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17 June1934
The launching of the Grecale
Mario Cessi
Music by Guglielmo Pagnozzi

Built in Ancona's Cantieri Navali Riuniti shipyard, the destroyer Grecale was christened with the launch 17 June 1934, which Mario Cessi filmed with his 9.5 mm camera, faithful to a passion he shared with other film enthusiasts: filming the launching of military and civil ships. Indeed, the launching is a spectacular and highly participatory moment. Then the presence of military ships in the private films of 1930s Italy is really significant, more and more national pride with the winds of war rising. 'Io sto in ascolto se rechi il vento clamor di battaglia' is in fact the motto with which it is launched, taken from a sonnet by Gabriele D'Annunzio. Contrary to almost all ships launched with pomp and circumstance at this time, the Grecale survived the war, participating in an incredible number of missions and suffering no less than eleven submarine attacks (a destroyer is a fast and manoeuvrable warship, used for escort and defence and for hunting submarines). She was later left to Italy by the 1947 peace treaty, becoming part of the Republican Navy. It seems almost a miracle to reach the post-war period. The Grecale saw and experienced moments ranging from the Spanish Civil War, to the parade for Hitler in the Gulf of Naples, from the invasion of Albania, from the entry into the War to the actions carried out first with the Axis powers and then after the Armistice with the Allies. He would have had many stories to tell and memories to transmit, Grecale, if he could have spoken. Instead, memory is passed on through the words of an officer's son: 'My father was on board the Grecale when, together with other officers, he heard on the radio the speech with which Mussolini announced Italy's entry into the war. The news was greeted with concern and a foreboding that it would end badly: he told me that the Italian naval officers had a fair amount of admiration for the British Navy, an old myth respected and feared'.