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ITALY STAR ASSOCIATION

1943-1945

SICILY TARANTO . ANZIO . SALERNO SANGRO . FOGGIA .
ANCONA CORIANO . FLORENCE . ORTONA BOLOGNA .
ARGENTA . PO VALLEY. CASSINO

NATIONAL CHAIRMAN

Mr Roy Quinton
Tel. 020 8241 0275
chairman@italystarassociation.org.uk

 

NATIONAL VICE CHAIRMAN,

MAGAZINE & WEBSITE EDITOR

Mr Robin  Hollamby
Tel. 01892 836 382
info@italystarassociation.org.uk

 

NATIONAL SECRETARY

Miss Sheila Edwards
Tel. 01708 469 235
secretary@italystarassociation.org.uk

 

NATIONAL TREASURER

Miss Maureen Hanlan
Tel. 01903 247 196
treasurer@italystarassociation.org.uk

 

EAST HANTS BRANCH

MR Graham Glanville-Cole
italystar2019@yahoo.co.uk 

 

EAST KENT BRANCH

Miss Terri Camm
teresacamm@yahoo.co.uk

SOUTH ISLAND BRANCH – NEW ZEALAND

Mr Peter Scott
peter.judy@actric.co.nz

 

“When you walk in peaceful lanes so green – remember us – and think what might have been”

We do remember them.


 

Veterans of the Italian Campaign, allied families and supporters!

70 Comments

  1. Christine Hall (nee Pearson )

    I’m looking for a book that was given out several years ago at a memorial service it has a photo of my uncle in it who is in the war cemetary in Salerno his name is Hiles Pearson British I would like very much to find and receive this book or another information about him or anyone who knew him he was my uncle.

    Reply
  2. Tom Martin

    Dear Sis, My Father, George Henry Marin was in the Royal Devon Yeomanry attached to the Royal Artillery. His Army number was 1101739, and he was a driver of all types of vehicles, though mainly transporting water to the front line.
    I still have his Soldier’s Service Pay Book, but sadly very few photographs of his time in the war. He sadly passed away in 1990, and he rarely spoke of his active service. I know he sustained a shrapnel wound at one time, but that was not a problem for him. He was a quiet and gentle man having a strong spiritual faith and to my two sisters and I, was a caring and devoted father.
    There was a book of the Devon Yeomanry but this has disappeared and I remember seeing photographs of “mud” and “dust” as the vehicles moved around the country.
    Watching the Remembrance Day service today and seeing the members of the Italian Star contingent marching I felt constrained to contact you and tell you a little piece of my father’s history. Yours Faithfully, Tom Martin

    Reply
  3. Tom Martin

    P.S Apologies for “Dear Sis “!!Father’s name was MARTIN

    Reply
  4. Frank de Planta

    Tom.

    To be strictly accurate, your father served in 142 Field Regiment Royal Artillery. The Army needed gunners rather than cavalry at the start of the war so it converted a lot of units to gunners for the duration of the war. This is what happened to the Royal Devon Yeomanry.

    142 Regt RA were a unit of Eighth Army and they fought at the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino in May 44. They were issued with self propelled Bishops and then Priests – a tank chassis with a large artillery gun mounted on top. They were highly prized for their mobility and their ability to move up in support of the infantry.

    I am taking a group to Monte Cassino in May 19 if you would like to see what 142 (RDY) Regt RA got up to.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
  5. Robert hopkins

    My uncle Alexander Hopkins served with the Scots Guards and was killed in July 1944-he is buried in Florence CWG cemetry.
    Does anyone have any knowledge of the Scots Guards in Italy.

    Reply
  6. Roger Freeman

    Sir,

    I am the nephew of a British soldier William (Bert) Goodwin who served in the Royal Artillery in North Africa and Italy during WW2. My Uncle held the Africa and Italy Star medals.

    Sadly my Uncle died last year at his home in Cambridgeshire, England and I attended his funeral there in January 2018. I myself was born in Cambridgeshire but immigrated with my family to Australia in 1988. I did however keep close connections with my Uncle and visited him many times in England since we moved to Australia.

    My Uncle left a very detailed dairy of his life in the army in Libya, Egypt, Palestine and Italy from 1940 up until his demob in Austria in early 1946. His diary is to be published as a book in England later this year.
    During his time in Italy his unit the 118 Bty 30th Regiment Lt AA Royal Artillery was attached to the 10th Indian Division where he befriended an Indian soldier of the 3/5 Mahrattas, 5th Mahratta Light Infantry. The soldiers name was (Niak) Yeshwant Ghadge and he subsequently was awarded the VC.
    My Uncle and Yeshwant Ghadge continued their friendship after meeting at Monte Cassino. They then saw one another again several times as the 8th Army and 10th Indian Div advance continued North along the Tiber River Valley.

    As part of the 8th Army advance up the Tiber Valley during June/July 1944 my Uncle was attached to the 10th Indian Division as an artillery spotter, he had had radio and morse training earlier in Egypt.
    After his attachment he was carrying the Type 18 field radio set on his back most of the time spotting for the Mahrattas to call up artillery support shoots when required.
    After passing through Assisi and Umbertide they found themselves just south of Citta di Castello near Montone.
    After Montone was taken by the 1st Batt Kings Own on the 6th July the 3/5 Mahrattas advanced across the ridges through Mt Cucco to the River Lana gorge, supported by the 8th Manchesters on their right.
    A unit of the Mahrattas eventually reached an old deserted farmhouse known as Morlupo on the south side of the gorge, this included Niak Yeshwant Ghadge and my Uncle as their artillery spotter.
    At dawn on the 7th/8th July Yeshwant Ghadge and his section of sepoys bid farewell to my Uncle and proceeded down into the river gorge with the aim of taking another old farmhouse on the north side of the gorge which had been observed to hold a German mountain unit.
    Just 30 minutes later my Uncle observed through binoculars the charge of Yeshwant Ghadge’s section on a German machine gun position located just below the farmhouse.
    The action is well gazetted in the official VC citation whereupon most of the brave Indian soldiers were killed in the assault and Yeshwant Ghadge went on to kill the German machine gun crew single handed only to be shot twice, in the chest and back, by two separate German snipers (My Uncle had told me that German machine gun positions were nearly always covered by at least two snipers).

    My Uncle describes all this in detail in his diary. He goes on to note his frustration in not being able to bring down an artillery support shoot for the Mahrattas as the Type 18 set failed to work in the River Lana gorge. He also said that the action was so close to the old farmhouse that any shoot would probably have killed the Mahrattas as well.

    Yeshwant Ghadge and his comrades have no known grave. Yeshwant Ghadge is only acknowledged at the CWGC at Cassino on the list of the missing.
    My Uncle always believed that Yeshwant Ghadge and his comrades (and possibly the Germans to) were buried near the old farmhouse by either a unit of the 3/18 Gurkha Rifles, the 8th Manchesters or Kings Own who all came through the area position after them later that day as they continued advancing towards Citta di Castello.

    My Uncle continued for many years to try and trace the grave location near the farmhouse without success visiting Citta di Castello and the area several times over the years.
    The only lead of any significance he spoke to me about was to be told by the elderly son of a farmer in the 1970’s, who had kept sheep on the same mountainside as the old farmhouse, that his father had found a body of a soldier buried when he was digging a culvert after the war in 1948/49, There was obvious reticence from the farmer to say any more as he feared the local authorities would in some way blame him for it not being reported at the time. The farmer went on to say that he thought the body was that of an Indian soldier by an ‘armband’ and his British style helmet. Unfortunately none of this can be verified now.

    In July 1994 at the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Citta di Castello my Uncle was welcomed by the mayoress and awarded an Italian civil award for his efforts and connections with the town. On that trip he was accompanied by the Bristol documentary film producer of ICON Films.

    My Uncle also spent many years fighting for Yeshwant Ghadge’s widow, Mrs Laxmibhal Ghadge, to receive a full army pension back in India appropriate for a VC award.
    At the time prime minister John Major had announced that VC pension awards were to be increased by 100 pounds. My Uncle continued to fight the MOD for several years over this only finally to gain a rather small one off payment for Mrs Ghadge and a letter of apology from John Major, a rather sad outcome I thought for the remaining family of such a brave man. They had no children.

    Since my Uncle died I have continued in my own research in trying to find out more information as to where Yeshwant Ghadge’s grave may be. I visit Citta di Castello regularly and will be doing so again this coming European summer to continue my search. I am seventy five years old now this year and admit that I am getting a bit long in the tooth for trudging over the Umbrian hillsides.

    In the continued hope of obtaining the least little bit of relevant information I wondered if any of your members who have, or had, relatives serving with either the Kings Own or 8th Manchesters in Italy during June/July 1944 have ever been told, or may even have seen mentioned in a dairy, anything to do with the action on the 7th/8th July by the 3/5 Mahrattas at or near Morlupo above the River Lana gorge ?.

    My Best Regards,

    Roger H Freeman.

    7 Semmens Road
    McLaren Vale
    South Australia 5171.

    Reply
    1. Nigel Chipperfield

      Dear Mr Freeman,

      I have just read your account of your Uncle’s service in Italy.

      My wife’s grandfather was killed in Italy on 01/07/44 while serving in the same unit as your uncle.

      I wondered whether the aforementioned book had yet been published?

      Kind regards,

      Nigel Chipperfield, Adelaide, South Australia.

      Reply
  7. Duncan machell

    Hello I am the son of a Royal engineer who served in Italy 43 45 . I would like to trace his records And route through Italy. I would be very thankful for any help .

    Reply
  8. Duncan machell

    I have been reading more comments and would like to add I have my fathers service number and his Italy star would be very thankful for any help.

    Reply
  9. Frank de Planta

    Duncan.

    If you go on to the http://www.ww2.com site, register and write down everything you know so far about your father than an expert will pop up very quickly and help you.

    In the meantime, go to http://www.gov.uk and type in ‘Service Record’. This will take you to a page that tells you how to hold of a copy of his Service Record. From the Record, we will know which Field Company or Field Squadron RE he was part of. From there, it is a matter of getting the War Diaries for that sub-unit from Kew.

    Regards

    Frank

    Reply
  10. John Rye

    Salerno talk 9th Sept
    Location & time?
    Can I attend?
    Thanks
    John

    Reply

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