ITALY STAR CAMPAIGN VETERANS 1943-45

  Welcome to the Italy Star Campaign Veterans 43-45 Website.

THIS GROUP IS NOT AFFILIATED TO ANY OTHER GROUP/ASSOCIATION

 

IN MEMORIAM

 

It is with deep sadness that I record the death of William (Bill/Digger) Lee, Royal Army Service Corp, attached to 1st British Infantry Division.

Bill was eighteen when he received his call-up papers. After training he spent time at Wallington Hall in Norfolk before embarking via Greenock to North Africa. Having landed at Taranto on the heel of Italy Bill's Division travelled up to Naples to collect their vehicles, whilst on this journey Vesuvius erupted. From Naples Bill and his convoy were sent up to Anzio where he and thousands of other troops were trapped on the Beach and had to defend our positions in order not to be pushed by into the sea by the German Offensive.

Bill celebrated his 21st Birthday billeted just outside Rome after which his journey through Italy continued onwards and upwards to Florence and after ferrying shells to and from various depots to the front lines of battle areas' his Division was sent back to Taranto and then across to Palestine.

I first met Bill in 2009 when a trip to Italy (Rome) had been organised in order to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Rome. Bill told me that after the war he never returned to Italy and he had never flown but his desire to visit the graves of his fallen comrades was very strong and I watched as he made his way up the Anzio Cemetery path to where several of his comrades lie in peace, forever young.

Bill and I met up again last year at the Service of Remembrance and Commemoration of the Italy Campaign held in the Chapel at the Royal Hospital Chelsea and he was on good form. He was accompanied by his son Ray and daughter in law Kim who survive him together with his grandchildren.

Bill was kind and gentle, a true gentleman and because of distance we used to have many telephone conversations about Italy, gardening and his adventures when he went shopping.

 

Bill passed away in his sleep on 21st June just 23 hours short of his 93rd birthday.

REST IN PEACE BILL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A small group of men from the “Shiny Seven Association” are working on a memorial to honour the Royal Engineers' who built a Bailey Assault Bridge codenamed “Amazon” over the River Rapido/Gari (Italy) 12/13 May 1944. The Shiny Seven Association are ex-members of 7 Field Squadron RE, whose forebears were 7 th Field Company RE, and were one of the three field companies who built the bridge. Permissions are currently being sought and once these have been granted the Association will commence construction of the memorial as soon as possible and then in 2019, on the 75 th Anniversary of the bridge being built, we unveil the main plaque which is to be located in the centre of the Bailey panel. On the plinth of the proposed memorial there will be information on the construction of the bridge and also on the battle of the Gustav Line breaking into the Liri Valley. There is a lot of support for the project both in the UK and in the town of Cassino and we are eager to get started. Should you wish to know more please contact georgecowie103@yahoo.co.uk

PLEASE READ AND THEN SIGN THE PETITION

WAR VETERANS ENRAGED BY FATHER CHRISTMAS VILLAGE ON THE EDGE OF MONTE CASSINO

Nick Squires, Rome Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph December 2015

A row has broken out in Italy over the building of a “Father Christmas Village” complete with fake snow and plastic penguins, on the flanks of Monte Cassino, where thousands of British and Allied soldiers' lost their lives during one of the toughest battles of the Second World War.

Veterans' groups say the tourist attraction, which includes a Santa's Grotto, a sleigh pulled by reindeer figures and a forlorn-looking donkey, is dis-respectful to the soldiers who fought and died at Monte Cassino in 1944 as they tried to dislodge German forces from the ancient abbey on top of the hill.

Protesters say the attraction, which includes an “enchanted wood”, may even be dangerous with the possibility that there is unexploded ordnance still buried in the ground.

“It's as if someone started putting up stalls, selling sausages and laying on games on the sands of Omaha Beach in Normandy”, a coalition of local protesters said in a statement.

The Christmas village was built by a local businessman this month on a flat piece of land close to the Polish Cemetery of Monte Cassino, where more than 1,000 Polish soldiers who took part in the battle are buried. It is also close to a track known as Cavendish Road, a path that was widened by Indian and New Zealand troops in order to allow Allied tanks to attack German positions during the campaign to take the hill.

The land is owned by the Abbey of Monte Cassino, the 6 th century retreat founded by St Benedict. It was a key strategic objective for the Allies as they advanced north towards Rome. An obelisk marking the sacrifice made by the Polish troops looms over the Christmas Village, which includes an archery range, drinks stands and a sign proclaiming “Polo Nord” – the North Pole. “This is a sacred place and should not be used for any commercial activities,” Salvatore Avella, the President of a local heritage group, told the Daily Telegraph. “It should be respected. The men who fought here came from Britain, India, America, New Zealand, France, Morocco and elsewhere.” The Christmas Village had blocked many war monuments, he said.

The Polish Embassy in Rome had sent a formal letter of complaint to the Italian Foreign Ministry. The attraction offended “the dignity of the most important Polish monuments in Italy”, it said.

The Abbott of the monastery, Donato Ogliari, said he could see no harm in the area being used for an attraction that brought joy to children and their parents.

Thousands of British and Commonwealth soldiers died during the campaign but their cemetery is in the valley below Monte Cassino, further away from the Christmas Village.

The following notice was printed in the Winter 2016 edition of The Monte Cassino Association's Newsletter and I thank Judith Coote, Secretary of the Association for her kind permission to reprint the article below.

Judith writes “The previous evening (17 th December 2015) I had been contacted by a reporter and gave the society's stance on this terribly upsetting development. I had been warned of it, initially by our own Terry Rowe and at his request had drafted a letter to Cassino Town Council and the British Embassy in Rome.

Subsequently I was contacted by Damaiano Parravano from the Gustav Line Association – he requested that I sign a petition against the development, which I duly did on behalf of the Monte Cassino Society. The development was closed down on 21 st December after the Polish Embassy protested to the Italian Foreign Ministry. This is, however, not the end of the story.

The developers were forced to dismantle their Santa Village because the township of Cassino ordered them to open the road to the Albaneta monastery. In fact, they closed the road from the Polish War Cemetery by a gate and the western and northern access to the area by other barrages. Obviously, opening the road they cannot ask people to pay. In their articles they say that they understood the importance of the area and they decided to dismantle Santa's Village leaving just a crib. However, they still want to build a brewery, a B/B, a cafeteria and some sort of farm house”.

More information can be found on the Gustav Line website - (google THE MEMORIAL PLACES OF MONTE CASSINO HAVE BEEN DESECRATED)

I would urge everyone to sign the petition – salviamo l' albeneta do Montecassino (Save Albeneta on Montecassino)

THANKYOU!

St. George's Hall, Liverpool The Weeping Window will be on display until 5p.m on Sunday 17th January 2016 and then this fitting tribute will close.


St George's Hall at night

Located in the heart of Liverpool city centre, opposite the gateway to the city, Liverpool Lime Street Station, St George's Hall sits proudly within Liverpool's cultural quarter and it's UNESCO World Heritage site. The Grade 1 listed building was built in 1854 and is regarded today as one of the finest examples of neo classical architecture in the world. This iconic building has long been the place of the people of Liverpool to meet at times of great sorrow and great celebration.

The History behind the Hall

During WW1 St George's Hall become the rallying point for the famous Liverpool PALS, when speakers including Lord Derby and Lord Kitchener appealed for 100,000 men to form a new army. Kitchener returned to Liverpool in March 1915 to inspect nine Battalions on the Plateau outside the Hall. Men from all over the region who worked together enlisting in Lord Derby's ‘PALS' Battalions would travel to St George's Hall to sign their Attestment papers.

 

Since the Weeping Window arrived for display in Liverpool over 301,500 people had visited by the end of December 2015. My cousin Chris and I are shown here by the display which we had visited soon after a Service of Remembrance had been held on Armistice Day, last November.

 

MUSEUM OF LIVERPOOL – An exhibition about Women and War will end on 5 th June 2016

 

Field of Remembrance – dates to be announced

Service at the Cenotaph – dates to be announced

It is my sad duty to record the deaths of the following Veterans:

Lt. William Nicholas Fox Carter (Nick Carter) 10th Princess Mary's Own Gurkha Rifles

Passed away late 2014 at his home in Majorca

William (Bill) Bellchambers 1st Observation Regiment, North Africa February 1944 and Italy from March 1944 Passed away Dec/Jan 2014

George Bolman Royal Engineers' North Africa and Italy Passed away September 2014

Sheila Bowden September 2014 - A loyal friend to the Southern Rhodesian Royal Artillery Regiments

We send our sincere condolences to the families of each of the above.

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.

 

FOR MORE DETAILS: info@italystar43-45.co.uk. or PHONE: 07928 250913

 

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