Bodies of World War Two Soldiers Are Still being Discovered in Italy

British soldiers in Italy during WWII
British soldiers in Italy during WWII

Experts are being summoned to assist in determining the remains of a Second World War British soldier believed to have been blown up by a German mortar.

His remains were found by a metal detector enthusiast on a secluded Italian hillside close to where two other sets of remains – identified as British servicemen – were discovered last year. The serviceman is identified as British, due to the proximity of British Army .303 bullets used in Lee Enfield rifles.

Assumedly, the remains of all the soldiers were the result of a German artillery attack on the hillside over 70 years ago in 1943, during the Allied wartime invasion of Italy, dubbed Operation Avalanche.

Pasquale Cappozzolo discovered the skeleton on a hillside at Pellazzano, above the town of Amalfi, a coastal town favored by British holiday makers and the scene of bloodiest fighting. After his metal detector ‘pinged’ he dug down about half a meter.

The body hadn’t been buried from the way the bones were scattered. It appeared as if he had exploded. There was German shrapnel around, so it appears like he was hit by a shell, Mail Online reported.

From studying maps of the German and Allied positions at the time, we know there was a German position approximately 30 meters along the hill. It appears as if the soldiers were killed in their attempt to attack it.

The purpose of trying to identify the remains of all the soldiers is so that the families can have peace of mind that they have been identified and can be given a proper burial.

Former soldier Harry Shindler, who operates the Italy Star Association, which attempts to identify missing servicemen, said there was heavy fighting in the battle. Some were never identified but in cases like this, we try very hard to identify them.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE