Who was Carmelo

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Carmelo Borg Pisani (August 10 1915–November 28 1942) was a Pro-Italian Maltese nationalist and Fascist. He was born in Cottonera, Malta and executed at Corradino prison in Malta at 7:34 A.M. for treason and spying for the Italian Government.


Born into a very well respected Catholic and Nationalist Maltese family, Pisani enrolled as a student at the Umberto Primo art lyceum, where he won a scholarship to study in Rome. When war was declared on June 10 1940, Pisani was still attending the University of Arts in Rome.


Pisani believed that Malta's Latin soul was being destroyed by British rule. He also believed that the best opportunity to restore Malta to its original state was to expel the British. To this end, Pisani, along with many other Maltese students, joined the Fascist party of Italy and the Black Shirt (Camicie Nere) movement. This led him to participate in the Italian occupation of Kefallinia in Greece with the Compagnia Speciale del Gruppo CC.NN. da sbarco della 50a Legione.

On May 18 1942, Pisani was sent on a secret mission to be the first Axis spy on the island of Malta. He disembarked at the Dingli cliffs in Ras id-Dawwara, and transferred all his rations to the cave, which he knew well from his youth. The unusually inclement weather and the rough sea, however, washed all his possessions away within 48 hours and he was forced to wave down a British patrol boat. Upon rescue, he was brought to the Military Hospital at Mtarfa.

There, Pisani was recognized by one of his childhood friends, Cpt. Tom Warrington. He was transferred to Corradino prison, interrogated, and accused of treason by a pro-British court.


On November 12 1942, he stood trial.


Since the Maltese Legal Code was suspended during the war, a jury was not convened.


In addition, the judges did not consider his renouncement of British citizenship and passport, acquisition of Italian citizenship, and his participation in combat with the Italian Army. In fact, the latter only weakened his position, since he fought against Greece, an ally of the United Kingdom.


On November 19 1942, he was sentenced to death for conspiring against His Majesty's government and for treason. His execution followed in nine days.


Herbert Ganado relates the story of his capture differently (cf. Herbert Ganado - Rajt Malta Tinbidel, Book III, chap II pp.18-20, Interprint, 1977 (LC Control No.: 99179781). The book is also available as an English translation by Michael Refalo.


Much less is known about the other Maltese who were put on trial in 1946 and came close to sharing Pisani's fate. Herbert Ganado (IBID) describes these "Conspiracy Trials" (Book III, Chap. XXXI), in which seventeen Maltese were accused on charges of treason. Most of them were students living in Italy at the beginning of the war. Eleven of them could have been given the death penalty, although none of the accused received this sentence.

Carmelo Borg Pisani

Il quadro opera   del pittore Claudius , ritrae il momento in cui  Carmelo BORG PISANI viene rilasciato dal MTS 214  in  prossimità d'ellisola di Malta 

Painting of the landing in Malta