Paolo Caccia Dominioni
1896 – 1992
Who was Paolo Caccia Dominioni?
Caccia Dominioni was born in Nerviano, Lombardy. During his engineer's career in prewar Egypt, he developed a deep friendship with the Belgian expatriate Vladimir Peniakoff – later to be known as Popsky, creator and leader of a World War II SAS special unit nicknamed Popsky Private Army – with whom he toured the Libyan and Egyptian desert: the same desert that would see few years later the two friends facing each others as enemies when World War II broke out. Caccia Dominioni fought in the First World War, the Libyan Campaign, and the War in Ethiopia, and finally, after having been assigned to Military Intelligence, he was given command in 1942 as a major of the 31st Guastatori Battalion on the El Alamein front until the defeat of the Axis forces in North Africa.
He joined the resistance against Benito Mussolini in Italy, was arrested by the Italian Militia and the Gestapo, who released him as an officer decorated personally by Erwin Rommel. His book on the Italian Campaign in North Africa, Alamein 1933–1962, was translated into English and published by Allen & Unwin in 1986 as Alamein 1933–1962: An Italian Story. Caccia Dominioni devoted his postwar career to the retrieving of soldiers' corpses on the Alamein battlefield and the design and construction of a cemetery and a memorial building, located on a particular spot on the Alamein battleground named "Quote 33", where – thanks to his 20 years of efforts – thousands of Italian, German and British unknown fallen soldiers were eventually identified and received a proper burial.
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