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Amazon Bridge Monte Cassino


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#1 tkwillett

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 08:26 AM

:unsure: If any body can help I am trying to locate the grid ref or as near as dam it location of the Amazon Bridge at Monte Cassino I know it was built 12/13May 1944 under enemy fire but cant find its exact location.

Any help in this matter would be greatly [FONT="]appreciated :D.
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#2 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 09:05 AM

tkwillett,

Hello and welcome to the forum.

  • 'Amazon' Bridge
  • Construction dates: 12/13 May 1944 (Operation Diadem)
  • Details: 80 ft Class 30 Bailey bridge built over Rapido river under constant fire. The bridge was built as part of the Allies break-out of the Gustav Line. Work started at 5.45pm (12 May) and completed at 5.30am (13 May). The human cost was high; 15 sappers were killed and 57 (including 3 officers) wounded.
  • Constructed by: 7th, 59th, 225th Field Companies (4th Division)

Posted Image
Amazon Bridge over the Rapido - May 1944
(Painting: Cuneo)


Whilst I cannot help with the exact coordinates, there are several members of this forum that are experts on Google earth and I am sure that they will be able to provide you with the exact co-ordinates.

I bought a large print for my Uncles 70th Birthday of Amazon Bridge as he was in the Royal Engineers, but not serving in Italy.

Regards
Tom
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#3 Paul Reed

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 09:12 AM

I think there is a map in the 4th Division history. I will check later, unless Owen beats me to it.
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#4 Owen

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 09:15 AM

I'm off to plant trees at school.
Over to you Paul.
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#5 Macca

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 11:24 AM

I believe the bridge was located very near where the Commonwealth cemetery is today. There is a small bend in the river and today a modern road bridge crosses the river at that spot. It can be seen quite clearly on Google Earth.
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#6 Paul Reed

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 01:50 PM

Was out this morning, but will post something this afternoon. Macca's post seems to ring a bell.
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#7 Paul Reed

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 02:57 PM

As promised:

Posted Image
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#8 Paul Reed

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 02:58 PM

Both are from the History of the 4th Division:

Posted Image
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#9 Paul Reed

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 03:09 PM

By my reckoning this is the location on Google Earth.

Attached Files


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#10 Paul Reed

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 03:15 PM

When myself and Owen were in Italy last year, we stopped very close to here to see the new memorial to the Beds & Herts. The site of Amazon Bridge is over to the right in the photo below.

Posted Image
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#11 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 03:46 PM

Paul

I think you may very well be right with your GOOGLE EARTH pic.

While you are on a winning streak perhaps you can find another spot for me ?

During my month or so at Cassino I remember being held up by the MPs at a spot that was well known as "Speedy Express". We had to wait at this spot until the MPs were satisfied and then, in our vehicles, dash across this gap of exposed territory until we reached another spot in the valley where we were no longer so exposed.

If I remember rightly there were warning boards telling you to wait until permission to "cross" was allowed.

Is there stuff written about this area and do you have GOOGLE Grid references ?

Many thanks

Ron
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:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps.

 

Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

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#12 Macca

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 04:33 PM

Hi Ron,

Speedy Express was the name of the railway embankment used as a road between Mignano and Cassino. It is easily viewable on Google Earth and you may recognise the 2 rocky outcrops the most significant called Porchio. The link below is to the NZ electronic text centre battle write up and describes the 'road' that 2NZDiv used and then when 78th relieved them you Battleaxes also used it as you remember. I'm not sure how to get the google grid ref but I found it by finding Cassino and Mignano and the track is still visible. Hope this helps.
CHAPTER 30 — East of Cassino | NZETC
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#13 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 05:05 PM

Macca

Many thanks for the info and the link which in turn has given me all that I could have hoped for.
I went back to the 49th LAA Rgt.War Diaries and found this piece about the Mignano road:

On 21 Mar the regt was ordered to take over the task of providing a smoke screen at Speedy Express Highway and Highway 6 Bridges over R Rapido. 84 Bty took on this task. Between 1250 and 1310 hrs on 25 Mar 430 to 40 enemy aircraft in three main waves approached Cassino from the south, flying up Speedy Express and Route 6. They were engaged first by 18 guns of 84 Bty concentrated at Mignano. 90 and 280 Btys and all other local LAA engaged. Seven aircraft were destroyed in all and 84 and 280 btys claimed one each.


Regards

Ron

Edited by Ron Goldstein, 20 March 2009 - 05:12 PM.
Added text

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If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps.

 

Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#14 PsyWar.Org

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:02 PM

By my reckoning this is the location on Google Earth.


Thanks for that Paul. My grandfather was with the 225 Fld Coy RE. Amazon was originally their bridge.

It's great to see the exact spot on Google Earth and your photo.

Lee
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#15 Paul Reed

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Posted 20 March 2009 - 06:45 PM

Ron, I hadn't looked for this on Google Earth before, will report back if no-one else does in the meantime.
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#16 tkwillett

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Posted 22 March 2009 - 10:01 AM

Thank you all for your assitance this is great.

Tony
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#17 Driftwood1954

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 03:26 PM

My late father Albert Hobson was in the 7th Company Royal Engineers and was awarded the Military Cross for building Amazon across the River Rapido . At present his report of the bridge building , aerial photograph etc are with my sister who is having them copied , but when they are returned to me I will willingly supply copies if anyone requires them .
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#18 Drew5233

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 03:52 PM

Hi Driftwood,

Welcome to the forum and I'd like to see them, as I'm sure many others will on here. Can I suggest you post the information on this thread?

Regards
Andy
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#19 Drew5233

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 04:06 PM

Just incase you hadn't seen the original citation :)
Posted Image

Posted Image
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#20 Driftwood1954

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 06:53 PM

Thanks , I believe that we still have his citation with his paperwork .

He refused to collect his medal from Buckingham Palace and said that if they wanted to give it him they could post it to his family home in Blackpool . His mother was not very happy as she had bought a new dress , coat and hat to wear when she went to London .

Edited by Driftwood1954, 16 April 2010 - 07:42 PM.

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#21 idler

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 09:23 PM

The bridge was actually launched under command of 59 Fd Coy. 225, 7 & 59 Fd Coys worked in relays until exhausted on the bridge in that order. There's a chapter devoted to it in Daniell's Mediterranean Safari and Cuneo's painting is used on the dustjacket.

At this juncture, Peter took over complete control of the building from Lieut. Hobson of 7 Field Company - who still remained at the site to assist in spite of being very tired.


Daniell recalls recommending Sgt Parry for an MM but never knew if it was awarded as the latter was killed a month later. It looks like it was so I will see if I can find it...
Found it:

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Edited by idler, 16 April 2010 - 09:33 PM.

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#22 minden1759

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 01:57 PM

Paul.

I saw the location that you have given for Amazon Bridge. You are too far north. If you go back to your Google Earth picture and follow the river further south you will see what is now a concrete bridge. I have read Lt Col Daneill's book and stood on the ground. Loc is 41.27.52.18 N. 13.50.39.00 E
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#23 minden1759

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 02:01 PM

My late father Albert Hobson was in the 7th Company Royal Engineers and was awarded the Military Cross for building Amazon across the River Rapido . At present his report of the bridge building , aerial photograph etc are with my sister who is having them copied , but when they are returned to me I will willingly supply copies if anyone requires them .

Driftwood.

Fantastic that your father was at Amazon Bridge. Did you ever post his report with the aerial photo. I have read Lt Col Daneill's book, seen the painting at Brompton and sttod on the ground. I have also taken Offrs and men from 225 Fd Sqn RE, the direct descendants of the Fd Coy, to the site. That Sqn is now part of Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers (Militia). I am back there in Feb 11 if you wish to come.
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#24 Driftwood1954

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Posted 11 November 2010 - 06:37 PM

Hi , Still waiting to get the paperwork back off my sister , but will let you know when I have it .

Peter
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#25 rongilleard

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:18 PM

Hi. My name is Ron Gilleard. My father was Sapper Joe Gilleard and he served in 7th Field Company RE. He was on Amazon Bridge and I visited the site with him on several occasions from 1983 until his death in 2005. The last time we were there was in May 2004 and he was interviewed by the BBC on the Amazon Bridge site. The coordinates for the build site of Amazon are (if Google Earth is accurate) 41/28/01.26 N 13/50/28.54 E. This is spot on. The other two bridges which were built over the Rapido, 'Blackwater' and 'Congo', are a little to the south of Amazon. 'Blackwater' is 41/27/24.56 N 13/50/19.17 E and 'Congo' is 41/27/16.87 N 13/50/25.24 E. These are approximate only but will be within 50m. If you need any more info please let me know.

All the best

Ron Gilleard
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#26 rongilleard

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 08:43 PM

Hi. My father Spr. Joe Gilleard of 7th Field Coy RE was on Amazon Bridge site from start to finsih and saw the first tank of the 17/21 Lancers, who had actually helped launch the bridge, cross it at around 6.00am and also saw a Junkers Ju 87 try to put it out of action. I met Bert Hobson many times at the reunions in Leicester. He was a really nice man. I was lucky enough to know many of my fathers friends and company characters who were on Amazon including Jack Stamper, Dennis Gorman, Bert Hobson, John Boutwood, Tommy Riordan, Harry Footitt and many more, a lot of whom, sadly, have passed away. My father told me all about his experiences on Amazon many times and I am so familiar with the area that I almost feel as if I was there myself. 7th Field Coy had two people killed either on Amazon or on the abortive attempt to build Congo the night before. Their names are Thomas Moore and Thomas Appelby.
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#27 CL1

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:06 PM

Ron welcome to the forum
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#28 Paul Reed

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:40 PM

Ron, welcome.

Any photos of your visits to share?
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#29 rongilleard

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 09:58 PM

Hi Paul
Sorry to have just butted in. I am new to this stuff. Yes I have lots of photos of my visits which I will put on when I figure out how. I also have lots of footage of the various anniversary celebrations which we attended in 89, 94, 2004 etc. but whether I can share these on line, I don't know. What I can share is my fathers experiences on those two nights 11th/12th and 12th/13th May 1944. Watch this space.

Ron
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#30 Paul Reed

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 10:07 PM

Looking forward to it!
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