Remembering Today-1/5/45 Sapper BERT CLARENCE GAHAGAN 458050, New Zealand Engineers

Discussion in 'New Zealand' started by CL1, May 1, 2011.

  1. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery


    458050, New Zealand Engineers
    who died age 42
    on 01 May 1945
    Son of Alfred and Elizabeth Gahagan, of Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand; husband of Elsie Honor Gahagan, of Christchurch.
    Remembered with honour
    CWGC :: Cemetery Details
  2. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Faenza and the Senio River

    2NZEF rejoined the attack in late November and succeeded in capturing Faenza on 14 December. Having reached the Senio River, the Division halted and endured its second Italian winter. After another period of relief, the 'Div' lined up again on the banks of the Senio River on 8 April to begin what would prove the final offensive in Italy. The New Zealanders now moved forward at an increasingly rapid pace. After crossing the Senio, the drive continued to the Santerno River and then on to the Gaiana River. Briefly halted there, the New Zealanders then pushed on to the Idice, finally crossing the Po river on Anzac Day 1945. Taking Padua on 28 April, the 'Div' embarked on its last helter-skelter advance, amidst disintegrating German resistance and partisan success everywhere.

    To Trieste

    The 'Div' crossed the Izonso River on 1 May and reached Trieste the next day just as the German forces in Italy surrendered unconditionally. After their exhilarating final charge covering over 220 kilometres in less than a week, the New Zealanders arrived just in time to share in the city's liberation with local partisans and units of Josip Tito's Fourth Yugoslav Army. It should have been a final moment of glory in the Italian campaign—a chance to savour the end of the war in Europe and relax before a speedy return home. Instead, it proved a 'helluva way to end a war', as one soldier recorded in his diary.

    The fortunes of war had pitched the 'Div' into an international hot spot, as Trieste became the setting for the first inter-Allied clash of the post-war era in Europe. The city was the focal point of a bitter territorial dispute between Italy and Yugoslavia. The Yugoslavs had hoped to strengthen their post-war claims to Trieste by being first to liberate it and then putting in place their own military administration. The Western Allies, however, had planned that the city should come under Allied Military Government like other parts of liberated Italy, pending a final peace settlement. By arriving in Trieste when they did, the Second Division dashed the Yugoslavs' hopes of presenting the Western Allies with a fait accompli. For some weeks, Trieste was under an uneasy dual occupation. Only after the problem was resolved diplomatically at the highest Allied levels were the New Zealand soldiers able to relax when the Yugoslavs reluctantly withdrew from the city in mid-June.
  3. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    "NZ Engineers constructing a Bailey bridge across the Reno River,[Italy] once thought to be a difficult river to take." Photograph on the 24th of April, 1945.

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