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Cairncross Twins

Twin Brothers who Died at Anzio Remembered 70 Years On

20 January 2014

Twin brothers who died on the same day 70 years ago are being remembered thanks to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (CWGC) use of mobile phone technology.

John and Thomas Cairncross, from Newburgh in Fife, joined the London Scottish Regiment on their 19th birthday.  The twins were among 100,000 Allied troops who landed at Anzio in January 1944 in an effort to outflank German defensive positions which stretched east to west across Italy.

On 4 February, the London Scottish Regiment found itself under heavy fire during a German counterattack. Both twins were killed and are buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Anzio War Cemetery.

The CWGC has installed Visitor Information Panels (VIPs) at Anzio and Beach Head War Cemeteries ahead of 70th anniversary events to commemorate the Allied landings at Anzio in Italy. The panels, which will be unveiled by CWGC Commissioner Robert Fox MBE on 22 January, use the latest smartphone technology to describe the fierce fighting that took place at Anzio and reveal the personal stories of some of those who are buried in the CWGC's two cemeteries there.

Click here to read the personal stories on the Anzio War Cemetery micro-site.

CWGC Commissioner Robert Fox said: "The cemeteries and memorials created and maintained by the CWGC are of huge historical significance, but they are also deeply moving on a personal level."

"The CWGC's innovative use of technology - and our interactive Visitor Information Panel programme in particular -  help to tell the extraordinary story of the sacrifices made by Commonwealth servicemen and women in the Italian campaign."

The panels at Anzio are among 500 to be installed at CWGC locations worldwide and are some of the first to be placed at Second World War cemeteries. Each of the panels features information about the site of the cemetery and a QR (Quick Response) code. When scanned with a smartphone, the QR Code provides access to further information, including the personal stories of some of the casualties buried or commemorated at that location.   

Click here to read the full Media Release.