THE ADVANCE TO AND BEYOND PERUGIA AND ASSISI 16 -26 JUNE 1944
6 British Armoured Division and 8 Indian Infantry Division advanced in parallel to the east of the River Tiber. 6 Lancers and 3/15 Punjabis (8 Indian Division) swept into Terni on 14 June whilst the next day 6 British Armoured Division crossed the Nera, a tributary of the Tiber, near Narni. 6 British Armoured Division pushed north through Amelia and by-passed Todi, thus rejoining the Tiber Valley which they had left a few days previously on the 16th. 8 Indian Infantry Division moved on from Terni to Spoleto, and progressed towards Foligno and Assisi on the same day.
MAP REFERENCES FOR BURIALS NARNI - ASSISI – PERUGIA
FROM NARNI TO TODI AND TERNI TO ASSISI There were few casualties in this period. Two men from 1 Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (8 Indian Division), almost certainly injured in the advance to Assisi and brought back to a Casualty Clearing Station, were buried in a military cemetery in Narni at 784365 before being transferred to another temporary cemetery at San Gemini (793362), as were Trooper Raymond Peter STRAYTON, 2 Lothian & Border Horse (6 British Armoured Division), Private George Henry MAYNARD, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, and Private Thomas DURKIN, Royal Army Service Corps. Oddly enough, Corporal Alfred Charles BAILLIE of 1 Derbyshire Yeomanry, 6 British Armoured Division's reconnaissance regiment, whose date of death is recorded on the concentration form as being 14 June when the Division was still south of Narni, between was buried at Colle di Sopra (775313) near Amelia. Frederick John Robert KNAPP, Royal Army Service Corps, who died on 22 June after the passage of the front, was buried at Massa Martana, 811545, in the hills to the north west of Spoleto.
THE TIBER VALLEY BETWEEN TODI AND PERUGIA 6 British Armoured Division met little opposition until the leading troops were past Todi, when one man from 1 Derbyshire Yeomanry and three from 12 Royal Horse Artillery were killed and buried to the south-west of Deruta at 686758. The division decided to launch the main line of advance along the West bank of the Tiber and it is here that several small temporary cemeteries were to be found. Near Pila (637856 ) four of the seven men from 17/21 Lancers who were killed on the 17tth were buried. (For the other three, killed at the same time - Lieutenant David Pearson NEWBURY, Corporal Gilbert Lionel CRIPPS and Trooper Denis Roland WYLDE - there is no concentration report form shown on the CWGC website). Trooper John Alfred YOUNG, 17/21 Lancers, who was also killed on that same date, was buried to the west of S. Martino in Colle at 655833. In the village of Pila itself (641863) lay Troopers Douglas MACKIE and William David FARQUHARSON 2 Lothian & Border Horse whilst at S. Martino in Colle (666838 and 665832), and S. Andrea delle Fratte (8653898) were to be found the penultimate resting places of infantry men from 2 Rifle Brigade (2), 10 Rifle Brigade (1), 3 Grenadier Guards (2) 2 Coldstream Guards (2) 16/5 Lancers (1) and 1 King's Dragoon Guards (2).
Seven men died in the medical facility at Pantalla (698662) between 19 -24 June. Amongst them was Major Richard Wethered MORLAND-HUGHES, 1/5 Royal Gurkha Rifles, who had been mortally injured the previous day in the attack launched by 8 Indian Division against the Ripa – Civitella ridge. (See page Upper tiber Valley.)Two men who died on 23 June after the front had passed, presumably in another field station, and were buried to the west of the Tiber near S. Andrea D' Agliano (678869), were Guardsmen John Morrison ALLAN and William McNINCH (2 Scots Guards attached to 3 Grenadier Guards).
PERUGIA AND BEYOND TOWARDS LAKE TRASIMENO The Military Cemetery set up by 6 Armoured Division at Perugia (695909) was in response to the number of casualties which were starting to come in. By the evening of 19 June the division had virtually surrounded the city, which was being evacuated by the occupying German troops belonging to 94 Infanterie-Division, allowing two of the three regiments of 1 Guards Brigade(3 Welsh Guards and 3 Grenadier Guards) to enter the city on the morning of the 20th. Three men belonging to 17/21 Lancers who had been killed on the 19th were the first to be buried in this cemetery, followed by three men who died on the 20th belonging to 2 Lothian & Border Horse. It is interesting to note that three Grenadier Guards killed on the 20th - Guardsmen Maurice George James BIRCH, William Alfred TAYLOR and Michael Dunn POWER, were buried not in the military cemetery set up by the division on the approach to the city's southern gateway, but in Perugia Civil Cemetery (708925), whilst the seven men from the Welsh Guards who fell on the 20th were buried in a temporary cemetery at Fontivegge (675919) near the station, from which direction they had made their entry into the city.
The following chart shows the breakdown of the burials in the temporary cemetery at 695909 between its opening on 19 June and the last internment on 27 February 1945, that of Gunner William John McELHERON 1 Anti-Tank Regiment Royal Canadian Artillery. It should be noted that between October 1944 and May 1945 No. 58 British General Hospital was based in Perugia, and the last nine burials, including that of Gunner McELHERON, took place in that period. One serviceman who was probably transferred into this cemetery from elsewhere was South African airman J.D.H. HARDING, 92 Squadron South African Air Force, who died on 15 June. Most of the June burials were from units belonging to or associated with 6 British Armoured Division, and many of those dating from the period July-September were associated with the advance of 10 Indian Division up the Tiber Valley towards Città di Castello and San Sepolcro.
Whilst the citizens of Perugia were celebrating their liberation 3 Welsh Guards were establishing themselves at San Marco to the north west of the city, and during the following two days the three battalions of the Rifle Brigade were involved in heavy fighting at Monte Malbe and near Monte Rentella. Temporary battlefield cemeteries were set up at Corciano (610941 and 610938), Monte Malbe - Santa Trinità (625939 and 625940) Monte Malbe - Chiugiana (621923), east of Oscano (677967), S. Giovanni del Pantano (643035), San Marino-Cenerente (680963) and Perugia Ferro di Cavallo (668923). 10 Riflemen from 7 Brigade who were killed on 20 June are buried in the latter, Alexander Robertson RITCHIE from the same until who died a day later is buried at Santa Trinità (625939) and a further five who died on 23rd June nearby at Santa Trinità 625940. Lance Bombardier Clifford CLOUGH, 12 Royal Hose Artillery, who was killed on 23 June, was buried in a singly at Monte Malbe Chiugiana.
Ten Guardsmen from 2 Coldstreams lost their lives in the same area between 23-26 June. Lance Corporal Stanley BIRD and Lieutenant Peter Myddleton GALE were buried at San Marino-Cenerente, Guardsman Arthur Robert RAYNER at S. Giovanni del Pantano and the others east of Oscano. The three burials at Corciano – two at 610941 and one at 610938 – were of Lance Corporal William Ernest SEVERN of 2 Rifle Brigade, Rifleman Herbert Henry PETTET of 10 Rifle Brigade and Lieutenant John Wilson FULTON of 2 Lothian & Border Horse.
MAP REFERENCES FOR BURIALS IN ASSISI, BASTIA UMBRA AND ENVIRONS
ASSISI TO PETRIGNANO D'ASSISI During the approach to Assisi on 16 June Private Albert GILFILLAN Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was killed and buried to the west of Foligno at 820750. Ten days later Captain Joseph David PEARCE, Indian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, was buried in the same place, indicating that he may have died in a Casualty Clearing Station or Advanced Dressing Station.
On June 17th, as Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders approached Assisi, Private Mark Hercules KELLEY was killed and buried at Pomonte to the west of Bevagna (806739). To the east of the Assisi, on that same day, Gunner Harry BAXTER, 26 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, was killed and buried near Armenzano at 925890. Whilst ranging over into the hills in the same area, Trooper Leslie Hugh NESMYTH of 12 Royal Lancers was killed and buried at San Presto (919938) and Lieutenant John Christopher RODDICK, of the same regiment, was killed and buried at Collepino (949830). (Two other deaths which took place in this same area involved men from 2/4 Hampshire Regiment and took place on 15 August, by which time the Hampshires were out of the line. Further research is required to find out whether or not the regiment was resting in the Assisi area before going into battle on the Gothic Line. Privates Ernest Thomas SAGE and Kenneth REED Were buried at Assisi San Vitale at 891854.)
The Division pushed on past Assisi to Bastia Umbra, where where the main road crosses the Chiascio river. At that point the bridge was blown and 6 Duke of Connaught's Own Lancers lost three three armoured cars, resulting in the death of Lieutenant Kenneth Leslie HOLDEN who was buried at 826878. That night, three companies of Punjabis crossed the river and seized the airfield, while 6th Lancers worked down a lateral road to make contact with 6 British Armoured Division at Torgiano, on the Tiber.
8 Indian Infantry Division advanced towards the villages of Ripa and Civitella d'Arno which stand on a ridge. During this advance three of the men from the Argylls mentioned on the introductory page of this website were killed and buried at Petrignano d'Assisi (810915) and the following day, 18 June, Fusilier Kenneth Henry CUNDY, 1 Royal Fusiliers, was killed and buried to the west of Sterpeto at 808925.
ASSISI CEMETERIES AND HOSPITALS Fusilier John Bertram GLENN, 1 Royal Fusiliers, and Trooper Raymond Whitfield ROBSON, 12 Royal Lancers, both of whom died on 21 June are buried in Assisi Civil Cemetery 8872885. On the same day Trooper Thomas QUINLAN lost his life and was buried to the west of Sterpeto at 808925. Two days later two more men from 12 Royal Lancers, Corporal Alexander Ewart TAYLOR and Trooper Alexander BAIN were killed, and were buried at Pian della Pieve, 903904. Other burials to the west of Sterpeto were those of 2 men from 1 Royal Fusiliers, Fusiliers Harry HODCROFT, who died on the 22nnd, and Alec GOODALL who died on the 28th.
The main cemetery at Assisi was at 864877 and would have been started with men who had died in the Casualty Clearing Station which later became a hospital. The first registered burial was of Major Michael Andrew Innes COWAN 1/12 Frontier Force, who died on 26 June. Two days later three other men, 2 from 1 Royal Fusiliers and one from 5 Royal West Kent Regiment were laid to rest alongside Bombardier Ernest Thomas PERCOX of 3 Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery.
From 29 June, when 10 Indian Infantry Division relieved 8 Infantry Division their casualties begin to appear – seven men from 8 Manchester Regiment including William BOLTON, Manchester Regiment Army Catering Corps, one man from 1 King's Own Royal Regiment and two from 68 Field Regiment Royal Artillery. 12 Royal Lancers, who were pushing east across the Appenines in an attempt to make contact with 2 Polish Division, lost Michael Robert Arthur DE PIRO on 3 July. One man was lost from the Royal Army Service Corps on 14 July, one from 571 Field Company Royal Engineers on the 11th and two men from 1 Field Squadron Royal Engineers - Frank Coman THOMPSON and James Douglas GREIG - on the 27th. The latter two men lost their lives following a road accident near Gubbio. Harry SMITH, 1 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment Royal Artillery, died on the 17th. Three airmen were buried in the cemetery during July, two of whom died on the 8th - Reginald Edward Stanley BUTLER, 92 Squadron RAF and Lieutenant FM DU TOIT, 145 Squadron South African Air Force. Another South African airman, Lieutenant JF PIENAAR OF 12 Squadron SAAF, died on 13 July.
Buried in nearby Bastia Umbra at 816884 was Sapper JM FARRINGTON, 21 Field Company South African Engineer Corps, who died on 18 July, possibly during a clearing up operation.
In August 1944 British no. 5 General Hospital moved to Assisi where it remained until April of the following year. In that time men from the following units, some brought in from as far afield as the Gothic Line, were buried in the cemetery at 864877: