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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 May 2007, 12:07 GMT 13:07 UK
Mountain tribute to heroic troops
Monte Cassino battleground
The fighting at Monte Cassino lasted four months
The heroic actions of Gurkha soldiers during a World War II battle is to be commemorated on a Cumbrian mountain.

Military enthusiasts are climbing Helvellyn to re-enact the fight to hold a hilltop position during the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy, 1944.

Despite suffering heavy losses a Gurkha battalion held Hangman's Hill for 16 days against a German division.

The North East Hobby Militia group is staging the event on 21 July to raise cash for the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

Members plan to climb the 3,117ft (950m) summit of Helvellyn carrying two wooden period ammunition boxes.

Victoria Cross

Steve Driver, one of the organisers of the tribute, said: "We decided to mark the momentous battle when Hangman's Hill was held by so few men and to support the Gurkhas at the same time.

"We have been shocked by how little support the welfare trust is given, even though the force has served in almost every major conflict of the 20th Century and has 13 Victoria Crosses to its credit."

The Gurkhas on Hangman's Hill, Nepalese troops who were part of the 4th Indian division, were eventually forced to withdraw.

The battle for Monte Cassino, a fortified town and monastery, took four months, and by some estimates it left a quarter of a million dead or wounded.

Who are the Gurkhas?
08 Mar 07 |  UK

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