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D-DAY AND WENDOVER LINKS

Wendover War Memorial

The Battle of Monte Cassino

Between January and May 1944 nearly a quarter of a million troops from six continents fought in four battles on and around Monte Cassino and the town of Cassino, Italy.

Monte Cassino was overshadowed by D-Day which happened just two days after the liberation of Rome.

The men and women serving in Italy were ridiculed as the “D-Day Dodgers”.

 

At the time there was a perception that the Allied armies in Italy were sunning themselves while other theatres were undertaking the `real` fighting of the war.

But if you were thinking they were dodging their service, think again. Instead, they were on campaign fighting in Italy, in some of the toughest battles of the European theatre of World War Two.

Wendover War Memorial

Wendover Village School

Lancelot T F Simmons

Private 14430925, 4th Bn., Lincolnshire Regiment. Born in Wendover and attended the Village school. Died on Sunday 8th October 1944. Age 19. Buried in OISTERWIJK (ST. PETER) ROMAN CATHOLIC

CHURCHYARD, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands.

Lancelot at the age of 19 took part in this battle. The forces at Cassino suffered heavy casualties despite their bravery and determination. By the time that Polish troops had captured the summit of Monte Cassino, Allied armies had suffered over 54,000 casualties.

D-Day

The statistics of D-Day, code named Operation Overlord, are staggering. The Allies used over 5,000 ships and landing craft to land more than 150,000 troops on five beaches in Normandy.

Wendover Village School

Edward Thomas Gurney

Sergeant 13077183, 237 Coy. Pioneer Corps. Born in Wendover and attended the Village School. Died on Monday 21st May 1945. Age 33. Buried in TILBURG (GILZERBAAN) GENERAL CEMETERY, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands.

The Pioneer Corps served with the 6th Beach Group assisting the units landing on Sword Beach on D Day, June 1944. The Pioneers who arrived with the assault troops landed 'wetshod', which often meant a long wade ashore in full equipment.

Royal Air Force

John Edward George Muschamp

Flying Officer 153175 (Pilot), 218 Sqdn., Royal Air Force. Died on Thursday 22nd February 1945. Age 21. Flying Avro Lancasters from Chedburgh joined from No 31 base Stradishall 15 February 1945. Buried in REICHSWALD FOREST WAR CEMETERY, Kleve, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany.

218 Squadron undertook diversionary bombing raids against Wehrmacht shore defenses near Pas de Calais. 218 squadron played a significant role in a diversion known as Operation Glimmer in which Window was dropped to simulate a naval fleet headed towards the French coast. The operation, which was intended to draw German forces away from the real landing sites over 100mi (160 km) to the south-west, was so important to Operation Overlord's success. It is to the credit of the pilots and navigators of 218 Squadron that the German shore batteries actually opened fire on the "ghost" fleet that they created.

 

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