World War I Italian Contingent

(July 29, 1915 Grand Rapids Press, Pg. 13)

On Thursday, Grand Rapids sent its first quota of men to fight for Italy in the great European war. Ten reservists are leaving on the Pere Marquette for Detroit. Then the party will go by boat to Buffalo, NY, and on to New York City where they will sail on August 1 for Naples. Another group will be leaving for Italy next week.

Those in the current party are: John Dagostern, L. Fiovanti, C. Giulos, Tony Odola, L. Salvati, Tony Cassini and John DeBernardis.

John DeBernardis is a United States citizen of Italian birth who offered himself and his three years previous experience in the Italian army. He was importuned by his mother, who is in Italy, to go back to Europe and join the army. John is a cabinetmaker at the Grand Rapids Showcase Company and expects to return to his bench after the war. He will have the rank of Corporal Major in the Italian army.

Created: 22 November 2007