Syracuse War Cemetery is located in the Contrada of Canalicchio in the Commune and Province of Syracuse. It lies 3 kilometres west of Syracuse. Turn left at the end of the Catania to Syracuse autostrada and the cemetery will be found approximately 5 kilometres along on the left hand side.
The site of the cemetery was selected in 1943 at an early stage in the operations for the capture of Sicily. In this cemetery most of the graves are those of men who lost their lives in the landings in Sicily on 10th July, 1943, as part of the early stages of the campaign to capture the island (Operation Husky).
On 10 July 1943, following the successful conclusion of the north African campaign in mid May, a combined allied force of 160,000 Commonwealth and American troops invaded Sicily as a prelude to the assault on mainland Italy. The Italians, who would shortly make peace with the Allies and re-enter the war on their side, offered little determined resistance but German opposition was vigorous and stubborn. The campaign in Sicily came to an end on 17 August when the two allied forces came together at Messina, but failed to cut off the retreating Axis lines. Commonwealth forces made their landings in the south-east corner of the island between Pachino and Syracuse, and the majority of those buried in Syracuse War Cemetery died during those landings or in the early stages of the campaign.
Many graves belong to men of the airborne force that attempted landings west of the town on the night of 9-10 July, when gale force winds forced 60 of the 140 gliders used into the sea and blew others wide of their objectives. Syracuse War Cemetery contains 1,059 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 134 of them unidentified. Graves were brought into Syracuse War Cemetery from as far north as Lentini. There is also one First World war burial, that of a merchant seaman whose grave was brought to the cemetery from Marsala British Cemetery. In addition, three special memorials commemorate men known to have been originally buried in other cemeteries in the region, but whose graves could not be found on concentration.
No. of Identified Casualties: 933
The cemetery is permanently open and may be visited anytime. Wheelchair access to site possible, but may be by alternative entrance. For further information regarding wheelchair access, please contact our Enquiries Section on telephone number 01628 507200
In memory of their sacrifice.
The war graves of all nations must be preserved - as a reminder to keep peace, as a call to comunication and reconciliation for all the people.