The 70th jubilee of the Cassino battles in May 2014

Click on the links below to read a full account of the visit during May 2014 by the Irish Brigade co-founder, Richard O’Sullivan, when he spent a week of emotional remembrance and evocative battlefield review in the Cassino and Anzio areas.

  • ‘O’ Group, 15th May 1944 – Visiting the area where the 2nd Battalion, London Irish Rifles (2 LIR) had concentrated on the afternoon of 15th May and their Commanding Officer, Lieut Colonel Ion Goff, was killed alongside the CO of 16/5 Lancers, Lieut Colonel John Loveday. There was a surprise and very moving meeing the next day with Ion Goff’s niece, Mary Whitty, and her husband Hamlyn, whose own father had served with 8th Indian Division at Cassino in May 1944.
  • Casa Sinagoga, 16th May 1944 – Walking the road to Sinagoga, along the line of advance for 2 LIR, and being greeted there by Franco and Clara Sinagoga, whose family had provided shelter that day for men of the battalion.
  • Piumarola, 17th May 1944 –  Meeting with the granddaughter of Major Lawrie Franklyn-Vaile, OC of C Company of the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers (1 RIrF), who was killed on the Faughs’ start line for their attack on Massa Cerro.
  • Monte Trocchio – Looking across the Gari/Rapido valley at the vista of the wider Cassino battlefield. The Irish Brigade had assembled behind Trocchio before crossing the Gari River on 14th May 1944.
  • CWGC Cemetery, Cassino – Along with a party of London Irishmen and Royal Fusiliers, paying appropriate tribute to all the men who lie at peace here.
  • Meeting the Irish Ambassador to Italy, Bobby McDonagh – Reviewing the remarkable contribution of Irishmen to the Allied war effort.
  • Caira- Visiting the village on the lower slopes of Monte Castellone where the Irish Brigade were positioned during April 1944. Towering over the whole area is the 5,000 foot Monte Cairo which has exceptional viewpoints over the whole Liri valley.
  • Amazon Bridge – Walking the ground close to the Gari near the location of the first bridge built over the river, which was completed on the morning of 13th May 1944. Here, also, remembering the fallen at the memorial for the 2nd Battalion, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment.
  • Monte Cassino – Visiting the abbey and the nearby Polish War Cemetery before descending to Castle Hill, where the Indian 4th Infantry Division had suffered great hardships during February and March 1944.
  • San Angelo- Pausing by the Peace Bell on the banks of the River Gari near to San Angelo in Theodice and which commemorates the fallen of all nationalities.
  • Service of Remembrance, 19th May 2014 – Joining the British Embassy commemorative service, which was attended by HRH Prince Harry.
  • Anzio and Nettuno – Attending Remembrance Ceremonies where Allied Forces had successfully landed in January 1944 but had then suffered four months of debilitating defensive agonies. Then visiting ‘The Wadis’ area to the north of the town and hearing first hand accounts and family testimonies of the men who fought there.


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