WW11 Italian History (or perhaps 'Italian History')

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WW11 Italian History (or perhaps 'Italian History') Empty WW11 Italian History (or perhaps 'Italian History')

Post by ghiro on Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:04 pm

Before I came to live in Italy I knew virtually nothing about what happened here in WW11. I soon realised (eg Liberation Day every year on 25 April) how important those events are to the Italians, even today.

Having read Eric Newby's 'Love and War in the Apennines' and 'Italy's Sorrow' by James Holland I became increasingly interested in what had happened in my immediate area.

I have recently been reading 'SAS in Tuscany 1942-1945' by Brian Lett. Of the first 6 British soldiers parachuted into occupied territory in 1943, four were captured and then executed on Hitler's orders.

2 of them , Warrant Sergeant William Foster and Corporal James Shortall, were shot on 21 September 1943 on the outskirts of Ponzano Magra which is quite near to where I live. Subsequently a monument was placed at their place on execution in 2003.

So yesterday I set out to find it. Initially I met 2 elderly Italian ladies who directed me to the 'ceramics factory'. There I met an old man who told me he was aged 13 when it had happened, which he remembered still, and who pointed me in the right direction. Finally I met another elderly man who, when I told him what I was looking for, jumped into my car and took me to the monument.

It was a wooded, quiet spot beside a stream. For me it was very moving that 2 young British soldiers had died there all those years ago. But it also moved me that the elderly local Italian people still remembered what had happened there almost 70 years ago.

I know (from a previous life!) that others on this forum also have an interest in Military History.
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WW11 Italian History (or perhaps 'Italian History') Empty Re: WW11 Italian History (or perhaps 'Italian History')

Post by Gala Placidia on Tue Jun 11, 2013 5:35 am

A couple of days ago we were going from Bagni di Lucca to Diecimo and we saw a very heavy wall on the side of the road. It was a remnant of the Gothic Line. I had an eerie feeling. It must have been very hard to live and survive in those times. The bridge that we normally go a cross to reach La Villa, called Il Ponte Nuovo, and dating back to 1788, was blown up by the Nazis during their retreat. I have heard that the population suffered enormously at the time and there are plenty of mementos of tragedies everywhere. Every four years, a special procession with candles, a luminara, is held to thank God for not having had the first line of fire inside the town as the Nazi Army had planned. The town would have been destroyed and lots of people killed.
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