Mussolini's youngest son killed in airplane crash (8-7-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 7, 1941)


Bruno meets ‘glorious death’ at age of 23 on test flight near Pisa, Rome announces; flier was veteran of Ethiopia and Spain

Rome, Aug. 7 (UP) –
Bruno Mussolini, son of the Italian dictator, was killed in an airplane crash near Pisa.

Il Duce flew at once to Pisa. He visited Santa Chiara Hospital where his son’s body was and then inspected the scene of the crash.

Bruno, the youngest son of the Premier, was killed while testing a new type of airplane, it was announced. He was 23.

He held the rank of captain in the Italian Air Force and had served in Ethiopia and Spain besides the present war. He was a member of the noted Disperata air squadron, led by Count Galeazzo Ciano, Foreign Minister and son-in-law of Mussolini.

The communiqué announcing the death read:

This morning at 10 o’clock Capt. Pilot Bruno Mussolini [Il Duce’s son] met a glorious death near Pisa following an accident which occurred during the test flight of a new type of plane.

In December of last year, when Bruno was flying with his squadron in Greece, it was reported that he had been killed in combat, but the reports were later denied. Despite his youth, he was a veteran in Italian military aviation and he held numerous records.

A communiqué said two other officers died with young Mussolini in the crash of a four-motored bomber and that five other persons were injured. The men who died with Il Duce’s son were Lt. Pilot Francesco Vitalini and Motorist Angelo Trezzini.

The bomber, it was learned, belonged to a squadron which was being prepared for immediate war action.

Sets speed records

In 1937, Bruno was credited with having established speed records for land planes carrying 500, 1,000 and 5,000-pound loads over a closed circuit. In 1938, he was pilot of one of three Italian bombers which flew to Brazil by way of Dakar, French West Africa.

It was Bruno’s elder brother, Vittorio, who was lyrical in his descriptions of the effects of Italian bombs on Ethiopian natives. At one time, he described his bomb bursts among a group of Ethiopian natives as resembling the spreading petals of a great blooming rose.

Meanwhile, King Victor Emmanuel, in a telegram of condolence to Mussolini, said:

At this moment, in which your paternal affection receives such a hard blow, the Queen and I, while sincerely sharing your sorrow, desire to send you our heartfelt condolences for your grave mourning.

Your affectionate cousin,

In October 1938, Bruno was married to Signorina Gina Ruberti, daughter of Professor Guido Ruberti, theater critic and head of the Education Ministry’s division of contemporary art. Il Duce, Donna Mussolini and high members of the Fascist hierarchy attended the ceremony. A daughter was born to the couple in February 1940.

Among the posts held by young Mussolini was a directorate in LATI, an Italian airline operating across the South Atlantic to South America.

Bruno adopted his father’s motto, “Live Dangerously,” and he was a great admirer of his elder brother, Vittorio, also a military aviator.


The Pittsburgh Press make a mistake. Bruno was the 2nd youngest as he had a than 13 year old brother named Romano.
He ended up marring Sophia Loren’s Sister & becoming Jazz pianist, painter and film producer. His Alessandra was a former Member of European Parliament.
Back to Bruno, he was actually played by Robert Downey Jr. in Mussolini: The Untold Story.
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Also in that miniseries, Benito is play by Patton’s George C. Scott.
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The Pittsburgh Press (August 8, 1941)


Body taken to family’s home for funeral services tomorrow

Pisa, Italy, Aug. 8 –
The body of Capt. Bruno Mussolini, 23, second son of Il Duce, killed in an airplane crash here yesterday, was taken to the family home at Predappio today. Funeral services will be conducted there tomorrow.

The body was attended by Mussolini, Donna Rachele, his wife, and the widow of the young flier. It was carried from the Fascist headquarters in Pisa by eight pilot friends.

Il Duce and the members of his family were in deep mourning. Fascist flags throughout Italy were at half staff. Abroad the special train which carried the body to Predappio were wreaths from King Victor Emmanuel, Adolf Hitler, Pope Pius XII, Crown Prince Umberto and Mussolini. The wreath from Il Duce bore this inscription, “From father.”

At the railway station the coffin was saluted by Adelchi Serena, Secretary General of the Fascist Party, and it was blessed by the Bishop of Pisa, Monsignor Gabriele Vettori.

Mussolini kept vigil throughout the night beside the body of his son. Today he visited, at Santa Chiara Hospital, the five aviators who were injured in the crash.

The wounded men asked for news of Bruno.

The Premier replied:

Bruno is quite well. He is no longer in danger.

Mussolini’s wife and other members of the family joined him during the night in the watch at the bier. All theaters and motion picture houses in Pisa were closed in mourning.

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