Treasure hunters find American WWII soldier's dog tag on beach in Italy

US soldier lost his dog tag in Italy 78 years ago.

Two metal detector enthusiasts in Italy discovered a missing identity tag belonging to a World War II-era American soldier on a beach near Rome.

The unexpected discovery was made at Santa Severa, a beach located about an hour north of Rome, by local residents Alessandro Marinelli and Daniel Ciofu.

The pair had been walking along the beach and began to dig after their machine signalled the presence of metal buried in the sand, reports Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

A few minutes later they were shocked to find a dog tag, belonging to American soldier Norbert Knight, and immediately set about trying to track down his family.

“I knew right away that it was a World War II soldier tag” - Ciofu told La Repubblica - “Seeing it and holding it in our hands was a great emotion. From my research I discovered, also through direct contacts I had immediately with family members, that he was part of the 34th Infantry, which landed in Anzio".

Born on 8 January 1914 in East Chicago, Indiana, Norbert Martin Knight worked at the Inland Steel Company before joining the US army aged 28 on 1 September 1942.

Norbert Martin Knight (1914-2003). Photo Corriere della Città.

At the time of his enlistment he was 1.72 tall, weighed 81 kilos, had brown eyes and brown hair.

Knight landed in Anzio, south of Rome, during the Allied landings of 1944. He served in the 80th Infantry Division before being discharged on 9 September 1945 at the age of 31.

Knight was awarded a string of medals, including a Purple Heart and Combat Infantryman Badge.

In 1947, two years after returning to America, he married Betty Ray with whom he remained until he died on 1 May 2003 in Indiana at the age of 89.

“Discovering his story and seeing photos of him thrilled me" - Ciofu told La Repubblica - "After landing in Anzio, he went to northern Italy, where he was injured."

Ciofu and Marinelli are now in contact with Knight's relatives to unite them with the soldier's long-missing dog tag. How it ended up in Santa Severa remains a mystery.

Cover photo La Repubblica

General Info

Address 00058 Santa Severa, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy

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Treasure hunters find American WWII soldier's dog tag on beach in Italy

00058 Santa Severa, Metropolitan City of Rome, Italy