Daily Event for September 27, 2010

On September 27, 1915 the Italian battleship Benedetto Brin was laying in Brindisi harbor, in the magazine deep inside the ship a German bomb was ticking. The crew of 833 men, less four saboteurs, had no idea of what was about to happen. At 07:45 the bomb went off devastating the once great ship and much of the area around the ship. The ship soon settled on the bottom and with it Admiral Baron Ernesto Rubin de Cervin, Captain Faraforni, the commanding officer and four hundred and fifty-two of her officers and crew.

The cause of the explosion was at first thought to have been a fire which reached the magazine, but the authorities were not able to determine an absolute cause, it took until May 6, 1916 before the actual cause was learned. A prisoner at Ancona named Cesare Molotti, a former Austrian secret service agent and a spy divulged the fact that a conspiracy to destroy the ship.

The Italian's rounded up forty or so people in connection with the plot and four were charged with the crime. Achille Moschinei, Guglielmo Bartolini, Mario Azzoni, all crewmen and Georgio Carpi an army deserter and known criminal. Their trial began in Milano on July 8, 1918 and was concluded on Aug. 1, 1918.

Carpi and Moschinei were sentenced to a traitor's death, shooting in the back, while the Socialist agitator Bartolini was given life at hard labor. Mario Azzoni was acquitted due to lack of evidence. In January of 1919 the sentence of Moschinei was commuted to life in prison and Carpi's sentence was also later commuted to life. However both men were pardoned and released in 1937 and 1942 respectively. I was not able to learn what happened to Bartolini.
© 2010 Michael W. Pocock

September 29, 1915: Front page of The Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Texas announcing the loss of the Benedetto Brin.

Mar. 23, 2012

I checked out your site...great...I believe my great grandfather Salvatore Ciavola was a soldier on the Benedetto Brin when it went down in 1915. I have searched everywhere for a list of casualties, but cannot find a list. Would you have any history of casualties on that ship.

Yours Sincerly,
Paul Giarrusso

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