9. Alpine 1944 air crash fatalities
The Alpine 44 Story
On 12 October 1944, six SAAF Liberator bombers with 48 airmen were lost during a mission in Northern Italy to drop supplies to partisans behind enemy lines; this remains the largest loss of aircraft and men for a single SAAF mission to date.
The flights encountered persistent heavy rain, low cloud, and frequent flashes of lightning. Eleven aircraft turned around, only three found their target, and six aircraft failed to return, with the loss of 48 men. The meteorologists had forecast a westerly wind, but, unbeknown to all, the wind was now blowing from the east, resulting in the aircraft being roughly 60 km west of where they should have been, with disastrous consequences. Five aircraft crashed into the Alps and one, KH158, is missing to this day, presumed to have ditched in the Ligurian Sea off Genoa.
This research, initiated by Beppe Barbero and undertaken by Nick and Catherine Madina with the help of many concerned inhabitants in the villages in Italy and relatives from the UK and South Africa, covered all aspects of the incident: military background and reports, archive records, site reports from local villagers, photos of memorials and graves, photographs and family backgrounds of the airmen, family information, personal correspondence, newspaper articles, etc. This work was published on a CD in 2001, intended as a historical record and teaching aid for schools in the area of Bra. In 2001 a large commemoration was held in the city involving many representatives from South Africa, Australia and the UK, with many links and friendships being formed at that time.
The deep emotional involvement of all participants is captured in the book written by Catherine Madina, “Bernardi La Rua”: Our other life in the Alps.
HEADSTONES IN TRENNO CEMETERY:
This folder contains information on aircrew for Liberators KH874, KG875, KG999, KH154 and KH239.
For further information contact Peter and Beverley Moss at email@example.com or Martin Urry of the Alpine 44 Group at firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of the all the Alpine 1944 incidents are contained in these albums:
Italy, LIGURIA, District Genoa, Neirone, SAAF Memorial KH158
Italy, LOMBARDY, District Milan, Parco di Trenno, War cemetery
Italy, PIEDMONT, District Cuneo, Ostana, SAAF Memorial KG874
Italy, PIEDMONT, District Turin, Ala di Stura, SAAF Memorial KG999
Italy, PIEDMONT, District Turin, Cantalupa, SAAF Memorial KH239
Italy, PIEDMONT, District Turin, Rora, SAAF Memorial KH154
Italy, PIEDMONT, District Turin, Valprato Soana, SAAF Memorial KG875
Malta, South Eastern Region, District Valletta, VALLETTA, Malta Memorial incl SAAF Register
Date: 12 Mar 2019
Contributed by: eGGSA
Size: 14 items
(16 items total)