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Chris_Baker

British Forces in Italy

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kelvintruss

My Grandad was in 199 Company MGC in 41 Div in Italy but I don't have much more info than that on what they got up to. I'd be glad of any 41 Div history you have, or campaign maps, photos etc

I am researching the 123 Bde, part of 41 Div which was on the Montello between Nov 1917 and early March 1918. I have bits of information / reminiscence but I'd be interested in learning more.

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Heid the Ba

Having just discovered my maternal grandfather was with 70th Field Ambulance in Italy I'm in. I'm also pondering a recce of Asiago at Easter. Co-incidentally I spent New Year in the Dolomites (reading The White War) and was staggered by what went on there.

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JulianB

Kelt, My grandfather was in 123 MG Coy. I have quite a few letters but mostly from F&F, it is clear that many from Italy are lost and I only have about 3. One photograph of Citadella and some picture postcards, no maps - except a route map from Milan to the front.

But, I have looked up most of the relavant war diaries etc, including that of 199 as they often relieved each other etc. 199 joined 41 Div in Oct 1917 and became D Coy of 41 MGC Bn on 17th March 1918. CO in that period (and then 2i/c Bn afterwards) was Major H Smith (ex W Riding Regt, then MGC) - a difficult name to research but I'd like tro find out more about him.

J

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kelvintruss

Thanks Julian, I'll throw some effort at Maj Smith as well. I've got someone trawling the diaries so I'll ask him to keep an eye out for more info. I'd love a copy of the route map if poss?

Who were 123 Coy with in F&F?

kelvin

'JulianB' date='Jan 22 2009, 10:26 AM' post='1103098']

Kelt, My grandfather was in 123 MG Coy. I have quite a few letters but mostly from F&F, it is clear that many from Italy are lost and I only have about 3. One photograph of Citadella and some picture postcards, no maps - except a route map from Milan to the front.

But, I have looked up most of the relavant war diaries etc, including that of 199 as they often relieved each other etc. 199 joined 41 Div in Oct 1917 and became D Coy of 41 MGC Bn on 17th March 1918. CO in that period (and then 2i/c Bn afterwards) was Major H Smith (ex W Riding Regt, then MGC) - a difficult name to research but I'd like tro find out more about him.

J

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Dagwood
And count me in, too; a great idea!

The Italian Front/Campaign has something for everybody; fighting from sea-level in the marshes near Venice (heavy artillery on barges..) to skirmishes among high peaks in the Dolomites (and a medium artillery pieced hauled up to 12,000 ft or so, mainly by Russian PoWs). Railways; standard guage including a Hungarian-built armoured train used to raid Monfalcone station, Italian and French railway guns... narrow gauge, including rack-and-pinion on the ascent to the Asiago plateau, and a RE Railway Operating Company plus French-operated lines and numerous Italian street'road tramways. Air? RFC/RAF including Tony Benn's father helping parachute an Italian agent onto a mountain pasture; Italian flying bombs (including a biplane one...), and much, much more.

A fellow enthusiast (and an experienced italain battlefield guide), Dale Hjort, currently off-line, is also interested.

Francis Mackay

in cold and snowy Scotland

Francis - many thanks for the books and map, they helped me track down where my grandfather was taken prisoner.

regards

Stephen

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alex falbo

I think it would be interesting to draw comparisons to how the Great War both on the Italian and Western Fronts was fought in much the same way the Italian campaign was fought in WWII. I've closely studied the actions of the American 34th Division throughout its WWII treck up the boot. The campaigns we're conducted by small infantry actions and massive artillery bombardments. Poor weather conditions and endless mud harken to the conflict of twenty years previous.

Even the trenches at Anzio and other places gave flashbacks to the methods of the Western Front.

Also the sheer endurance required of both sides during WWI to fight in bitter cold altitudes and the like is vastly interesting. Italy in both wars is very neglected. Good to see something like this. I'd subscribe to a newsletter or magazine.

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Alan Tucker

New book....'Battles in the Alps.A History of the Italian Front of the First World War'. G Irving Root. Author lives in Texas

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alex falbo

Thanks Alan! Will be looking for this!!

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Jonathan Saunders

Chris - have you an update on your ideas for an Italian Front society? I note your intention to get to work soon on an online Great War magazine and obviously there is only so much time you have available.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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Chris_Baker

Yes - I have done precisely nothing about it. Still very interested in doing so, though. Want to help?

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Jonathan Saunders
Yes - I have done precisely nothing about it. Still very interested in doing so, though. Want to help?

Would love too but its a full time job compiling and transcribing records on the West Kents, as well as my fulltime, proper job.

But its a good idea and I am sure there are others with the time at hand to help and get some momentum going. Once you know the structure, if I can fit-in somewhere and help, I would be happy to do so.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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mwhittall

My Grandad, Frank Whittall, 9th Battalion (Pioneer) South Staffs fought in Italy, so yes please, I am definitely interested in anything to do with the Italian Front.

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Nayles

*raises hand*

I'd be quite inetersted in such an association.

Planning on visiting Italy in June. Visiting Asiago is the part I am most looking forward to - the reason being obvious if you click on my sig link. ;)

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razu

Hi

My great g great grandfather Barbu Balcescu,had a brother "Nicolae Balcescu" .He made the Wallachian Revolution of 1848.Anyway he died in exile in Palermo,being buried in the Cappuchin's Monastery.And in 1970 a delegation of Romanian "historians",went there to bring his earthly remains in Romania to ,obviously use them for communist propaganda.So these Cappuchins Monks told them that is a common grave ,that the relatives of his grave colleagues would not aprove to ....etc.So poor Nicolae escaped communism ,to this day 2009.And the Romanian Communist Delegation came home empty handed.Also being a great masonic figure of the time maybe the Masons protected the grave..So I guess in the end fortune favours the brave.Not to mention that all our family properties have been nationalized,including Nicolae's house which now is Nicolae Balcescu Museum/Vilcea.The masonic artefacts are now used by communist chieftains of Romania.As one museum clerk told me that many communists came there and filled their trunks with objects from the house.Also General Aristide(Aristhar) Razu ,father Dr Aristide Razu and my gggrandmother Clara Razu have been throwed out of their graves in Birsanesti /Bacau(by the very vengeful communist revolution in Romania after 1946.

Probably one day I will visit this Cappuchin Monastery.

Andrei

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Heid the Ba
*raises hand*

I'd be quite inetersted in such an association.

Planning on visiting Italy in June. Visiting Asiago is the part I am most looking forward to - the reason being obvious if you click on my sig link. ;)

Great site Nayles, my maternal grandfather was in one of the field ambulances the 23rd so I'll read every word tonight.

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hollyberry

I entered a query on 21 April 2009 in the soldiers section. I had not noticed your entry until now, being a beginner. i am interested to find out about the Italian campaign. I have a document awarding my grandad Gunner James Worsnip a medal in the Italian campaign. I transcribed this on the 21 April. I do not have time to do it again at the moment but will do so if necessay. Count me in.

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Heid the Ba
hollyberry, I posted a reply in your other thread.

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Nayles
Great site Nayles, my maternal grandfather was in one of the field ambulances the 23rd so I'll read every word tonight.

Make sure you check out the PDF's for download of the 23rd Div Christmas Annuals for 1917 and 1918 - probably the most fascinating aspect for anyone with an interest in or connection with the 23rd Division.

Considering the flimsy nature of these Annuals I'd be suprised if there are too many left lying around.

Thanks for the compliment on the site... I hope you enjoyed reading it.

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john-g

I would be interested in the idea. The RFC is my interest mainly 66 Squadron, please keep me informed.

John_g

www.66squadron.co.uk

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27thBN

Absolutely my favorite chap first on my signature fought in Italy and won an Italian decoration

MC

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anthony.eyre@letterpress.c

If the idea of an Italian Front Association is still going I would be very interested; I have only just joined these forums but have regularly visited the Valsugana, just north of Asiago, since the age of eight: now some 46 years ago!. Rambling on the high plateau battlefield of Ortigara is a striking experience, the rocky ground criss-crossed with trenches, and shrapnel/barbed wire still very much in evidence. I will post some photos when considered senior enough!

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mmckay395

I don't know if this idea is still active. However, I recently wrote my BA dissertation on the British Military Mission in Italy during the Battle of Caporetto and retreat to the Piave. Therefore I would be extremely interested if something like this was considered.

Mark

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tullybrone

Hi,

I’m new to the forum.

Is anyone aware of any Coldstream Guards formations serving in Italy 1917/1918?

My great uncle Pte 8301 (Gdsn 2646237) John Gilmour 1881/1954 served in the Coldstream Guards from 7th February 1909 until 31st January 1921. He spent most of his time in 3rd Battalion serving in Egypt 1909/1911, BEF Aug 1914/Oct 1915 and Aug 1916/May 1918. He was on the strength of the 5th (Reserve) Battalion October 1915/August 1916, including 30 days detention during January 1916 for AWOL over Christmas 1915!

He enlisted into the Irish Guards 1st February 1909 having served almost 6 months in the 3rd Special (Reserve) Battalion The border Regiment. I have copies of both sets of his papers from Coldstream Guards RHQ.

On enlistment into the Irish Guards he claimed a place of birth at Dundrum, County Down but on enlistment into the border Regiment 6 months earlier he correctly stated his place of birth was Workington, Cumberland. I think when both sets of papers arrived at Caterham the inconsistency was discovered and he was probably “invited” to transfer from the Irish Guards to the Coldstream!

John Gilmour’s record shows him being transferred from 3rd Coldstream Guards to the “Supplementary List” 30th May 1918 “Attached to GHQ Italian Expeditionary Force – Auth A/CR 35979/165 Bde”. Can anyone throw any light on this order? Is it traceable in any archive? He returned to 3rd C. G. 19th March 1919 when he was transferred to Section B Army Reserve.

I can only presume that my relative might have been an officer’s servant? Where there any Coldstream connections to 165 Brigade in Italy at this time?

I am aware from SDGW of a L/Cpl 14161 Alfred Perrin, Coldstream Guards who died in Italy 30th October 1918?

Any help greatly appreciated

Thanks.

Steve.

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Heid the Ba

I may be misunderstanding something here but was 165th Brigade not part of 55th (West Lancs) division on the Western Front in 1918? It didn't go to Italy and neither did any Coldstream battalion as far as I can see from a quick check.

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Chris_Baker

I am still mulling over how to develop an Italian interest group. I have made some contacts and should have news within a few days.

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