I.S.9 Italian Agents, Part 2

This is the second part in a series of posts concerning Italians who served as agents for I.S.9 (Intelligence School 9 of the Central Mediterranean Force).

I.S.9’s chief mission was support and rescue of escaped POWs and evaders (E&Es) stranded in enemy territory in Italy and elsewhere in Europe. I.S.9 was a division of M.I.9 (British Directorate of Military Intelligence Section 9), a department of the War Office during WW II.

Thanks to researcher Brian Sims for access to his archives of I.S.9 files from the British National Archives.


Giovanbattista Marcus

Born in Azzano Decimo (Udine province) on March 12, 1920.

Giovanbattista was raised in Azzano, where he worked on his uncle’s farm. He was called up to serve in 1940 in the 17th sector of the Guardia Frontiera (border guard). He transferred to the Italian Army parachutists in 1941, but did not serve outside Italy. He was in Calabria with Nembo division of the Paracadutisti at the time of the Armistice.

Giovanbattista volunteered for special service from the Italian Army in December 1943.

He knew the whole area of Veneto fairly well and Udine area very well. He served in the province of Vercelli for about a year.

His employment with N Section, Advance Headquarters of A Force began on December 7, 1943. He served as an agent/guide who whose name during employment was Battista.

He was issued the following false document: Carta d’Identita – Comune de Spilimbergo, Marcus G. Battista, agricoltore

His employment with I.S.9 ceased on October 31, 1944, and was returned to his regiment in Bari on November 2.


Nicola Morelli

Born in Magliano (Forli) on May 7, 1902.

Next of kin listed was his wife, Ida Flamini, Frazione Maliano (Forli).

Nicola was a farmer. After September 8, 1943, he acted as a courier for the partisans for seven months, and then he joined them for four months. He crossed the lines on September 29, 1944 with Italian Major Tolley, who had previously acted for I.S.9. Major Tolley introduced Nicola to 5 Field Section, I.S.9, and Nicola afterward performed a successful mission to Romagna.

Nicola was employed by Captain B. G. McGibbon-Lewis, No. 5 Field Section, as agent from October 10, 1944, and then by No. 2 Field Section as agent and servant from January 5, 1945.

He had local knowledge of Romagna.

He kept in his possession an identity card (Forli) that was issued by the Republica Sociale Fascista.

The name he used during I.S.9 employment was “Nicola.”

He ceased to be employed on May 15, 1945 due to the end of the war and was returned to his home.


Annio Orsini

Born on May 1, 1921 in Villaricca (Napoli)

Annio studied law at the University of Naples. He was called up for service in the 2nd Regiment Artillery of the Italian Army in February 1941, where he served as a private. He transferred to the 51st Regiment Artillery in June 1941. He spent nearly two years in Yugoslavia.

He was on sick leave at the time of the Armistice, and remained unoccupied at home until April 1944. At that time he volunteered to be a wireless telecommunications (W/T) operator through the local labor exchange. He was taken to Ailano, where he was employed by Lt. Lee Bradley, No. 1 Field Section of I.S.9 on April 15, 1944 in the capacity of W/T operator/agent.

Annio demonstrated local knowledge of Como (fairly well), Treviso-Padova (fairly well), and the Pesaro-Ancona areas of Le Marche (well).

As a W/T operator, he claimed to transmit 12 words per minute. He was fluent in French and had fair knowledge of Yugoslav.

He had in his possession a Carta d’Identica, Comune di Napoli.

He was issued the following false documentation: Carta d’Identica in the name of Ennio Rossini, Siena, Scritturale.

He ceased to be employed on October 31, 1944 and was flown to Bari to collect kit and return to his home.


Franco Pareti

Born on November 16, 1921 in Bettola

Franco was an engineering student at Milan. He was called up in the Italian Army in 1941, where he served in anti-aircraft as a lieutenant. After the Armistice, he took to the hills of the Bettola area. He met an ex-POW and arranged evacuation of 82 ex-prisoners to Switzerland between November 1943 and January 1944, when his uncle, aunt, cousin, and mother were all arrested for helping POWs. From February through April, he was in Milan, where he secured his mother’s release.

From April through October 1944, he served as administrative officer of a patriot band in the Bettola area. He joined Captain Gregg of No. 1 Special Force in worked with him October–November 1944. He came through the lines with Gregg on December 6, as guide to a party of POWs during the Vermouth Mission. (See “I.S.9 History—Operations in Italy, Part 4.”)

He volunteered for I.S.9 and was employed by J. F. Fillingham, Field Headquarters in Florence, on December 10, 1944 in the capacity of agent/organizer.

Franco demonstrated local knowledge of all of Lombardia and Emilia (very well), Udine and Venezia/Veneto (fairly well, 1½ years), Torino and area (well).

He had in his possession a patriot identity document.

He was issued the following false documentation: Carta d’Identica–Comune di Pesaro, in the name of Carlo Ferrara, Geometra; Arbeiterausweis (worker permit) in the name of Carlo Ferrara, Bologna; and a travel permit issued at Bologna in January 10, 1954, valid until March 11, 1945.

He ceased to be employed on May 8, 1945, given a pass to proceed to Milan, and returned to SIM (Servizio Informazione Segreto, the Italian Secret Service during WW II) on June 6, 1945.

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