Born in North Wales (Caernarfon area) – 20 May 1922 ?, Forden Volume 11b, Page 267 (near Welshpool)
Emigrated with family to New Zealand 1929.
Lived in Queenstown, Arthur’s Point, Monowai.
|Faenza War Cemetery, Italy
|Kenneth Lloyd was the son of Robert David Lloyd and of Florence Annie Lloyd (nee Davies), of Tuatapere, Southland, New Zealand.
New Zealand Infantry 24th Battalion
Cemetery notes and/or description:
Faenza War Cemetery contains 1,152 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.
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. Following the fall of Rome to the Allies in June 1944, the German retreat became ordered and successive stands were made on a series of defensive lines. In the northern Appenine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adriatic sector, but with divisions transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in. The war cemetery at Faenza was formed during these months for the burial of those who were killed in the static fighting before the Allied advance was renewed in April 1945.
The Spring 1945 offensive in Italy, codenamed Operation Grapeshot, was the Allied attack by Fifth United States Army,British 8th Army and Brazilian Expeditionary Force into theLombardy Plain which started on 6 April 1945 and ended on 2 May with the surrender of German forces in Italy.
Date 6 April 1945 – 2 May 1945
Location Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and the Veneto regions, northern Italy
In the first week of April, diversionary attacks were launched on the extreme right and left of the Allied front to draw German reserves away from the main assaults to come. This included Operation Roast, an assault by British 2nd Commando Brigade supported by the partisans of 28th Garibaldi Brigade and armour to capture the seaward isthmus of land bordering Lake Comacchio and seize Port Garibaldi on the lake’s north side. Meanwhile, damage to other transport infrastructure having forced Axis forces to use sea, canal and river routes for re-supply, Axis shipping was being attacked in bombing raids such as Operation Bowler.
The build-up to the main assault started on 6 April with a heavy artillery bombardment of the Senio defenses. In the early afternoon of 9 April, 825 heavy bombers dropped fragmentation bombs on the support zone behind the Senio followed by medium and fighter bombers. From 15:20 to 19:10, five heavy artillery barrages were fired, each lasting 30 minutes, interspersed with fighter bomber attacks. In support of the New Zealand operations, 28 Churchill Crocodiles and 127 Wasp flamethrower vehicles were deployed along the front.
The 8th Indian Division, New Zealand 2nd Division and 3rd Carpathian Division (on the Polish Corps front at Route 9) attacked at dusk. In fighting in which there were two Victoria Crosses won by 8th Indian Division members, they had reached the river Santerno, 3.5 miles (5.6 km) beyond, by dawn on 11 April. The New Zealanders had reached the Santerno at nightfall on 10 April and succeeded in making a crossing at dawn on 11 April. The Poles had closed on the Santerno by the night of 11 April.
By late morning of 12 April, after an all night assault, the 8th Indian Division was established on the far side of the Santerno and the British 78th Division started to pass through to make the assault on Argenta. In the meantime the British 24th Guards Brigade, part of British 56th (London) Division, had launched an amphibious flanking attack from the water and mud to the right of the Argenta Gap. Although they gained a foothold, they were still held up at positions on the Fossa Marina on the night of 14 April. 78th Division was also held up on the same day on the Reno River at Bastia.
2nd New Zealand Division
The 2nd New Zealand Infantry Division was a military unit sent by New Zealand to fight in Africa and Europe during World War II, following his declaration of war against the Axis forces. She fought in several theaters from 1940 to 1945.
The defense of Greece
The primary mission of the division was pushing the German forces invaded Greece in the spring of 1941 during Operation Marita. Despite the presence of other Australian and British units, she had to leave the country invaded by Germany.
Battle of Crete
Following the retreat, the division was sent to Crete, where she was responsible for the defense of the island. Its commander, General Bernard Freyberg was in command of all troops present. The Germans had recourse to an airborne assault to capture the island. Fast enough, the German forces took over and eventually forcing New Zealand to leave Crete without equipment. However, due to heavy losses during the operation Merkur, Hitler no longer republished airborne assaults.
As a result of these failures, the unit was transferred to North Africa in the 8th Army where they had to stand up to the Afrika Korps of General Rommel. The division played an important role during the Crusader operation and especially during the Second Battle of El Alamein where it broke through the German positions and found himself behind the side of Rommel. But the British could not send reinforcements to the division suffered heavy losses against the Panzers Rommel Ruweisat Bridge.
The division made its return to Europe after landing in Italy. Being reorganized following the losses it had suffered, she did not participate much in the Sicilian countryside. She joined the 8th Army at the end of 1943. In February 1944, it replaced the 4th Indian Division on the Adriatic coast. She then formed the New Zealand body that belonged to the U.S. 5th Army. The body was joined by the 78th British Infantry Division. New Zealand then participated in two unsuccessful attempts to capture the monastery during the battle of Monte Cassino, which break the resistance of the Gustav Line was designed for.
The body of New Zealand was not a body per se, but rather a reinforced division, New Zealand at the time did not have the human resources to hire more men.
Following heavy fighting in Monte Cassino, the unit was then used as a spearhead of the attack of the 8th Army who led the crossing of multiple Italian rivers. The division was then incorporated into the 1st Canadian Corps, where she participated in the Olive operation against the Gustav Line in the fall of 1944. It was then during the winter attached to the 5th British Corps and the 13th body. She participated in the crossing of the Senio River, which marked the beginning of the Allied offensive in April 1945. The division was then sent as soon as possible to Trieste to prevent it from falling into the hands of Tito’s partisans and prevent therefore it is part of Yugoslavia.
A detailed description of the Spring Offensive in Italy from Italy Volume II : From Cassino to Trieste
III: The Assault on the Senio Line
It’s quite sobering to read virtually a blow by blow account of this battle (Operation Grapeshot) in April 1945 that brought an end to Word War 2 in Italy and Europe.
The Reichstag was captured in Berlin on 3o April signalling military defeat for the 3rd Reich, the same day that Hitler committed suicide.
Surrender was negotiated in Italy on 29 April and formalised on 2 May. Total and unconditional surrender was signed on 7 May, effective 8 May, although German resistance continued in Prague until May 11.
My uncle was killed in the last weeks of the war when defeat must have been inevitable. In April 1945 in Italy there were 16,258 Allied casualties with 2,860 killed. There were about twice as many German casualties.
I don’t know what part my uncle took in the war apart from where (approximately) and when he died.
My father also took part in this last month of the war. He didn’t talk much about it but once recalled being frightened on sentry duty outside a farmhouse while hearing battle inn the distance. He ended up in Trieste where he was billeted by a local family. He carried a rifle when he went to movies. This was a tense time of standoff with Yugoslav forces who wanted to take control of Trieste.
UPDATE: My sister has commented on this on Facebook:
When Mum and I visited Uncle Ken’s grave in 1995 there was a clap of thunder when we arrived at the cemetery and the same when we left. It was a very poignant visit for me