Thursday 16 May 2019


The presence of Italian activists linked to a fascist organisation at an
event inside a British Military Cemetery has prompted the
intergovernmental Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to invite
event holders to check the credentials of attendees to avoid similar
“embarrassing” incidents in the future.


The CWGC was alerted to the fact that on 21st October last year, on the
occasion of an official commemoration ceremony at Brookwood Military
Cemetery, Surrey, organized by the Italian authorities and attended by
the Italian ambassador, the consul and the military attaché, members of
the far-right organisation Vortex Londinium were called by the master of
ceremonies to take part in the event.


Vortex Londinium was launched in London in March 2018 as the UK offshoot
of CasaPound, the Italian fascist organisation. With its declared aim of
setting up a European network, Vortex Londinium shared Tommy Robinson’s
Facebook page and in an effort to reach out to a British audience last
month it marked the 51st anniversary of Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood”
speech commenting: “Judge by yourself if this is a bigot delirium or a
wise, prophetic analysis. We already made up our mind a while ago.”


The CWGC was told about the Vortex Londinium activists at the Brookwood
Military Cemetery by a group of Italian anti-fascists who pointed out
that some appeared to be the same individuals who on 24 July last year
distributed propaganda leaflets twinning Vortex Londinium with CasaPound
during a major religious festival in London at St Peter’s Church,
Clerkenwell, and were subsequently photographed in the company of an
associate wearing a T-shirt with the number 88, taken to refer to the
Nazi salute, ‘Heil Hitler’.


There are over 300 graves in the Italian plot at Brookwood Military
Cemetery, mostly prisoners of war who died in the UK. In spite of the
fact that the Italians were war enemies after Mussolini’s stab in the
back as he declared war on Britain and France on 10 June 1940, the
Italian authorities in the UK are permitted to mount an annual
commemoration in memory of the dead.


Understandably, the last thing the CWGC would wish to see at the
cemetery are sympathizers of Mussolini or Hitler. CasaPound are known
for attending gatherings at the Maggiore cemetery in Milan, Plot X, to
pay homage to Mussolini’s Nazi-fascist soldiers of the Salò Republic,
which was under Hitler’s orders.


In their reply to the Italian anti-fascists led by ANPI-London, the
Italian National Association of Partisans who fought with the Allies
against Nazi-fascists in WW2, the CWGC administrators, who as well as
the UK represent countries such as Canada, India, South Africa,
Australia and New Zealand, have made it clear that they found last year
incident at Brookwood Military Ceremony “most unacceptable” and will now
ensure that the booking information warns events holders about checking
the credentials of attendees to avoid such embarrassment in the future.

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