Lost chapel built in wartime Italy re-discovered

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After 65 years a frescoed "lost chapel" created by British troops to honour the war dead after the landings at Salerno in southern Italy during the Second World War has been found - but has been turned into an ironmonger's basement storeroom.

The hunt for the chapel began after former British soldiers who took part in the landings in September 1943 told Harry Shindler, spokesman in Italy of the "Star Association", which represents Italian campaign veterans, that they had built the chapel to honour those who died in the landings, naming it after St Martin and St George.

Mr Shindler said the veterans recalled that the chapel had been carved out of a former wine cellar. "But part of the problem was that the landscape had changed out of all recognition" he told The Times.

This week, after an appeal to residents of Salerno who remembered the "lost church" to come forward was published by La Repubblica, it emerged that it was now used as a storeroom in the seaside town of Pontecagnano, south of Salerno. The chapel retains its vaulted ceiling, but the frescoes painted by the troops have been whitewashed over.

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