Search

Medals from man who took part in 'Italian Job' auctioned

Medals from man who took part in 'Italian Job' auctioned

Medals from man who took part in ‘Italian Job’ auctioned

Medals and forged documents belonging to a Second World War hero have sold for a whopping £10,000 at auction ($13,000 US) — because he took part in the real-life “Italian Job.”

Likened to a Hollywood script, the wartime bravery of Lieutenant James Riccomini MBE saw him flee Nazi capture when his cover in Italy was blown and sought refuge in the Alps — known as the “SAS Italian Job.”

He carried out daring raids deep behind enemy lines and escaped captivity by jumping from a moving train.

Lt Riccomini served with the Royal Army Service Corps in Egypt when he was snared by the Nazis in 1941 and sent to the Gavi prisoner of war camp.

Tim Tebow visits WWII vet at shelter affected by Hurricane Irma

In September 1943 Riccomini was put on a train to a camp in Austria but the 16 men in the carriage carved a 2ft hole into an end wall jumped out of it as it continued travelling.

His life was tragically cut short when he took part in an assault on a German military headquarters in northern Italy during Operation Tombola.

Lt Riccomini was killed during the operation dubbed the “SAS Italian Job” which was carried out in a bid to harass the retreating enemy forces in March, 1945.

The wartime bravery of Lieutenant James Riccomini MBE saw him flee Nazi capture when his cover in Italy was blown and sought refuge in the Alps — known as the “SAS Italian Job.”

The wartime bravery of Lieutenant James Riccomini MBE saw him flee Nazi capture when his cover in Italy was blown and sought refuge in the Alps — known as the “SAS Italian Job.”

(C&T Auctions / SWNS.com)

Medals, personal letters and forged identity documents were sold for a staggering £9,800 during an auction on Tuesday.

WWII veterans disgusted by surge of neo-Nazis at Va. protest

His MBE, along with his Military Cross, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star and the 1939-45 War medal, were all sold by C&T Auctioneers, of Ashford, Kent, at The Spa Hotel, in Tunbridge Wells.

Lt Riccomini penned a letter to his wife as he embarked on his escape to Switzerland.

He wrote: “On September 19 last year I was lucky enough to escape from the Germans and since that time I have been hiding and running, always finding wonderful friends among the Italian people.

“Today another chap and I are starting out for Switzerland. We hope to be there in two or three days time.

Wreckage of USS Indianapolis discovered in Pacific Ocean

“Sorry darling that I cannot write more, but this note has to be hidden securely.

Lt Riccomini served with the Royal Army Service Corps in Egypt when he was snared by the Nazis in 1941 and sent to the Gavi prisoner of war camp.

Lt Riccomini served with the Royal Army Service Corps in Egypt when he was snared by the Nazis in 1941 and sent to the Gavi prisoner of war camp.

(C&T Auctions / SWNS.com)

“My love to all at home Janey I’m hoping to see you before long & remember that I love you, Your Husband Jim.”

Along with around 50 other commandos, Lt Riccomini, who was born in Maidstone, was dropped back into Nazi-occupied Italy to the sound of bagpipes played by Scottish volunteer David “Mad Piper” Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick’s bagpipes performed the vital role of convincing the Nazis they were under attack from a solely British force, and not a coalition including Italian freedom fighters.

Stasi: Our world leaders are straight out of 1941

This meant hundreds of lives were saved because the German tactic at the time was to kill ten local civilians for each Nazi solider killed in an attack on their base in a bid to quell any insurrections.

Mr Kirkpatrick was still revered as a hero in Italy when he died in 2016 at the age of 91.

Three SAS men, including Lt Riccomini, were shot and killed during the operation.

Lt. Riccomini was killed during the operation dubbed the “SAS Italian Job” which was carried out in a bid to harass the retreating enemy forces in March, 1945.

Lt. Riccomini was killed during the operation dubbed the “SAS Italian Job” which was carried out in a bid to harass the retreating enemy forces in March, 1945.

(C&T Auctions / SWNS.com)

Matthew Tredwen, a valuer and military specialist for C&T Auctions, likened Lt Riccomin’s daring antics to that of the plot of the 1965 war film Von Ryan’s Express starring Frank Sinatra.

NYPD clears suspicious package after bomb scare in Flatiron

He said: “The operation was very similar to a film called Von Ryan’s Express where they escape from the train they are travelling on.

“James Riccomini’s is a very good story that could make a Hollywood film. Sadly he was killed in action during Operation Tombola in 1945 which was one of the most famous SAS raids of World War Two.

“It is the heroic nature of keeping the stories of those brave men and women alive that is what a lot of collectors do it for. They want to keep those stories going for future generations.”

His Military Cross citation states: “He was a personal source of inspiration and encouragement to his men.

WWII vet Clark Simmons, shot on Pearl Harbor, dies at 96

“His conduct could not have been excelled in any way being far above the normal call of duty.”

Tags:
history
italy
nazis

Send a Letter to the Editor

Join the Conversation:
facebook
Tweet



Medals from man who took part in ‘Italian Job’ auctioned

Related posts