In September 2008 the band traveled to where members of the WWII Loyal Edmonton Regiment fought in Italy. In early December 1943 the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade began their most savage battle of the Italian Campaign. In the mud and the rain troops attacked from the Moro River to Ortona. Then, from house to house and room to room there raged a ferocious battle against resolute German defenders. With extraordinary courage the Canadians prevailed and after Christmas finally secured the town. Members of the EPS Pipes and Drums played in the streets of the towns and at the graveyards that were the final resting place for many of the Canadian soldiers.
The band traveled about 50 km south of Rome to the city of Cassino and to Montecassino where they played at the Commonwealth Cemeteries. On the mountain overlooking the city stands the Abbey of Montecassino. This abbey is of special importance because it has been destroyed and rebuilt on four separate occasions. The most recent was in 1944 near the end of W.W.II. No trip to Italy would be complete without a visit to the Rome, the Vatican, Pompeii, and some wonderful vineyards and restaurants.
Cemetery at Cassino contains the graves of hundreds of Canadians, most of whom fell in the valley of the River Liri during the Allied attempts in the first half of 1944 to breach the Adolf Hitler Line and advance to Rome.
Abbey of Montecassino was founded by St. Benedict about 529 A.D. on the remnants of a pre-existing Roman fortification of the Municipum Casinum.
Inside the Abbey
Playing at the Cassino War Cemetery with the Abbey of Montecassino in the background
In the centre of the beautifully landscaped cemetery is a lovely pool surrounded by a mosaic tiled walkway.
Commonwealth gravesite at Cassino
Cassino Memorial, unveiled in 1956, which commemorates the more than 4,000 Commonwealth war dead of the Sicilian and Italian campaigns who have no known grave. The names of 192 Canadians are inscribed on its 15-foot high slabs of green marble.
Band member paying respect to the Canadian soldiers
More than 1000 Polish soldiers are buried in the War Cemetery located on mount Cairo across from the abbey. The men buried here lost their lives in the battle preceding the liberation of the Montecassino Abbey, which took place on May 18, 1944.
After a battle that lasted seven days, the Polish soldiers overtook the German army. 860 Polish soldiers died and 2800 were wounded in that fierce battle.
Piper Ted Soltys, being of Polish heritage, and having
had an uncle who fought with the II Polish Corps here played the tune "Heights of Cassino" in honour of all who fought here.
The beautiful beaches of the Adriatic Sea in Termoli, just south or Ortona
Plaque on the tank in Ortona
Tank in Ortona - from the 12th Canadian Armoured Regiment
Pipe Sgt. Perry having the honour of carrying the LER banner
Playing on the main route in Ortona where the LER's fought in 1943
It is a great honor that the Pipes & Drums of the Edmonton Police Service are authorized to wear the Loyal Edmonton Regiment badge and carry their banner
Playing Corso Vittorio Emanuel II in Ortona
Playing in the streets of Ortona where Canadian soldiers marched in WWII
Monument "Price of Peace" in Ortona that was donated by the people of Canada in 1999
Band with Ortona resident Francesca who was a teenager who helped Canadian soldiers in 1943
Playing at the Canadian cemetery in Ortona
Bullet holes still showing 65 years later
Entertaining the patrons at the restaurant
Sgt. Perry with the owner of the restaurant
Enjoying a great meal in Ortona
Teatro Vittoria opera house in Ortona
Performing in front of the opera house in Ortona
Casa Berardi in Ortona where Capt. Paul Triquet of the Royal 22nd Regiment won the Victoria Cross - Bullet still visible
Casa Berardi Castle