In one cemetery, there are 188 graves of men from the regiment. I knew many of them. They were good pals
Sprightly 93-year-old John "Moe" Harper treasures the memories of serving with his comrades during the Second World War.
His eyes sparkle when he thinks of the comical episodes and they cloud when he talks of those who were killed.
Although only 5ft 4in tall, he managed the challenges of war on the frontline, wading through rivers and seas of mud that came up to his armpits.
The Dunkirk veteran was dive-bombed by German Stukas and hit by shrapnel from a barrage of mortar bombs.
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He recently returned to the battlefields, in central Italy, where he served as a corporal in the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, 68 years before.
During the two-week tour, he visited nine cemeteries where his comrades, who fought as part of the US 5th Army, were laid to rest.
He said: "It is important to remember those who fell and pay respects. In one cemetery at Cesena, there are 188 graves of men from the regiment. I knew a great many of them. They were good pals. You remember the good and the bad."
The visit was made possible by the Heroes Return programme, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which has just announced it is willing to fund veterans who have already been to Italy to go back.
Mr Harper, who lives in New Parks, Leicester, said: "The trip was extremely well organised and I took a carer who was subsidised by the £1,450 I got from the fund."
John survived the retreat from Dunkirk in 1940. He said: "During the retreat we had captured a pig and I slaughtered it and we were about to cook it.
"We were in a coal mine in Northern France at the time. But before we could tuck in we were attacked by 30 Stukas, that caused absolute mayhem. We escaped injury but the pig had gone and we all looked like people out of a minstrel show because of the coal dust."
Back in Leicester, he was resting with a comrade, Bill Higgins. He said: "A policeman asked us what we were doing and we told him we had just come back for Dunkirk. He bought us an ice cream on the strength of that."
John, who trained as a butcher before he joined up in 1939, served in France, Belgium, North Africa, Palestine, Greece, Syria and Italy.
He said: "I would like to take advantage of the fund again next year. I want to visit the area called the Gothic Line, on the east side of Italy, where we fought as part of the British 8th Army after we had served with the Americans."
While fighting to capture a bridge over the Cosina Canal in that campaign, John was hit in the leg and body by shrapnel from a mortar barrage.
"Our RQSM (Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant Major) was coming to tell me I had 35 days leave due. But not being used to being that far forward, he walked along the top of a ridge and gave our position away to the Germans and all hell broke loose."
John's wounds were minor and only required six stitches.
He served to the end of the war in Europe and returned to civilian life, where he had a family and worked as a bricklayer.
Mick McGrath, head of Big Lottery Fund East Midlands region, said: "It is a very real honour and pleasure to announce that Second World War veterans who have already been on a Heroes Return commemorative visit can now be supported to make another journey to a place where they fought or served.
"The experiences they revisit remind us we must never take for granted the peace this generation secured for all of us and the debt we owe for the freedoms we enjoy and value today."
Contact the Heroes Return helpline, 0845 0000 121, or visit: