Category Archives: The Partisans

Escaped Prisoners and Airman at Fontanaluccia

A page from the register of the Partisan Hospital of Santa Lucia

I received valuable information from Italian researcher Michele Becchi several days ago.

He wrote, “I’m sending to you a page from the register of the Partisan Hospital of Santa Lucia, in the village of Fontanaluccia, not far from Montefiorino (the partisan republic).

“There are names of British ex-POWs that may be interest you.

“In the register are also some names of Allied pilots, Russians, and Germans.”

“The word ‘ospizio’ means hospital but also nursing home. Don Mario Prandi, the parish priest of Fontanaluccia, opened it in the ’30s and during the war, with the help of some antifascist doctors, it became one of the four or five partisan health centers of the mountains open to partisans, prisoners, civilians, and anyone needing help. The acronym ‘S. Lucia V.M.’ is a religious abbreviation for ‘Santa Lucia, Virgin and Martyr.’”

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The Partisan from Brooklyn

My father, Armie Hill, kept a clipping from Yank magazine for many years. The article, dated September 1, 1944, is “The Partisan from Brooklyn,” by Sgt. Harry Sions. It tells the story of Manuel Serrano’s involvement with the Italian Partisan underground movement after his escape from Camp 59. Links to the three-page article are below.

What I know about Manuel Serrano is limited to information available through his enlistment and POW records at the National Archives:

Manuel S. Serrano was born in 1919. He enlisted in the army on February 5, 1942 at Fort Dix, New Jersey. His term of enlistment was “for the duration of the War or other emergency, plus six months, subject to the discretion of the President or otherwise according to the law.” He is listed as single and his education is given as “grammar school.” According to the record, he was Puerto Rican and a resident of King’s County, New York.

Serrano’s POW record at the Archives indicates he was a first sergeant in the Army Parachute Infantry, and that he served in the North African Theatre. The record confirms he was a prisoner at “CC 59 Ascoli Picenzo Italy 43-13.”

Yank magazine was published weekly by the U.S. Army during WW II. The magazine was written entirely by enlisted rank soldiers and it was available, for five cents per issue, to servicemen overseas.