Alexander honoured in town he helped liberate

A war veteran has made an emotional return to the Italian town he helped liberate.

Alexander Jackson, 91, was last in the Umbrian town of Narni on 13 June, 1944, when the 2nd Lothian and Borders Horse Brigade, part of the Sixth Armoured Division, freed it from German control.

He has now returned to receive an honorary citizenship and was greeted with an "overwhelming response" from the local community.

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On his way to Narni, Mr Jackson was able to revisit many places he had passed through during the war, including the towns of Frosinone and Cassino.

The proud veteran, who lives in Macmerry, East Lothian, made the trip earlier this month with his wife Ann, daughters Lynn and Sandra, son Gordon, daughter-in-law Moira and his granddaughter Jennifer.

The family travelled up to Narni, along the same route Mr Jackson followed during the war, for a special ceremony on 8 April.

Hundreds of local well-wishers came out to see Mr Jackson, including councillors, former Italian partisans and the Mayor of Narni.

Mr Jackson said: "I never imagined this kind of response to my visit. It was a fantastic trip."

During the ceremony Mr Jackson gave a speech, which was translated to the audience, about his time during the Italian campaign.

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Mr Jackson's son, Gordon, said: "We were overwhelmed by the people of Narni for their hospitality and how proud the locals were to show off their lovely town."

Many of Mr Jackson's comrades who served in the same division in Italy now rest in the British and Commonwealth war cemetery near where the battles for Monte Cassino and Narni took place. Mr Jackson and his wife took 20 small poppy crosses to the site to lay at the headstones of his lost and fallen comrades.

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The trip was made possible through an award from the BIG Lottery Fund's Heroes Return programme, which helps veterans return to the places they served in wartime.

Mr Jackson said: "I feel honoured and proud to be recognised in this way but the honour is not just for me but for all of the 2nd Lothians and Border Horse regiment who took part."