A South African Pilot’s Sacrifice Memorialized


I received word today about an excellent short film available online.

The referral was from my friends at Associazione Salerno 1943—a group of Italian volunteers who are dedicated to investigation of WW II Allied plane crash sites in Italy, and to preservation of the memory of the airmen who lost their lives.

The film, A Soldier of the Second World War, (youtu.be/JSD5eBH9cAE) concerns Lieutenant Cornelius Cecil Geldard, an pilot of the South African Allied Forces of the Royal Air Force. His Spitfire fighter was shot down over southern Italy on March 30, 1944. He died in the crash at the age of 32.

A Soldier of the Second World War was written, filmed, and directed by Vincenzo Campitiello and Letizia Musacchia, and was recently released by INDIGO sas.

The sensitively-crafted film is a beautiful tribute not only to Lieutenant Gelgard, but to all who lost their lives during the war, many of whom are buried far away in foreign soil.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations, in 154 countries.

There are many war cemeteries throughout Italy—ranging in size from Cassino, where 3,983 are buried, to communal cemeteries where a single soldier rests.

You can learn more about Lieutenant Gelgard and the recovery of the Spitfire in which he died on a page of the Salerno 1943 website, “Lo Spitfire JF879.” English speakers can access the page in English.

On this site, read also “Remembering Robert Dickinson.”

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