Flying Officer Peter Joseph Biollo was born in Edmonton, Alberta, on September 1, 1923, to parents Peter Paul and Doris Mae (née Casewell) Biollo. Prior to enlistment he was employed as a sheet metal worker in Victoria, British Columbia.
Biollo enlisted into Active Service with the Royal Canadian Air Force on June 1, 1942, joining the British Commonwealth Air Training Program. After completing his initial training in Edmonton, Biollo was posted in January of 1943 to #2 Bombing and Gunnery School in Mossbank, Saskatchewan. In April he advanced to #7 Air Observer School in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, where he earned his Air Bomber Badge and was commissioned as an Officer on May 14, 1943.
Following his arrival in England in July of 1943, Biollo completed his training in the Royal Air Force Training Pool. In May of 1944 he joined the 576 Squadron, R.A.F., as an Air Bomber. On the night of July 28/29, 1944, his plane failed to return from a mission targeting Stuttgart, Germany, and Biollo was pronounced missing in action. It was later determined that his Lancaster bomber had crashed at Renauvoid, near Epinal, France, killing all aboard except for the pilot who had managed to bail out and became a Prisoner of War. Biollo was buried at the Chaumousey Communal Cemetery, Vosges, France.
The majority of the letters in the collection were written by Biollo to his family in Edmonton during the time he was in training in Canada with the B.C.A.T.P., or while stationed in England with the R.A.F. His letters often mention his eight younger siblings: Miriam, Frances, Elvira, Ramona, Dolores, Loretta, Raymond, and Barbara (born in 1943).
Almost all of the 1943 letters prior to June 17 are undated. In order to allow these to be read in chronological order on the website, they have been assigned sequential numbers and appear in the date listings as “1943-01, 1943-02, etc.” type-format. The chronological order was established based on letter content and service file information, and is intended as a reading aid only.
The four poems were written by Biollo between 1941-43.
F/O Biollo’s service record (Serv/Reg#s J26543; R166672) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Biollo can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
[Editor’s note: Collection reviewed/updated January, 2023. Three poems, two newspaper clippings, and jpgs of letter pages added. Letter transcriptions reviewed and emended. Additional information added to collection and content descriptions.]