Letter: Suffering together, marching together

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The Independent Online
Sir: I have only recently had sight of your Diary of 17 December and must disagree with the general views expressed in the entry 'We will remember them, on our own'. Fighting soldiers have little difficulty in reconciling with former enemies, especially after a period of 50 years. They remember their erstwhile opponents as suffering the same appalling conditions as themselves. In so far as the customs of war were observed, our enemy in Italy generally behaved honourably.

Your Diary refers to British veterans with a very broad brush. In fact, it was clearly written specifically from the point of view of one organisation alone. The writer does not inform readers that the main grouping of British veterans visiting Italy in May of this year comprises former members of some of the most distinguished British and Commonwealth divisions that fought in Italy; for example, the 78th Division, with its Irish Brigade; the 4th Indian Division, the 8th Indian Division and the New Zealanders; also a strong contingent of the Royal Fusiliers.

These men understand that they will be marching in the same parade as the German contingent. They will all come together in an ambience of reconciliation, as requested by the Mayor of Cassino and the Abbot of Monte Cassino.

Yours sincerely,

BRIAN CLARK

The Monte Cassino

World Veterans' Union

Bray, Co Wicklow

10 January

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