Māori Battalion veteran, 94, pays respects at WWII battle of Monte Cassino's 75th anniversary service

A large delegation of Māori travelled to the Italian town of Monte Cassino today to mark the 75th anniversary of the World War II battle there.

The last surviving veteran of B company in the 28th Māori Battalion the group that fought in Cassino, turned out to pay his respects at a service today.

Robert Gillies, known as Bob, from Te Arawa and Kahungnunu, was presented with a Nga tapuwae kahu huruhuru, or feathered cloak.

The 94-year-old read the ode and also laid a wreath at the service.

He told 1 NEWS many of the men he fought alongside when he was 19 were buried in the area and he found it hard to be back, but he feels that he needs to do it to honour them.

It was a particularly costly battle for New Zealand, especially with the 28th Māori Battalion.

One soldier describing that battle as "absolute hell" in appalling weather.

Nearly 350 New Zealanders were killed in the battle.

Despite today's rain, more than 120 people attended the emotional service - many with personal connections - to remember one of New Zealand's most brutal campaigns during World War II.

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1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Joy Reid has this report. Source: Breakfast