Roberto Gillies, the last surviving member of the 28th Maori Battalion deployed by New Zealand on the Cassino front during World War II, returned to the slopes of the mountain where he witnessed the deaths of hundreds of his fellow soldiers. At 17 years old in 1944, Gillies visited the war cemetery where Commonwealth soldiers are laid to rest to pay tribute to his fallen comrades, especially the approximately five hundred New Zealand soldiers buried there.
Gillies was accompanied by relatives, a group of veterans’ associations, and a television crew from Maori Tv in Cassino. Once at the war cemetery in the Sant’Angelo area, which offers a clear view of the hill with Montecassino, they sang traditional Maori songs and performed rituals in memory of the deceased. The delegation was welcomed by the mayor of Cassino, Enzo Salera, who expressed his great honor in hosting an authentic New Zealand hero. He also invited Gillies to return in a few months when the celebrations for the 80th anniversary of the first bombing of Cassino will be in full swing, allowing the people of Cassino to properly honor him, the New Zealand people, and all those who contributed to their liberation.
Segui Avvisatore su Instagram: @avvisatore.it