The Battle of Vittorio Veneto was the last major engagement on the Italian Front and owes its name to the nearby city of Vittorio Veneto, where the Centenary of the Great War is being commemorated this year. As part of a series of events leading up to the commemoration, a photographic exhibition will be held at The Army and Navy Club during August 2018.
For this exhibition in London, a hundred images from the Luigi Marzocchi Collection of the Museo della Battaglia di Vittorio Veneto will go on display, to commemorate the tragedy and significance of the Great War. Luigi Marzocchi was an authorized photographer of the Royal Italian Army and he was responsible for the official images of the war. His work shows soldiers in their fighting positions and at rest, commanders making decisions, the impressive landscapes around them, the devastated villages and those killed in battle, the artillery ready to fire and pack animals carrying provisions. He devoted his time in recording images of every sector of the front, every instance of hard routine in the trenches, as well as formal occasions, parades, medal-giving ceremonies and important or influential figures meeting the troops away from the violence.
British troops fighting in Italy did not escape his lens either. The British Expeditionary Force first reached Italy in November 1917, after the battle of Caporetto in late October which left Italy beaten and in danger. The Italian army retreated some 150 km from the starting position, arranging along new lines by Mount Grappa and the Piave River. Marzocchi photographed the arrival of the Allied troops, English soldiers with important facilities and Scottish troops in traditional kilts and bagpipes. The photographer also followed the then Prince of Wales in his visit to the Italian front in spring 1918.
The exhibition commemorates the heroism of all soldiers who fought in the Great War and serves to honour their commitment and sacrifice, as well as to remember the contribution of British troops in Italy.