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Monte Cassino 75

On Saturday 11 May 2019, 40 Italy Campaign Veterans, 400 VIP guests, and hundreds of members of the public gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum for an event remembering the heroism, courage and collaboration of the over 200,000 Allied and Commonwealth forces who came from all corners of the globe to fight in the battles of Monte Cassino.

These brave troops landed in Italy in September 1943, pushing north. Many saw Italy as the "soft underbelly" of Axis occupied Europe and were predicting that Rome would quickly be in Allied hands. Despite this, the Monte Cassino campaign – from January to May 1944 – was amongst the hardest-fought battles of the Second World War. Their service and sacrifice secured freedom and democracy in Italy and prevented the German Army from transferring more fighting men to France.

The ceremony

The Commemorative Ceremony was led by Flight Lieutenant Mandeep Kaur and included readings by representatives of the UK, New Zealand and Italian Armed Forces and Italy Campaign Veteran Colonel David Blum. Music was provided by the Prince of Wales Division Band with Petty Officer Matt Hicks RN playing "Ballad of the D-Day Dodgers". Warrant Officer Rafał Schabek from the Polish Armed Forces played Hejnał mariacki, the same tune played by a victorious Polish soldier in the ruins of Monte Cassino Abbey 75 years ago.

You can find pictures of the event on the NMA’s Facebook Page.

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