Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Prince Harry marks sacrifice of Allies at the bloody battle of Monte Cassino

By Tony Jones

Prince Harry stood shoulder to shoulder with Polish veterans as he commemorated their bravery and sacrifice capturing Monte Cassino in one of the Second World War's bloodiest and most important battles.

Harry reacted with amazement at the damage wreaked on an historic monastery as he marked the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino. He visited the site of the Italian conflict and joined Poles, Britons and New Zealanders in honouring their war dead.

The battle was a crucial campaign that saw Allied forces launch four onslaughts in 1944 to destroy Nazi forces holding a strategically important rocky outcrop, home to the 1,400 year-old Benedictine monastery of Monte Cassino.

The conflict claimed many lives, becoming the bloodiest battle in the western theatre with an estimated 250,000 men killed or wounded.

Controversially the monastery was heavily bombed and destroyed in a bid to make a breakthrough, but the move failed and the holy site was later rebuilt.

Harry visited the famous Monte Cassino and was given a guided tour.

Later Harry attended a service in Cassino to commemorate the New Zealand troops who died.

Harry, who attended the ceremony as a member of the New Zealand royal family, performed his first hongi when he met the country's Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Both took off their military hats to press their noses and foreheads together and then repeated the greeting inside the cemetery after the Prince had signed a book of remembrance.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph