Gary Lineker films a documentary to discover why his grandfather and thousands of other heroic WW2 troops who fought in the battle of Monte Cassino were nicknamed & # 39; D-Day Dodgers & # 39; got
- Lineker's grandfather Stanley Abbs served in the Royal Army Medical Corps
- The bloody campaign in Italy lasted five months and ended just before D-Day
- The victory paved the way for the Allies to march to Rome and free the capital
Gary Lineker wants to discover why troops in the Battle of Monte Cassino – including his grandfather – were mistakenly treated as & # 39; second-rate veterans & # 39;
They were cruelly marked as the & # 39; D-Day Dodgers & # 39; – mocked because they fought in Italy and thus prevented the landing in Normandy.
Now Gary Lineker will try to discover why his grandfather and thousands of other soldiers were treated unfairly as & # 39; second-rate veterans & # 39 ;.
The Match of the Day presenter, 58, will prepare a new documentary that explores the heroic efforts of troops in the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.
The bloody campaign lasted five months and ended in mid-May 1944 – weeks before the Normandy landing in June, which helped end the war.
The victory paved the way for the Allies to march to Rome and free the capital.
Linekers & # 39; grandfather Stanley Abbs served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Italy. Monte Cassino saw four brutal attacks by the Allies – including famous actions by the New Zealanders and the Poles – against the winter line of the Nazis.
It is estimated that they have suffered 55,000 casualties while the Germans killed or injured 20,000 soldiers.
Lineker said: & # 39; My grandfather never spoke to me about the war, but I have since discovered a bit about what happened to him and his colleague & # 39; s.
& # 39; This made me curious to discover more. Seventy-five years later, it is important that we remember the lessons and horrors of war. & # 39;
The Allies suffered an estimated 55,000 casualties at Monte Cassino
While the soldiers who fought in Normandy returned home as heroes, those who went to battle at Monte Cassino were ridiculed by a comment generally attributed to Tory MP Nancy Astor.
The American-born former socialist and first female member of parliament who would take her seat in parliament would use the term & # 39; D-Day Dodgers & # 39; have used, but there is no public data about her that she does this.
In the BBC1 documentary, Lineker will ask why & # 39; the veterans of the D-Day landings in Normandy went down in history as heroes … but men like my grandfather were treated by some as second-rate veterans and told that they easily. & # 39;
The presenter said he had the & # 39; heroic, deeply personal and moving stories & # 39; of all men who fought would reveal.
Two years on Monte Cassino to win the battle for Italy
The Allies were imprisoned for almost two years in a gigantic battle in Italy.
Winston Churchill had designated the country as & # 39; the soft underbelly of Europe & # 39; but it contained some of the most difficult battles of the war. The campaign began on July 10, 1943, when nearly 2,600 ships landed 180,000 troops in Sicily.
The Allies pushed through Salerno, and later Anzio, to the mainland. But the German opposition remained fierce and the Nazis destroyed bridges, railways and roads as they retreated north. Their defensive position in the winter stretched from coast to coast.
With hidden machine gun nests amidst the mountains, the Nazis could dominate the valleys below. Monte Cassino was a cornerstone of these defensive positions.
Finally, in May 1944, an Allied offensive saw the abbey conquered on the hilltop and Rome followed shortly thereafter.
Charlotte Moore of the BBC said: & # 39; This is a fascinating opportunity to explore the war through the unique experiences of his grandfather. This documentary will show how the lives of individuals can be changed forever by global conflicts and yet when they return home, their sacrifice is too easily forgotten. & # 39;
Commissioning editor Abigail Priddle said: “So many of us have that sense of curiosity about what our grandparents did during the war.
& # 39; Following his grandfather's footsteps, Gary will learn more about how his family contributed to the success of the Allies in World War II and enable us all to gain a better understanding of how this conflict has shaped a generation & # 39;
Troops who had fought at Monte Cassino strongly disliked the insult of the D-Day Dodgers.
A ballad attributed to an officer in Italy in 1944 included the verse:
& # 39; If you look through the mountains, in the wind and rain,
& # 39; You will find the scattered crosses, some of which have no name.
& # 39; Heartache and toil and suffering disappeared,
& # 39; The boys below them are slumbering.
& # 39; Because we are the D-Day dodgers here in Italy. & # 39;
While the soldiers who fought in Normandy returned home as heroes, those who cleared the field at Monte Cassino (above) were ridiculed
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