Antonio Locatelli


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Antonio Locatelli was born in Bergamo, in the north of Italy, on the 19th April 1895. After having attended a technical highschool, he became a chief technician with the Ansaldo steel works in Genova.

Antonio Locatelli and his brother Carlo. They began their sport mountain activities in 1910 and in 1914 they climbed over the Cervino and the Monte Rosa. Carlo Locatelli took part to WW1 as an Alpini Lieutenant and was killed during the assault to Cima Presena in may 1918.

 
The Locatelli brothers Carlo In 1918

He was called-up in January 1915 and was assigned to the Battaglione Aviatori ("Flyers Battallion"). After having gained his wings, he was assigned to a reconnaissance squadron. For his brilliant service he was awarded a Silver Medal for Military Gallantry. He was shot down for the first time on the 5th June 1916, during a reconnaissance mission over Rovereto. After an intense period at the front, on the 12th february 1918 he was assigned to the famous 87a Squadriglia "La Serenissima.

 
Before the Action
 

Locatelli, D’Annunzio, Palli, Allegri, Granzarolo, Censi, Sarti, Massoni and Finzi while with the 87a Squadriglia. They made the epic Vienna raid of the 9th August 1918, dropping tricolour leaflets. On the 15th september of the same year, Locatelli was shot down and captured, but escaped on the 2nd november 1918.


 
 

In July 1919, Locatelli made the first flight ever across the Andes, at 35░C under 0 in the open cockpit of a SVA machine.

The Andes Buenos Aires "La Nacion"

A close friend and admirer of Gabriele D’Annunzio, Locatelli took part to the Fiume episode, with the aim to help the Poet.

He later returned to his hometown, Bergamo, joined the Fascist party and took part to some clashes agains socialist and trade-union groups.

In January 1923, by means of a third-class ticket, he began a journey around the world. He took many very nice and charming pictures, together with notes and some souvenirs all of which are still carefully preserved.

 

 
The track The "Dornier Wal"

Antonio Locatelli was awarded a M.O.V.M. in november 1923, by Mussolini himself. Appointed as deputy, he tried to fly across the Atlantic following the north route.

 

An excellent photographer and a talented draughtsman, after 1925 Locatelli returned to his usual mountain sporting activites and was appointed as the president of the Bergamo chapter of the Club Alpino Italiano. While in that position, he actively supported the 1930 building up of the Livrio mountain hut.

Because of differences of opinion with some of the Fascist party authorities, Locatelli was forced not to bring forward his nomination to the 1929 public elections and to leave his director appointment with the SocietÓ Anonima Aero Espresso Italiana, one of the most important Italian airline companies of the time. He became a journalist with the prestigious newspaper Corriere della Sera and in June 1932 he was appointed by the mayor of the city of Bergamo as keeper of the Risorgimento Museum. In November 1933, he became mayor of Bergamo but, his administrative skills notwithstanding, he was forced to resign his office a mere year later, because of severe disputes with the local dignitaries of the Fascist party about town-planning and public housing.

In January 1936, he enlisted as a volunteer in the Regia Aeronautica, to take part to the Italian conquest of Somalia and Ethiopia. He was again assigned to a reconnaissance squadron. Antonio Locatelli died on the 27th June 1936, one of several victims of an ambush. On that very same day, he had been awarded a second Gold Medal for Military Gallantry (M.O.V.M.). A third M.O.V.M. was awarded to him posthumously.

In 1998 the Museum dedicated to Antonio Locatelli the quire by Camillo Bianchi L’apertura delle rotte commerciali aeree, le rotte transatlantiche e transpolaripolari. 1924. Antonio Locatelli sull’Atlantico del Nord and in 1999 a meeting and another widening work by Camillo Bianchi, 1924. Antonio Locatelli sull’Atlantico nord. 

(Mauro Gelfi - translation by Alberto Casirati)


Index The Ansaldo A1 Antonio Locatelli  The "San Giorgio" Project Technique Modelling Album Links