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Old 05-17-2009, 06:09 AM
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Default D Day dodgers' prepare for attention

British veterans of the "forgotten" Italian Campaign during the Second World War are to take their rightful place among the heroes of the liberation of Europe with a series of events to mark the 65th anniversary of the campaign.
For decades, they have been dismissed as the "D-Day dodgers", their exploits overshadowed by the Normandy Landings.
But Allied casualties in Italy were more than 312,000 considerably higher than those in Normandy.
British casualties are thought to have been more than 90,000, during a gruelling advance northwards through what Winston Churchill called the "underbelly of Europe".
The campaign started in July 1943, when the troops invading Italian territory became the first to liberate Nazi Europe, and did not end until 1945.
However, much of the most critical fighting took place in May and June 1944, leading up to the liberation of Rome, on 5 June 1944 the day before the Normandy Landings.
Now, to mark the anniversary of the fighting, a number of special "battlefield tours" have been organised, many to be attended by veterans from the conflict.
On May 22, there will also be a service held at Monte Cassino a historic abbey scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the entire war organised by the Royal British Legion. Up to 500 people are expected to attend.
And next month, a delegation from the Italy Star Association will visit, for the first time, a new memorial on Piazza Venezia, in Rome, which its members have been involved in setting up.
Representatives from the organisation are also to hand over a cheque for more than 1,000 to victims of the Italian earthquakes last month which claimed almost 300 lives.
Roy Quinton, the group's national secretary, said: "The money was so easy to raise. All of us have such loving memories of Italy and Italians. When we got to Italy. We didn't find an enemy anymore. They treated us very well and many risked their lives to help us."
The Italian campaign has generally received less attention than the veterans who fought in Normandy, which also marks its 65 anniversary this year.
The Ministry of Defence has announced that public money will be used to help veterans attend commemorations in northern France this summer, but none are available for those travelling to Italy.
Piers Storie-Pugh, from Poppy Travel which is part of the Royal British Legion who has organised the Monte Cassino remembrance service, said: "There are no ministers or Royal Family members coming that we are aware of and no money being invested. There is plenty of money going to Normandy but none to Italy.
"Rather like during the war, it seems to be seen as a bit of a sideshow. However, the Italy veterans feel no begrudgement of the Normandy veterans. Good luck to them."
The term D-Day dodger is thought to have first been coined by Lady Nancy Astor, the MP, during the war.
In riposte, soldiers in Italy sang: "Dear Lady Astor, you think you know a lot / Standing on a platform and talking tommyrot / You're England's sweetheart and their pride / We think your mouth's too bloody wide / That's from your D-Day dodgers in sunny Italy."
Mr Quinton, 85, who served as a gunner in the Royal Artillery, said veterans from the Italian campaign were well used to second billing to those from the Normandy landings.
"We were top of the page until the 6th June 1944, when the Normandy Landings took place. After that we got relegated. We proudly call ourselves the D-Day Dodgers.
"Our campaign was a holding campaign. We were diverting a lot of troops that would have been on the Western Front."
He added: "This will be the last major anniversary that many of us will see. Those years that were taken away from us were the most traumatic of our lives.
"They are so imprinted on me that I can remember almost every minute of them the dangers, the good times, the humour. You never forget."
Over the last year, the association has been conducting a recruitment drive, with 360 new members, taking overall membership to more than 1,500.
Meanwhile, an organisation of historians and enthusiasts called the D-Day Dodgers has been established and is campaigning to collect aural and written memoirs from as many veterans as possible, in order to publish them on the internet.
Mike Ingram, chairman of the group, said: "The veterans groups tend to be a bit more introspective. We want to educate people and to publicise what has become the forgotten campaign. It has been totally overshadowed by the Normandy invasion."
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:26 AM
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Good stuff Tex, its important that we recognise all elements of the war, and their courage was no less tangible then the D Day troops... Way overdue IMO!!....
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:59 PM
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I was wondering when my grand father would get a mention. He fought the British at Cassino and was captured just north of there....We too need to comemorate our dead and living soldiers. why were not invited?
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:41 PM
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I've never seen a video that made more sense than that one. I totally agree with him.
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Old 05-19-2009, 04:24 AM
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Thats combat operations for you...all aspects are intertwinded and all have their place withn the bigger picture...One thing has an affect on the other..left hand and right hand.

The two fronts had massive ramifications on each other...one made the other one easier then it would have been.

Credit to both I say...and anyone with half a brain would understand how much the two fronts compliment each other
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heinrich View Post
I was wondering when my grand father would get a mention. He fought the British at Cassino and was captured just north of there....We too need to comemorate our dead and living soldiers. why were not invited?
You really are a Troll, arnt you!!...
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo1 View Post
You really are a Troll, arnt you!!...
Yes he is!....Not a bad one or a nasty one ....hes a little like that inner voice thingy
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas View Post
Yes he is!....Not a bad one or a nasty one ....hes a little like that inner voice thingy
Indeed, he is a "Troll With Inner Thoughts".... or to use the acroynm "T.W.I.T"...
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