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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

William Stephenson

In memory of:

Private William Stephenson

December 25, 1943

Military Service

Service Number:







48th Highlanders of Canada

Additional Information

Son of Charles Henry and Francess Stephenson, of Hamilton, Ontario.

Commemorated on Page 216 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page. Download high resolution copy of this page.

Burial Information

Grave Reference:

IX. F. 16.


By the winter of 1943, the German armies in Italy were defending a line stretching from the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Naples, to the Adriatic Sea south of Ortona. The Allies prepared to break through this line to capture Rome. For its part, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division was to cross the Moro River and take Ortona. In January 1944 the Canadian Corps selected this site, intending that it would contain the graves of those who died during the Ortona battle and in the fighting in the weeks before and after it. Today, there are 1,615 graves in the cemetery, of which over 50 are unidentified and 1,375 are Canadian.

The Moro River Canadian War Cemetery lies in the locality of San Donato in the Commune of Ortona, Province of Chieti, and is sited on high ground near the sea just east of the main Adriatic coast road (SS16). The cemetery can be reached from Rome on the autostrada A25 (Rome-Pescara) by branching on the autostrada A14 and leaving it at Ortona. The approach road to the cemetery from the main road passes under an arch forming part of the little church of San Donato. The cemetery is permanently open and may be visited anytime.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images

  • Badge– In memory of the members of the 48th Highlanders of Canada who went to war and did not come home. Submitted on behalf of the 48th Highlanders Museum, 73 Simcoe St. Toronto, ON M5J 1W9 Submitted for the project Operation: Picture Me.
  • Photo of William (Bill) Stephenson– Private William (Bill) Stephenson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Henry
Stephenson, set out from the shores of this county with his father on a
high adventure, arrived overseas together (August 1940), served for a
time in the same unit (RHLI), then parted.  Charles, for medical reasons
was sent back home and discharged (December 31, 1941), William, pursuing
the path of duty, even as his father had done once before as a young
man, marched on, but this time on the road - the long road - from which
there is no returning.

Charles, was sergeant-cook with the R.H.L.I., and a veteran who served
with the "Mad Fourth" in the Great War (April 1915 - May 1919). 
Bill was 22 years old.  He was born in Hamilton, attended West Hamilton
School and is remembered as a young lad who belonged to the R.H.L.I. as
a bugler.  When the time came, Bill joined the active forces and went
overseas with the R.H.L.I.   Serving with this Hamilton unit, he went
through the Dieppe raid, escaping unwounded, then last March (1943) he
transferred to the 45th Highlanders Battalion, a Toronto unit, and his
parents received word that in June he had gone to the Mediterranean
theatre of action.
Bill is buried in the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, Ortona, Italy.
Bill is always remembered by his sister Elsie.
  • Newspaper Clipping– Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me
  • Entrance– Entrance - Moro River Canadian War Cemetery - May 2013 … Photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Cemetery– Moro River Canadian War Cemetery - May 2013 … Photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Grave Marker– Grave marker - Moro River Canadian War Cemetery - May 2013 … Photo courtesy of Marg Liessens

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