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Anzio twins were killed on the same day

THE tragic story of Scots twins who lost their lives on the same day during the Second World War Allied landings in Italy is to be told using new technology.

Interactive information panels linking to smartphones have been installed at Anzio and Beach Head war cemeteries south of Rome ahead of 70th anniversary events to commemorate Operation Shingle.

Among those featured will be Fife-born John and Thomas Cairncross, who died after being among 100,000 Allied troops who waded ashore at Anzio on January 22, 1944, at the start of one of the bloodiest campaigns of the Second World War.

The twins, who joined the London Scottish Regiment on their 19th birthday, died on February 4, after the regiment came under heavy fire during a German counterattack.

Enlisted as privates, the brothers were part of a force sent to relieve a decimated unit of the Gordon Highlanders.

One Cairncross twin died at Carroceto, a village 10 miles north of Anzio, and the other was killed nearby. It is not known who lost his life first.

But London Scottish Regiment veteran Private Robert Cunning, later wrote: "One of the brothers was killed and the other determined to take revenge on the Germans who killed his brother."

Both were buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's Anzio War Cemetery.

It was only when primary school children from the twins' home town of Newburgh began researching names from their local war memorial four years ago that the brothers' story came to light.

The pupils discovered then that the twins had two brothers, Alexander and Hugh, still in Newburgh. Their sister, however, had died.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (GWGC) visitor information panels which are installed at Anzio and Beach Head war cemeteries can connect to phones allowing visitors to get more information about the fierce fighting that took place and the personal stories of some of those who are buried, including the Fife twins.

CWGC Commissioner Robert Fox, who will unveil the memorial tomorrow, said: "The cemeteries and memorials created and maintained by the CWGC are of huge historical significance.

"They are also deeply moving on a personal level.

"The CWGC's innovative use of technology - and our interactive visitor information panel prog-ramme in particular - help to tell the extraordinary story of the sacrifices made by Common-wealth servicemen and women in the Italian campaign."

The panels at Anzio are among 500 to be installed at CWGC locations worldwide and are some of the first to be placed at Second World War cemeteries.

Each of the panels features information about the site of the cemetery and a quick response (QR) code.

When scanned with a smartphone, the QR code provides access to further information on their phones, including the stories of some of the casualties buried or commemorated at that location.

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