In 1943, Tony Gregson walked for two months south along the Apennines before reaching the Allies and safety at Cassino. Seventy years on, his family are retracing the route.
First to set out was his grandson, Teddy Keen, who walked from PG 19 prisoner of war camp at Bologna to Mt Falterona, east of Florence, in early summer 2013. A few months later, Tony’s daughter, Myfanwy Adams, continued the journey south-east, from the summit of Mt Falterona.
She set out on 26th September and admitted before departure that she found the prospect a bit daunting. “I’ve done lots of walking but never on my own or carrying all the kit I need,” she said. That included cooking utensils and a tent (she had to take a lesson from Teddy in how to put this up).
She was inspired to take up the baton by a number of anniversaries. It is 70 years since her father escaped, immediately after the Armistice with Italy. Also, October 2013 marked the first anniversary of Major Gregson’s death aged 92 (recorded in the MSMT newsletter in June 2013). Finally, Myfanwy herself had recently had her 60th birthday.
Tony often returned to Italy after the war to visit the Loro family who had found him hiding in their manure heap. He would travel out on his Motoguzzi T3.
Myfanwy generously raised sponsorship for two charities – the Monte San Martino Trust and Afghan Connection, which has a school building project in Afghanistan. She said: “By supporting both these worthwhile charities I wish to look backwards and recognise the bravery and humanity of individuals in a past war, and to look forward and promote the means by which individuals, through education, can help to prevent future wars.”
Myfanwy returned to the UK in early October. She said: “It was a memorable trip – quite hard work, but punctuated by lovely times and people I met along the way. At times I felt I could understand a bit of what it would have been like 70 years ago, and felt very emotional. Especially so when I managed to get to one or two places that Dad had passed through on exactly the same day 70 years earlier. I’m so glad to have done it.”
Enjoy a full account of her adventures by clicking on Myfanwy’s report.