About us

At its height over 1100 members worldwide have acknowledged that its veterans were the first Allied forces to land in Europe since the Second World War began. Currently there are now only five branches in the UK, plus one in New Zealand and we have a resident veteran representative in Italy, Mr Harry Shindler, MBE. Harry was awarded the MBE for his services in promoting public awareness of the part our veterans played in the Italian campaigns.

The Association continues now in a much smaller form. It has been active at events throughout each year of its existence. Every May saw its annual reunion weekend in Sussex. The weekend included its Annual General Meeting, then on Sunday a service of remembrance and thanksgiving was held in Chichester cathedral followed by a parade through its city centre. The weekend was rounded off with a special dinner attended by civic and military guests, representing allied forces from as far afield as Poland, Canada and New Zealand. The Association continues as the only one nationally active in events throughout the year.

Each year on 10th July, a service of dedication and remembrance has been held at the Association’s national memorial in Westgate Gardens, Canterbury, Kent. That date specifically commemorates the anniversary of Allied troops landing in Sicily.
Association representatives attend the annual Field of Remembrance service outside Westminster Abbey, as well as the Remembrance Sunday service and parade at the Cenotaph. The Association has also been privileged on several occasions to have been invited to parade its National standard at the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, in the presence of members of the Royal family. This takes place on the evening before the Cenotaph parade.

Members currently receive a quarterly magazine which keeps them informed of the various key events the Association is involved in, as well as trips that are arranged from time to time. The magazine also contains accounts of campaign experiences and recollections from veteran members, in addition to photographs and humorous anecdotes.

There is a sizeable plot within the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire, which was dedicated to the Association in 2001; it is delineated as the outline of Sicily and mainland Italy, and populated throughout with pine trees, amongst which markers pinpoint the many battle sites of the campaign, so familiar to veterans. Overlooking this maturing plot, being re-dedicated in September 2016, is a beautifully engraved polished granite memorial, together with commemorative benches nearby. Together these are visible reminders of the geographical scope and human cost of the Allies’ gargantuan struggle, from Sicily and Salerno to Trieste.

When the Association reaches a point where it is no longer financially viable to continue, our website will continue into the future. We are uploading as much factual history to enable future generations to read the truths behind our veterans’ hard-fought battles and journeys through Italy.

The Association’s epitaph – “Let us remember our comrades in the air, on the seas, in those valleys and on those mountains. When you walk in peaceful lanes so green, remember us and think what might have been” is powerfully emotive for surviving veterans and families. It is very fitting therefore, that we should seek to take the Association forward as far into the future as we can, never forgetting the reasons why we enjoy the freedoms we have today.

49 Comments

  1. Jillian Nightingale

    My father was in the signals and I’ve got his war records but they are very vague as to where or what he did in Italy how can I find out more ?

    Reply
    1. Christopher Anstock

      Hello Jillian, I have just posted a comment about my father in law David Gordon Allan, who was also a signaller. I wonder if they ever met? May I ask you what your father’s name was?

      Reply
  2. Frank de Planta

    Jillian.

    Get hold of me through my website http://www.cassinobattlefields.co.uk and I will happily have a look at your father’s war records and see if we can work out exactly what units he was in and whereabouts in Italy he went.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
    1. Jillian

      Hi , I think I have made contact could you confirm ?

      Reply
  3. Frank de Planta

    Christopher.

    Your grandfather served with 3rd Hussars who were part of 9 Armoured Brigade who were ‘independent’ – they did not come under command of an Armoured Division. An Armoured Division would normally have two or three Armoured Brigades under commands. Because 9 Armoured Brigade was independent, it tended to be loaned to Infantry Divisions in order to get them some punch. Whilsty in Italy, the Sherman tanks of 9 Armoured Brigade supported, at various times, 78 British Infantry Division, 4 Indian Infantry Division and 8 Indian Infantry Division.

    If he was a medic then that was his role within 3rd Hussars. The medics had their own unit owned ambulances but this is not to be confused with Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps.

    The 3rd Hussar medic and their ambulances collected injured tank crew from the battlefield, patched them up as best they could to reduce the trauma, and took them back to the Regimental Aid Post. If the young Doctor thought that the soldier would live, he would hand them to the Field Ambulance boys who would drive the casualty further back to a Dressing Station where experts would operate to try and save the chap’s life. If the chap survived surgery, he would be pushed further back.

    To really dig into where 3rd Huissars were and what they got up to, you need to get hold of their War Diaries. Track me down at http://www.cassinobattlefields.co.uk and I will point you at people who can sort this for you.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
    1. Christopher Hall

      Thank you Frank!

      Reply
  4. Jillian Nightingale

    Hi, Thank you for your reply I don’t seem to be able to contact you only though here I’m not the best on internet , my father’s name was Samuel Jackson and his number was 2369569 and he was in The Royal Signals but I don’t know if he was just passing through Italy or was posted there as I say his records are very vague also his Africa posting does not really say anything . But he was in receipt of both medals .Thank you for any help

    Reply
  5. Frank de Planta

    Jillian.

    If your father was awarded The Italy Star then it is because he spent more that 28 consecutive days in that theatre of war. I suspect that he was not just passing through.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
  6. Kim

    Just learnt my grandfather was awarded the Italy star, was wondering how to find out more about him?

    Reply
  7. Frank de Planta

    Kim.

    You need to go to the gov.uk website and type in Service Record. This will tell you how to get a copy of your grandfather’s Service Record. It is a complete record of all the places that he went to and whom he served with during his time in the Armed Forces.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
    1. Kim

      Thanks Frank 😊 I’m an APO with the sea cadets and my kids are Royal Marine Cadets, so we can’t wait to find out all about him. Unfortunately he dird before I was born, so couldn’t find out anything from him.

      Reply
  8. Alan McKenna

    My late father, James McKenna, served in the western desert as a REME driver.
    The ship he was on at rbs invasion of Sicily was bombed and sun.
    Although a non swimmer he spent time in the water and was injured whilst being picked up by a boat.
    I think he then was treated in a casualty clearing station on Sicily.

    He went on to serve in Normandy, imcluding Villers Bocage, until eventual demob.

    Reply
  9. Alan McKenna

    EDIT Corrections:-
    “The ship he was on at the Sicily invasion was bombed and sunk by aircraft “.

    Reply
  10. Francis Graves

    My father served with 6th York and Lancs and landed with 46Division at Salerno. I traced as much of his route as poss on a visit in 2017, via Vietri, Dragonea, Pompeii to Naples. Also paid respects at the Allied cemetery at Salerno. Next trip hope to trace his route via Cassino north.

    Reply

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