The death has taken place on Tuesday, in Turin, of the former Resistance partisan Amos Messori (nom de guerre “D’Artagnan”.)
He was one of the members of the Italian partisan team who, on Christmas Eve 1944, blew up the railway bridge in the centre of the northern town of Ivrea, not far from Turin, preventing the Allies from shelling the bridge and therefore saving the town from the consequences.
Messori, who would have turned 96 next February, was second in command of the team led by partisan commander Mario Pelizzari (“Alimiro”) who carried out what was later described as “the most daring act of sabotage of the Italian liberation war”.
In the early hours of December 24, 1944, D’Artagnan and a dozen of his fellow partisans cheated the Nazi/fascist armed personnel guarding the railway bridge in the centre of Ivrea and placed a delayed explosive charge under the bridge. The railway line linking Italy and France was deemed critical for the outcome of the war by the Nazis.
The Italian partisans knew the Allies were going to bomb Ivrea to destroy the railway bridge and cut an important supply line to Nazi Germany. They knew this would cause serious civilian casualties, so they decided on the mission and obtained the approval of the British commanders.
Shortly after 3 a.m., the 11-strong team cautiously approached the heavily-guarded bridge. While five of the men guarded the tunnel, the other six moved cautiously on their target, walking past the Nazi guard post.
“Alimiro” and “D’Artagnan” climbed down the bridge and worked 70 minutes to secure the explosive charges, before retreating safely with their comrades. The blast occurred at 4.50 a.m., destroying the bridge without killing or injuring civilians.
The other members of the partisan team were:
“Pettirosso” (Ferruccio Richeda)
“Carlo” (Remo Maffei)
“Franc” (Lanfranco Borga)
“Fulmine” (Guerrino Maffei)
“Lapis” (Felice Realis Luc)
“Noto” (Filiberto Pomo)
“Nuccio” (Oscar Ganio)
“Sparito” (Giuseppe Marchetto)
“Saetta” (Aldo Balla)
“Gim” (Gino Barbieri)