Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Locates Italian Battlefield Where Father Died during World War II

Mon, 01/27/2014 - 04:17
Roger Water plays

In the photo: Pink Floyd's Roger Waters makes a video in a British Cemetery in Cassino to honor British soldiers, including his father.

For years, music legend Roger Waters, co-founder of Pink Floyd, tried to locate the place where his father was killed in Italy during World War II.

Waters was five months old when his father, Lt. Eric Fletcher Waters, died in the countryside near Anzio in early 1944. His body was never recovered. All Waters had to remember him was a black and white photograph portraying the family: Waters on the knees of his mother, his father in Army clothes holding older brother John.

The sadness of not knowing his father inspired Waters in his songwriting, with songs like “When the tigers broke free,” which describes the death of his father during Operation Shingle, the Allied amphibious landing in the Italian Campaign against German forces in the area of Anzio and Nettuno. 

Waters thought the search for his father had ended at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Monte Cassino, where a monument commemorates the names of the dead.

However, a British war veteran was able to find the exact spot where Waters’ father was killed. Harry Shindler, who also fought at Anzio, found a British army intelligence report that gives the exact battlefield coordinates of the spot where Lt. Waters died. Waters has sent him a poem titled “One River,” along with a letter which he signed “To Harry, with gratitude.”

On February 18, Waters will be honored with Anzio honorary citizenship in memory of his father.