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Prince Harry pays tribute to 'forgotten' WWII heroes

By Tony Jones

Prince Harry has paid a moving tribute to the veterans of the Second World War Battle of Monte Cassino, saying he was privileged to meet them.

Harry praised the courage of the men who stormed Nazi positions near Rome again and again across steep open ground in terrible weather conditions, knowing they or their friends would very likely be killed.

The prince said their efforts deserved every recognition despite the battle, which claimed the lives of more than 50,000 Allied soldiers before they captured the strategically important Monte Cassino hilltop, being known as the "forgotten campaign".

Harry made the comments at the site of the battle in the town of Cassino, attending commemoration events marking its 70th anniversary. He chatted to veterans at a reception following the open air service at a Cassino war cemetery where hundreds of servicemen were laid to rest.

"This has always been referred to as the forgotten campaign – to me it makes no sense at all. Those guys in there are as important as everybody else," he said. "Listening to some of the stories and banter amongst them, German soldiers and British veterans here together having a laugh, I think it's amazing."

The Battle of Monte Cassino was a key campaign that saw Allied forces from the UK and US fight alongside Indians, Poles, Canadians, French from North Africa, Indians, Gurkhas and New Zealanders. They launched four major attacks in 1944 to destroy Nazi forces holding a strategically important rocky outcrop, home to the 1,400 year-old Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino.

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