Then and Now, 1943-2021: 252 squadron RAF Beaufighters attack the Italian steamer “Palermo”

Then and Now, WW2 in Greece

By Pierre Kosmidis

Research by George Karelas, used by permission

Yet another forgotten story from WW2 comes to light, thanks to the efforts  of acclaimed researcher George Karelas.

An aerial attack on Axis shipping, days before the capitulation of Italy, on September 2nd 1943, was photographed by one of the attacking aircraft.

The precise location was lost in the decades following the attack and it took George Karelas a lot of time, perseverance and attention to detail, in order to unravel the mystery.

“It always fascinates me to put those photos into perspective, to find out more than meets the eye and try to reconstruct the actual events of the day the photo was shot”, George Karelas says to

As it turned out, the photo, which was also published in Chris Goss’ great book “Combat over the Mediterranean” is the actual attack by 4 Beaufighter aircraft of 252 sq. RAF against the Italian steamship “Palermo”.

The area of the attack, pinpointed on this google map.
The area of the attack, pinpointed on this google map.

By close examination of the area, George Karelas managed to identify the location too, the gulf of Vonitsa in western Greece.

The RAF aircraft hit the Italian ship with machine gun fire, but failed to sink her. “Palermo” managed to survive the attack, sustaining significant damage by the RAF aircraft.