Italy / Cemetery
The British military cemetery in Salerno is located on State Road 18, a short distance from the Montecorvino airport. Built during the early stages of Operation Avalanche, it houses the bodies of 1,851 soldiers who fell during the fighting of the Salerno landings of 9 September 1943.
The fallen soldiers are distinguished within the cemetery in this way: 1653 soldiers from the United Kingdom, 27 from Canada, 10 Australians, 3 from New Zealand, 9 from South Africa, 53 fallen soldiers from India and Pakistan, 109 unknown, one Russian and a plaque commemorating a fallen soldier from the Great War, whose grave had been lost in previous years.
The British military cemetery in Salerno is directly managed by the British government, or rather by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, a special commission within the organisation that brings together all the territories belonging to the British crown. The cemetery was designed by Louis de Soissons, an English architect of French descent. De Soissons lost a son in the landing and, as if it were a duty to his memory, ended up signing the plans for no less than fifty British military shrines in Italy including, in addition to the one in Salerno, the memorials in Fiesole, Rome and Cesena. There were 23,000 of them on 9 September 1943. They landed at Paestum - a little further south - to carry out Operation Avalanche, i.e. the avalanche that was supposed to sweep Italy in the aftermath of the armistice signed only the day before by emissaries of the House of Savoy and General Castellano.
Just under two thousand, however, stopped here. British, Americans, Australians and New Zealanders. Irish and Scottish, Africans and even some Jews. Of all ages, ranks, military corps and qualifications. Not all the graves have names: one hundred and seven, even today, remain unknown. Perhaps the most distinguished of these is that of Captain of second commando Henry Valerian George Duke of Wellington, who fell on 16 September on the Salerno front. There is also a small building in the cemetery that holds the registers of the fallen and the diary for visitors.