Buried in Italy

Buried in Italy, Mosquito Crew, 256 Squadron

Lorenzo Cegan Saggioro is looking for information for two Mosquito airmen buried in Padua in Italy. They were from 256 Squadron of Fighter Command. Their names were:

Pilot Officer Roy James George Beard – Pilot

Flight Sergeant D Maddock – Navigator (unusually no Christian name is given on the CWGC site)

They lost their lives on 25 April 1945, at the very end of the war. The details of their disappearance are given in 256 Squadron’s ORB.

256 Squadron ORB

This clearly was a catastrophic incident, leading to bad mutilation of the bodies. The Graves Concentration Report Form, below, gives details. (It is sad to note that the first man on the form, Peter Chapman, of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, is reported to have been killed by Italian Fascists and buried by civilians.)

beard and maddock

beard tombstone

The very moving epitaph for the twenty-one-year old pilot reads:

OF ALL YOUR BRAVE ADVENTURES THIS, THE LAST, THE BRAVEST WAS AND BEST

It is a quotation from a poem by Maurice Baring.

 

maddock tombstone

For Maddock:

HE BELIEVED AND WAS NOT AFRAID

If you can help in any way with information about these men, please contact us: Contact

Peter Chapman, King’s Royal Rifle Corps

Peter Chapman, of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, was reported postwar to the British graves research unit in the area as having been killed by Italian Fascists on 6 January 1945. The Graves Concentration Report Form below gives the detail that the local information was supplied by a Rossini Simeone and adds his address.

beard and maddock

The following information was forwarded by Lorenzo Saggioro on 28 November 2019 (Jennie Mack Gray translation):

Born in London in 1922, at the age of 17 Peter joined the Royal Fusiliers Regiment. He took part in the North Africa campaign and was one of the many British soldiers captured in its disastrous early stages. He was imprisoned in Italy, and in 1943, following the collapse of the Fascist regime, managed to escape from prison camp and enlisted in the partisan brigade “Pasubio”. He became well-known for his abilities, and when this partisan body was dissolved, he managed to find refuge in Bonavigo.

Here he organized another group of partisans. He was known as “London” for his English origins and was very skilful with weapons. His activities were known to the Fascists and the German occupiers, and a bounty was put on his head for 30,000 lire, but Peter always managed to escape, protected by many people in the country.

His ability to link together the various groups of partisans and his passing-on of vital information on German troop movements greatly helped the Allies, with whom he was in frequent radio contact.

However, once it was obvious that the war was coming to an end, and it having been recognised that his presence was a focal point for the local resistance, he was betrayed and killed on 6 January 1945.

He is remembered as a person of great ability, but at the same time, of profound humility and humanity (AA.VV. VENTO SULLURA PIANURA – 1987).

In Caselle di Pressana, Verona, there is a small memorial stone that remembers him:

On 6 January 1945, dying for freedom, he closed his legendary day, PETER CHAPMAN, an English-partisan Italian soldier

Peter Chapman memorial

peter chapman memorial site