Ernest Hemingway Wounding Site- World War 1
The memorial sites on top of the Piave River levee (west side of the river).
The memorial is a silver colored metal marker which stands about 5 feet high.
The marker is on the levee of the Piave River near where the famous American Author, Ernest Hemingway, was wounded during the First World War. The Italian Army suffered a great defeat during the Battle of Caporetto in October/November 1917 and the Austro-German armies pushed them back to the Piave River. The Italian Army reformed behind their Piave River- on the “The Sacred Piave” defensive line. In June 1918 Hemingway was assigned to this section of the Piave River, a curve in the river known locally as the “Buso Burato”. Hemingway served as a volunteer with the American Red Cross (ARC), 4thSection, where he worked as a canteen operator riding his bicycle distributing coffee, chocolate, and cigarettes to Italian soldiers on the Piave defensive line. On the night of July 8, 1918, an Austrian mortar shell exploded just feet away from Hemingway. It killed an Italian soldier, wounded others and blasted Hemingway unconscious. "Then there was a flash, as when a blast-furnace door is swung open, and a roar that started white and went red," he wrote in a letter home. Despite his injuries, some claim, Hemingway carried a wounded Italian soldier to safety and was injured again by machine-gun fire for which he was awarded the Italian Silver Medal for Valor. He was wounded very close to where his good friend, Lieutenant Edward McKey, ARC, was killed (See ISOB McKey Memorial and Hemingway Poem to McKey Bronzeon this website for more information). Some consider McKey the model for the character Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms.
The city of Fossalta di Piave created a World War 1 trail of along the Piave River levee commemorating the Italian Army operations in this area as well as Ernest Hemingway’s service. The trail follows the river upstream from the Hemingway marker. Stops on the trail include multi-lingual markers describing the battle. One of the stops includes the “Yellow House” near Hemingway’s wounding site that per some literary experts is referenced in Hemingway’s works as a source of his nightmares. For more on Hemingway in Italy in World War 1, see this website, Hemingway Museum which is located in Bassano della Grappa.
The text on the marker is written in Italian. The text reads:
SU QUESTO L’ARGINE
CROCE ROSSO AMERICANA
LA NOTTE DELL’ 8 LUGLIO 1918
A CURA DEGLI “AMICI DI COMISSO”
IL 16 SETTEMBRE 1979
THE TRANSLATION TO ENGLISH:
ON THIS LEVEE
AMERICAN RED CROSS
THE NIGHT OF 8 JULY 1918
PROVIDED BY THE “FRIENDS OF COMISSO”
16 SEPTEMBER 1979
American Red Cross
American Red Cross Ambulance Service
American Red Cross Ambulance Service, 4th Section
Second Battle of the Piave River (Battle of the Solstice)
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