MELFA RIVER PROJECT
Data: 15-11-2003Autore: ROBERTO MOLLECategorie: CronacheTag: #today, canada, monumenti

MELFA RIVER PROJECT

E' un progetto ambizioso ed importante quello portato avanti dalla Royal Westminster Association: realizzare un monumento in ricordo della battaglia del fiume Melfa in occasione del sessantesimo anniversario.
Come saprete il 23 e 24 maggio 1944 alcune unità della prima divisione canadese, dopo lo sfondamento della Linea Senger, si trovarono davanti alla linea difensiva predisposta dalle truppe teedesche lungo il percorso che il fiume Melfa segue attraversando il territorio del comune di Roccasecca. Il maggiore Mahony del Westminster Regiment e il tenente Perkins degli Strathcona Horse guadarono il fiume e si attestarono in difesa della testa di ponte; dopo due giorni di duri combattimenti anche il grosso delle truppe potè attraversare il fiume e proseguire l'avanzata verso Roma.
Il 12 ottobre 2003 abbiamo accolto a Roccasecca la delegazione della Royal Westminster Association: prima presso la sede del Comune di Roccasecca con l'Assessore alla cultura Riccardo Riccardi; poi sul luogo dei combattimenti alla presenza di alcuni testimoni oculari; infine un piccolo rinfresco prima della partenza, per confermare una amicizia che anche se in poco tempo, si è subito realizzata.
Tra gli altri erano presenti due reduci dei combattimenti del Melfa e anche Ken Macleod, storico canadese, che ci ha inviato la e-mail che riportiamo integralmente con alcune foto.
Siamo certi che a Maggio realizzeremo insieme questo progetto.

Roberto Molle

segue il testo della e-mail:

Greetings to friends and committee members of the Melfa River Project:

First of all, I would like to, on behalf of our Italy Veterans' Tour 2003 group who were hosted by Frederico Lamberti, Robert Molle, Alessandro Campagna, and the Mayor of Rocasecca, thank you for a wonderful day and tour of the Cassino/ Melfa River Crossing area on October 12, 2003.
Your kindness and hospitality were most touching and well-received by our tour group from Canada. Please convey to Frederico Lamberti our sincere thanks for his hospitality and for the contacts that he made in Rocasecca. Please also express our gratitude to Ricci Carlo for his hospitality on the farm where the Lord Strathcona Horse and Westminster Regiment passed through during the crossing of May 24, 1944.

We very much appreciate your kindness and hospitality. We also appreciate your interest in the Melfa River Commemoration Project which is tentatively scheduled for and planned to coincide with Veterans Affairs Canada 60th Anniversary Pilgrimage to Italy in October, 2004. We also thank you for your offer to find a suitable site to place a commemorative plaque in the area of the Melfa River Crossing. Thanks very much also to Signore Molle for the wonderful reception at his villa.

On behalf of our tour group and with sincere gratitude,

Ken MacLeod
Historian
Special Travel International 2003 Italy Veterans' Tour

A summary of the day is as follows: We met Frederico Lamberti about 9:30 am on October 12 and proceeded to the abbey at Monte Cassino where we received a tour of the abbey from Frederico and one of the abbey guides. We then had lunch in Cassino before heading to Rocasecca where a reception was arranged by Signore Lamberti with the Mayor of Rocasecca in the Council Chambers.

We were also informed at this reception that the 60th Anniversary of the Melfa River Crossing will be celebrated by the people of Rocasecca on May 24, 2004.

Following the reception with the mayor, Robert Molle and Alessandro Campagna, two representatives of the local historical association, Battaglia Di Cassino Centro Studi e Ricerche, took us to the farm of Ricci Carlo at the site of the Melfa River where units of the Lord Strathcona Horse and the Royal Westminster Regiment established an important bridgehead on May 24, 1944. Lt David Perkins of the Lord Strathcona Horse was awarded a Distinguished Service order for his reconnaissance work at the Melfa River Crossing. Major Jack Mahony of the Westminster Regiment was awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in consolidating and holding the bridgehead. Ricci Carlo was a boy of thirteen at the time of the battle and was able to relate in Italian some of his memories.

Following a tour of the Melfa River Crossing site, the tour group was invited to Robert Molle's house where some very delicious refreshments were served. Signore Molle also invited our group to view his fairly extensive collection of artifacts collected from the battlefield. There was also a display of photographs from the action at the Melfa River.

Attached to this e-mail are some of the photographs taken of the above-described events.

Ken

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