Exactly 70 years ago, in March 1944, British photographer George Rodger captured the last great eruption of Italy’s legendary volcano.
We commit ourselves to work in penitence and faith for reconciliation between the nations, that all people may, together, live in freedom, justice and peace.
We pray for all who in bereavement, disability and pain continue to suffer the consequences of fighting and terror.
We remember with thanksgiving and sorrow those whose lives,
in world wars and conflicts past and present, have been given and taken away.
‘A miniature Verdun’. ‘The site of the bloodiest battle of WW2 for the Western Allies’. Compared by the German side to their ordeals at Stalingrad.
The Battle of Monte Cassino was an appalling, four-month long bloodbath fought over intractable terrain and in terrible weather in the first few months of 1944 some fifty miles north of Napes. Poor preparations, inadequate Allied generalship, a lack of cover, fierce, well prepared and brave German resistance and the tactical challenge of the pummelled Benedictine monastery, a natural fortress on top of a steep mountain, combined into a grim, attritional slog which claimed the lives of 75,000 and wounded perhaps another 200,000 on both sides. This part of Italy was no ‘soft underbelly’ of Europe in Churchill’s ill chosen words.