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Prince Harry pays tribute to veterans of Second World War Battle of Monte Cassino

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 20, 2014

Prince Harry pays his respects at the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery after the British Service to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Italian campaign and the Battle of Monte Cassino    PICTURE: Geoff Pugh/PA

Prince Harry pays his respects at the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery after the British Service to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Italian campaign and the Battle of Monte Cassino PICTURE: Geoff Pugh/PA

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Prince Harry has paid a moving tribute to the veterans of the Second World War Battle of Monte Cassino saying he was privileged to meet them.

Harry praised the courage of the men who stormed Nazi positions near Rome again and again across steep open ground in terrible weather conditions, knowing they or their friends would very likely be killed.

The Prince said their efforts deserved every recognition despite the battle, which claimed the lives of more than 50,000 Allied soldiers before they captured the strategically important Monte Cassino hilltop, being known as the "forgotten campaign".

Harry made the comments after spending the last two days at the site of the battle in the town of Cassino, attending commemoration events marking its 70th anniversary. The Prince was joined by Lord Astor, Lords' spokesman on defence, at a service earlier commemorating the sacrifice of Commonwealth soldiers in the 1944 conflict.

He defended his great-aunt Nancy Astor from the much reported claim that she described the men of the 8th Army who were fighting in the Italian Campaign as "D-Day Dodgers".

He said: "She always denied she ever made that remark. In fact she swore to her dying day that she never said it.

"She had three sons and four nephews fighting in the war, including in Italy, so it seems very odd that she would say such a thing. The story just doesn't make sense."

"My father, her nephew, was out here."

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