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the importance of the memory  

It often happen that as the time fly over we forget little events and minor characters that have had, for real, a storical importance.

Help us to recall past events, sending us yours contributions (descriptions and maibe photos) to the adresses:


Ettore Arduino was one of the engineer of the Dirigible ITALIA that was missing because of he was inside of the envelop of the Dirigible when it was dragged up after the collision on the pack: the nacelle broke off and fall down on the pack with the members of the Red Tent but, the aerodynamic structure, full of hydrogen, flew away and it was never found.


The episode of extreme importance was the quickness of reflexes and the generosity of Arduino in throwing on the pack some packages with food, so that to let his companions surviving for a long period on the ice.

"We have to look for them!": that was the first comment of Cecioni once being saved by Krassin.

"And Cecioni added: we have to look for them: at least for the recognisance we have for them because of the food they gave us. You can just think what could happen to us if Arduino didn’t do that action: inside our nacelle there wasn’t much, and not even the Malgreen’s Bear could have saved us".

(pag.143 from the book of Davide Giudici "Col Krassin to the Red Tent". Ed. Moneta, 1927)

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Sorry, we are not kidding. All of us know the Enrico Totti was invalid, he didn’t have a leg, and during the The First World War he throw his crutch against the enemy, before dying.

Enrico Toti

Therfore, his trip to Lapland with just one leg its quite strange but it’s also worthy of notice because the news of it came from Gigi Speroni, historical and biographical of The Duke of Aosta and of Luigi Amedeo of Aosta Duke of Abruzzi.

The story of this heroic disable man move italians and it’s worthy to remember.

Enrico Toti was born in Rome in 1882 and at the age of 24 years lost his left leg in an accident between two locomotives. Leaving the railway he developped a great passion in cycling that gave him lots of sotisfaction. So that, pedaling with just one leg he achieved Lapland and a year later cycled through theEgypt arriving in Sudan.

When the First World War began Toti asked to leave volontary but they denied it so, he toke his bike and he cycled to the Front where the military police stop him. He said: "I want to joint up the Army, I can help soldiers, I can bring the meal, the wather, bring the order….. I’m strong, I know how to fight… ". The 6 th of August, during an attack to the austrian positions in the Mont Sei Busi, Enrico Toti was deadly stroken, but before dying he throw his cruth against the enemy and ..this became legend.

One of the 362 gold medals of the First World War was assigned to his memory .

Gigi Speroni: I Savoia scomodi

La Saga degli Aosta. Ed. Tascabili Bompiani

Milano 2003, pagg. 293-294.

Polar Circle Association found a copy of the book: "Letters of Enrico Toti", collecting by Tommaso Sillani, ed. Bemporad 1924

In the book there is a preface of the Duke Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia, Commander of the third Corps of Army where Enrico Toti fought, and a biographical profile about Toti written by his sister Lina. Enrico Toti wrote a letter to the Commander Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia asking to partecipate to the war; the letter was apcetted and Toti jointed up the Corps of Bersaglieri in Bicicletta.

In the end, General Emanuele Filiberto of Savoia wanted to be bured in the Cemetery of Redipuglia.


Our interest is about Enrico Toti’s travels. From the Biography and other books we know:

1) the confirmation that Enrico Toti did the trip by bicycle in 1911, four years after the accident and the lost of the left leg, leaving from Rome and going to Stockholm, Lapland and Moscow.

2) His precise journey isn’t defined but more or less we know the pays Toti past through:

- from the biographical profile of the sister we learn "… he stayed in Stockholm more than a month because the snow prevent him from continue the trip. There, to gain enough money to live, he teach italian and he worked in some theater. Than, he cycled to Russia and Austria… (pag. 28)

- from the letter Toti wrote to the General Emanuele Filiberto, we learn: "… I cycled through Europe to study the population and since than I dreamed to sea Italy big and prosperous. I past through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. I reached tthe Artic Polar Circle and because of the ice I lived for a short time with Eskimos in Lapland. From there I went to Finland, than in Russia and from Pietrogrado, passing through the steppe I arrived in Moscow. I past through Poland, Austria until I came in Rome…" (pag. 63)

3) in genuary 1913, Enrico Toti started a new travel by bicycle, passing through the Egypt (along the Nile) and part of Sudan, where english soldiers didn’t allow him to continue without escort and without a caravan helping him

Enrico Toti was deadly stroken the 6th August 1916, in triench near Monfalcone, and before dying he throw his cruth against the enemy. His gesture receved a Military Value Gold Medal. His tomb is located in the Monfalcone’s cemetery.


Chi avesse ulteriori notizie o suggerimenti per approfondimenti, lo comunichi alla segreteria del Club:


  Our partner Giuseppe Alberti, radio-amateur from Milan, suggest us to remember the feature of Nicolaj Schmidt, russian radio-amateur that was the first to pick up the s.o.s. messange from the Red Tent, from the survivors from the Dirigible ITALIA crashed on the pack north to Svalbard.

"Nicolaj Schmidt: here a name that we have to remember because we have to thank him first for the life of half of the members of the espedition".

Achievement of Umberto Maddalena, pilot of ISAAT-SM55, that located first the Red Tent on de Pack, the 20th june 1928.

Nicolaj Schmidt

Nicolaj Schmidt, russian radioamateur of the Wosnessenie Wochma village, in Arcangelo province, intercepted a fragment of message saing that the survivors of ITALIA were still alive somewhere on the artic pack:


The 5th june the soviet ambassy inform the italian government that a S.O.S. from the dirigible ITALIA was picked up from a young russian countryman, Nicolaj Schmidt, in the city of Arcangelo, the evening of the 3rd june…

The word Eearth of Francesco Giuseppe interceped by Schmidt caused apprehension in sorvivors because the Red Tent was far from that area: the word Fyon (island of Fyon) used by Biagi was intercepted like Francesco (Island of Francesco Giuseppe)

The interceptation of the message feed the hope to rescue the missing equipe and was the starting botton of the beginning of actions of search and rescue of the survivors in the Baia dei Re as well as in Rome, from where Italo Balbo sent immediately a team under the control of Umberto Maddalena.

Biagi Nicolaj Schmidt


Nicolaj Schmidt was born in Kiev in 1906 and wasn’t a contryman like most of the books say, but a city young man, son of a teacher and with a good base of secondary studies: at 18 years old he built his first reaction and, working as a operator at the local cinema, he improved his knowledge of the morse code, translating the strokes of the machine in the local postal office. The event that would change his life appened the 2nd june 1928: in late evening, on 9 MHz, Nicolaj intercepted a massage of Biagi.

Villager were disbelieving, so Schmidt contact Smirnov, his teacher and influent person at local level, who lived 35 km far away; the two of them intercepted other messages from Biagi and sent a telegramme to Moscow to the "Friends of Radio Society". Here there was someone who gave importance to the massage and after asking details and confirmations, contact the Italiand Ambassy: the evening of the 4th june, Rome was in the condition of disseminating the great news

Three month later, the two friends were engaged by a governative center for the short-wave comunications a Taskent in the South, not far from Samarcanda and from the Afghanistan‘s border.

In 1928 Autumn at the Bolshoj of Moscow, during a conference dedicated to the Dirigible adventure and about the importance of the "Krassin" in the rescue of the survivors, the italian Ambassador gave a gold watch with dedication to Schmidt.

Schmidt and Smirnov worked together in the sperimental center until 1933; than Smirnov went to work in Tbilisi in Georgia and Nicolaj stayed in that muslin province, near Alma Ata in Kazahstan, until the war.

Da Alma Ata came lots of news about this great SWL, dead in 1942 at the age of 36 years, probably fighting in the war.

We suggest to the partner of the Club to required more information about Nicolaj Schmidt to: club@circolopolare.com


Umberto Nobile

The note I trasmited in italian and french, sometimes in english, said:

At the time we were becaming descouraged because of the drift that was bringing us to south-east, we eared the news waited for such a long time (about two weeks), day after day, hour after hour, a new that relight the hope in our heart. It was the evening of the 6th of june.

Biagi, with headphones on the ears, was writing, like every day, on a notes the San Paolo Bulletin and suddenly he said "They understand us!"

Pag. 200 "The Red Tent, memory of snow and fire". Ed. Mondadori, 1969

Pag. 187 in the new edition Oscar Mondatori 2002


Alfredo Viglieri

" at 9 pm of the 5th of june we were waiting the San Paolo Bulletin like every day, and we were awake,…… suddenly Biagi, writing, turn his head towards us and, in a whisper said "they eared us"

The russian Ambassador in Rome were saing to our Government that a private radio station in Arcangelo intercepted at 8 pm of the 3rd of june the forwarded signal that were supposed caming from ITALIA: S.O.S. Italia Nobile.

The radio-amateur couldn’t understand other part of the message exept for something like "Franz Joseph"

"There was no doubt, the new was true as well as the time we transmited the S.O.S. in days 3rd and 4th of june, time indicated by the russian Ambassador. What about words Franz-Joseph? Maybe a misunderstanding. Talking about us they mentioned Foyn’s Island also communicated the distance between us and the Island. The radio-amateur probably, maybe because of a disturbed reception or a bad italian, had change Fyon with Franz".

Pagg. 105-106 "48 days on the pack" Mondadori 1929


Cesco Tomaselli

"At the Baia of King were happening extraordinary things. The 4th of june, at 1 am, the City of Milan received, from the russian radiotelegraphic station in Moscow, the news that the day before, at 8 pm, the radio-amateur Schmidt, with a short-wave machine, intercepted the S.O.S. from Italia. The Rescue Comitate of Osoaviachim, that trasmitted the comunication, said that Schmidt was a good and serius person.

At the same time other radio-amateur confirmed to have eared the SOS of Italia: a swedish lawyer of Talleborg, in the night between the 3rd and the 4th of june, intercepted the word "Italia Nobile SOS". The Captain of the russian Ship Sikvic, sailing in the Gulf of Botnia, make us know to have received a message from Italia: in Holland, in Belgium, in the United States other radio station confirmed the message.

In every field of human activities, amateur is a synonymous of superficiality and presumption but not in the radiotelegraphy where they are considered on vanguard. In this case there is a very important circumstance: radio-amateurs usually use short-wave station maked by themselves and that explain because they could ear the SOS from Italia.

Pag. 217 of "The White Hell" ed. Unitas Milano, 1929

Pag. 139 in the new edition Nordpress 1998


Biagi Radio
From a relation of ARI Italian Association Radio-amateur

In the expedition ITALIA the short-wave trasmitter Ondina 33-s supplied with a reaction receiver invented few years befor by Marconi, had a great importance.

The equipement is supplied with accumulator realized by Tudor in Melzo (Milan). The emergency equipement "Ondina" was, infact, o project of Giulio Salom, today IOACL, Honorary President of A.R.I.

Biagi, after the crash on the pack, hold in his arms a tresure: the Ondina-S, the emergency equipement until than used like a chair in the cabin of the dirigible

Three hours after the crash, …… Biagi was listening the emotional appeal of the support ship, but the trasmitter needed reparetion.

The 26th of May the first S.O.S.: between the two emergency frequencies — 6.4 MHz (47 m) e 9 MHz (33 m) - he chose the second one, with the intent of arriving as far as possible with the minor assimilation by the Polar Cape; he, infact, has just 5 W and a modest aerial, with a single support, a structure caming from the dirigible’s cabin.

Biagi listened to the Marine Station of Rome San Paolo (IDO) on 9 MHz, so he was sure that stayng near it, somebody could intercept his messages. Few days past without answer: the battery was almost exhaust but the receiver "Burndept" had a good stock of battery so Biagi listened for long hours IDO so that he had news from the world.


A.R.I: www.ari.it


Mirko Minuzzo ascended on the peak of the Everest in may 5th 1973, what a component of the shipping leaded by Guido Monzino, together with Rinaldo Carrel, mountain guides of Cervinia-Valtournenche, and with Shambu Tatnang and Lhakpa Tenzing.

Minuzzo has also to be remembered for his participation to the shipping that reached the North Pole in may 19th 1971; this shipping was organized and driven by Guido Monzino with the participation of Rinaldo Carrel, Arturo Aranda and Peter Peary.

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Minuzzo is deceased in the night between january 20th and january 21th 2004.

monzino su ghiaccio
Biagi Biagi




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