval authorities where, for example, you can see the names of Bergamini, Catalano Gonzaga, Lorenzini, Manlio Petroni, Mattòli, Incisa della Rocchetta, Manca, Meneghini, etc ...


CONTRIBUTION by BRUNO DE MARCHI - Telegrams for information on the castaways

In the days of September 1943 following the arrival in the Balearic Islands of the ships carrying the shipwrecked Roma, numerous family members of the sailors on board rushed to the Spanish Consular Agencies in Italy to ask for news of their loved ones. Here are some radio telegrams transmitted by the Agencies to the Spanish naval authorities where, for example, you can see the names of Bergamini, Catalano Gonzaga, Lorenzini, Manlio Petroni, Mattòli, Incisa della Rocchetta, Manca, Meneghini, etc ...

CONTRIBUTO di MARISA STIZIA - Ricordo del cannoniere Giovanni Stizia, sopravvissuto


Nacque il 23 novembre 1921 a Serri ,un paesino di poche centinaia di abitanti,nell'entroterra nuorese. Ho sempre pensato con sgomento a come deve essersi sentito ,a soli 20 anni del secolo scorso, nell'essere costretto a lasciare il suo paesello per venire catapultato prima a La Spezia quindi a Trieste dove era di stanza la Corazzata.La sua mansione era quella di Cannoniere e fu a bordo dal 28 gennaio 1941 sino al momento dell'affondamento .

Il 10 settembre,dopo innumerevoli ore passate in acqua aggrappato a un "pezzo" della nave,fu preso a bordo del Pegaso e approdò all'isola di Majorca dove fu internato sino al 13 luglio del '44.

Il 14 luglio fu imbarcato sulla nave Cesare che il 23 successivo lo riportò in Italia,a Taranto, al comando antisommergibili, e continuò a essere in guerra sino all' 8 maggio del '45

Rientrò in Sardegna nel '46, dopo varie peripezie dovute alla difficoltà di collegamento con l'amata isola.

In famiglia non avevano notizie da 3 anni,tanto che gli era stata fatta anche una messa in suffragio.

Il proseguo della vita fu benevolo: trovò un lavoro soddisfacente, nel'56 si sposò e con la moglie Laura ebbe 2 figlie che gli diedero la gioia di conoscere 5 nipoti.

È uno dei protagonisti dell'intervista che l'Istituto Luce dedicò alla vicenda nel 2006.

È deceduto il 23 dicembre 2007.

In tutta la sua vita non volle più entrare in mare.


CONTRIBUTO di GIOVANNI CLAUDIO SICALI - Ricordo del cannoniere Francesco Anastasi, sopravvissuto ma poi disperso in Germania


Figlio di Carmelo e di CIFALA' Francesca, nato a Catania il 19 Giugno 1921, si sposò con mia cugina Arena Rosa il 19 Ottobre 1940 a Catania (Atto n. 1575).

Ebbero una figlia: Anastasi Francesca, nata il 25 Maggio 1941 e morta il 16 Settembre dello stesso anno.

Dagli appunti su foglio scritto a mano da Francesco Anastasi possiamo sintetizzare quanto segue:

“Fu chiamato alle armi, durante la guerra nell'Estate del 1941, e addestrato nell'isola Palmaria (La Spezia). Dopo 6 mesi fu imbarcato sulla nave “Roma” in qualità di cannoniere. Fece la prima navigazione di guerra il 21 Agosto 1942 da Trieste a La Spezia, e in quella occasione ci fu una visita a bordo del duce Benito Mussolini. L'11 Novembre 1942 navigarono verso Napoli con partenza ore 14 e arrivo il 13 alle 8 del mattino”.

Mio cugino Anastasi Francesco risultò tra i superstiti, quindi fu portato alle Baleari e poi risulta dai documenti della Marina internato in Germania. Di lui non si ha più notizia dopo il 17 Luglio del 1945. Fu dichiarato disperso in guerra, a seguito di eventi bellici, con verbale del 12° Aprile 1946.

Mia cugina Rosa Arena, qualche anno prima di morire mi fece conoscere la corrispondenza tra lei (a Catania e Capomulini) e il suo primo marito Francesco (a bordo della “Roma”). Io custodisco con cura le copie di quelle lettere, cartoline e fotografie e sono incerta di altre notizie sulla dine di mio cugino FRANCESCO ANASTASI, scomparso ormai 90 anni fa.


CONTRIBUTO di VALENTINO MATTEI - Ricordo del sottocapo sommozzatore ITALO FRAIOLI, disperso il 9-9-43

Figlio di Costanzo Fraioli, originario di Roccasecca e di Rocca Forte, nativa di Rocca d’Arce, Italo nacque nel febbraio del 1924 a Cassino dove la sua famiglia visse per un breve periodo prima di trasferirsi ad Avezzano per motivi di lavoro del padre dipendente delle Ferrovie. Italo era il quarto di cinque figli: Carmela, la più grande sposata e trasferitasi a Roma; Battista classe 1920, sposato e vissuto ad Avezzano; Angela classe 1922 sposata e vissuta a Cassino e deceduta nel 1998; Italo e infine Antonio, sposato e vissuto ad Avezzano.

Arruolatosi nella Regia Marina come volontario nel 1940 all’età di 16 anni, ebbe l’incarico di meccanico per poi divenire palombaro.

Questo incarico non era dei più semplici. Richiedeva non solo un’ottima preparazione fisica, ma anche un notevole autocontrollo. Per immergersi veniva utilizza un'apposita attrezzatura, detta scafandro composto essenzialmente da un elmo, una tuta gommata (oggi sostituita da scafandri rigidi) e scarponi zavorrati per camminare sul fondo marino. Il palombaro riceveva il rifornimento d'aria dalla superficie attraverso un tubo di gomma collegato ad una pompa ad aria coassiale ad una corda che serviva per calare o issare a bordo l’operatore e per comunicare attraverso degli strattoni convenzionali. Questi “cordoni ombelicali” si innestavano nell’elmo, l’elemento più importante dell'attrezzatura, fissato su di una base di ottone o rame alla muta alla quale veniva vincolato dopo che la stessa era stata indossata dall’operatore subacqueo.

Oggi, al Sottocapo Italo Fraioli è intitolata la sezione A.N.M.I. (Associazione Nazionale Marinai d’Italia) di Avezzano (AQ). A seguito del decesso a bordo della RN “Roma” gli fu concesso un encomio solenne con la seguente motivazione: “Imbarcato sulla Nave Ammiraglia della Squadra Navale, sottoposta nel corso di ardua missione di guerra a lungo ostinato contrasto aereo, con esemplare dedizione al dovere, rimaneva a posto di combattimento fino al sacrificio e scompariva in mare con la nave che, colpita irreparabilmente da nuovi mezzi distruttivi si inabissava in fiamme. - Acque della Sardegna, 9 settembre 1943”


CONTRIBUTO di LUCIANO MOLLICA - In ricordo di Carmelo Mollica mio padre, marinaio della regia nave Impetuoso e baritono.


Con la proclamazione dell'Armistizio dell'8 settembre del 1943 il nostro paese volle dare una svolta significativa alla sua Storia, anche se la speranza della presunta fine della guerra, si trasformò nel giro di poche ore, in tragedia per molti nostri giovani costretti ancora a combattere per la ripresa delle ostilità. In occasione di questa celebrazione desidero ricordare fra quei ragazzi anche mio padre che fu il siracusano Carmelo Mollica ( 1920-2005) giovane diciannovenne, con la passione per il canto che fu chiamato alle armi non appena scoppiata la Seconda Guerra Mondiale. Dopo alcuni mesi di formazione militare fu imbarcato in diverse navi tra cui la torpediniere “Impetuoso” sotto il comando del pluridecorato C.V. Giuseppe Cigala Fulgosi. All'epoca l'Impetuoso, faceva parte del Gruppo Torpediniere di scorta a La Spezia, cui appartenevano anche le torpediniere Pegaso, Orsa, Ardimentoso e Orione, della classe Ciclone, progettata appositamente per la scorta dei convogli lungo le pericolose rotte per l'Africa settentrionale, la torpediniera entrò in servizio nel giugno 1943. Proprio su l’Impetuoso mio padre visse la sua più dolorosa vicenda della guerra che lo sconvolse a tal punto che volle raccontarla in un suo diario personale (dal quale ho tratto questo racconto...! ) “A notte inoltrata dell’ 8 Settembre 1943, dopo l’armistizio, alla flotta navale italiana fu ordinato dal comando supremo, di partire con il gruppo torpediniere dal porto di La Spezia, con in testa la nuovissima Corazzata Ammiraglia “Roma” che in navigazione, e riunirsi con le altre navi partite dal porto di Genova per consegnarsi alla flotta Anglo-Americana. Nel primo pomeriggio del 9 settembre 1943, durante la traversata, la flotta italiana fu attaccata a nord dell'Asinara da aerei tedeschi, la “Roma” fu raggiunta da due bomba-razzo in corrispondenza di un deposito munizioni e devastata da una colossale deflagrazione, la Corazzata si capovolse ed affondò, spezzandosi in due portando con sé 1393 uomini. Dopo molte ore di aspra battaglia, alcune navi della flotta tra cui l’Impetuoso, Pegaso e Orsa che avevano subito lievi d’anni, accolsero a bordo più che un centinaio di naufraghi della “Roma” tra i quali alcuni feriti gravi; l’Impetuoso da solo recuperò 47 superstiti anche con la partecipazione di mio padre che si offrì come volontario tra i soccorritori. Le tre torpediniere rimasero isolate dal resto della flotta. Più volte chiamarono la Supermarina per ulteriori ordini ma senza nessun riscontro. Mentre a bordo si continuava a medicare i feriti, improvvisamente alle ore 19:00 un’altra formazione tedesca di bombardieri e caccia si lanciava in picchiata sulle nostre tre torpediniere sganciando una serie di bombe a pochi metri dalle fiancate della nave che alzavano colonne d’acqua tanto alte da coprire quasi tutta la coperta delle navi che procedevano a zig- zag alla massima velocità per tentare di schivarle. Nel frattempo sull’Impetuoso si era formata una squadra di Marinai volontari, con in testa mio padre, che si occupò di prelevare dai depositi della nave, le munizioni da portare in torretta per caricare le due mitragliere che stavano a poppa della nave che improvvisamente avevano interrotto il fuoco di sbarrameno contro il nemico per mancanza di munizioni. Questo eroico e istintivo gesto contribuì all'abbattimento di 3 caccia tedeschi. Anche le altre unità vicine furono in grado di abbattere altri caccia nemici e il risultato fu che dopo due ore di combattimento gli aerei tedeschi si ritirarono . Cigala insieme ai due comandanti del Pegaso e Orsa visti i feriti, i danni subiti e le poche ore di navigazione disponibili con il carburante rimasto, decisero di fare rotta alle Isole Baleari della Spagna neutrale dove si erano già dirette alcune delle nostre unità . Durante l’attraversata Cigala Fulgosi e Riccardo Imperiali comandanti dell’ Impetuoso e Pegaso non hanno visto altra via d'uscita convocare i due equipaggi e comunicare l’intensione di autoaffondare le due Torpediniere per non dover consegnare le navi al nemico, evitando un ulteriore disonore alla nostra gloriosa Marina Militare Italiana, in cui avevano creduto fino all’ultimo e servito così a lungo. Giunti il 10 settembre 1943 al Port de Pollença nelle Isole Baleari, l’impetuoso e il Pegaso dopo aver sbarcato i feriti della “Roma” e tra mezzanotte e le due di notte dell'11 settembre raggiunsero in tutta segretezza il largo a nord di Maiorca e simulando un naufragio, fecero scendere dalle navi tutto l’equipaggio che attraverso scialuppe, altri mezzi e perfino a nuoto raggiunsero, da naufraghi, la costa Spagnola. Anche in questa importante scelta del comandante dell’impetuoso, mio padre Carmelo Mollica, la cui qualifica era sottocapo Fuochista e motorista navale, ebbe l’importante compito di scendere giù nelle macchine per aprire le saracinesche e valvole di presa a mare per allegare i locali motori ed agevolare il rapido affondamento della nave. Gli equipaggi delle nostre due leggendarie torpediniere dopo essersi consegnati al comando spagnolo, rimasero internate per moltissimi mesi sulle Isole Baleari assieme ad altre marinai italiani. Durante questi mesi di segregazione si sviluppò un’amicizia tra i marinai italiani e gli ispanici. Nel periodo natalizio mio padre si esibì in un concerto di Natale, presso la chiesa madre di Andraitx, una piccola cittadina situata a poco distante da Palma di Maiorca. Nell’estate del 1944 mio padre rientrò in Italia con l’equipaggio e il suo comandante e fu imbarcato sul Cacciatorpediniere “Augusto Riboty” partecipando alla Guerra di Liberazione. Per la sua dedizione alla Patria gli fu conferito la “Croce di Guerra al Valor Militare, sul campo” ed in seguito fu fregiato dell’Emblema “Nastro Azzurro" fra i combattenti decorati al Valor Militare della Seconda Guerra mondiale. Finita la guerra mio padre si dedicò completamente all’amore per il canto e volle andare a studiare con svariati maestri di chiara fama. Realizzò così la sua aspirazione e divenne un baritono professionista, calcando per oltre quant’anni, con successo di pubblico e di critica, lo scenario lirico di importanti teatri italiani ed esteri accanto a famosi cantanti lirici. Nel giugno 2001 il relitto dell'Impetuoso è stato ritrovato ed identificato. La nave, piuttosto integra, giace su un fondale di 98 metri, coricata sul lato di dritta, nel tratto di mare che divide le isole di Maiorca e Minorca. con la prua orientata per 175° e la poppa per 355°.. Le ricerche per localizzare i relitti, durate circa tre anni e condotte dal direttore della rivista Sub, Guido Pfeiffer,esperto sommozzatore, hanno richiesto piu' di 100 immersioni in alto mare.

Carmelo Mollica
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