Boxing Day on the farm. A quiet day post-christmas. Everyone a bit rattled with ninety-year-old Mary having had a few TIA’s. She rallied well and rested.
Dad talking about the Second World War.
He was with the Eighth Army who landed in Italy in 1943 and worked their way up the East coast, the Adriatic Coast. The more famous battle was up the West Coast, the Mediterranean coast, so the advance up the East coast was called “The Forgotten War”.
Here he is, 94 in the shade, telling soldier adventure tales. They had roared off in a Jeep looking for the Yanks. Then he goes on to talk about breeding pigeons. Like Darwin!
After pigeons he started moaning about his tenants, so I cut him off!
The “Forgotten War” – up the Adriatic Coast of Italy
The 8th Army continued fighting along the Adriatic coast; sadly this created the need for cemeteries at Ancona 1029 burials, Castiglione South African, 502 burials; Montecchio 582 burials; Gradara 1191 burials; Coriano Ridge 939 burials; Rimini Gurkha 618 burials; Cesena 775 burials; Medola 145 burials; Forli 1234 burials plus a cremation memorial for nearly 800 Indian servicemen; Ravenna 955 burials; Villanova 955 burials; Villanova Canadian cemetery 212 burials; Faenza 1152 burials; Santerno Valley 287 burials; Bologna 184 burials; Argente Gap 625 burials; Padua 513 burials.
Fighting along the Adriatic section of Italy was quite intensive and continuous from Bari in the south to Milan in the north. The CWGC estimate that the Commonwealth lost nearly 50,000 dead in Italy during World War II most of whom lie buried in 37 war cemeteries, and over 4000 soldiers whose graves are not known but remembered by name on the Cassino memorials. Almost 1500 Indian servicemen, whose remains were cremated, are remembered on three memorials in various cemeteries.
The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that the 8th Army had a difficult time fighting the Germans over very difficult terrain along the Eastern Adriatic coast of Italy.
The Mediterranean side of Italy was extensively reported on. Maybe it was because the American 5th Army proved to be more attractive to the news editors – or they had better PR?! More journalists? They certainly had more money.
The Canadians also fought on the Adriatic coast and have documented it here.