4 Recce missing men Italy 30 June 1944

Discussion in 'Recce' started by vitellino, Oct 26, 2015.

  1. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Hello everybody,

    I have just been looking at the concentration forms for Assisi War Cemetery and find that two unidentified soldiers were brought in from Grid Reference 337918, http://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-translator.php# which is the field in front of Villa Paolozzi, between Gioiella and Pozzuolo, two villages which lie on the Trasimene Line. Gioiella was liberated by 2 Kings Liverpool Regiment (British 4 Infantry Division) on 25 June and Pozzuolo was abandoned by Germans (1 Parachute Division) during the night between 28 and 29 June.

    HQ 4 Recce Regiment moved into Villa Paolozzi - previously used by the German for their HQ - on 29 June, and that same evening a group of men operating Rover David and led by RAAF ace (off flyiing duty at the time) Jack Doyle set up their equipment there.

    Doyle told me in May 1999:

    It was dusk on 29 June when I drove my jeep up the wide steps and into the entrance hall. With my RAAF radio operator and followed by my army liason officer with his radio man we went to the attic where I removed some roof tiles and looked towards the front line. The Germans had departed the house twenty four hours before we arrived, and some servants were still there so they considered it safe. Unknown to all of us the Germans had planted a 500kg aircraft bomb in the basement as a booby trap, timed to explode at 3 pm, which it did.

    A 4 Recce source (not the War Diary which was lost in the explosion, but another source which I can no longer find but which I had in 2002 when I wrote The Trasiimene Line - DOES ANYONE HAVE A COPY) says:

    At 15.30 hrs a delayed mine or charge blew up the house, including the headquarters, and many men of the regiment, the RAFand eleven civilians were buried in the debris. The regimental casualties were seven killed, three wounded and one died of wounds. All the maps and papers carried by the command were destroyed including the complete war diary for June together with the appendices.

    The concentration forms show that six 4 Recce men killed on 30 June were temporarily buried at a place called Cimbano. Another man was recovered and buried at Assisi but there is no concentration form for him. The question is, who was the eighth man? Is he the unknown British soldier buried in the field in front of the villa?

    Does anyone have the Missing Soldiers file for 4 Recce for June 1944? Jack Doyle fotografia.jpg


    (Photo: Jack Doyle)
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

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  3. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member

    I went to this spot in 2013 and found that the house had been rebuilt.

  4. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Thanks Tom.

    Trooper Arthur Allen, 5884481, listed as missing believed killed on 30. 06 44 in the Appendix to the War Diary for June 1944, was indeed killed and is buried in Assisi War Cemetery. This gives seven known 4 Recce killed in the bombing incident. If L/Cpl Treasure ( who died from wounds) is classed as 4 Recce and not as 4 Div. Signals this would make hiim the 8th man referred to and I will have to have another think as regards these two unknown soldiers who were buried in front of the villa. However, it seems to me evident that they were killed in the explosion.

    Minden 1759, the villa was indeed rebuilt after the war but the family, who lost two of their children in the incident, never returned to live there. Jack Doyle paid it a visit in May 1999 (photo attached) and the surving son, Flavio Paolozzi sent me the photo of what it was like before the explosion.



    villa paolozzi before the war.pg.jpg Jack Doyle at Villa Paolozzi.jpg
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  5. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
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  6. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Thank you for the photographs.
  7. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Thanks Paul but I think I may have resolved the mystery.

    It appears from another concentration report form that the two men were originally taken to Assisi War Cemetery and buried as unknown soldiers in a common grave. In 1946 they were exhumed and reburied. They were Signalman 6854064 K.A. Crouch and airman 1562716 J.J. Douglas RAF. I wonder if they were the 'army liason officer' and his radio man' referred to by Jack Doyle?


  8. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    Great pictures. Thanks for posting. I was following the route of 1/6 East Surreys who came through that area as part of 10 Inf Bde.

    Wonderful part of the world.


  9. Andrew E

    Andrew E New Member

    My Uncle, Trooper Edward Earnshaw died in this event. He is buried along with his comrades from 4 Recce in the British and Commonwealth cemetery at Assisi. Thanks for posting this. It contributed to our family history.
    4jonboy likes this.
  10. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    So sorry to hear about your uncle, Andrew, but pleased to have been able to contribute to what you know about him.

    Best wishes,

  11. minden1759

    minden1759 Senior Member


    I was there again three weeks ago.


  12. Recce_Mitch

    Recce_Mitch Very Senior Member

    Edited link in post above
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  13. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    As some of you may know, I used to live very close to Villa Paolozzi, and passed it every time I went out. It's a sad building, it has never 'recovered' from this incident. About 15 years ago a company to convert it into some kind of holiday accomdation, but went biust, and the gates are now still padlocked, I believe.

    I think there should be a commemorative plaque there, but the local commune isn't likely to take that on board, I'm afraid, despite the fact that apart from the two Paolozzi children the steward, his wife and daughter were also killed. I'm not sure whether or not they are remembered on the local War Memorial but next time I'm there I'll have a look.

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    I know this is an old thread and so not sure if this post will be noticed.
    My uncle is buried at Assisi. GNR Daniel John McNeil 77th Artillery He died on 30/6/44. GNR E Crowther of the same regiment, who was killed 29/6/44, is buried with him.
    Does anyone think there may be a connection to the above event?
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron


    It may be a simple coincidence and this thread does not refer to an Royal Artillery dying in this incident.

    Personally I would start a new thread, to get more attention. A Moderator could move it too.

    Were the two gunners buried elsewhere and then concentrated at Assisi Cemetery, the CWGC record will show if true or not. It is worth searching the CWGC to see who died that month from the regiment.

    You can assist others by adding both men's full names, date of birth and Service Number. We often have new members arrive after an online search brings them here.

    I will PM you with some research tips.

    4 Recce were assigned to the British 4th Infantry Division, and Wiki shows 77th / 77 Field Regiment was too. See: 4th Infantry Division (United Kingdom) - Wikipedia

    The definitive answer lies in obtaining a copy of the 77 Field Regmt. war diary for the period; members offer to do that. Plus, requesting both men's service record, although there is a long wait for that currently.

    Another thread has this in Post 20:
    From: 77th Field Regiment - RA

    The last post refers to a question whether anyone here had a copy of their war diary; there was no reply.

    There are twelve other threads on the 77 with a tag, you would have to have a look to see if they could help. Use: 77 field regiment ra | WW2Talk

    I expect you could be in for a long journey!


    Thanks for replying and offering advice.Yes, they were buried at GR/22/SHC (?)/2158 MR 381864
  17. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    Hello Lindsay,
    Your Uncle was initially buried miles away to the (edit) east of Villa Paolozzi (Grid Reference 337918). So nothing to do with the above events.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2022
  18. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Lindsey, in short.
    The concentration form for your uncle shows he was brought into Assisi from map ref. 381864. Note that six of the eight men killed at Villa Paolozzi were temporarily buried at 372861, all from 4 Recce Regiment. The other two were buried in front of the villa as I said above.

    Your uncle's colleague died on th 29th. Another possibility is that your uncle was wounded on that date and that he died in a field hospital. The concentration form has the date 29 crossed out in red and 30th put in its place. On th 29th the 1/6 Surreys took the village of Casamaggiore near to Villa Paolozzi.

    The concentration form is on the CWGC website and can be downloaded.

    I am not at home at the moment but if you send me a private message I may be able to help you further when I have access to my files

    Janet Kinrade Dethick author of The Trasimene Line. June-July 1944 aka Vitellino

    Edited with correct map reference.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2022
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  19. vitellino

    vitellino Senior Member

    Richard, I have checked the concentration form once again and it seems that it agrees with the grid reference I gave and not the one you gave.

    Perhaps I should add in here that Ihave a website which deaIs with concentrations into Assisi War Cemetery:


    Last edited: Aug 24, 2022
  20. Richard Lewis

    Richard Lewis Member

    Hello Janet,
    As you said in post #1, it was the two unidentified soldiers that were originally buried at 337918. I misinterpreted that as meaning that the other six were also buried there which is not the case. They were buried at 372861. Lindsay's uncle was buried not too far away and not, as I said, 'miles away'.
    I should read more carefully before tapping away!

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