Italy

Gravestones and Flowers

In Italy between 1943 and 1945, three out of the six Commonwealth divisions were Indian. They lead the assault on the German defensive Bernhardt Line, taking part in the Battle for Monte Cassino and the pursuit of German forces northwards.

More than 5,500 Indians died in Italy.

Here are some places of special significance for them.

Sangro River War Cemetery

Sangro River War Cemetery

See more here about the Sangro River War Cemetery.

Once the Allies had invaded the Italian mainland in September 1943, they advanced northwards towards Rome, reaching the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line by the end of October. The Sangro River was at the eastern end. Throughout November the Allies fought in this sector. By the 30th it was in Allied hands.

The cemetery contains 2,617 Commonwealth burials. In addition, the Sangro River Cremation Memorial commemorates more than 500 Indian servicemen whose remains were cremated according to their faith.

Sangro River Cremetation Memorial

See more here about the Sangro River Cremation Memorial.

Forli Indian Army War Cemetery

Forli Indian Army War Cemetery

See more here about the Forli Indian Army War Cemetery.

Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. The last of these, the Gothic Line, was in the northern Appenine mountains.

The 10th Indian Division played an important part in the heavy fighting, in appalling weather, suffering considerable casualties. It had been preceded on the Eighth Army front by the 4th Indian Division which had left to go to Greece, and during the fighting in the spring of 1945, the 8th Indian Division also fought here.

The cemetery contains 496 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. Within the cemetery, the Forli Cremation Memorial commemorates nearly 800 Hindu and Sikhs whose remains were cremated according to their faith.

Forli Cremetation Memorial

See more here about the Forli Cremation Memorial.

On Saturday 13th August 2011, thousands of Sikhs from all over the world gathered at Forli Indian Army War Cemetery to unveil their own monument to Sikh warriors who died in the two world wars - during which 83,005 Sikh soldiers were killed and 109,045 were wounded, "enduring shellfire with no other protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith."

Forli Sikh Memorial

Rimini Gurkha War Cemetery

Rimini Gurkha War Cemetery Rimini Cremation Memorial

See more here about the Rimini Gurkha War Cemetery.

Again, during the German retreat northwards after the fall of Rome in June 1944, there was heavy fighting near Rimini in the latter part of the year in which the 4th and 10th Indian Divisions had an important share.

It contains 618 Second World War burials, all from Indian forces.

Within the cemetery stands the Rimini Cremation Memorial, which bears 172 names.

See more about the Rimini Cremation Memorial.

Back to top ^