The least I expected when I started researching my grandmother, who lived a quiet life in Lapland in the north of Sweden, was to find out that one of her brothers was killed in action in Italy in May 1944.
The reason Ivar Eskil Lindström ended up in Italy has to do with the Swedish emigration to Canada. In 1927 my grandmother’s parents,and most of her brothers and sisters, left their hard lives for a brighter future on the Canadian prairie.
Off to Cassino
Yesterday Anders, Karin and I booked a trip to Cassino in Italy, the place where my great uncle is buried. Up till our departure in May I will try to find out as much as I can about Ivar Eskil and the Canadian troops in Italy, focusing on the Battle of Monte Cassino/Melfa River Crossing where Ivar Eskils young life ended.
I have got in touch with an Italian woman, dr Danila Bracaglia, who has promised to be our guide in the Monte Cassino area where many events took place during WWII and where Ivar Eskil’s grave is to be found:
thank you for your kind email and I would love to be your guide in Cassino area. I know exactly where the Melfa River crossing area is located and I was there with 13 Canadian Veterans 7 years ago for the 65th anniversary of the battle when also a plaque to remeber the action was put. I would suggest a day tour as we will visit the battlefields area but also the monastery of Monte Cassino, not to be missed with the stunning views and of course the war cemetery. My home town, located about 50 kms from Cassino, on the route where the Canadians fought and we can do all the advance to Frosinone and see the battlefields in the Liri valley where the westeminster regiment was involved in fierce fighting.
The days between the 23rd and 25th were the most difficult for the Canadians who were involved in breaking a strong german difensive line, called the Hitler line. When Cassino was liberated they were tasked to follow the reatring Germans and they suffered heavy casulaties. You will see at the Cassino war cemetery so many died end of May. I will share with you all the information given by the veterans as I had the privilege to be their guide.
If you are staying in Rome you can catch a train to Cassino. I will send you all schedule and train information. It is unexpensive and the train ride is spectacular. I will meet you in Cassino and then we will visit the monastery, Cassino war cemteries and then the Canadian battlefields up to Frosinone where you will catch a train to Rome.
If you have time, I would suggest to stay one or two days in Cassino, the rebuilt town is a typical italian town, not too many tourists as most of the people come for a day trip. I am sure you will enjoy and I can give you suggestions about hotels or restaurants and sights. I could meet you the next day and then start the tour and you will end the tour in Frosinone, liberated by the Canadians on 31st May 1944. My father was 8 years old and he told me many thing about the Canadian troops. We love the Canadians.
I am also fully licensed for Rome as I have a masters in archaeology and would be happy to organize tours for you. Most of my tours are private, I prefer the personal touch. As you are coming in May let me know the date as soon as possible and I have already some tours planned so some days you may be able to join a small group and the cost per person may be reduced. Let me know approx dates and see what is possible to organize for you a private tour
If you need information about hotels or sights in Rome I would be happy to assist you. I would be glad to give you further information. I am ready to personalize the tour for you and I know it will be a special memorial trip.
May I take this opportunity to wish you and family a happy New Year,
My best wishes,