Memorial at Sferro Hill, Sicily.
4th November 1943

Sferro Memorial, 1943

Sferro Memorial (1943)

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This photograph was kindly sent to us by Janet Cardigan. The photo belonged to Janet's Uncle (George Edward Stone) who was with 239th Field Park Coy Royal Engineers.

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Janet Cardigan

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1943 . Memorials . Sferro Hills . Sicily - Op. Huskey

On 4th November 1943, on Sferro Hill, in the presence of representatives of the 51st Highland Division a stone Celtic Cross was unveiled. A service entitled "51st Highland Division - Dedication of Memorial" was held.

The total casualties of the Division in the campaign had been 124 Officers and 1312 other ranks.

Close to turning off the Sferro Rd

Roadside Ruin Sferro

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Directions to the Sferro Memorial were kindly provided by Major Hugh Rose. This photo shows the 'ruin' close to the turning to the barn off the Sferro road. See the Sferro Memorial page for full details.

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Thanks go to Major Hugh Rose

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Memorials . Sferro Hills

Locating the Sferro Monument

The following was kindly provided by Major Hugh Rose, a former officer of the Black Watch.

"The nearest place you can get to it by car is along farm tracks to the barn at N 37°  28.662'  E 014° 45.465'. The turning to the barn off the Sferro road is by a ruin (pictured) and there are now a couple of windmills along the ridge from the memorial the other side of the olive grove. The memorial is 200m away across a field on the scarp edge - the inscription is getting a bit worn. It has actually been marked on Google maps (see below). The road to the ruined pink house is locked like everything else in Sicily! A farmer came to chase us away when we parked but was quite happy when we explained where we were going."

 
 
Sferro Monument, Sicily

Sferro Monument

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This photo of the Memorial in the Sferro Hills was kindly sent to us by Pat Miller and was taken in April 2018.

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Photography by Pat Miller

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1943 . Memorials . Sferro Hills . Sicily - Op. Huskey

Sferro Hills Momument

Sferro Hills Momument

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Photograph taken 2006 by Brigadier (Ret'd) CS Grant OBE

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Brigadier (Ret'd) CS Grant OBE

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1943 . Memorials . Sferro Hills . Sicily - Op. Huskey . [email protected]

Read about the action in the Sferro Hills in our history section :-

Sferro Memorial Inscription

Sferro Inscription

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The inscription on the memorial at Sferro is badly worth but appears to read :
"To the memory of the Officers & Men of the 51st Highland Division who gave their lives for their country during the campaign in Sicily 10th July - 16th August 1943 - Axailh An Alba Gu Brath - This memorial, erected by their comrades, overlooks the battlefields of Gerbini and Sferro."
Note - the inscription appears to have been painted some time during 2017 / early 2018. The meaning of the word 'Axail' (if indeed it is that as this section is extremely worn) is not known and does not appear to be Gaelic, however, 'Alba Gu Brath' is a Gaelic expression of allegiance to Scotland.

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Photography by Pat Miller

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1943 . Memorials . Sferro Hills . Sicily - Op. Huskey

Note - The inscription on the Memorial appears to have been painted some time during 2017 / early 2018.

We are regularly asked about the meaning of the word 'Axail' in the inscription. The inscription is heavily worn on that section so it is not entirely clear as to whether the work is indeed 'Axail' as there are markings before and after this word that have not been painted in. Unfortunately the meaning of this word is not known to us. It certainly does not appear to be a common Gaelic word, however, 'Alba Gu Brath' is a Gaelic expression and is a statement of allegiance to Scotland.

Amendment - May 2018

It has been suggested (by Pat Miller who kindly sent us the above photograph) that perhaps this word could in fact be the Gaelic expression "Mo Cridhe" rather than "Axail" since there appears to have been a letter "M" at the beginning of the line at some point which can just be made out in the photograph of the inscription. "Mo Cridhe" translates to "My Heart" which could be a plausible suggestion.