Roger Waters: Last Hours Of Star's Soldier Dad
Dramatic dispatches describing the final hours of Pink Floyd star Roger Waters' soldier father have been uncovered by a World War Two veteran.
Eric Fletcher Waters died in 1944 while serving as a second lieutenant with the Royal Fusiliers as they advanced through Italy.
Earlier this year, his son Roger made an emotional journey to visit the battlefield where his father was killed along with thousands of other Allied troops.
He spoke of wanting to find out as much as he could about the man he never knew.
Now war diary documents unearthed at the National Archives in Kew by former veteran Harry Shindler paint a clear picture of the final 24 hours of 2nd Lt Waters and the brave men of Z Company who were with him at Anzio in February 1944.
The first line dated February 17 records how at 11am ''intensive shelling and mortaring'' took place in the area where 2nd Lt Waters, commanding officer John Oliver-Bellasis and the rest of Z Company were trying to advance on a heavily defended German position.
Later in the day, an entry timed 5.45pm describes colourfully how the Germans called on 2nd Lt Waters and his comrades to give up. It says: ''Z coy reported an attack on the left forward platoon.
"The bosche called on them to surrender but were answered with all available SA (semi automatic) fire. Casualties were inflicted.''
Just over an hour later, the entry adds: ''Situation well in hand, enemy decided to withdraw.
"Prisoners from Z coy said they had recently marched from Rome and were told they would not be used in an attack.
"Had also been told that b'head was almost finished.''
The report goes on to record a quiet night, but then in the early hours of the morning at 1.45am, the day 2nd Lt Waters was killed, it describes an ''enemy concentration reported on the rt of 7th Oxf & Bucks", which is followed by an entry at 6.30am of how the men of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry were being attacked ''and sounds of tracked vehicles heard to their front''.
At 7.15am ''Z coy reported attack by approx 50 Bosches. Successfully dealt with".
More than two hours later at 9.45am it adds: ''5 enemy killed and several spandaus captured as result of above.''
Then 30 minutes later the battle which claimed 2nd Lt Waters' life began.
It reads: ''Further attack on Z coy. This time in greater strength than previous attack. Enemy in close contact with forward positions.
"Unable to send assistance as Z coy having trouble on their rt.''
An hour later the diary records: ''Z coy reported enemy all round their positions, very stiff fighting going on.''
Then at 11.30am the final report reads: ''Lt Waters killed and Lt Hill wounded, situation now critical.
"Message received over air that assistance would now be too late.''
Second Lieutenant Waters died in the first wave of fighting as the Allies attempted to secure the beach head at Anzio, south of Rome.
His son was just five months old at the time.
2nd Lt Waters' name is on a memorial at the nearby Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Cassino, but his remains were never found.
His death provided the inspiration for a number of songs, in particular When The Tigers Broke Free, which featured in the film The Wall.
In the song Waters describes how he feels that his 31-year-old father died because of foolhardy generals.
He also describes coming across a letter of condolence from George V as he tried on his father's uniform, adding how he found it disconcerting that it was rubber-stamped and not actually signed.
After visiting the cemetery at Cassino in March, Waters, 70, told a local Italian TV station: "I'm on a journey through Europe.
"My grandfather was killed in 1916 and my father was killed down the road in Anzio. This is the end of my journey.
"Some of my past is in my music and so is my future. I'm making a film that won't be aired in public."
Speaking of his father, Waters recalled how his father's death had affected him as a child.
He said: "When men in uniform came to collect their children, that's when I realised I didn't have a father anymore.
"I was very angry. It took me years to come to terms with it.
"Because he was missing in action, presumed killed, until quite recently I expected him to come home.
"The sacrifice of his life has been a great gift and a great burden to me."
The film and album The Wall tells the story of how a troubled rock star called Pink, said to be Waters, is left psychologically scarred by the loss of his father in the war.
The film opens with scenes of a solider - 2nd Lt Waters - and his comrades storming a beachhead.
Mr Shindler, 93, who also fought in Italy during World War Two and is in charge of the Italy Star Association, which represents former soldiers, said: ''I started to dig around on the story when I saw a report of this man on the TV.
"I was very moved that he wanted to find out more about his father's death and the circumstances of how he was killed.
"I don't know who Pink Floyd are, my music stops at The Beatles.
''The report describes the events leading up to his father's death and how they were surrounded and outnumbered but despite putting on a brave fight there was nothing they could do.''
Mr Shindler adds that he had been in touch with Waters' agent but had no direct contact with the musician who recently completed a successful tour of Europe.