Provincia di Ravenna
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
The Ravenna War Cemetery lies on a communal road 1 kilometre south of the SS16 from Ravenna to Ferrara near the village of Piangipane in the Commune and Province of Ravenna. The turnoff from the main road is at the 143 km stone, 12 km west of Ravenna and is marked with a CWGC sign pointing in the direction of the cemetery and a road sign marked 'Piangipane 4 kilometres'. Continue along the minor road until a further CWGC sign is seen. The entrance to the cemetery is located on the left hand side of the road.
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. 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 lines. In the northern Appenine mountains the last of these, the Gothic Line, was breached by the Allies during the Autumn campaign and the front inched forward as far as Ravenna in the Adratic sector, but with divisions transferred to support the new offensive in France, and the Germans dug in to a number of key defensive positions, the advance stalled as winter set in. Ravenna was taken by the Canadian Corps at the beginning of December 1944.
Burials in Ravenna War Cemetery reflect the fighting for the Senio line and the period of relative quiet during the first three months of 1945. Many of the men buried there were Canadians; one of the last tasks of the Canadian Corps before being moved to north-west Europe was the clearing of the area between Ravenna and the Comacchio lagoon. Others are Indians from the 10th Indian Division and New Zealanders. The site for the cemetery was selected by the Army in 1945 for burials from the surrounding battlefields.
Ravenna War Cemetery contains 955 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 63 of them unidentified. There are also 33 First World War burials, 30 of them brought in from Gradisca Communal Cemetery in 1973, the others from communal cemeteries at Arzigano, Fano and Monterosso al Mare. Among those buried in the cemetery are 33 men of the Jewish Infantry Brigade Group which was formed in September 1944, chiefly by volunteers from Palestine; the burials at Ravenna form the largest concentration of casualties from the Brigade.