On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but by the end of October, the Allies were facing the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line, which stretched from the river Garigliano in the west to the Sangro in the east. Initial attempts to breach the western end of the line were unsuccessful.
Operations in January 1944 landed troops behind the German lines at Anzio, but defences were well organised and a breakthrough was not actually achieved until May.
The site of the cemetery originally lay close to a casualty clearing station. Burials were made direct from the battlefield after the landings at Anzio and later, after the Army had moved forward, many graves were brought in from the surrounding country.
Beach Head War Cemetery contains 2,316 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War, 295 of them unidentified. There is also one First World War burial, which was brought into the cemetery from Chiete Communal Cemetery near Rome.
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