A WAR hero is set to return to the site of one of the Second World War's bloodiest battles.
Ninety-year-old John Love will take the emotional journey back to Monte Cassino for the first time since he left as a young soldier in 1944.
John, of Medina Close, Accrington, fought as a gunner in the six-month battle between allied forces and Germany, which was a turning point in the war.
During the agonizing battle, which saw allied forces attempting to capture a heavily-defended fortress at the top of a mountain, a quarter of a million soldiers were killed or injured.
Now, thanks to lottery cash obtained by the Royal British Legion, John, who lives with his grandaughter Samantha Holland, 28, will return to the place where scores of his friends were killed.
He said: "I remember it all very well, but I expect even more memories will flood back. There are plenty of places and things I would love to see and I can't wait to go. It will be much different this time around.
"It was murder, the hardest battle of the war. There were planes bombing the summit while we tried to manoeuvre and guns firing. It was as if hell had been let loose.
"And the Germans had mined so many things and booby-trapped innocent-looking objects like pens. It was just perilous for us.
"Massive chunks of the roads were blown up as well in a bid to stop our advance.
"One enormous crater we came across had loads of vehicles in it, cars, buses everything. That really struck me, because I was also a despatch driver."
Before the infamous battle, which was also known as the Battle for Rome, John was stationed in Cyprus as a member of the Kent Armoury.
When he was discharged from duty in 1946 John, who has been married four times and has seven children, returned to Accrington where he was born and bred.
Before his retirement, he worked for Blythe's Chemicals and various district councils as a property repairer.
John will travel to Monte Cassino, near Rome in either May or September next year.