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May 21 2024

JFC Naples Personnel Commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino

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JFC Naples, Italy - 40 personnel from JFC Naples were invited to mark the 80th anniversary of Operation DIADEM, also referred to as the Forth Battle of Monte Cassino (the Battle for Rome). The event, organised by the British Embassy in Rome, was held at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Monte Cassino on Sunday 19 May. The ceremony took place in the presence of HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh GVCO who spoke on behalf of His Majesty King Charles III, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Head of the Commonwealth. 

Also present were The Rt Hon Lord Edward Llewellyn, OBE, The British Ambassador to Italy and San Marino, the UK Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Patrick Sanders KCB, CBE, DSO and Commander JFC Naples Admiral Stuart B Munsch.

We’ve heard accounts from others of bravery, some who made it through and other who sadly didn’t

On parade were representatives from Several UK Army Regiments and also in attendance were representatives from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and the UK. The UK veteran representative Mr. Jack Hearne (100) who was present at the Battle, paid his respects to those ‘who didn’t make it,’ he said: “I’m here today in this special place, to pay tribute to my fellow soldiers and friends with whom I fought” he continued “We’ve heard accounts from others of bravery, some who made it through and other who sadly didn’t”. 

HRH Duchess of Edinburgh with Jack Hearn and the Rt Hon Lord Edward Llewellyn.

Monte Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetary.

Lorem Adm Stuart B Munsch and Gen Mead greet HRH the Duchess of Edinburgh.

Guardsman Bruce Craig of the Scots Guard.

The commemoration included a service of remembrance, prayers, and wreath laying, with the UK and Italian national anthems performed by the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) Band and Music performed by a Piper: Guardsman Bruce Craig of the Scots Guards. Admiral Munsch who laid a wreath on behalf of JFC Naples with General Mead who is the senior British military representative at JFC Naples said "In commemorating the lives lost at Monte Cassino here 80 years ago, we preserve the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and justice. Today we not only pay tribute to the bravery and resilience of the soldiers who fought at one of the most grueling battles of the war, but ceremonies such as this serve as a poignant reminder of the human toll of conflict". He continued "As we remember the brutality and cost of war, we are reminded of the value of a defensive alliance like NATO that is designed to preserve peace and stability through cooperation and readiness."

Monte Cassino is often described as the hardest fought battle of World War II, taking place between 17 January and 18 May 1944. The Allied assaults against German and Italian fortifications saw the destruction of the 14th century Monte Cassino Monastery; one of Italy’s holiest sites. The capture of Monte Cassino on 18 May 1944 was not easy, with the Allies suffering around 55,000 casualties. German casualties were estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded. 

Story by JFC Naples Public Affairs Office

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Allied Joint Force Command Naples
Via Madonna del Pantano
80014 Lago Patria
Giugliano in Campania, Naples, Italy

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