MUSSOLINI’S ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION
Passport of the Hon Violet Gibson, used by her on her journey to Rome where she attempted to assassinate Benito Mussolini, together with other family papers, the collection comprising: her passport no. 158876, issued to “The Honourable Violet Albinia Gibson”, her photograph date-stamped by the Foreign Office 6 November 1924, the passport marked as valid until 6 November 1926, with visa-stamps made on her embarkation from Boulogne on 7 November 1924 and on her entry into Italy at Modane on 8 November 1924, the three principal pages later scored through in red and stamped as cancelled, blue cloth with gilt arms as issued, barely discernable traces of damp-staining, 8vo; together with an uncashed autograph cheque signed (“Violet Gibson”) made out to Lord Ashbourne [her brother, William, the second Baron] for £50, 4 April 1926 (three days before the assassination attempt); her mother the Dowager Lady Ashbourne’s bankbook kept between January 1924 and her death on 21 March 1926, with later entries; and an officially certified copy of her mother’s death certificate, issued the day after her death, on 22 March 1926.
- THE WOMAN WHO SHOT MUSSOLINI: the passport used by Violet Gibson (1876-1956) at the time she attempted to assassinate Mussolini in the Piazza del Campidoglio, Rome, at just before eleven in the morning on 7 April 1926. She was at the time standing less than a foot away from him. Her first shot, fired at point blank range, grazed his nose as he tilted his head back to acknowledge the rapturous crowd, while the second jammed in her pistol. Pardoned by Mussolini whose popularity was much enhanced by the failed attempt she was returned to England a year later, spending the rest of her life at St Andrew’s Asylum in Northampton. Her story has recently been told in Frances Stonor Saunders’s acclaimed study, The Woman who Shot Mussolini (2010). This passport, incidentally, gets her middle name wrong, which should be ‘Albina’ rather than the “Albinia”.