On this day: the downing of Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870

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The recovered wreckage in 2007. X

On the 27th of June, 1980, Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 disappeared from the sky during a flight from Bologna to Palermo, Italy.

The plane crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea, killing all eighty-one people on board.

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While it was concluded by British investigators that a bomb on the aircraft caused the disaster, to this day Italian officials insist a missile was fired at the plane.

The disaster occurred in the middle of a wave of terrorist acts to hit Italy (such as the Bologna Bombing), fuelled by far left and right-wing groups in the country’s north.

On this day: Preparing for Battle

This photograph, dated the 24th of June, 1918, shows Italian troops at 10am, waiting for battle.

They are in the commune of Nervesa, in the northern Italian Veneto region, an area that was largely destroyed in battle in the days immediately before.

The soldiers retook the region from the Austro-Hungarians.

World War 1 - Italian Army Nervesa - Italian troops at 10am on 24th June 1918 near the train station before the battle

On this day: Italy declares war.

Italy’s fascist dictator Benito Mussolini stands on the balcony of the Palazzo Venezia in Rome to declare war on France and Great Britain on the 10th of June, 1940.

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Mussolini_DOW_10_June_1940 Italian leader Benito Mussolini delivering his war declaration on France and Great britain from the Palazzo Venezia Balcony in Rome. Fscist dictator.

Meanwhile, in Turin in the north of the country, people gather in a piazza to listen to the declaration on the radio.

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Turin-10-6-1940 People in Charles Albert Square, Turin, listening to the radio message of Benito Mussolini from Rome, announcing the italian declaration of war, 10th June 1940.

On this day: the invasion of Albania

Italy’s rapidly successful invasion of Albania, run by fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, began on the 7th of April, 1939. The Albanian king, Zog I, was forced into exile, and the entire operation was complete only five days later, on the 12th.
Italian_soldiers_passing_Albanians,_7_April_1939 Italian invasion of Albania Fascist
Albania was made part of the Italian Empire, with its sea ports being considered important to the regime.
Italian_army_2Italian invasion of Albania 7th April 1939 Fascist Italy Italian Empire

On this day: the birth of a British Olympian

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Walter Tysall X

British Olympic gymnast Walter Tysall was born in Birmingham on the 3rd of April, 1880.

At the age of twenty-eight Tysall competed in the individual all around competition at the 1908 London Olympic Games. He won the silver medal, with Italian Alberto Braglia winning gold and French gymnast Louis Ségura taking bronze.

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Italian gold medallist Alberto Braglia

Though the British women’s gymnasts would go on to reach the Olympic podium a few years later, Tysall’s silver was the only medal won by a British male gymnast until 2008.

Tysall died in Ashton-on-Ribble in 1955.