Saturday, 23 February 2019

More details on Chavez first Alpine flight 23.9.1910

Insubrica Historica has already reported the formidable and unlucky adventure of Jorge Chavez, the French-Peruvian pilot that successfully managed to cross the Alps, flying from Brig/Wallis to Domodossola/Italy. We have recently come across to an old newspaper article published by The Guardian and The Observer on Sept. 24, 1910, entitled "Flight Over the Alps : M. Chavez's feat Airman's Unfortunate Descent".

A brief article which sheds however some further lights to the tragic adventure of Mr. Chavez. Chavez pioneering flight was part of an air race called "Transalpina". There were at least other five pilots that attempted on the same day to cross the Alps: Aubrun, Cattaneo, Paillette, Weymann and Wiencziers. It is not that easy to find further details on these participants.  Surprisingly many of these adventurers had a career in the aviation that spanned many decades. 

The pilot Aubrun could not be identified for the moment. Cattaneo was most likely Bartolomeo Cattaneo (Grosio 1883-Sao Paolo 1949). Better known in Spanish-speaking countries as Bartolomé Cattáneo. In 1910 he was the first Italian pilot, and sixth in the world, to receive a civil pilot's license and the first to cross the Río de la Plata - between Argentina und Uruguay - by plane. During the First World War he enlisted as a flight instructor with the rank of lieutenant. With the birth of the first Brazilian commercial airline in 1933, Cattaneo was entrusted with the San Paolo-Riberão Preto line, for which he served until his retirement.

The other participant was most likely Marcel Paillette, born on 17 April 1884 in Le Havre and deceased in 1965 in Argentina. Paillette was a French pioneer pilot, who after the unsuccessful attempts of flying over the Alps, continued a brilliant aeronautical career in Argentina, considered still today as one of the forefather of Argentinean Air Force.

Weymann was most likely Charles Terres Weymann (Port au Prince, Haiti 2 August 1889 – Paris 1976) was a Haitian-born early aeroplane racing pilot and businessman. During World War I he flew for Nieuport as a test pilot and was awarded the rank of Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. Weymann tried before and after the war many businesses in the car and aviation industry, albeit without much success.

The last pilot was the German adventurer Eugen Hubert Walter Wiencziers (1880-1917). He was a German Engineer and Pilot. After having unsuccessfully attempted the crossing of the Alps, Wiencziers continued his career in the aviation field. He was test-pilot during the First World War, and died while testing a prototype of the manufacturer Pfalz-Flugzeugwerke. 

According to the Guardian article, Chavez sustained heavy injuries at both legs, with no injuries at the chest and head. The Reuter correspondent cited in the article, was confident that Mr. Chavez would have been able to survive. Apparently while at the Hospital, Chavez was able to release some interviews, putting more light to his flight.

Seriously injured, although apparently not in danger of death, four days later Chávez died at the San Biagio Hospital in Domodossola, in a way that was not entirely clear. His last words were: "Arriba, siempre arriba" (in English "Higher. Always Higher"). 


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Sunday, 17 February 2019

Insubrica Historica on Amazon Online Europe (Germany, England and Italy)

Minusio, 17.2.2019. Insubrica History has successfully passed the checks and controls for selling books online in Europe. We are delighted to announce that the publication on the SS-Polizei in Ossola and Lago Maggiore is now available on the three following Amazon online bookshops:
Amazon Italia: ordina seguendo questo link
Amazon Deutschland: bestellen Sie hier
Amazon UK: order here
You can always also pass your order directly on our website, by clicking here.
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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Conference: Stragi e deportazioni nazifasciste - Per la giustizia e contro l'ambiguità

The research conducted by Insubrica Historica on the region of Ossola and Lake Maggiore has much in common with the war crimes committed during the period of 1943-1945, mostly by German troops - but also by Fascist military units. We have already reported in the previous articles (here and here) the activities of the Waffen-SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler against the Jewish population on the shores of Lake Maggiore.

It is a particular chapter in the Italian history - and even in Ossola - that has been long forgotten. Only by the 1990s with the discovery of the Armoire of Shame (in Italian: Armadio della Vergogna) most of the crimes have resurfaced. 

Recently there has been even much discussion about the compensation claims that the Italian government expects from the German side. This conference, which will be organized by a very good friend of Insubrica Historica, will aim to bring some light into this obscure and forgotten aspect of the Second World War in Italy. 

Wright us an email if you happen to be in Rome Thursday 7. March 2019 and would like to attend this conference.
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Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The February 2019 visit to Leicester

Last week Insubrica Historica travelled to Leicester, England. 

It was very nice to be back after that much time, the last time that I visited Leicester was in 2003. 

Indeed much has changed, especially the University premises are hardly recognizable from before. Plenty of new buildings and many more that will be erected in the future. 

I had a wonderful welcoming by Prof. Dr. Alex Korb and Dr. Luca Fenoglio. I'm glad to have both on the team that will assist me in my PhD research regarding Ossola. 

I spent two busy days, with an intervention in Dr. Fenoglio's History class and a presentation at the New History Lab of Leicester.

Thanks again to Anna for the charming reception and most of all for organizing the conference.  
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