'I wasn't a great believer in the war. I was a bit cynical about war aims and all the rest of it, but when you're on a tank and there are thousands of Italians milling around, throwing flowers at you and cheering and offering you loaves of bread and glasses of wine, you start to think, Well, perhaps I am a liberator. It goes to your head a bit. But that was the highlight - there was a lot of hard slogging before that happened.'
Gordon Slatter, 441668, Private, 26 Battalion.
New Zealand troops in Sora
Gordon Slatter was one of tens of thousands of New Zealanders who fought their way up the boot of Italy from 1943 to 1945 as part of the vast multinational force assembled to roll back Axis aggression in far-flung theatres of war across the globe. Constituting a significant cohort of their nation's manhood, almost all the New Zealanders who served in Italy did so as members of a nationally distinctive unit, which they knew affectionately as the 'Div' - the 2nd New Zealand Division.
This feature tells the stories of these men through an overview of the main events, a campaign map and particularly through the memories of those who were there.