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Commemorating the battles of Monte Cassino

Commemorating the battles of Monte Cassino

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman will join New Zealand veterans at the Cassino Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the battles of Monte Cassino.

“It is a privilege to be here at Cassino with the 38 New Zealand veterans of the Italian campaign at New Zealand’s national commemorative service to honour those who gave their lives whilst serving their country,” says Dr Coleman.

“It is important we remember our history, and the sacrifices made by the New Zealanders who fought in WWII for the peace and freedom we live in today.

“Today, we pay tribute to the brave and determination soldiers who served in Italy. New Zealanders as well as British, Indian, Polish, French, American and German troops fought in tough, unrelenting conditions.

“The 2nd New Zealand Division was extremely well regarded as a formidable fighting force, and played a key role in the defeat of German forces in Italy. Monte Cassino was one of the most significant battles New Zealand forces were involved in during the Italian campaign.

“The costs were high. The 2nd New Zealand Division suffered 1,600 casualties during the battles of Monte Cassino. A total of 2,176 New Zealanders were killed, and a further 6,700 were wounded during the Italian campaign.”

Dignitaries attending today’s service include, His Royal Highness, Prince Harry, and the Governor-General, Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae.

Ends

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