Alex Constantine - April 9, 2012
Belfast Telegraph, 9 April 2012
Recent soundings that aviatrix Amelia Earhart could give her name to Londonderry’s aiport have rekindled reminiscences that it might once have been ‘City of Derry Italo Balbo’.
Back in 1933, just over a year after the US aviatrix crashed into history in Ballyarnett, the red carpet was rolled out for one of Benito Mussolini’s right hand men who stopped here on an epic propaganda flight to the US.
The RAF performed celebratory loop-the-loops for Fascist General Italo Balbo, and his 24-seaplane Italian Armada into Lough Foyle as thousands apparently turned out to greet him in Guildhall Square.
As local VIPs turned out to for a reception in his honour, including the lord mayor, the minister of commerce - and telegrams even arrived from King George V and Eamon De Valera - the Londonderry Sentinel described their guest as “one of the most popular figures in Fascist Italy and was one of the prominent leaders of the Fascist revolution”.