I need a photo of him. If you can help, please contact me.
Collection of Juan Manuel Quesada F. 11-11-04

Nannini in Italy

  Italian Decorations Nannini's Companions Italy


via email from Juan Manuel Quesada F. 11-11-04
     I would like to give you some information on the Guatemalan aviator, Dante Nannini Sandoval, who seems to have been lost to history:
     He was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala on September 13, 1888
     He studied to be an aviator in the "Moisant School of Aviation" and received his "Aero Club of America" license No. 265 on September 1, 1913.
     He returned to Guatemala, along with the Moisant instructor Murvin C. Wood and the mechanic E.N. Bang, to establish the first aviation school in Guatemala. From June 30, 1914 to June 1915, he made several flights in a Blériot XI aeroplane, which he had bought from Moisant, thus becoming the first Guatemalan to fly solo in our country. When Nannini Sandoval and Murvin C. Wood retrieve after June 30 of 1915, no before Shakir Saliba Jerwan came to Guatemala, who was and instructor in the "Moisant" and continued teaching here with the Blériot XI until June 30 of 1918. ( date absolutely confirmed )
     The accident that Jerwan had in Guatemala, didn't happen in the Blériot, as is reported on the web page, but rather in another airplane re-constructed in Guatemala from the remains of a Nieuport, also bought from Moisant.
     In 1916, Minerly Wilson, another U.S.A. pilot, came to Guatemala to show a new airplane, the "Moisant Blue Bird", but the ceiling of this airplane was 3,600 ft., and our city is at 5,000 ft., so he crashed and suffered serious injuries.
     On September 18, 1915, Nannini Sandoval joined the Italian army.as a volunteer combat pilot. He made numerous combat flights and shot down three enemy airplanes and an observation balloon. He was decorated by the Italian army with several medals, including the silver medal. I have the certificates of combats and the medals.
     Considering the date Nannini Sandoval joined the Italian army, it appears as if he could have been the "first American pilot" to join a regiment of aviators during the World War I. At least, he was the first "American" on the Italian front. Even that the "Scadrille Américane- Lafayette Escadrille", former VOLUNTEERS.
     At the end of the war he returned to the U.S.A. with the Italian Military Mission of Aeronautic located in America, but he died in New York, January 11, 1919, of the flu.
     His remains were repatriated to Guatemala where they lie today.
     I always have thought, never I have been able it to verify, if Nannini Sandoval could be to "primer pilot americano" in taking participation in the first war next to the allied nations and but he is thus, because to perhaps "primer pilot americano" in taking participation in the first war next to the Italians. This I think due to the quick incorporation of Nannini Sandoval about the Italian army the 18 to it of September of 1915. Enough before the American North squadron "Lafayette" When referring to me to " americano" I mean of a person who belongs to the continent "americano", for example I am Guatemalan and nevertheless also I am "americano".
     He was my uncle-grandfather. (brother of my grandmother). I have many of his documents such as cards, letters, photographs, and even a map on which he marked his aerial combats. I hope you can use the information I am sending to you and will choose to add it to your website. If you wish more information or photographs, just let me know, because I have a lot of interesting things I would like to share with you.
Juan Manuel Quesada F.
Editor's Note: I am very grateful to Juan for this important and interesting story of a Guatemalan pioneer. I will wholeheartedly accept his offer to share more of the collection with us and will add it to this page as soon as possible..

Photos and comments in Spanish courtesy of Juan Manuel Quesada F.
     I am sending four photographs to you which belonged to Nannini Sandoval when he was in the Moisant School, during the months of March to September in 1913. I have many more photographs are histories which I will be sending to you little by little.
     You can view these unique, historical photographs by clicking on the title above.
I Reparti
I Reparti
dell'aviazione italiana
nella Grande Guerra

Roberto Gentilli - Paolo Varriale
Product Details
Hard: 494 pages
Your Price: € 21,69
Publisher: Aeronautica Militare - Ufficio Storico - Rome. 1999

from _Ermanno Albertelli Editore
C.P. 395 - 43100 Parma
fax 0521.29.03.87
e-mail: info@tuttostoria.it
Courtesy of Giovanni Giorgetti, 8-10-06
A friend of mine, Alessandro Santarelli, has given me this book in which is mentioned Nannini Dante.
Lieutenant Nannini Dante has been in the 75th, 76th, 78th Squadron and in 3rd Section SVA of the 86th Squadron.
In the book is recorded the history of the Italian Aviation groups in World War I.
Dante Nannini is mentioned on the folowing pages:

pag. 247. The unfortunate beast was avenged the 27th by De Bernardi; Consonni and Nannini, who, before midday, forced the Br. C.1 26.11 to land in the Italian territory outskirts of Arpignano.

pag. 248. Under his command are pilots Buzio, Consonni, De Bernardi, Lieutenant Giovanni De Briganti, the Second Lieutenant Pietro Bergonzi, Enlisted man Carlo Iannace and Enlisted man Dante Nannini.

pag. 256. On May 13, the 76th Squadron, under the command of Lombardi, included the pilots Batacchini, Boccasavia, Buzio, Di Loreto, Donati, Fanti, Michetti, Razzi, Scaroni, Captain Giulio Lega, Lieutenant Ludovico Censi, Lieutenant Giuseppe Retinò, Second Lieutenant Dante Nannini, Brigadier Pacifico Malfranci, Sergeant Piero Mondini and Corporal Umbero Baggini at it's disposal.

pag. 257. Medal Holders:
Silver medal for military valor: Baggini, Buzio, Di Loreto, Donati, Fucini, Lega, Michetti, Mondini, Nannini, Razzi, Ramberti, Retinò, Sivori e Ticconi.


Leonida Schiona
Leonida Schiona
Elia and Andrea Silvio Schiona Archive, 1-9-08
pag. 264. On that date, the 78th Squadron had serving with the commander Captain Antonio Riva, the pilots Lieutenat Brenta, Second Lieutenants Masiero, Amedeo Mecozzi, Dante Nannini, Chief Master Sergeants Fornagiari, Giustino Germino and Leonida Schiona, and Sergeants Chiri and Renella.

pag. 441. On May 18, Dante Nannini destroyed the SVA 6826 during a land in Isola di Carturo.

Grande Enciclopedia Aeronautica

Product Details
Hard: 660 pages
Price: Out of Print - Used copies occasionally available online.
TEL. 71 - 624 - MILANO - VIA GESU 6
Courtesy of Giovanni Giorgetti, 8-10-06
Nannini Dante. - Nato nel Guatemala. Durante la guerra conseguì il brevetto di pilota aviatore e fu alla 76a Squadriglia del 6° Gruppo. Sostenne molti combattimenti ed abbatté tre velivoli ed un pallone frenato, meritandosi 1 medaglia d'argento e 1 di bronzo al valor militare.

Nannini Dante. - He was born in Guatemala. During the war he had earned his pilot's license and was in the 76th Squadron of 6th Group. He took part in many enounters and shot down three aircraft and a captive balloon, thereby qualifying for a silver medal and a bronze medal for valor.
  Editor's Note: If time permits, I reccommend that you click on the name of
"L. Mancini". You will access the story of another Italian pioneer aviator of note, Luigi Mancini. He deserves our attention.

Dante Nannini Sandoval died in New York, January 11, 1919, of the flu.
If you have any MORE information on this pioneer aviator
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper

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