Gateway School 1932-37. Son of George and Caroline Ward.
The Gustav Line was the most rearward of the three German defensive lines on the Italian peninsula south of Rome. Built along the Garigliano and Rapido rivers, it was fortified with gun pits, concrete bunkers, turreted machine-gun emplacements, barbed wire and minefields. Marine Ward died during fighting at the western end of the line, possibly near the town of Minturno. He is buried in Anzio War Cemetery, Italy, Grave I. M. 8.
The Gustav-Cassino Line was a German defensive position constructed in late
1943 across Italy.
Sangro estuary on the eastern coast. It took the Western Allies four offensives to break this position. The optimal Allied route of advance to Rome was through the Liri Valley.
However, the Gustav defences blocked this route around Cassino, particularly on the Monte Cassino heights, topped by its ancient monastery. In the First Battle of
Monte Cassino (17 January–11 February 1944). X Corps’ three British divisions attacked across the Garigilano River close to the western coast, while three Fifth US Army divisions attacked Cassino. At the time of his death 40 RM Commando were being used to reinforce the infantry line held along the River Garigliano near Lorenzo.
On his head stone are carved the following words:
HE GAVE HIS LIFE TO MAKE US FREE PEACE TO ADVANCE O’ER LAND AND SEA.
On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. Initial attempts to breach the western end of the line were unsuccessful. Operations in January 1944 landed troops behind the German lines at Anzio, but defences were well organised, and a breakthrough was not actually achieved until May. The site for this cemetery was selected not long after the landings at Anzio and the burials here date from the period immediately
following the landings. Anzio War Cemetery contains 1,056 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War. The cemetery was designed by Louis de Soissons.