Heroes Return Blog – Stories from Second World War veterans’ trips


WW2 Veteran Returns to Monte Cassino by The National Lottery Community Fund
August 31, 2010, 9:37 am
Filed under: Army, Italy | Tags: , ,

Fred Burton returns to Monte Cassino with his family, read the article in Wales Online to find out more.



Memories of Adrano by The National Lottery Community Fund
December 9, 2009, 11:43 am
Filed under: Italy | Tags: , , , , , , ,


One of the towns we passed through was called Adrano and the impression it made on me was sufficient to inspire the only poem I have ever written or am likely to write. Apart from a slight alteration to the last few lines it remains as I wrote it some sixty years ago and I print it here without comment.”

Darkness was falling as we entered the town, but t’was light enough still to see
The shattered ruins of what had been, a town, in Sicily.
It wasn’t much to call a town, compared with those of greater size.
It wasn’t built for modern war and now a stinking heap it lies,
Rotting beneath the azure skies, of Sicily.

It seemed as if an angry God had run amok with gory hands,
Then dropped a veil, a canopy, of dirty, blinding, choking sands
And as to wreak his vengeance more
Had propped a body in each door

We drove on by with sober thought,
Of those poor b******s who’d been caught,
We grimaced at the sick, sweet, smell, of this small piece of man made hell
This could be you, the bodies said, this could be you, soon gone, soon dead
We hurried by, enough to be, alive that day, in Sicily”



Ron Goldstein Returns to Sicily by The National Lottery Community Fund
December 9, 2009, 11:08 am
Filed under: Army, Italy | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

In 1942 he was called up and by April 1943 found himself in North Africa as a Wireless Operator reinforcement to the 1st Army. Ron’s unit, the 49th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. was involved in the whole of the Sicilian campaign before moving on to the Italian mainland. His Regiment was disbanded in late 1944 and he was retrained as a Wireless op in tanks.

Ron’s unit, the 49th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, R.A. was involved in the whole of the Sicilian campaign before moving on to Italy where he remained until early 1947.

In September 1943, Ron crossed the Messina straits in a Tank Landing Craft. It was this memory that stayed with Ron and despite visiting Italy many times after the war, he had never returned to Sicily. Ron felt that to make this journey once again would lay matters to rest.

Thanks to the Heroes Return scheme, Ron was able to travel to Sicily and make that same trip across the straits, this time accompanied by his wife, Nita. (picture here)

“As the sharp breeze hit my face I confess to feeling a distinct feeling of pride that I had made my original trip almost exactly sixty-six years before and that I had lived to return to the very same spot with my partner of sixty odd years.”