Thursday 3 September 2009: Angelita di Anzio, Anzio, Italy
Since 22nd January 1979 the statue of Angelita has stood in Anzio. It stands in memory not of a legend but of a very real victim of war.
S.C. Hayes of the Royal Scots Fusiliers (UK) found the child in January 1944 lost and frightened on the beach in the midst of heavy bombing.
She was for a short time adopted by Hayes and his comrades who were unable to locate her family. For a few days Angelita was happy with the soldiers who cared for her like a princess. But the story has no happy ending. The men left the child with the Red Cross and just minutes after leaving her, there was an explosion from a shell and Angelita was killed (although some say she was struck a bullet)
Hayes never forgot the little girl and after the war attempted to track down her family or find out anything he could about her. But to no avail. In fact he could not even be certain that he and his comrades had got the child's name correct. Tracing the real child proved impossible but in the process she moved into legend.
The people of Anzio erected a statue, a young girl surrounded by seagulls, and Angelita di Anzio became a symbol of all the inncocent victims of the cruelty of war.
The bronze statue is the work of sculptor Giorgio Capellini.
(The photograph shows a thumbnail of the full size statue with a close up of Angelita)