Fulco Ruffo di Calabria - History of World War I - WW1 - The Great War

Fulco Ruffo di Calabria - No Picture

More about World War 1

Fulco Ruffo di Calabria Information

Fulco Ruffo di Calabria

Spouse: Countess Luisa Gazelli di Rossana e di Sebastiano
: Princess Maria Cristina Princess Laura Prince Fabrizio, 7th Duke of Guardia Lombarda Prince Augusto Princess Giovannella Princess Antonello Paola, Queen of the Belgians
Father: Don Beniamino Tristano Ruffo di Calabria, 5th Duke of Guardia Lombarda
Mother: Laura Mosselmann du Chenoy
Born: 12 August 1884(1884-08-12) Naples, Kingdom of Italy
Died: 23 August 1946(1946-08-23) (aged 62) Marina di Massa, Italy

Fulco VIII, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda (Naples 12 August 1884 - Ronchi di Apuana 23 August 1946) was an Italian World War I flying ace, and posthumous father-in-law of King Albert II of the Belgians.


The Ruffo family belonged to the Italian nobility at least since the 11th century, served as Neapolitan grand marshals and Sicilian viceroys of Calabria, and received several titles of duke and prince from the kings of Naples and of Sicily, including Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo. Don Fulco was the son of Don Beniamino Tristano Ruffo di Calabria, 5th Duke of Guardia Lombarda (Genua 9-7-1848 - Naples 28-4-1901, who himself was the younger brother of Don Fulco Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau, 10th Principe di Scilla, 2nd Duque di Santa Cristina, etc.), and Laura Mosselmann du Chenoy, a Belgian noblewoman, whose maternal grandfather was Jacques André Coghen, the second finance minister of Belgium (1831-1832).

Don Fulco was made, by decree of 15-3-1928, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, in the Kingdom of Italy. By inheritance he was also the 6th Duke of Guardia Lombarda and 17th Count of Sinopoli. The family Ruffo di Calabria are one of the most ancient linages of Italy. The first ancestor proved of this House is Giordano who was grand marechal of the Royaume of Sicilia at the beginning of the year 1200. The Ruffo's were divided in two branches after the 14th century: the Ruffo princes of the Scaletta and the Ruffo di Calabria, to this branch belongs the prince Fulco. His grandson Fulco, the current head of the family bears the titles of Prince of Scilla, Prince of Palazzolo, Patrician of Naples, Duke of Guardia Lombarda, Count of Sinopoli, Marquis of Licodia, Count of Nicotera and Baron of Calanna and of Crispano.

World War I service

He joined the 11th Foggia Light Cavalry Regiment when aged 20, and went on to serve in Africa. In 1914, he transferred to the Italian Air Service. He won two Bronze awards of the Medal for Military Valor while still a two-seater pilot. He was assigned to 1a Squadriglia as a fighter pilot. He won his first victory there, on 23 August 1916, and had a second go unconfirmed. By 16 September, he was scoring for his new unit, 70a Squadriglia, and ran his score with them to four confirmed and four unconfirmed by 28 February 1917. He then switched to flying a Nieuport for 91a Squadriglia. His personal emblem was a black skull and crossbones painted on the fuselage of his plane. He flew Nieuport 11, Nieuport 17, and SPAD VII airplanes. In the end, he shot down twenty enemy airplanes, making him the fifth highest scoring Italian flying ace of World War I. After the death of Francesco Baracca in June 1918, Fulco assumed command of the 91a Squadriglia, the renowned 'Squadron of Aces'. He relinquished command of 91a Squadriglia, after suffering a nervous breakdown. After recovering, he was handed command of 10th Gruppo, on 23 October 1918, but was shot down by artillery fire within a week near Marano.

Postwar service

Di Calabria remained in the military, though without any assignments. He eventually did arise to the rank of tenente-colonnello by 1942. However, his main activity was management of his family estates.


Di Calabria was awarded he following awards:

Italian awards

Knight of the Military Order of Savoy ‑ R.D. 10 September 1918
Gold Medal of Military Valor ‑ D.L. 5 May 1918
Silver Medal of Military Valor ‑ D.L. 15 March 1917
Silver Medal of Military Valor (combat merit on the field) - D.L. 20 January 1918
Bronze Medal of Military Valor ‑ D.L. 15 October 1916
Bronze Medal of Military Valor ‑ D.L. 24 May 1917
Bronze Medal of Military Valor - D.L. 10 June 1917.
Bronze Medal of Military Valor‑ D.L. 16 June 1917
War Merit Cross - 1918
Badge for the war effort (with four service stars) - R.D. 21 May 1916
Commemorative medal of the Italian- Austrian war 1915-1918 (with four service stars) - (R.D. 29 July 1920)
Italian World War I Victory Medal - (R.D. 29 July 1920)
Commemorative Medal for the Unification of Italy (R.D. 19 October 1922)
Order of the Crown of Italy
Commander (30 November 1939)
Officer (22 December 1938)
Knight (29 January 1929

International awards

Knight of the Order of Leopold - Belgium
Belgian Croix de guerre - 10 March 1917

He also served as a senator.


On 30 June 1919 he married, in Turin, Countess Luisa Gazelli di Rossana e di Sebastiano (1896-1989), daughter of Augusto Gazelli dei Conti di Rossana, and of Maria Rignon dei Conti Rignon. Luisa served as a lady-in-waiting at the Italian court.

They had seven children:

Donna Maria Cristina, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1920-2003), married Casimiro San Martino d´Aglie, Marquis di San Germano in 1940
Emanuela San Martino d'Aglix¨, married 1962 Count Ernesto Rossi di Montelera (*1938)
Lidia Rossi di Montelera (Born 1963), married 1990 Count Alexander of Trauttmansdorff-Weinsberg
Maria Cristina Rossi di Montelera (born 1965), married 1994 Baron Hans-Ulrich von Freyberg-Eisenberg-Allmendingen
Ginevra Rossi di Montelera ( born 1967)
Antonella Rossi di Montelera (born 1970), married 2003 Count Alois of Waldburg-Zeil
Antonella San Martino d'Aglix¨, married 1970 Count Ippolito Calvi di Bx¨rgolo Rocca Saporiti
Giovanna San Martino d'Aglie (born 10 April 1945, Campiglione), married 24 May 1974 Campiglione, Italy, Prince Alvaro of Orleans y Parodi Delfino, son of Infante Alvaro, Duke of Galliera, Prince Alvaro de Orleans.
Nicolo San Martino d'Aglie (born 3 July 1948 Campiglione) married 4 June 1974 Princess Catherine Napoleon, daughter of Louis, Prince Napoleon.
Donna Laura, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1921-1972), married Bettino, Baron Ricasoli Firidolfi in 1946
Don Fabrizio, Prince Ruffo di Calabria-Santapau (1922-2005), 13th Prince of Palazzolo, 14th Prince of Scilla, 7th Duke of Guardia Lombarda, 13th Marquis of Scilla and 18th Count of Sinopoli who, by his first marriage to Maria Vaciago, had:
Don Fulco, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 29 July 1954, current head of the House of Ruffo Calabria married and divorced Melba Vincens Bello. m.2d Sep 2005 Luisa Tricarico.
Don Augusto, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 1 October 1955, married Princess Christiana of Windisch-Graetz in 1980
Donna Imara, Princess Ruffo di Calabria, born 7 July 1958, married firstly Uberto Imar Gashe (grandson of Princess Yolanda of Savoy) in 1986; married secondly Count Marco Tonci Ottieri della Ciaia in 1993
Don Umberto, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 23 October 1960, married Marchesa Leontina Pallavicino in 1987
Don Alessandro, Prince Ruffo di Calabria, born 4 November 1964, married HRH Princess Mafalda of Savoy in 1994, divorced without children 2000
Don Augusto, Prince Ruffo di Calabria (1925-1943), killed in battle at sea on 2 November near Pescara
Donna Giovannella, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (1927-1941)
Don Antonello, Prince Ruffo di Calabria (born 1930), married to Rosa Maria Mastrogiovanni Tasca in 1961
Donna Covella, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (born 4 February 1962 Rome.
Don Lucio, Prince Ruffo di Calabria (born 14 April 1964 Rome).
Donna Domitilla, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (born 9 May 1965 Rome) married 16 Jul 1990 to Don Giovanni dei Baroni Porcari Li Destri.
Donna Claudia Ruffo di Calabria (born 30 August 1969 Rome) married 27 May 1989 Marcello Salom.
Donna Paola, Princess Ruffo di Calabria (born 1937), Queen consort of the Belgians, married to King Albert II of Belgium (then Prince of Liege) in 1959.

Nieuport Aces of World War 1. Norman Franks. Osprey Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1855329611, 9781855329614.
SPAD XII/XIII Aces of World War I. Jon Guttman. Osprey Publishing, 2002. ISBN. 1841763160, 9781841763163.

Sources of information

More aircraft.

Source: WikiPedia

eXTReMe Tracker