The April Last Post was short and a continuation of all Last Posts this year.
We remembered Special Operations Executive Volunteer Fortunato Picchi. First SOE agent to parachute into enemy territory – and first to be executed. On 6th April 1941, Fortunato Picchi became what is believed to be the first member of SOE to be executed. He was 44 years old, a former head waiter in London with strong anti-fascist views, Picchi had been trained by SOE and was seconded to act as interpreter to OPERATION COLOSSUS of 11 Special Air Service Bn (formerly 2 Commando, later Parachute Regiment), the first British airborne operation of WW2, against an aqueduct in southern Italy.
Picchi is therefore believed to have been the first SOE agent to parachute (10th/11th Feb 1941) into enemy territory. Picchi (along with all 38 men of COLOSSUS) was captured. He was reportedly tortured and tried as a traitor on 5th April 1941. Found guilty, he was taken to Forte Bravetta on the outskirts of Rome early the next morning, bound to a chair and, as a condemned traitor, shot in the back at dawn on 6th April – Easter Sunday of 1941.
Paul McCue read the poem and delivered the Individual Remembrance. Our Standard Bearer was Alan Lopez and Mrs Ruth Moore sounded the Last Post.