Sicily, 1943 remembered.

Discussion in 'Italy' started by bexley84, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    I had the privilege of visiting Sicily last week with the London Irish Rifles Regimental Association (LIRAssn) to remember the time that my father and his comrades spent there in July to September 1943. A few photos here therein and below.

    Before the main group came, Marco (sicily43) gave me a potted tour of Bottaceto/Primosole/Malati areas as well as making a visit to Syracuse CWGC cemetery.
     

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  2. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    A visit to Catania CWGC cemetery with the main group. More than two thousand burials, including 84 London Irishmen, a poppy cross planted at each spot. Five more LIR men from the campaign are commemorated/buried at Cassino,Syracuse and Tripoli. Pipe Major Rob Williams did the honours with great aplomb. We found an Inniskilling who came from Garryowen in Limerick city..not only Custer's favourite tune, it is the Regimental March of the LIR. "Let Bacchus' sons be not dismayed..."
     

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  3. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    A visit to Piedimonte Etneo to witness the unveiling of a remarkable Memorial to the London Irish Rifles. The 1st Battalion (1 LIR) stayed there from 8th September to 11th October 1943 before heading off to Camino, Garigliano, Anzio et al.
     

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  4. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Up early the next morning for the Town Council and a laying of a wreath at the town's War Memorial. The young chap played an excellent Last Post.
     

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  5. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Then to the cooling waters of the Fiumefreddo where 1 LIR rested from 16th August 1943 onwards before malaria drove them up the slopes of Etna and then a visit to the Bttn HQ for 1 LIR during September 1943 at Piedimonte Etneo.
     

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  6. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Thence to Centuripe and a viewing/walking of the Salso/Simeto battlefields.. it must have been a walk in the park for Major Hobo Crocker MC and the Skins on 2nd/3rd August 1943 (which was followed up over the next few days by the Faughs and the Irish Rifles).. albeit, the Skins had to climb up a 100 foot cliff in 100F temperatures to fight a battle.....the Irish bar in Centuripe hadn't opened yet when we arrived in town although we were invited onto its roof for a viewing (sadly declined).
     

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  7. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    The Regimental Dinner with esteemed guests and a nip of alcohol...the traditional combination of "The Sash" and "The Wearing of the Green" as also played to Pope Pius at the Vatican in June and July 1944.
     

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  8. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Signora Etna on best behaviour..not so much the weather. Mules were my Dad's best friends in Sicily, 73 year ago.
     

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  9. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Angela (Dr Vitale's mother), then a 19 year old, remembered the time when she witnessed a bunch of "Scotsmen, wearing skirts and playing music" coming into Piedimonte Etneo in September 1943. Monty left less of an impression when he visited.
     

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  10. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Time enough for a final prayer at Catania CWGC cemetery...Quis Separabit, Faugh a Ballagh.
     

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  11. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce

    Looks like you had a good visit Richard. (I'm really jealous;))
    Really lovely pictures and thanks for taking the time to post them.

    Lesley
     
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  12. tron333

    tron333 Member

    I found this building behind where you were at fiumme freddo. It was shot up with some high caliber rounds. Did you go to castello San Marco ( just 500 yds from the river) ? It is a beautiful castle. IMG_0829_2.jpg
     
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  13. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Our visit to Fiumefreddo was short, damp and sweet...actually some of us had a swim. Next time..there's always a next time.
     
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Richard

    Well done & thanks for sharing.
    (and yes, I spotted my namesake)

    Lest we forget !

    Ron
    ex 78th Div.
     
  15. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Ron,

    Thanks for your thanks...yes, myself and Marco had a good walk round Syracuse CWGC Cemetery and spotted the final resting place for Fusilier Ismc (Isaac?) Louis Goldstein... according to the CWGC he was the son of Samuel and Jane Goldstein and husband of Felicia Goldstein, of Ilford, Essex.

    best wishes
     
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  16. tron333

    tron333 Member

    Marco is a major help while in Sicily. His passion for history is sadly not rewarded in Sicilian Culture, unless you have a phd from Milano. The weight of the meritocracy and bureaucracy is stifling. Our neighbor in Sicily has a son who graduated with honors and then had to go to tourist guide school which is beyond me. He has to be certified with bonafidies to make money doing this.
     
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  17. sicily43

    sicily43 Senior Member

    Richard and all you are welkom! thanks to you
    this are my pictures
     

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  18. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Marco,

    fantastico.

    best
     
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  19. tron333

    tron333 Member

    Auguri A TUTTI! Buon Capodanno ! E Felice Anno nuovo.
     
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  20. bexley84

    bexley84 Well-Known Member

    Mother nature bites back...good to see the Memorial to the London Irish Rifles in Piedimonte Etneo still in good shape..

    20170107_112526.jpg
     
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