|Sangro River War Cemetery|
Pictures courtesy of Brian Budge
|The Sangro River War Cemetery lies in
the Contrada Sentinelle in the Commune of Torino di Sangro, Province of
Chieti. Take the autostrada A14 (the road that runs from Taranto in the
south to Ancona in the north) and exit at Val di Sangro. After approximately
2.5 kilometres from the exit turn right onto the SS16, Pescara to Vasto
road, for nearly 2 kilometres. There is then a sharp right turn up to
cemetery. If you come from the station, take a taxi from Torino di Sangro
station, otherwise follow the road signs to SS16 (see direction), turn right
at the crossroad and continue following the signs. The station is about 7
kilometres from the cemetery. Cemetery address: Contrada Sentinelle s.n. -
66020 Torino di Sangro (CH) Abruzzo. GPS Co-ordinates: Latitude: 42.218406,
On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Allied objectives were to draw German troops from the Russian front and more particularly from France, where an offensive was planned for the following year. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. By 4 November, the Allied force that had fought its way up the Adriatic coast was preparing to attack the Sangro river positions. A bridgehead had been established by the 24th and by nightfall on the 30th, the whole ridge overlooking the river was in Allied hands. The site of this cemetery was selected by the 5th Corps and into it were brought the graves of men who had died in the fierce fighting on the Adriatic sector of the front in November-December 1943, and during the static period that followed. In addition, the cemetery contains the graves of a number of escaped prisoners of war who died while trying to reach the Allied lines. SANGRO RIVER WAR CEMETERY contains 2,617 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. Within the cemetery will be found the SANGRO RIVER CREMATION MEMORIAL, one of three memorials erected in Italy to officers and men of the Indian forces whose remains were cremated in accordance with their faith - the other two cremation memorials are in Forli Indian Army War Cemetery and Rimini Gurkha War Cemetery. The memorial at Sangro River commemorates more than 500 servicemen.
JOHN THOMSON McKELLAR ANDERSON
Rank: Major, Service No: 126502, Date of Death: 05/10/1943, Age: 25, Regiment/Service: Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders 8th Bn. , Awards: V C, D S O, Grave Reference VIII. A. 44., Son of John and Mary Anne McNicol McKellar Anderson; husband of Moira Anderson, of Chessington, Surrey. B.A. Hons. (Cantab.).
Citation: The citation in the London Gazette of 29th June, 1943, gives the following details : During the attack on Longstop Hill, Tunisia, on 23rd April, 1943, Major Anderson, as leading Company Commander, led the assault on the battalion's first objective. Very heavy casualties were incurred, including the Commanding Officer killed and all other Company Commanders killed or wounded. Major Anderson re-organised the battalion, led the assault on the second objective, and, despite a leg wound, captured Longstop Hill with a total force of only four officers and less than forty other ranks. He personally led attacks on at least three enemy machine-gun positions and in every case was the first man in the enemy gun-pits. It is largely due to this officer's bravery and daring that Longstop Hill was captured, and it was the inspiration of his example that encouraged leaderless men to continue the advance.
No. of Identified Casualties: 2544
Sangro River Cremation Memorial
Grave of David Sinclair ^
50th Royal Tank Regiment,
R. A. C.
21/12/1943, aged 25.
Son of David and Isabella J. Sinclair of St. Margaret's Hope, Orkney.
Plot XIV. B. 23.
David Sinclair was born in Heads, South Ronaldsay on 20th January 1918. David trained as a draper in Kirkwall and Shetland, was manager of a draper shop in the RN base at Lyness when war broke out. David joined the Royal Tank Regiment in March 1942, served in its 50th Battalion in Tunisia during the close of the North Africa campaign. 50th RTR changed its Valentine tanks for Shermans before took part in the invasion of Sicily in July 1943. That was followed by landings on mainland Italy and advance up the Adriatic coast. 50th RTR lost 15 tanks (9 from mines) crossing the River Sangro in November. David's tank became bogged down as they advanced beyond on 21st December and its crew left it to try and reach wounded Indian soldiers. David Sinclair and another trooper were killed when one of them stepped on a mine, their tank commander was also wounded.
Words and image courtesy of George Esson
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