Return to Monte Cassino: The 2nd NZEF War Veterans Remember Italy
Maree Frewen-Wilks, with an introduction by Peter Arnett and an essay by Matthew Wright
This book was conceived and produced by a Southland photojournalist Maree Frewyn-Wilks when she accompanied the New Zealand veterans attending the official functions in Italy in 2004 during the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino. Her photographic essay features as a diary of the travel, visits to cemeteries, social and official events.
What makes this book a unique contribution to New Zealand war histories is the inclusion of veterans’ personal accounts, together with their thoughts and poems about Cassino and accompanied by portraits and profiles. These are complemented by previously unpublished photographs of Monte Cassino and surrounds, from their albums 1943–1945.
“These wonderful images depict the soldiers’ life with civilians, during battle and barren scenery spotlighting bomb craters, ammunition identifying tons of rubble. The images provide proof that life away from home was in fact – War.”
Weaved through the New Zealand veterans’ stories from 1944 and 2004 are:
Matthew Wright, one of New Zealand’s most published historians, has written a chapter on the battle of Monte Cassino, which provides a wider context of the New Zealand involvement, the battle and the bravery of all soldiers including the Germans and our own 28th Maori Battalion.
A German Paratrooper Bob Frettlohr has written his memories of the Battle of Monte Cassino and his thoughts about Cassino now. Hans Fredrick Meyer tells how the next generations see the Commemorations of the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino.
The New Zealand burials in Cassino Commonwealth Cemetery are documented, with the list of the Soldier’s rank, army number, family, age, date of death and from what town in New Zealand he came. The members of the Southland contingent found fellow Southland soldiers who became casualties during the Battle of Cassino. The ode was recited, a poppy was placed and a Spirit of Southland Flag was placed on the headstone. Some of the graves visited are at the rear of the book.
The photographs in this book were compiled as Monte Cassino Exhibition, and Maree was the guest artist for the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Monte Cassino in 2014. The exhibition was displayed at the Cassino Military Museum and was donated to the people of Cassino. Record of these events appears towards the rear of the book.
Hard-cover, section-sewn | 336 pages 300mm x 265mm landscape B&W reproduction
Self published: 2017
RRP $70 (NB. Over 2 kg and shipped from Invercargill)
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