Open main menu

The Honourable Violet Albina Gibson (31 August 1876 – 2 May 1956) was an Anglo-Irish woman, the daughter of Lord Ashbourne. She attempted to assassinate Benito Mussolini in 1926.

Violet Gibson
Violet Gibson
Violet Albina Gibson

31 August 1876
Died2 May 1956(1956-05-02) (aged 79)
Resting placeKingsthorpe, England, UK
Parent(s)The 1st Baron Ashbourne and Frances Maria Adelaide Colles


Early lifeEdit

Gibson was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1876. Her father was an Irish lawyer and politician, Edward Gibson, who was created Baron Ashbourne in 1886. Her mother, Frances, was a Christian Scientist.[1] Violet experimented with theosophy before becoming a Roman Catholic in 1902.[2]

Shooting of MussoliniEdit

On 7 April 1926, Gibson shot Mussolini, Italy's Fascist leader, as he walked among the crowd in the Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome after leaving an assembly of the International Congress of Surgeons, to whom he had delivered a speech on the wonders of modern medicine.[2][3] Gibson had armed herself with a rock to break Mussolini's car window if necessary, and a Modèle 1892 revolver disguised in a black shawl.[4] She fired once, but Mussolini moved his head at that moment and the shot hit his nose; she tried again, but the gun misfired.[2] She was almost lynched on the spot by an angry mob, but police intervened and took her away for questioning. Mussolini was wounded only slightly, dismissing his injury as "a mere trifle", and after his nose was bandaged he continued his parade on the Capitoline.[2]

At the time of the assassination attempt she was almost fifty years old and did not explain her reasons for trying to assassinate Mussolini. It has been theorised that Gibson was insane at the time of the attack, and the idea of assassinating Mussolini was hers and that she worked alone. She was later deported to Britain after being released without charge at the request of Mussolini.[5] She spent the rest of her life in a mental asylum, St Andrew's Hospital in Northampton.[6] She is buried in Kingsthorpe Cemetery, Northampton.

Her gravestone in Kingsthorpe Cemetery


  1. ^ "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911". Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  2. ^ a b c d Foulkes, Debbie (17 May 2010). "Violet Gibson (1876 – 1956) Shot Mussolini". Forgotten Newsmakers. Retrieved 3 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Mussolini Trionfante", Time Magazine, 19 April 1926.
  4. ^ "Violet Gibson i nieudany zamach na "Duce"". 2016-04-08.
  5. ^ Bosworth, R.J.B., Mussolini, 2002, pp 218-219
  6. ^ Mussolini's nose,; accessed 8 July 2014.

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit