Angelita of Anzio

The little Girl who became a Legend


On 8th September 1943, when the Italian govern  surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, the Germans occupied militarly our country. The Germans forced the local people Germans into the woods outside the town and after they were evacuated again as the battle raged, and sent to Calabria or Sicily. They were reduced amished nomads in their own land. For Anzio, one the most potent symbol of all they suffered was a little girl called Angelita.

When the first wave of British soldiers roared out of their landing craft on 22nd January 1944, one of them found a little girl sitting alone on the sandy beach and weeping. The soldier gathered her in his arms and took her to safety. He and his comrades gave her a name and looked after her; she became their mascot. But before the story could have a happy ending, she was blown apart by a German shell.

The man who claimed to have discovered her, Christopher Hayes of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, lived in Teddington, south-west London, before emigrating to Sydney where he died in 2002 but the story that he reported lives on.

From the letter sent by corporal Christopher Hayes, Royal Scots 

Historians had looked into Mr Hayes's story and believe it is untrue. There are too many variations in detail and improbabilities: if soldiers found a child they would have handed her over at once to the medical corps…”

But Angelita is beyond the reach of historians and even though Mr Hayes passed away in 2002, the story of Angelita still lives on. 

In 1964 e a song was  dedicated to Angelita by an Italian group of the ‘60’s called “Los Marcellos Feriales”:

Today by Anzio's shore a life-size bronze of a girl with her hair in bunches stands looking out to sea, amid a storm of seagulls. The monument was donated, in 1979, by the Municipality of Anzio and it is dedicated to all children who died during the Second World War. 

From the letter sent by corporal Christopher Hayes, Royal Scots Fusiliers, to the mayor of Anzio. February, 15th , 1961.

I would like to visit Anzio and Nettuno again and possibly find little Angelita’s grave along with other Civilian and troops who were also killed. But I am married now and have 5 children and I cannot afford to visit but I would appreciate any photo of the area and any information which you can give me. I am sure it is all changed now, let’s hope there will never be another Anzio through the world.

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