Sergeant Albert Phillip Nassi, Army serial number 14052649, was born at Worcester, Worcester County, Massachusetts on October 26, 1919.
His parents were Thomas Gregor Nassi (23 Mar 1892 – 24 Dec 1964) and Olympia Berishi (Tsika) Nassi (15 May 1902 – 23 Jan 1999), who were both born in Dardha Albania. His father immigrated to the United States in 1910, and his mother immigrated in 1916; they married in 1918. Albert Nassi had two younger sisters: Madeline L. (Nassi) Watt (1920 – 1987), who was born in Massachusetts; and Carmen A. (Nassi) Bartlett (1923 – unk), who was born in Albania.
His parents were musicians and pioneering music educators. Thomas Nassi attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts from 1916 to 1918, majoring in flute performance and conducting. During that time he performed with the Boston Symphony as a flutist and conducted. He developed liturgical music for the Albanian Orthodox Church, and in 1916 organized the first choir at Saint George Cathedral in South Boston, Massachusetts. In September 1917 he organized the first Alabanian-American Band "Vatra" (The Hearth) at Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1918 he joined the U.S. Army and served as leader of a military band at Camp Devens, Massachusetts. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen on September 20, 1919. In 1920 he was discharged from the U.S. Army, and took the Vatra band to Albania to support the Albanian Independence movement. He took Olympia and their two children with him. The Vatra band toured Albania to support morale, and introduced the people to Western music. Thomas and Olympia Nassi organized Albania's school music system. Their third child, Carmen A. Nassi, was born at Korce, Albania in 1923.
Thomas Nassi returned from Albania with his wife and three children in May 1926. They lived initially at 65 Highland Street, Brockton, Massachusetts. In 1930 the family lived at 38 Glenwood Square in Brockton, Massachusetts, and Thomas Nassi was a music teacher in his own school, Nassi Music School. The family later moved to Chatham, Massachusetts. In 1931 Thomas Nassi organized a band in Chatham, Massachusetts, and was its first director. By 1935 the family lived at 180 Main Street, Orleans, Barnstable County, Massachusetts, and Thomas Nassi taught music at the Orleans public school. Thomas and Olympia Nassi founded the musical education system for virtually the entire Lower Cape Cod region. Thomas Nassi also founded the Cape Cod Philharmonic Orchestra, forerunner of the present Cape Cod Symphony.
Albert Nassi was an accomplished violinist by age 11. He was single and had completed three years of college at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps Enlisted Reserve at Orlando Air Base, Florida on May 23, 1942. In 1943 he was called to active duty and completed Army Air Forces radio operator training (site unknown). In December 1943 he completed aerial gunnery training at Harlingen Army Air Field, Texas, and was assigned as radio operator on the heavy bomber crew of Lt Harold D. Borchert. The Borchert crew completed B-24 combat crew training at Biggs Army Air Field, El Paso, Texas in May 1944. The crew was then transferred to Topeka Army Air Field, Kansas, where they were assigned a new B-24J aircraft, and deployed to England.
In England the Borchert crew was assigned as a replacement crew in the 838th Bomb Squadron of the 487th Bomb Group at Army Air Forces Station 137, near the village of Lavenham, Suffolk, England. The crew arrived at Station 137 by June 21, 1944, and became part of the 8th U.S. Army Air Force in Europe.
Sgt Nassi and the crew's copilot, 2Lt Joyal L. Isaacson, were killed in action on July 17, 1944, when their aircraft, B-24H 42-52581, crashed on the approach to Lavenham Airfield, after returning from a mission to Gien, France.
Here is the Borchert crew roster on that day:
B-24H 42-52581 – 838th Bomb Squadron
• Borchert, Harold D – 2/Lt – Pilot – Safe
The Borchert crew flew in the number 11 position of the Lead Squadron on this mission to bomb the railroad bridge at Gien, France. The bridge was destroyed. On the return, Lt Borchert lost his number 2 engine while in the landing pattern, and was unable to maintain altitude and directional control. The aircraft crashed near the east end of runway 27, and skidded across the runway into a field. One observer reported, "Borchert's plane 'fell in' on landing and really got smashed up. They have been penned up inside the wreck all afternoon while efforts were made to get them out." Sgt Nassi was killed outright, and Lt Isaacson died later that day at the base hospital. The survivors were all severely injured. Sgt Schult, the nose gunner, lost a foot.
Sgt Nassi was buried initially at Cambridge American Cemetery near Madingley, England, in Plot K, Row 5, Grave 19.
His remains were returned to the United States and reinterred at Orleans Cemetery in Orleans, Massachusetts on August 4, 1948. The military escort was Sgt Lyle S. Wallace. The cemetery is adjacent to the Federated Church of Orleans.
Sgt Nassi is buried next to his parents in Lot 441.
Albert P. Nassi Square, a small traffic island at Main Street and Locus Road in Orleans, is named in his honor.
Published at www.dardha.org from ADRIANA STEFANI KURUNI MAY, 20, 2016.
THANK YOU very much to Paul Webber, Betty Jo Watt, Sarah Smith on their research and all their information.
This article is based on the research of Paul Webber.
Secretary, 487th Bomb Group Association
1. 487th Bomb Group Association
2. 1930 US Census; Massachusetts; Plymouth County; Brockton; 38 Glenwood Square. Nassi, Thomas G. 8 Apr 1930 (his father)
3. 1940 US Census; Massachusetts; Barnstable County; Orleans; Main Street. Nassi, Thomas G. 27 Apr 1940 (his father)
4. Albania, Land of the Illyrians.
5. Cape Cod Times. Obituary of Olympia Nassi. Jan 1999 (now offline)
6. Cemetery records of Orleans Cemetery, Barnstable County, Massachusetts
7. Chatham Band, Chatham, Massachusetts.
8. Classical Composers Database. Thomas Nassi
9. de Jong, Ivo. The History of the 487th Bomb Group (H). Paducah KY: Turner Publishing, Oct 2004
10. Enlistment Record of Albert P. Nassi
11. Nassi family documents provided by Betty-Jo Watt (spouse of Albert Nassi's nephew)
12. Nassi, Thomas. The Vatra Band and Albania (Lecture given by Thomas Nassi)
13. New York Passenger List for S.S. Duilio. May 1926 (sailed from Naples, Italy, on 13 May 1926; arrived at Port of New York on 23 May 1926)
14. Smith, Sarah. Personal Communication. Sep, Oct 2012 (Office Manager, Parks & Beaches Department, Orleans, MA)
15. Social Security Death Index
16. U.S. Department of Labor, Naturalization Service: Massachusetts District, Camp Devens. Thomas Gregor Nassi Petition for Naturalization. 15 Aug 1918
17. U.S. Naturalization Index. Nassi, Thomas Gregor. 20 Sep 1919
18. U.S. Rosters of World War II Dead, 1939-1945
19. U.S. War Department. World War II Honor List of Dead and Missing Army and Army Air Forces Personnel. Washington, D.C., June 1946
20. Wikipedia. Thomas Nassi
21. WorldCat Search. Musical Scores by Thomas Nassi
22. World War I Draft Registration of Thomas Gregor Nassi. 5 Jun 1917 (his father)
23. World War II Draft Registration of Thomas Gregor Nassi. 27 Apr 1942 (his father)
24. (Photo courtesy of Betty-Jo Watt, spouse of a nephew of Albert P. Nassi. She posted an earlier version of this photo on August 2, 2014.)
25. Plane photo The wreck of B-24H 42-52581 at Army Air Forces Station 137, Lavenham Airfield, England, on July 17, 1944. (U.S. Army Air Forces Photo provided by Art Silva)
26. Albert P. Nassi Square at Main Street and Locust Road, Orleans, Massachusetts.
(Photo courtesy of Sarah Smith, Orleans Parks & Beaches Department, Oct 2012)