Some months ago an Italian fellow by the name of Massimo Squillario contacted President Kelli Martin on Facebook. He explained he and group of other men called “I Recuperanti” had worked on reconstructing what happened to an American pilot, Dale Hargrove, a native of Fort Worth, who was shot down over Italy on December 27, 1944 during WWII. He came across Roll Call’s Facebook page and was looking for assistance in publicizing the amazing work their group had done to try and find out what happened to Dale.
Massimo explained his group had found some small aircraft parts, but the larger pieces were picked up by the German command immediately after the impact. “Over the years, the memory of a different crash point was rooted, so no rest was found.” But he and his group interviewed two people who actually saw the plane crash, and “I Recuperanti” was able to find pieces of the plane about 500 feet from the eye witnesses’ description of where they saw the plane go down.
With the assistance of American forums and military research “I Recuperanti” was able to rebuild Dale’s story. He explained that “this area of Italy, near Milan and Malpensa Airport, was very besieged during WWII. In 2013, the parents of another pilot, Lt. Harry Partridge, flew to Italy from Alabama to celebrate the retrieval of his plane’s remains by another group of their friends, The AircrashPo, who had also started exploring Dale Hargrove’s plane at that time.”
“I Recuperanti” created a video about the reconstruction of what happened to Dale Hargrove and his crew during WWII. In September, 2017 the Thunderbolt P47 original pieces were donated to a local cultural association in Italy.
Dale Hargrove was born in February 11, 1922 and attended Arlington Heights High School and graduated in 1940. He then went to James Connally Air Force Base for basic training and pilot training, then was assigned to the 345th Fighter Squadron. It was after eight missions during WWII that his aircraft was shot down. Other crew members were Earl Miller, Kevin Middleton and Mihiel Gilormini.
Roll Call is honored to have become acquainted with this group of extraordinary Italian men who dedicate their time to reconstructing what happened to so many during the war and researching and preserving other military artifacts and history. Below is the link to the video “I Recuperanti” compiled to help remember and honor the heroic actions of Dale Hargrove and his crew.
Please visit their Facebook page, “Like” and follow their great work:
1 POW Network www.pownetwork.org/bios/c/c103.htm