Churchill rejected air chief plan to kill Mussolini

According to the documents, Harris, the then head of Royal Air Force Bomber Command, wanted to use the famous Dam Busters to assassinate Mussolini and sought the wartime prime minister’s permission to plan the precision strike in 1943.

In fact, the British flying chief wanted the crack 617 Squadron to swoop low over Rome and bomb Mussolini’s office and home simultaneously in an attempt to kill “Il Duce” and crush Italian support for Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

But Churchill vetoed the plan as he feared the bombers would hit historical or civilian targets, the Daily Express reported.

According to the documents, a memo to Churchill from Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden in July 1943, shortly after Harris took over the Bomber Command, says he wanted to “lay the operation on”.

Harris, who was knighted and lived to the age of 92, wanted to hit Mussolini’s office at Palazzo Venezia in central Rome and his family home at Villa Torlonia to the north of the city. But the plan was finally scrapped.

Mussolini fell from power a few weeks after Harris’s assassination bid was rejected by the British government. Two years later, he was executed by Italian partisans.

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