Ensign William Olindo Martello, U.S. Navy, was born on April 14, 1920, son of Theresa and Olindo Martelli. Willam was raised by Theresa and her second husband, Nicholas Martello, at 17 Howard Street with his four sisters and one brother. “Willie” attended the Franklin Schools and graduated from Franklin High School in 1937. William went on to Boston University where he graduated with honors with an A.B. degree and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa.
William Martello was a student, artist and musician as well as a fighting man. “Willie” was an accomplished concert pianist and was rated as one of the most promising young pianists in New England. Prior to his naval service “Lindy” traveled on the Grace cruise line to South American as an onboard pianist.
William O. Martello enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserves on April 17, 1942 and later began his active naval service on April 8, 1943. William O. Martello attended Columbia’s naval officers training program and was commissioned an ensign upon completion of the program on July 28, 1943. He served as second in command aboard an invasion craft off the coast of the Anzio beachhead below Rome. Survivors of Ensign Martello’s landing craft, which had struck a mine in the waters off Anzio, reported that Ensign Martello had refused to heed the order to abandon ship, had fitted out a life raft with provisions, and when last seen, just as the ship turned over and went down, was hurling life belts into the sea for his crewmen swimming in the water.
A month before his death Ensign William O. Martello wrote to his mother the following lines in a letter to her:
“As for the war, we had to adjust ourselves to the personal problems it brought, and if a guy can’t take it, then his life is a failure. That is why I am not even afraid of death. If I did one thing that indicated cowardness, the rest of my life would be miserable.”
Ensign William O. Martello, U.S. Navy, was lost at sea off Anzio on January 26, 1944 at the age of 23.
|Fallen Hero: Ensign Martello|
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