From: "Joseph Connaughton" <>
To: "webmaster" <>
Subject: McAllister Case
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2000 19:39:03 -0700

Hi Blair,

    Thought you might want to put this story on the page. It's from our Italian friend Giuseppe Versolato. McAllister was not in our group, but was in 310th Bomb Group flying missions off Corsica in B-25s as we were at that time. In fact, the day McAllister was shot down, Dec. 10, 1944 I flew a mission too , but on Ala RR/BR, Italy.This is a good example of the fortunes of war. It could have been me, or it could have been any of us. After he was shot down, McAllister took some questionable actions. I have my own opinions about them. Others may have different opinions. Maybe you could set up a chat room for us to discuss his options. How about it?

Well Joe,
 I'm going to work on that Chat room idea as soon as I get a chance. Until then here's the article for everyone to read.

From: "Joseph Connaughton" <> 
To: <>
Subject: Fw: McAllister Case
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 15:05:48 -0700
Hi Blair,
    This is additional information from Giuseppe. I think it is commendable of him and his associates to erect a plaque in McAllister's memory at the place he was killed. Giuseppe also attached the original article in Italian so we can now see the pictures that were included.
Hi Blair,
    Here's an  update excerpt on the "McAlliser Case" from Giuseppe I recently received. Might be of interest to post on the 319th board.

Hello Joe,

I'm Giuseppe from Italy. How do you do ?
I enter in touch again with you because I need of your help, if it is possible.I think you well remember the "McAlliser Case", an article that I wrote about a B-25 pilot killed by Germans . Well
with the help of American friends I was able to find his brother, have from him some pictures and , more important, to do that the municipality of the village where McAllister was executed, remembering and honoring him with a plaque during a ceremony on 25 april 2001, on the place where the pilot was killed. This thing is now well known also from the Veterans of the 57thWing , and very probably some of them will be present at Recoaro on this date. 

----- Original Message -----
From: Giuseppe Versolato
To: Joseph Connaughton
Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2000 6:00 AM
Subject: R: McAllister Case
Dear Joe,
glad that you have interest in this story. My co-author and me, we are
working because this unlucky pilot may be remembered in the place
where he was killed , by a plaquet. This man died as a "partisan" and
for the freedom of Italy. We are in touch with the municipality of Recoaro
and we hope that the mayor and the member of administration can well
consider this our proposal. At the same time, by veterans association,
I hope to have some informations (and if it is possible a picture)of him.
Frank Dean, wrote( with my collaboration) a resumed story of the event.
I wrote also to US Federal Office for the personal dead oversea during WWII,
hoping to have some datas of the officer, and where he is buried to day.
A few time after the end of war his remains were translated from Recoaro
Cemetery as the other two airmen found in the weckrage of the ship "El Lobo" .
They were buried in the Cemetery of Fongara, a little village very near to
Recoaro.Very probably to day all are buried in USA.
I send in attachment the article in italian language , as he was published by
the Italian aviation magazine "JP 4", so you can see also the pictures .
In your opinion a similar story could be of interest for US aviation magazines ?
Keep in touch.

Missing in action

The " McAllister" Case  

The reconstruction of the death of Lt.Lee Anthony Mc.Allister Jr., who survived after the shooting of his B-25, and was eventually executed as "criminal" by the Germans not far from Valdagno (Vicenza, Italy).


By Maurizio dal Lago and Giuseppe Versolato


During the 2nd. W.W.a large number of allied aircrafts was shot down by the flak or in dogfights by German and Italian fighters. Many others were shot down while attacking bridges and roads along the river Adige's valley or the Brennero Pass railroad where the Wehrmacht was particularly efficient.

Many of the crewmen who parachuted were captured by German troops; some others were "rescued" by the partisans operating there and were helped to cross back the lines and join their comrades, also with the support of allied organizations, such as S.O.E. (Special Operation Executive) and O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Service). 

The following pages analyse an American bombing mission, run on Dec.10th.1944, over Dolce' (a small village in Veneto region, Italy) and tell the story of two of their crews who parachuted over the Lessini mountains, between the Chiampo and Agno Valley, after their aircrafts were shot down by German flak.


 Mission No. 716

 On Dec.10th. 1944 at dawn, 22 B-25J aircrafts of the 310th.BG.-12th.A.F. took off from their base close to Ghisonaccia village, on the eastern coast of Corsica Island, and proceeded N-E direction towards Liguria, (an Italian region).

Mission 716 had just started. Its target was a bridge on the river Adige, not far from Dolce', in Lagarina Valley.

Ten of the aircrafts were part of the 380 Sqd. and twelve of the 428 Sqd. Four other "anti-flak" aircrafts were in the formation, being the target "hot-one" very dangerous.

That bridge was in fact the most important link between Germany and Italy through which all troops, supplies and Italian industrial products were carried.

The area was heavily protected by German flak and therefore feared by allied bombers.

Each "anti-flak" aircraft was loaded with 1000 LB-M65 and 22-100 LB WP (white phosphorus) bombs.

The formation was over Levanto (Liguria) and proceeded to Garda Lake.

The I.P. (initial point) was over Gardone on the western coast of the lake. The "anti-flak" aircrafts were leading, followed by the bombers.

The "anti-flak" aircrafts were conceived to destroy the flak sitings and therefore had to precede the bombers, especially medium bombers such as B-25J.

For almost the whole of 1944 the "anti-flak"B-25 used 128 LB-M1 frag bombs, obtaining poor results, because, as they were approaching the target, the artillerymen took cover under shelter, leaving the guns silent and therefore difficult to be spotted.Then, as soon as the frag bombs burst, they jumped at the guns ready to shoot at the incoming bombers. To avoid this" inconvenience”, at the end of 1944 the "anti-flak" aircrafts were loaded with phosphorus bombs. Their fuses were differently timed in order to explode a 100 yards above the gun sitings; others exploded just hitting the ground. The mid-air explosions caused the falling of thousands of burning fragments over the enemy troops; the same happened for ground explosions, this time against the flak sitings.

By doing so, they succeeded in keeping the artillerymen under cover for a longer time, enabling the bomber formation to drop their bombs in an easier way.

But during the bombing run at the Dolce' bridge something did not work as planned.


The "Donna Marie II " B-25J

The 428th Sqd. reported  " excellent bomb concentration on RR tracks slightly north of target, other bombs cut tracks to the south and some direct hits on the RR fill. The "anti-flak" aircrafts reported some hit over the gun siting" (but without knocking them down).

“Flak over the target: moderate to heavy, accurate. Two aircrafts lost, four aircrafts hit and one man wounded."

One of the two aircrafts shot down was the "anti-flak" B-25J formation leader. The aircraft, whose name was "Donna Marie II" serial 44-29937, was hit just prior to bomb drop; however it managed to complete the bombing run. Minutes later it lost an engine and fell on the Lessini mountains. Its pilot was Lt. Lee Anthony McAllister Jr. His crew was formed by 2nd.Lt. Derrill C.McMorris, copilot; Cap.Jerry M.Baraniuk, bombardier; Master Sergeant Robert E.Baccus, gunner-radio operator; Master Sergeant Ernest C.Thompson, dorsal turret gunner.

McMorris pointed out that his plane left the formation just over the I.P. to drop the bombs singly, then, after being hit and with the interphone unserviceable there was no way to communicate with his own crew. Some hits went directly into the bomb bay igniting the phosphorus bombs, which released soon after a dense smoke, also preventing the crew to see each other.

Luckily they managed to open the rear escape hatch and the gunners bailed out.

McAllister signed to McMorris to abandon the ship, then he and Baraniuk went out through the front hatch.

McAllister, as we'll see further on, was the last one to leave the plane.

The "Donna Marie II"'s drama was observed by  other crews of the formation. They saw at 11.06 AM the flaming plane falling and crashing against a side slope of the mountain, S-E of Recoaro village. This was also the plane seen by Mr.Candiago, an Altissimo (another small village in the area on the border of Vicenza and Verona provinces) city hall staff member.

He recounts:

"At 11.30 AM an allied airplane went down in location Campanella. At first it seemed to fall right over our houses... and it was very scaring to see the flaming plane leaving a sickle-like trail of smoke, turn around the mountain, then suddenly point towards us.

A big flame, a blast, the fall and a black cloud of smoke raising from Campanella."

Don Giacomo Tonin, parson of Castelvecchio parish, recorded in his register the same event.

"Today a section of American aircrafts flies over us. Above in the sky one airplane catches fire and falls at Campanella. The airmen descend with parachute over Campofontana."

They landed in the Chiampo Valley and the Germans captured all but McAllister.

McMorris was captured the day after at 08.00 AM two km. N-E of Selva di Progno near Durlo village.

Capt. Baraniuk was hurt on landing, he was captured and soon hospitalised in a German field hospital. On the 13th. of December he was taken to the Mantova hospital. Later he was transferred to Neurnberg-Landwasser concentration camp. Between 11 and 13 December 1944, McMorris was reported in Verona allied prisoner’s camp together with his three companions Baccus, Raple and Thompson. From subsequent documents dated January 11th.1945, they were reported in “Dula-Luft West”concentration camp in Germany.

McAllister instead was rescued by Italian patrolling troops (“Stella” Brigade).

Partisan “Tigre”  (code name “Tiger”) recalls: “ The pilot was not in good condition; he had inhaled smoke from the fire, he could not even speak”; while “Catone”, code name for the political member of the brigade refers that he could not walk because he hurt his right foot. He was carried on a kind of sledge and taken to Molino di Altissimo. He spent his first night hidden under the wine barrels of Mr. Antonio Cavaliere’s cellar. After a medical exam by the local doctor Mr. Cavaliere took him to his house. On Dec.19th. “Catone” sent his superior “Jura” dog tag and I.D. of the American pilot to forward to the allied Headquarters, pointing out that Lee Anthony McAllister and the other guys took of from a B-25 base right from Corsica island.

 The “El Lobo III”  B-25J

The other downed plane, a B-25J serial 43-27693, was “El Lobo III” of the 380th. Sqd. and one of the bombers formation. The group’s report read: “ Lt. William B.Berry’s aircraft was hit by flak over the target just after bombs away. It was hit at bombing altitude and momentarily out of control, but was eventually able to level around 5000 Ft. on 094° track. Last seen by Vestenanuova village.  No chutes seen.”

Lt.Berry had in his crew Lt. Philip W. Newhouse (co-pilot), flight officer William C. Hunt Jr. (bombardier), private Ernest Young Jr. (tail gunner), corporal James Noaker (radio-gunner), sergeant William H.Krob (turret gunner).

“El Lobo” had dropped its bombs over Dolcè and had just started the evasive actions because of the flak, when Newhouse saw another B-25 (McAllister’s plane), some distance ahead with lots of black smoke coming from one of his engines. The co-pilot called the crew to watch for parachutes but suddenly his plane was bounced around by three distinct jolts, and then dropped his right wing.

Once again the flak hit the bull’s eye!

Nevertheless the aircraft managed to fly for another 5-6 minutes, the same time as for “Donna Marie II”, then was definitely out of control and Berry shouted “BAIL OUT”.

First to go, at time 11.04, was Sgt. Krob then FO. Hunt and Lt. Newhouse. The last one was Lt. Berry. Before bailing out Newhouse watched Noaker and Young’s positions, but didn’t see anyone; he thought that they had already bailed out. They were instead both dead, killed by the flak on their first and only combat mission.

Their bodies were found by the Germans among the aircraft’s wreckage on the top of the Marana hill, as reported by the Recoaro mayor on June 24th1945, and were buried on Dec.15th1944 at Longara location.

Krob, the other gunner was captured by the Germans and was reported at Verona’s allied prisoners camp on Dec.12th1944. Later, on Jan.24th1945 he stayed at “Dula-Luft West” camp in Germany.

Berry, Hunt and Newhouse were rescued by the partisans. Hunt’s rescue procedure is still unknown; what we know for sure is that he was rescued by the partisans and taken singly to the English mission “Freccia”.

Berry and Newhouse in fact stated to have seen him by that mission “up on the hills close to Schio” only ten days after, on Dec.20th1944.

Berry’s rescue is also not clear, but as we’ll see, he was able to join Newhouse soon afterwards. About Newhouse we know that he landed in a location along the Chiampo valley. As soon as he touched the ground he was surrounded by a dozen people. A woman approached him indicating that he was bleeding from his head and hand. She took him into her house and treated his wounds. Some time later two partisans came and took him into the woods, preceding the Germans for just a few minutes.

“Catone” was soon notified about the three American airmen’s rescue and tried to contact them “to send them the English mission Dardo from where he would be sent to the Freccia mission. As I arrived at the “Giorgio Veronese” battalion, two of them had already been sent to their proper destination, while the third one Lt.McAllister was kept by a family because of his sprained ankle.”

As above written, the two airmen staying with English Maj.Wilkinson, joined their friend Hunt. But soon after their roads divided again.

Hunt managed to join his unit in March 1945 after crossing Switzerland.

Berry and Newhouse went to the east, trying to reach Yugoslavia, but couldn’t go further than Friuli (Italian region), where they got in touch with Paul Newton Brietsche’s English mission, where they stayed until the end of the war. On May 17th1945 Brietsche suggested a decoration for Berry.                                            

The Snowdrop’s colour

If this was the fate of 11 men, what was the fate of the 12th?

Towards the end of December Catone told Jura “ the American pilot has recovered. He will soon be taken to that location (very near Recoaro Terme), so that he might reach the English mission.” This time, however, Catone couldn’t count on mission Dardo’s support, but only on brigade commander Jura’s help to transfer Berry and Newhouse, because he was forced by a German round up to leave the Agno valley.

Right in these days Jura stayed with his unit “Romeo” in Recoaro Terme area, where from September 1944 the O.B.S.W. (Oberbefehl Süd West /S-W High Command) was based, together with Kesserling’s Army Corps Headquarters.

All prepared, on December 28th.McAllister departed from Molino di Altissimo escorted by Catone and Amleto (Mr.Cavaliere’s son). He was wearing a civilian suit and coat over his uniform. On December 31st. They arrived at the meeting point near Recoaro, but nobody was there. Jura and his unit had to leave the area because of a sudden round up. So they spent 1944 New Year’s Eve hidden in the woods.

The following morning Catone finally spotted the three men. To get there unfortunately they had to cross the main road Recoaro-Valdagno during daylight. This road was often used by O.B.S.W.trucks and cars and it was there that McAllister’s good luck abandoned him.

This is how Catone informed Jura about what happened:  “ dear Jura, I think this morning you heard some shots along the Agno valley, fired from an armoured truck. It was all because of us, Amleto, McAllister and me (…)”.

We were about to cross the main road, taking extreme care and were about to succeed, when a German car suddenly appeared. As we approached the river they started shooting at us; our life was in danger so we all started running except McAllister. Inexplicably he stopped and ran back towards the Germans, perhaps scared because of the shooting, but aware at the same time that he might be taken prisoner by them. We could have saved him just answering the German fire, but this might have endangered the entire area….”

The Germans, however, took McAllister to the Valdagno prison rather than to their Headquarters, since they considered him simply a criminal, not a P.O.W.

And this is how “the McAllister Case” started.

Catone in fact, declares that McAllister was wearing a coat and a suit over the uniform. Moreover we know that he signed in, because on the prison’s records he was listed (not quite correctly) as “Amo or Max Allisberg-airman”.

In this situation it should have been obvious for him to appeal to the Geneva Convention, nevertheless he was treated until the very end as a “criminal”. Why?

Only suppositions can be made on this matter. First, the Germans actually might have thought to deal with a real criminal, because of his civilian clothes and his escape attempt. Second, after having checked his identity, they might have put him in connection with the two B-25 crews shot down 20 days before. But differently from the other guys who died or were taken prisoners or who immediately joined the Freccia mission, McAllister was physically in contact with the partisans for nearly three weeks. Therefore he was supposed to be a useful source of information about the partisans and their bases.

Third, we must keep in mind that McAllister, while being transferred to the Freccia mission, passed very near to the O.B.S.W., which was at that moment the most important strategic point of the German defensive chain on the Italian front.

The American airman therefore, might have been considered a spy. For all these reasons the German police ran with unusual cruelty the officer/criminal/spy’s case.

Mc.Allister’s detention lasted eight days, during which he was probably brutally interrogated or even tortured.

We do not know whether he revealed something of the little he knew (surely he did not betray Cavaliere’s family); however his fate was marked because the Germans could not acknowledge him as POW without being accused of international laws violation. McAllister could not stay alive as an American officer; he could only die as a criminal. This was what happened.

At 3.30 PM Jan.9th.1945 two German MP came at Mr.Alfonso Maroso’s city hall office, stating, “We have killed a criminal, who was trying to run away along the main road”. Mr. Maroso went right there “exactly on the riverbed of Agno torrent” he wrote in his records “I found the body of a man in his thirties, brown hair, well cut beard, a goatee, brown eye lashes and eyebrows, regular face, nose, mouth and chin, no peculiar marks, 67 inches height, wearing long military trousers, cotton underwear, military rubber sole shoes, no documents. The post mortem examination, made by the local doctor, gave as result that the unidentified person died around 3 PM due to bullet wounds, which entered the cervical area and went through the right eye and the left jaw.”

It was a real execution indeed!

The location (the same of his capture) and the time were accurately chosen on purpose, so that the partisans, which the Germans knew to be in the mountains nearby, could see by themselves what they might expect. The body was carried to the Recoaro Basilica and stayed there for two days. Some people felt pity for him. One was Don Giovanni Dall’Armellina, the parson, who gave his Christian absolution. Then other unknown people put three little bunches of snowdrop between the bars of the small windows and on the doorstep of the improvised mortuary room, without being seen.

The Germans disapproved.

Lt.Pilot Lee Anthony McAllister Jr., Salem, Oregon, was buried at the Recoaro Cemetery the 11thJan.1945 with no ceremony or religious service at all.


MACR n.10387 (B-25 “El Lobo III”), from the Air Force Historical Center,AFHRA, Maxwell.

MACR n.10777 (B-25 “Donna Marie II”), AFHRA, Maxwell.

Roll Microfilm n.229 DOD Dir.5200.9, History 310th BG, AFHRA.

Brigata “Stella” Archive, c/o Giancarlo Zorzanello, Montecchio Maggiore, VI.

Recoaro Terme City Hall Archive.

Recoaro Terme Parish Archive.


Thanks for the precious collaboration to: Frank Dean, 310th  BG.Historian, Dominique Taddei,Dante e Maria Cavaliere, Dr.Gelindo Pianalto,Pietro Benetti e Angela Cornale. A special thank to Ferdinando D’Amico for his accurate advise.



Photograph legend

 Second  page.


Right:                                             A 380th Sqd. B-25 at Ghisonaccia, Corsica Island, home base of the 310th.BG.


Above:                                           310th  BG Mitchells under German-Italian flak over Northern Italy plain.


Previous page:                              379th and 380th B-25 on bombing run over Fontaniva’s (Padua) RR bridge

                                                      alternate target. The RR connects Vicenza and Treviso.Also vivible the Brenta                           

                                                      river (left) and Cittadella (right).



Third page. 

Left:                                               A well preserved B-25J at Robins AFB-Georgia Aviation Museum. It is  painted                                                                                            

                                                      In 310th BG colours and 380th Sqd  A/C serial 43-27676 “Nose Art”.


Above:                                           380th Sqd./310th BG B-25 Mitchell.



Fourth page:

Above:                                           Pictorial map of the area where the events of Lt.McAllister and his B-25

                                                      “Donna-Marie II” took place, from Dec.10th.1944 to Jan.11th.1945.


Right:                                            Giuseppe Cavaliere’s (Amleto) house at Molino di Altissimo (Vicenza), where

                                                      McAllister was kept hidden after his downing.



Fifth page:

Left:                                               Torrent Agno’s river bed where McAllister was esecuted, at Contra’ Focchini

                                                      di Destra , Recoaro Terme (Vicenza).


Below:                                            Partisan “Catone” (Alfredo Bigonzo, right on the picture) the political

                                                       representative of  the “Stella” Brigade and McAllister’s companion during his




Sixth page: 

                                                     Partisan “Amleto”-“Stella” Brigade, who took McAllister to the English Mission

                                                     where his return to the Allied front was to be arranged. The rendezvous was

                                                     missed because of a German round up.



If you've had problems getting the images to download drop me an Email and I'll cut them down in size. BW

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