This photo was taken in the field of Dux di Pietragalla in 1943, near to the time when Robert Dulac’s plane, known as the Fyrtle Myrtle, was shot down. Vitangelo Di Fino, here 11 years old, is the first child sitting on the ground to the left, wearing a black shirt, a fez on his head, and with his hands crossed. Photos for this post are courtesy of Vitangelo’s daughter, Maddalena Di Fino.
Michele Potenza was 13 years old when he witnessed the downing of an American bomber from the skies over his village of Pietragalla, Italy. It was a memory impressed in his mind for life (see “Lost Airmen Remembered in Pietragalla.”)
Yesterday I learned from Michele of another child who was drawn into this disturbing event.
Vitangelo Di Fino was a boy of 12 when the plane came down, and he was the first on the ground to reach Robert Dulac. He quickly rendered emergency first aid when he saw that Robert was bleeding.
Detail of Vitangelo from the above photo
I asked Michele if he knew whether Robert had suffered head injuries or even had been blinded. Fellow crew member Edward Dzierzynski later noted in the official Missing Air Crew Report that Robert “was seriously injured around the eyes – head” by the crash.
No, non era cieco. A causa del bail out, nel cadere a terra, si è fratturato il malleolo.
No, [DULAC] was not blinded, [but] due to the bail out, in the fall to the ground he broke his ankle.
Il teste DE FINO Vitangelo, in un’intervista che io ho registrato e che vedro’ anche di mandarti, racconta di aver trovato DULAC a terra, con il malleolo rotto da cui sgorgava molto sangue. DE FINO non dice niente sulle ferite alla testa ed agli occhi: come ripeto egli si preoccupo’ solo di evitare che DULAC potesse morire per emorragia e per questo,non avendo niente di specifico appresso (garze, fasce, disinfettante, cerotti, ecc.), con la sua maglietta fasciò la rottura e consegno’ DULAC ad altri che lo accompagnarono all’Ospedale di POTENZA.
The witness, Vitangelo DE FINO, in an interview that I recorded and I will see that send to you, said he found DULAC on the ground with a broken ankle from which flowed much blood. DE FINO said nothing of wounds to the head and eyes. I repeat, he worried only about preventing DULAC from bleeding to death and for that, not having relevant supplies (gauzes, strips, disinfectant, bandages, etc.), he bandaged the wound with his shirt and delivered DULAC and his companions to Potenza Hospital.