Gary Lineker on My Grandad's War



Presenter and former England football captain Gary Lineker follows in the footsteps of his grandfather, Stanley Abbs, to explore a brutal but often overlooked chapter of World War Two.
The Italian campaign played a key part in the Allies’ victory in WWII, but whilst Gary is aware that his grandad served in Italy as a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, he knows little more as his grandfather never talked to him about that time.

To discover the true story behind his grandad’s war experiences and better understand the importance of this campaign. Gary travels to Italy, and using Stanley’s unit’s War Diary as a guide, follows the Italian campaign from the first landings at Salerno - which nearly ended in disaster - to the seemingly endless months of gruelling fighting over mountains and through torrential rivers.

Along his journey, Gary meets veterans from the Italian campaign, including 104 year-old William Earl who, like Gary’s grandad, was in the Royal Army Medical Corps. William shares his vivid memories of battling to save soldiers under fire. The programme also features poignant first-hand testimony from other veterans, bringing to life the unremitting reality of the combat in Italy. As Gary learns just how relentless and grim the battle was, he comes to understand why his grandfather never shared what must have been harrowing memories.

Despite their heroic fighting, the Italian veterans later became known as ‘D-Day dodgers’ - and Gary wants to know why. He learns that the soldiers self-deprecatingly embraced the label, penning a song that made fun of the term. He discovers how their story was overshadowed by the D-Day landings, which happened the day after the Allies in Italy took Nazi-occupied Rome.

As he finds out about the huge sacrifices the Italian veterans made and how much they endured, Gary is determined to make sure they receive the recognition they deserve, and that their huge contribution is never forgotten.

Gary Lineker: My Grandad’s War (w/t), a 1x60 for BBC One, is produced by Wall to Wall Media (a Warner Bros Television Production UK Ltd company).

Pictured: Stanley Abbs, Gary Lineker's grandfather

Source BBC One

November 7, 2019 5:10am ET by BBC One  


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