Giovanni Franchini’s Military Career (Pt.1

This is an early 20th century image of my husband’s grandfather Giovanni Franchini (son of the opera tenor Antonio Franchini) in military uniform.

Family history says he –

  • was in the Italian Cavalry
    (Cavallegeri di Lucca)
    rank – second lieutenant
    served in Libya in 1913 

    • was transferred to the Alpini  rank – officer (additional info. below)

    served from 1915-1918 

  • Giovanni’s son Antonio said that his father never wanted to transfer to the Alpini because he loved horses. The transfer was imposed by the military.


Is there a way to access the military records of the Lucca Cavalry and\or the Alpini?

Can anyone identify the uniform in the photograph?

Information from a reader 🙂

Thank you Evelyn for posting Nonno Giannetto’s picture.

One small correction from information I received from other sources. My grandfather was not really in the Alpini but rather, a corps affiliated with the Alpini, hence the Tyrolean hat featured in another photograph (I’ll scan it as soon as possible) An Italian military historian recognized the badge on the hat as belonging to the the equivalent of the Service Corps charged with running supplies to the front (with mules!).

During WW1 the cavalry was almost totally disbanded because all the fighting was at high altitude in the Alps, and, since mules look a lot like horses (at least in the view of some bureaucrat in Rome) most of them were transferred to this corps.”

See also:

Giovanni Franchini’s Military Career | 20th Century (Pt.2)

Giovanni Franchini’s Military Career (Pt.3)

Giovanni Franchini’s Military Career (Pt.4)

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2 Responses to Giovanni Franchini’s Military Career (Pt.1

  1. Salvatore Barruzza says:

    I have a similar image of my Grandfather in the Italian Cavalry. I searched the Italian records and the German records with no luck. Then, after he passed away, I was cleaning out a box from his home and found his records. Best of luck, the Italians didn’t keep very good records.

  2. Bill Franchini says:

    Hi Salvatore
    I am Evelyn’s husband and Giovanni Franchini’s grandson.
    The records for the period (1900/1911) are apparently available at the military district headquarters of my grandfather’s birthplace, Modena. The problem is that they don’t exist on line and I will have to write to the historical record division which will take some time and I keep telling myself that I will do it “tomorrow” :). But I will soon!
    Additionally, if your grandfather was an officer, the rolls for all Italian cavalry regiments are kept at the Cavalry Museum You may want to contact them, they have been very helpful in my case but they take their time to answer. They are particularly interested in photographs so you may want to send them yours.
    As a note of personal interest…do you know what regiment your grandfather was in and when? There are plenty of Italian sources describing the various campaigns of the cavalry, staring from the Italo Turkish War in 1009/1011 (Lybian campaign) all the way to the armistice in 1943. If you send me more data perhaps I can help you, I love military history.

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