Remains of British World War Two soldiers found in Italy

The remains of three British World War Two soldiers have been discovered on an Italian hillside. It is thought the soldiers were blown up by a German mortar bomb more than 70 years ago.

The remains have been discovered by an Italian metal detector enthusiast and historians believe they are British since British Army bullets were also found near to the bodies.

Officials are now trying to identify the remains so that they can be repatriated or given a formal military ceremony.

The site where the bodies were found was on a remote hillside near Pellezzano, Amalfi, in undergrowth and three sets of remains have been located.

It is thought that the soldiers were killed during a battle on the hillside in 1943 when the Allies invaded Italy in Operation Avalanche.

The Allies suffered fierce fighting from the Nazi and Italian troops and heavy casualties with over 5000 Allied troops thought to have been killed or went missing in action.

The area is now a tourist destination and is a popular holiday resort for British travellers.

Pasquale Capozzolo found the remains and dug around the area to discover the bones and all the British issued bullets. The bones were buried about 50cms under the surface of the hillside.

Pasquale says that the bones had definitely not been properly buried and were scattered as if they had been hit by an explosion. There was also shrapnel lying all around the skeleton, the Mail Online reports.

He says that he has studied maps of the Allied and German positions during the war in the area, and that there was a German regiment based about 30 metres from where the remains have been found. He believes that the British must have tried to attack the German position.

No other items of identification such as dog tags have been found. Pasquale hopes that the remains can be identified so that their families can be informed and they will finally have the knowledge of what happened to the soldiers.

The area has now been sealed off by local police since there was also unexploded ammunition found at the site. The bones have been removed to a mortuary where further tests and investigations will take place.

The British Embassy in Rome and the Italy Star Association, which helps in identifying missing soldiers, are working together to help with the identification process.

Ian Harvey

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