THE PERTH REGIMENT OF CANADA

 

MORO RIVER CANADIAN WAR CEMETERY, Italy

 

LOCATION

The Moro River Canadian War Cemetery lies in the locality of San Donato in the Commune of Ortona, Province of Chieti, and is sited on high ground near the sea just east of the main Adriatic coast road (SS16).

GENERAL HISTORY

The site was chosen by the Canadian Corps in January 1944. The Canadians had crossed the Moro River against stiff opposition on 6th December, 1943, and had taken Ortona on the 28th, after a week of bitter street fighting. The Moro River Cemetery contains the graves of those who died during that fighting, and during the weeks that preceded and followed it. In December 1943 alone, the 1st Canadian Division suffered over 500 fatal battle casualties. During January they made further limited and unfruitful offensive efforts, and they remained in the line in this sector until March, their activities being limited to patrolling. Burials other than those of members of the Canadian forces are almost all in plots 12, 13 and 16. There are now over 1,600, 1939-45 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 50 are unidentified.

PERTH HISTORY

February 5th, 1944

On February 5th, Baker Company had its heart knocked out of it when a single German mortar bomb fell amoungst men queuing for their evening meal. 37 casualties where recorded, 14 immediately fatal with an additional 5 dieing later of wounds received. The men had been standing on a ledge on the reverse side of a ravine, the kitchen being located in a cave. This single mortar bomb, had it been either two feet long or short would have exploded harmlessly, either at the top or bottom of the ravine.

June 22nd., 1944

Perhaps the most poignant story of the Perth's buried at Moro River is the death of Private C. C. Sim. In June of 1944 the Perth's were withdrawn from the line to rest. During this time a party led by Major C. B. Arrell, and including Chaplain Capt. D. Crawford, Lieut. L.F. Jones and fourteen volunteers, including Private Sim, returned to the battlefield of January 17th, to recover those dead which could not previously be recovered. The battle lines had by this time moved on. In total 19 bodies where recovered and temporally interned at a cemetery located near the cross roads which had been the Perth's objective in January. Several of those interned where not identifiable and their names can be found on the Casino memorial commemorating those who have no known grave. On the 22nd of June Private C.C. Sim was killed while recovering bodies when he stepped on an s-mine. Another soldier also received wounds from this incident. Private Sim was buried with those he had helped locate and bury.

B/41645 PTE. JOHN ANDERSON, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 17.
Son of James C. and Jenny B. Anderson, of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.E.13.

A/67832 PTE. GORDON ELROY BELROSE , died on Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 23.
Son of George Wesley Belrose and Debra A. Belrose. of Tobermory, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.D.15.

B/41793 PTE. WALTER BOLTON, died on Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Walter and Beatrice Bolton, of Hamilton, Ontario; husband of Ida Bolton.
Grave Reference: XI.H.12.

A/104912 PTE. E. A. BOYD , died onSaturday, 5th February 1944. Age 20.
Son of Alexander and Mary Hannah Boyd, of London, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.E.15.

D/72361 PTE. ALLAN WILBERT CARTLAND,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 19.
Son of Albert Edward and Mary Ann Cartland,of Montreal, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: IV.B.13.

C/36822 PTE. NELSON WILLIS CLARK, diedMonday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of Norman and Agnes Madeline Clark; husband of Hazel Grace Clark,of Peterborough.
Grave Reference: III.H.11.

LIEUT. ALFRED JOHN CLEMENTS, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of Alfred and Annie Clements, of St. Thomas, Ontario.
Grave Reference: II.G.5.

B/79675 CPL. WILLIAM COBEAN , died Tuesday, 18th January 1944. Age 30.
Son of William T. and Emma Cobean; husband of Robina Law Cobean, of Kilbirrue, Ayrshire, Scotland.
Grave Reference: XI.H.3.

L/11313 PTE. WILLIAMS COLLINS,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 34.
Son of Nickloss and Mary Collins; husband of Callie Gertrude Collins, of Big River, Saskatchewan.
Grave Reference: XI.G.3.

B/1629 PTE. CECIL COOPER, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 20.
Son of Harry A. and Violet A. Cooper, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.16.

B/64558 PTE. GLENN COPELAND, died Wednesday, 17th January 1945. Age 23.
Son of John Edward and Laurine Effie Copeland, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.H.8.

A/11663 PTE. JACK BERTRAM CRAWFORD, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.5.

A/104789 PTE. GUSTAVE DE BAERE, diedMonday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of Alfons and Emilie De Baere, of Bearline, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.D.14.

A/23090 PTE. JACK WILBERT DURHAM, diedMonday, 17th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of William Alonzo and Melissa Anne Durham, of Windsor, Ontario. Grave Reference: X.D.3.

B/130724 PTE. JAMES BANNERMAN ELLWOOD, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 27.
Son of A. Ralph and Sybil L. Ellwood; husband of Edith Mary Ellwood, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.12.

A/23409 PTE. EDWARD JULIAN ENGLISH , died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 19
Son of Mervon and Gladys English, of Windsor, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VII.E.7.

H/1561 PTE. PATRICK GALLAGHER , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.11.

F/60174 L Cpl. JOSEPH EMANUEL GALLANT , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: X.A.1.

B/42814 PTE. FREDERICK THOMAS GARDNER , died Saturday, 5th February 1944.
Son of Harry S. and Levina Gardner; husband of Marian H. Gardner, of Fort Erie West, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VII.E.6.

F/60517 PTE. NICHOLAS JOSEPH GARLAND , died Tuesday, 18th January 1944. Age 23.
Son of James and Jane Garland, of Vernon River, Prince Edward Island.
Grave Reference: IX.G.3.

A/102600 PTE. ANDREW GIBEL, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Joseph Gibel, and of Mary Gibel, of Windsor, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.16.

L/101916 PTE. MARTIN GIEZE, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 25.
Son of Emil and Lydia Gieze, of Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
Grave Reference: VII.E.3.

A/116744 PTE. CARMEN WESLEY HENDERSON, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 20.
Son of Wesley and Sarah Henderson, of Blenheim, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.H.10.

A/11791 PTE. JAMES EDWARD ALBERT HURLOCK,died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 24.
Son of Charles William and Lucy Elizabeth Hurlock,of Stratford, Ontario; husband of Evelyn Ruth Hurlock, of Stratford, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI E.10.

A/49891 PTE. NORMAN LLOYD HURRELL,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 25.
Son of William and Elizabeth Hurrell; husband of Grace Olive Hurrell, of Chatham, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.12.

L/104669 PTE. JOSEPH LEO KOSTENLY , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: X.H.6.

A/10055 PTE. LESLIE GERALD LAKE,died Thursday, 20th January 1944. Age 27.
Son of Herbert and Fanny Lake,of London, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.A.7.

C/21739 PTE. AMBROSE LATOUR, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Alexander and Marceline Latour, of Mattawa,Ontario.
Grave Reference: II.H.15.

C/34908 PTE. VIATEUR LAVALLIE, diedMonday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of Mary Lavallie; husband of Rose Lavallie, of Joliette, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: III.H.13.

B/46946 PTE. JOHN DAVID LAWSON, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Frank and Mary K. Lawson, of Rosseau Road,Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.H.11.

A/11490 L/CPL. THOMAS LITTLEJOHN,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Harry and Margaret Littlejohn; husband of Rose Ellen Nora Littlejohn, of London, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.G.10

B/46937 PTE. SINCLAIR LUDWIG, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.14.

D/137616 PTE. ISSIE MAYOFF, died Wednesday, 9th February 1944. Age 22.
Son of Sam and Libby Mayoff, of Montreal, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: I.G.10.

MAJOR ROBERT ARCHIBALD MACDOUGALL, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 35.
Son of Duncan and Flora MacDougall; husband of Helen M. MacDougall (nee Porter), of Westport, Ontario. B.A. (Queen's University).
Grave Reference: X.H.7.

B/113454 PTE. JOHN DOUGLAS HUNTER McDONALD,died Sunday, 12th March 1944. Age26.
Son of William and Clara McDonald, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IX.G.11.

A/11527 PTE. ALFRED JOSEPH McLEOD, died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: VI.G.13.

A/50576 L/CPL JOHN ALFRED PAIN, diedSaturday, 5th February 1944. Age 24.
Son of John Alfred Pain and of Laura Pain (nee Potter), of London, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI. E. 16.

A/102747 PTE. NIL ADELARD JOSEPH PARENT, died Saturday, 5th February 1944.
Grave Reference: VI.H.5.

A/102887 PTE. CLARK KANE PARK, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 22.
Son of Robert Franklin Park and Lillie Elizabeth Park, of Chatham, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VII.E.5.

A/11142 PTE. ARTHUR WILLIAM PRIOR , died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 28.
Son of William Henry and Catherine Prior; husband of Muriel Prior, of St. Catharines, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.3.

B/132261 PTE. JOHN REVILL, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 20.
Son of Albert E. and Nora Revill, of Newmarket, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.E.12.

E/106635 PTE. LEOPOLD RITCHIE, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 23.
Son of Henry and Stella Ritchie, of New Richmond Station, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: XI.E.11.

D/71502 PTE. JAMES ROBERTSON, died Tuesday, 18th January 1944. Age 39.
Son of James and Isybella Robertson; husband of Harriet Eleanor Robertson, of Hawkesbury, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.G.14.

LIEUT. LAURENT JOSEPH WILFRID ROCHON,died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Son of Joseph Wilfrid Rochon and of Henedine Rochon (nee Lortie), of Sturgeon Falls, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.7.

A/11684 C.S.M. JOHN KERR ROSS, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 29.
Son of John and Jane Ross, of Toronto, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.G.15.

D/137473 PTE. MOSES SCHACTER, died Thursday, 20th January 1944. Age 22.
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Schacter, of Montreal, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: X.E.9.

A/103220 PTE. DONALD WILLIAM SCHMIDT, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 22.
Son of Arthur C. and Mabel Schmidt, of Harriston, Ontario.
Grave Reference: III.H.14.

A/116458 'B' Coy. PTE. L B SETTERINGTON , died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 31.
'B' Coy. Son of Lewis B. and Buelah Setterington, of Leamington, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.H.12.

E/52861 PTE. COLIN CRAN SIM, died Thursday, 22nd June 1944. Age 27.
Son of Alexander Cran Sim and Elizabeth Ann Sim, of Georgeville, Province of Quebec.
Grave Reference: IV.B.5.

B/59759 PTE. JOHN HENRY SIMONS, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 27.
Son of Alfred G. and Alice Simons, of Hiltonbeach, Ontario.
Grave Reference: XI.E.14.

A/28251 CPL. ANDREW ELLIOT SIMPSON, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 20.
Son of Andrew and Eleanor Simpson, of London, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VII.E.2.

B/46934 PTE. DOUGLAS WARD SMITH, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 22.
Son of Ernest Ingham Smith, and of Beatrice May Smith, of North Lindsay, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.6.

A/105127 PTE. ERIC JAMES SMITH, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 20.
Son of Burton and Florence Smith, of Arkona, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VII.E.4.

A/67826 CPL. WILFRED JAMES SMITH , died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of Thomas and Emily Smith, of Stratford, Ontario.
Grave Reference: X.G.14.

A/11256 PTE. WILLIAM RUSSELL STEWART , died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.B.2.

A/58052 L/CPL STEWART WILLIAM TILLEY,died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 24.
Son of William John and Violet Tilley, of Wiarton, Ontario.
Grave Reference: IV.B.8.

A/105081 PTE. EDWARD GEORGE NATHANIEL WATERFIELD, died Saturday, 5th February 1944. Age 19.
Foster-son of Kathleen Waterfield, of London, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VI.H.11.

B/37930 PTE. ERROL EDWARD WIDDIS, diedSaturday, 5th February 1944. Age 21.
Son of Edward and Olive Widdis, of Hillsburgh, Ontario.
Grave Reference: VII.E.1.

A/11832 PTE. FREDERICK ARTHUR WILLMORE,died Monday, 17th January 1944.
Grave Reference: IV.D.15.

A/87273 PTE. ROBERT WILSON,died Tuesday, 18th January 1944. Age 19.
Son of William George and Edith Gladys Wilson, of Hamilton, Ontario.
Grave Reference: X.D.12.

B/134857 PTE. HOWARD WILLIAM WOODCOCK, died Monday, 17th January 1944. Age 21.
Son of Joel and Manetta A. Woodcock, of Newmarket, Ontario.
Grave Reference: X.G.7.


IN HUMBLE TRIBUTE TO THOSE WHO LIE IN THE MORO RIVER WAR CEMETERY

Stan Scislowski

Here, beneath the green sod of the Moro River Cemetery at Ortona lie buried the earthly remains of 1,615 young men, of which 1,375 are Canadian. They gave their lives in the battles and confrontations that swirled about through the mud of farmland, through olive groves and vineyards, through ravines, gullies and valleys between the Moro and the Arielli Rivers. Death found them also in the village streets and in Ortona where a week-long vicious battle raged through the long days and into the darkness of night through Christmas week.
The Cemetery is sited on open ground, known by the troops at the time of the fighting as Vino Ridge, once a vineyard lush with grapes. It overlooks the Adriatic, where cool winds off the sea moan ghost-like through the leaves of the tall poplars. As the visitors enter, they pass through an arch forming part of the little Church of San Donato, actually only a chapel. Within the cemetery white pergolas festooned with wisteria and vines stand out amidst the rows upon rows of white headstones, stark remembrances of the sacrifices made here. At the base of each stone bloom a wide variety of coloured flowering shrubs. Close by the entrance stand two gnarled old olive trees, symbols of the many olive orchards through which our men fought and in which so many died.
In the midst of all this, like a tall sentinel, rises the great stone Cross of Sacrifice upon whose face is affixed a bronze broadsword. Individuals and visiting groups large and small deposit their wreaths of Remembrance at the base of this impressive monument. Those who lie here beneath the close-cropped lawn are heroes. They died at the very threshold of what should have been an abundant and fulfilling life. Their dreams, and the dreams of those who loved them dearly had been swept away by the cruel fates of war. In the 50 and more years gone by since they gave their 'all', they have known no weariness or pain, nor sorrow or joy, nor the soft caress of a woman's hand. Nor have they exulted to the loving embrace of little children. Torments of anger, ill-health and despair they knew not, for they've been sleeping, freed from the misery and the unrelenting fear of the battlefield and the pain that wracked their bodies in the moments before their death. In all those years past since those tumultuous days and nights of late Fall and an Adriatic winter they have not exulted to the awakening of Spring and heard the song of the robin at daybreak, nor have seen the lightning and heard the thunder of summer storms, for they've been resting. They've known not the gentle touch of an early summer's breeze upon their brows, nor have they known the joys of of autumn and the rustle of leaves underfoot. The sting of the frigid gusts of winter on their cheeks they have known not, nor celebrated the joy of a Christmas with their loved ones.
Though the world has trembled many times to the thunderous echoes of the guns of war since that day when they passed out of the sight of their comrades and were no more, they heard them not, for their sleep is everlasting. They've fought the good fight and are now resting, a sleep that knows no dawn. . .no tomorrows. We will remember them. Yes, we will remember them until that time when we join them in that white company where old soldiers never die.


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Prepared by: J. McRae & J. Vinnick-Gould PerthR@yahoo.com

May 3rd., 2001