Debt of Honour Register In Memory of

ERIC RANDOLPH BLAND
Gunner 1108422
66 Medium Regt., Royal Artillery

who died on
Tuesday 15 August 1944 . Age 29 .

Husband of Florence Eva Bland,
of Rushden Northamptonshire.

Cemetery:FLORENCE WAR CEMETERYItaly
Grave or Reference Panel Number:I. A. 12.

Location:Take the A1 Rome to Milan road and exit at Firenze Sud.
Follow the road SS 67 towards Pontassieve and Arezzo. Florence War Cemetery stands on the north bank of the River Arno about 5 kilometres east of Florence. The cemetery is permanently open and may be visited anytime.
Visiting Information:PLEASE NOTE: The Commission is aware that during the night of 24/25 April 2001, extensive vandalism was carried out to Florence War Cemetery. The authorities have been informed and Commission Staff are currently working to rectify the damage.
Historical Information: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.
Allied objectives were to draw German troops from the Russian front and more particularly from France, where an offensive was planned for the following year. 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 positions known as the Trasimene, Arezzo, Arno and Gothic Lines. Florence, which was taken by the Allied forces on 13 August 1944, was the centre of the Arno line and the point from which the attack on the German Gothic Line defences in the Apennines was launched. The site for the war cemetery was selected in November 1944 for burials from the hospitals established in and around Florence but the greater part of those buried here lost their lives in the fighting in this area from July to September 1944. After the war, 83 graves were moved into the cemetery from nearby Arrow Route Cemetery, when it proved impossible to acquire the site in perpetuity. Most of these burials were from the fighting in the Apennines during the winter of 1944-1945.

Florence War Cemetery now contains 1,632 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

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