Paolo Caccia Dominioni
Paolo Caccia Dominioni, born in Nerviano, Lombardy, 14th Baron of Sillavengo (14 May 1896 – 12 August 1992); was an Italian soldier; officer in Alpini mountain Infantry Corps; engineer and writer, most noted for his leadership in the North Africa Campaign in World War II.
During his engineer's career in prewar Egypt, he developed a deep friendship with the Belgian expatriate Vladimir Peniakoff, later to be known as Popski ( the creator and leader of a World War II Special Forces unit called Popski's Private Army ("No 1 Demolition Squadron, PPA" ) with whom he had explored the Egyptian desert; a few years later the two friends would be facing each other as enemies, in Libya,in the second World War. Caccia Dominioni had already fought in the First World War; in the Libyan Campaign and in the War in Ethiopia. Finally, after having first been assigned to Military Intelligence (Servizio Informazioni Militare), in 1942 and with the rank of Major , he was given command of the XXXI Battaglione guastatori ( the 31st Sappers battalion) on the El Alamein front, until the defeat of the Axis forces in North Africa.
Joined the resistance against Benito Mussolini in Italy, was arrested by the Fascist Militia and the Gestapo who however released him, as an officer that had been personally decorated by Erwin Rommel. His book on the Italian Campaign in North Africa, Alamein 1933–1962, was translated into English and published by Allen & Unwin in 1966 as Alamein 1933–1962: An Italian Story. Caccia Dominioni devoted his postwar career to the retrieving of soldiers' corpses still on the Alamein battlefield and to the design and construction of a cemetery and a memorial building, located on a particular spot on the Alamein battleground named "Hill 33" where – thanks to his twenty years of efforts – thousands of Italian, German and British unknown fallen soldiers, were eventually identified and received a proper burial.
He died in Rome in 1992.