Downed American fighter in 1944, remains of Lt. John Winslow B-47 found

Downed American fighter in 1944, remains of Lt. John Winslow B-47 found

Castel Fiskardo – Montetrobiaglio – World War II – The research conducted by Michelle Mari in collaboration with Franco Graziani, Luca Giuliani, Geoff Battista Tommasini, Agostino Alberti and the Romagna Air Finders Society made it possible to reconstruct the entire story and identify the American pilot who died in the collision on the ground with his plane on June 8 79 years ago


The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47


Fiskardo Castle – A downed American fighter in 1944, the remains of Lieutenant John Winslow B-47 were found.

The research conducted by Michelle Mari in collaboration with Franco Graziani, Luca Giuliani, Geoff Battista Tommasini, Agostino Alberti and the Romagna Air Finders Society made it possible to reconstruct the entire story and identify the American pilot who died in the crash on the ground with his own plane on June 8, 1944 in the midst of World War II.

79 years after those tragic days, a piece of history is revealed that took place in the sky between the Viterbo region and the province of Terni, precisely between Aquapendente, Orvieto and Castel Fiskardo.


A P-47

A P-47


On that distant day of June 8, 1944 in Montetrobiaglio, a small village in the municipality of Castel Fiskardo, the American P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber piloted by Senior Lieutenant John Raymond Winslow, belonging to the 87th Fighter Squadron of the 79th Bomber Group, crashed, and It was shot down at 7.50 during a bombing mission on the railway line between Orvieto and Fabro.

Lieutenant Winslow’s plane crashes into Pescarello after flying over the hamlet at too low an altitude, touching roofs and trees.


Lieutenant John Winslow (Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri)

Lieutenant John Winslow (Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri)


The investigation began about two years ago after Michelle Marie received the first information from Geoff Battista Tommasini about a plane that crashed around June 10 in Monterobiglio.

The diary of the parish priest Don Marzio published in Tommasini’s “Il prete padre” detailing the story was key to recovering more information.

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The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47

The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47


A few days before crossing the front – Don Marzio wrote in his diary – on June 10 or 11, a pilot dived to attack German targets on the old road that led to Orvieto near the railway tunnel. He may have been hit by a shell, and was unable to regain altitude because of the flames that blew out from the engine.

“The poor fellow,” continued Don Marzio, “couldn’t even throw himself with a parachute, he went over Monteobiaglio, past houses and trees, and fell into Pesciarello. I went to the place, everything was fire. I had brought a primitive box and was trying to collect the pieces of what was left of the pilot and he forced me The angry Germans threw the box and cut it into the plane’s fire. After several attempts and persistence I managed to take out the box full of naked bones and burnt flesh and bury what was left of the pilot in the cemetery of Montetrobiaglio. Not far from the plane, I found the documents and the dog tag. With these documents I wrote to his wife in America and in In 1946, the American authorities came to take him back to America.”

This is important information Michael Marie He went in search of the plane crash to find any remains of the plane so he could understand what plane it was.


A P-47

A P-47


Central to this investigation was the testimony of Franco Graziani who recalled the entire story and the exact place of the plane crash in Pescarello.

Some of the remains of the aircraft were found here, such as parts of the onboard instruments, the chapel, and engine parts.

Thanks to the presence of some codes, Michelle Marie was able to identify the plane: it was a P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber.

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Other fragments, notably some of the pilot’s seat belt loops, buttons, “quick release” and oxygen mask regulator, have been identified thanks to the association’s cooperation. Air finders in Romania.


The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47

The discovered remains of 1st Lt. John Winslow’s P-47 – some parts of the pilot’s seat belt


The P-47 was an American single-engine, monoplane fighter-bomber built by the Republic Aviation Company in about 15,000 samples and could reach 700 kilometers per hour. The aircraft was armed with eight machine guns and was used in European airspace from 1943 until the end of the war.

From this certainty, and with a certain period of the plane being shot down (around June 10, 1944), it was possible to identify the pilot and reconstruct his story.


The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47

The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47


Confirmation of the downing of the plane was found, in the municipal archives of Castel Viscardo, in collaboration with the deputy mayor Luca Giuliani, in the Protocol Record, a communiqué of the burial of an American pilot who died in Castel Viscardo in June 1944.

The investigation then turned to an analysis of US military reports of administrations that used P-47s in their missions in the first 15 days of June 1944.


The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47

The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47


In particular, from the various information collected, from Don Marzio’s memoirs to that of witnesses of the accident, they were looking for a pilot on board the P-47 that crashed in the first fifteen days of June 1944 during a mission around Orvieto, and who had Wife in 1944 and her body returned to the United States after World War II.

Thanks to the collaboration of Michele Marie with Agostino Alberti, the pilot who died in Monterubiaglio in 1944 was identified after careful research in the loss reports (macr – missing aircrew report) of the American aircraft and in the reports of every single mission (dor – daily operating report) of the various departments.

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In fact, for one pilot, all the information gathered was exactly the same (Orvieto area, mission against the railroad, plane shot down in the first fifteen days of June 1944, pilot died on the job, pilot married and his body returned to America afterwards . the war).

With certainty, it was possible to determine that the pilot who died in that raid was First Lieutenant John Raymond Winslow aboard a P-47 Version D with serial number 42-75970 lost for unknown reasons near Orvieto.

It was 8 June 1944 around 7.50 when a formation of 12 P-47s of the 87th Fighter Squadron of the 79th Fighter Group, took off from Pomeliano Airfield, and was engaged in a mission to bomb and bomb the railway between Orvieto and Fabro. .


The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47

The discovered remains of Lt. John Winslow P-47


The last sighting of Winslow’s aircraft by the squadron was about three kilometers from Monttrobiaglio.

In addition, the pilot had a wife in 1944, and her body returned to the United States in 1949.

Finally, to complete the search, thanks to Agostino Alberti’s contacts in the United States, more news of the pilot has been found.


John Winslow's gravestone (findagrave.com)

John Winslow’s gravestone (findagrave.com)


John Raymond Winslow was born September 28, 1921 in Chanute, Kansas.

He died flying his plane at the age of 22, was buried in Montetropiaglio Cemetery and his body was returned to the United States in 1949; It is located at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery. He left behind his wife, Betty, and his two children.

A search, Michel Marie’s search, which allows us to give a name to the young American pilot who died with his plane in Monteropiglio on June 8, 1944 during a combat mission over the skies of central Italy.

July 16, 2023

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