Reply To: Richard John Lofts – Royal Hampshire Regiment
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Your uncle served in 2/4 Hampshires who were part of 28 Infantry Brigade in 4 Infantry Division.
4 Infantry Division were at the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino, and as a LSgt, your uncle would have been there too in May 1944. During that battle, 2/4 Hampshires ran the river crossing operation for 28 Infantry Brigade in order to get 2 Somerset Light Infantry and 2 King’s Regiment troops across.
After Cassino and the fall of Rome, 4 Infantry Division pushed north in the centre of Italy and skirted Lake Trasimeno into the Val di Chiana before reaching the Arezzo area.
On 1 Jul 44, 28 Inf Bde took over the lead after the fall of Petrignano. At 0830, 28 Inf Bde set off on a broad front with 2 SLI right forward and 2 Kings left forward supported by two troops of Cdn tanks and with 4 Recce Regt forming a screen out in front. 4 BR Inf Div was now advancing up the Val di Chiana intending to turn north westwards, leaving Arezzo on their right. They were heading for Florence some 50 miles further on, following the left bank of the River Arno and intended to move through the Chianti Mountains.
The tricky bit is that LSgt Lofts died on 1 July 1944 and is buried in Assisi which is 30km east of Petrignano. I therefore suspect that he was injured in the battles for the Trasimeno Line at the end of June 1944 and was in a hospital near Assisi when he died.
Get in touch with me via http://www.cassinobattlefields.co.uk and I will happily share the detail of 2/4 Hampshires actions at Cassino, and on the Trasimeno Line, with you.