History has to be handed on organically and with lots of details which are necessary to understand the experienced moments people have lived and their convictions. I like also seeing it through some peculiarity that strike and remain impressed, both when they relate to evident and heroic events, and to moments of absolute normality.
What I refer to are facts and circumstances which can be told with few beats, with the intent to stimulate the curiosity and push the one who listens or reads to improve, if so he wishes, his knowledge through the personal search of the details about history.
I call these short chronicles or news: "history’s pills"; they can be absorbed in very short time and represent the direction to avoid the poor knowledge of the aeronautical history, which marks many of us.
This first "pill" therefore starts a challenge. This is obviously open to everybody, who wishes to propose his little stories and curiosities.
Now I will tell you mine.
Walking in a Mall I saw a shop of clocks which has attracted my curiosity immediately. But this time, watching the shop window, more than be attracted by the clocks I was solicited by an ad that, besides displaing some very beautiful wrist watches, reproduces a drawing of two SM79 aircraft in a beautiful red color.
So I watched with curiosity and attention the picture and I smiled thinking of those, seller and customers, who would have grasped the information, that was coming from the design, some quite obvious and some understandable only by few informed ones.
The picture, in fact, represents the first page of the La Domenica del Corriere, dated February, the 6th 1938, and highlights the exploit made by the "Green Mice" (emblem of the 12th Wing) who landed in Rio de Janeiro on January, the 25th, flying from Guidonia (near Rome) and covering 9650 km, with only one stopover in Dakar, at the average speed of 406 Km/h.
The company, that produces the watches, uses the picture and has put on a side of the model the three “Green Mice” and on the other the silhouette of the SM79.
So far, anybody might say, there is nothing special in it; we can only say thanks to the company that honored the Italian Air Force immortalizing in their jewels one exploit of the Italian Royal Air Force - and at that time there were a lot.
But for the most curious the picture itself contains other information. The two aircrafts are identified by the letters printed on their fuselages.
On the higher up body you can read only the two final letters: SE. In fact the call sign of the airplane was I-BISE because the pilot was Colonel Attilio Biseo, who had participated with Italo Balbo in two transatlantic flight, in 1930 from Italy to Rio de Janeiro and in 1933 from Italy to Chicago. Biseo became also Commander of the IX Brigade Leone, and, at that time, was the Commander of the 12th Wing and head of the wing of three aircraft that flew from Guidonia, home of his Wing, to Brazil.
The second airplane, that is seen in its full shape, bears the full name I-BRUN: letters identifying the pilot, whose first name was Bruno and the family name was Mussolini.
Now we understand why the full view in the drawing is not only the one of the formation’s head and Wing Commander, but that of his wing pilot simply because Bruno was one of the Duce’s sons.
And here is another feature. Everybody knows, as the children of Benito Mussolini, Romano, a well-known painter and jazz musician, and Edda, who was the wife of Count Galeazzo Ciano, but few are aware that Benito and Rachele Mussolini had three more children: one girl, Anna Maria, and two boys, Vittorio and Bruno, who were both pilots of the Italian Royal Air Force.
Vittorio at the end of the Second World War moved to Argentina and returned to Italy in 1967, while Bruno passed away on August 7th 1941, crashing in Pisa during a test flight of a Piaggio P108.
Going back to the three Green Mice we find them mentioned in one of the most renowned restaurants in Tivoli that wanted to register their presence, immortalizing the event in a plate on May 3rd 1938.
The curious can read the entire history of the flight of the three “Green Mice” in the wonderful article written by Ovidio Ferrante and published on page 21 of the February 2008 issue of the journal, AERONAUTICS, of Arma Aeronautica:
Again, the curious can see the entire front page of the Domenica del Corriere, which was the Sunday supplement to the Corriere della Sera, at page 42 of the catalog of the watches manufacturer: