Lieutenant-Colonel James Leslie Kincaid and the Emergency Response to the 1944 Eruption of Mount Vesuvius, Southern Italy


  • David K Chester University of Liverpool, UK
  • Angus M Duncan University of Liverpool, UK



The 1944 eruption of Vesuvius occurred at the height of the Second World War. A successful emergency relief operation was launched by the Allied Control Commission and was led by an American officer, Lt. Col. (James) Leslie Kincaid. In this paper we both describe the operation and evaluate its effectiveness pointing out, inter alia: the importance of well-trained and experienced personnel; the need for expertise across a wide range of specialisms; the ability to both empathise with victims, but at the same time lead and strongly direct a successful military operation and work harmoniously and effectively with allies.