George Duncan’s lesser known facts of WWII




On February 15, 1944, US bombers dropped 427 tons of bombs on the mountain top monastery of Monte Cassino in Italy. The operation was planned by the US General Ira Eaker at the request of the Allied ground forces, believing the monastery to be a German stronghold. Very few enemy troops were there at the time but over 300 women and children from the town of Cassino, who had fled the fighting and taken refuge in the monastery, were killed. By the time that the Polish 12th Podolski Lancers, under General Anders, raised their regimental flag on the ruins of Monte Cassino at 9.30am their casualty rates were 3,779 killed or wounded. The flag was hastily sewn together from pieces of a Red Cross flag and soldiers’ handkerchiefs. The Monastery was rebuilt after the war and reconsecrated by Pope Paul VI in 1964. (General Wladyslaw Anders lies buried in the Polish Cemetery at Monte Cassino.)

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