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British campaigner Harry Shindler dies in Italy aged 101

The Local Italy
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British campaigner Harry Shindler dies in Italy aged 101
Harry Shindler at home in Italy. Photo: Alex Macbeth/The Local.

Tributes poured in on Wednesday after the death in Italy of World War II veteran Harry Shindler, known for his campaign work on voting rights for British nationals abroad.

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Harry Shindler, who fought in the Battle of Anzio and took part in the liberation of Rome, died at his home in San Benedetto del Tronto, Marche, on Monday, Italian news agency Ansa reported.

He was known across Europe for his campaigning work against Brexit and the so-called 15-year rule, which meant Brits who had been out of the country for more than 15 years lost the right to vote in the UK.

He led a two-decade campaign to secure the rights of British citizens living overseas to vote in UK elections, winning a victory in 2022 with the passage of the Elections Act 2022 meaning the right to vote for life.

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Shindler's campaign to get Brits abroad the vote turned him into something of a legendary figure, whose work inspired the citizens’ rights group British in Europe.

Shindler was awarded an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in 2021 in recognition of his service to foreign British nationals.

‘Mixed feelings’: British citizens in Europe finally get right to vote for life

In 2014, he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his work in identifying servicemen killed in the Second World War,

Tributes poured in on social media after the news of his death was reported,

In a post published to its Facebook page on Tuesday, The Association of British Expats in Italy wrote: "Harry Schinder WWII war veteran and Association member and founder has sadly passed. We owe him so much. May he RIP."

On Twitter, British Ambassador to Italy Ed Llewellyn wrote that he was "honoured" to have known Shindler.

"He was a remarkable man, who lived the fullest of lives," he added.

The Rome chapter of the National Association of Italian Partisans wrote that Shindler was "always full of projects still to be accomplished, from June 4th celebrations in Rome to a monument to the partisans which he would have liked to have proposed in Piazza Venezia, to his next book."

"We warmly embrace his family and the British community; we have lost an irreplaceable friend and comrade."

Born in 1921 and stationed in Italy during the war, Shindler later settled in Italy with his wife and son and spent the last 40 years of his life as an Italian resident, founding the Association of British Expats in Italy in 2010.

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For many years after the war, Shindler dedicated himself to identifying the graves of fallen British soldiers and tracking down their relatives.

It was in the course of this work that he found the grave of the father of Pink Floyd founding member Roger Waters, whom he subsequently befriended and who attended Shindler's 95th birthday party at San Benedetto del Tronto in 2016.

That same year, he published his book 'My War Is Not Over' with Marco Patucchi, an account of Shindler's experiences in Nazi-occupied Italy and of his subsequent efforts to trace the graves of his countrymen.

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