1 December Sat
We could see the harbour plain when we went on deck this morning. There were ships all over the place. Our only worries were oil and water in this port and as soon as we had done this we would be moving. We could buy fresh coconut at 1/- each they are good ones too. I cannot say anything about this port because the only views I seen was from the ship I was on. We left at 1500hrs and we were soon on our way again towards Aussie. This time we will be 9 days at sea only seeing land once. I havn’t seen any sharks yet. We are going to get some very hot weather in this next week. I was very sick early this morning. When I got up (0600hrs) I was feeling like hanging my head over the rail but when I got pains in my stomagh I knew where I had to go and I was in and out every few minutes until 1100hrs when I seemed to get right again. I was right for the rest of the day. Played bridge after tea as usual
2 December Sun
There was no ships inspection today because of it being Sunday. Today was hot but about 1640hrs there were black clouds over in the west, they were rain clouds. At 11.55pm they hit the ship and there was the usual scatter for cover. Played bridge in the afternoon and read in the evening
3 December Mon
When we woke this morning it was raining very heavy and with the time now at 0815hrs things are getting a bit mixed up. The rain has forced a lot of chaps below the reason being of course that 75% of the deck space is not covered. This place where we are now is just over the Equator. What time we crossed this “line” we don’t know as the ships Cap has never sent word yet. Today is going to be a dull one unless the rain ceases soon
4 December Tuesday
So this is the “Equator” well it certainly doesn’t look very much like it because all day it rained heavy. The days trip was 384 mls and it was a very cool 24 hours too. We are now counting the days till we reach home.Our ship is due in at Aussie on Sunday or early on Monday morning. Then only a little over a week after that. I am playing a lot of bridge this trip, no gambling at all. There is plenty of money changing hands though. “Two Up” and Anchor(?) is being played everywhere.
5 December Wed
The sea is rather choppy today and it has cut down speed quite a lot. The ships run has not come through yet why I don’t know. They usually put it over about 1220hrs because our days run ends at 1200hrs every day. I am playing in the bridge comp and we played our first game this afternoon winning by 87 points. After tea we played our second game winning again by 562 points. The wind is still very high and it is cutting down the speed of the ship by 40 miles a day.
6 December Thursday
This ship we are on “MOOLTAN” is an ex passenger liner and its run was between the Uk and Aussie in peace time. Its length is 625ft, Beam 73 ft, Passengers 600 “Peace time” Gross tonnage 20,952. Built in 1923. Its propellers are 19 tons c/cwt in weight each one that is she has two. The propellers are three bladed each blade is 8ft 4” high by 6ft 8in wide. Each blade has over 7000 sq in. I am going on a tour of the bridge this afternoon at 1620hrs. I have also put my name down for the engine room which will come up within a few days. The anchor and chain belonging to the boat weighs 40 tons 5cwt (hundredweight_)
7 December Fri
Our run today was only 361mls. There is a strong wind bellowing and this cut the speed a lot. Played our game of bridge to night, but we were beaten in the last rubber. It was “he who won the last game won the comp and also played in the final. I ws feeling out of sorts all day and I think it was just a little touch of boat sickness. We have been on board 2 weeks now and I am sick of it already.
8 December Sat
Wrote Janet card it will be posted from Aussie on Monday 10th. We are going to get to Aussie on Monday at about 0400hrs. I hope we don’t stay there very long, we all want to get home. I am still feeling a little off colour but I should be right by tonight.
9 December Sun
Today was rather cold and rough. Most of the day was spent below decks because of this cold weather. We shall arrive in Fremantle tomorrow.
10 December Mon
Arrived at Freemantle before breakfast and we as we were going to get leave, most of the chaps were getting ready early. The first group got off at 10.30hrs then the rest following in order. The ship was almost cleared by 11.20hrs. I could not go off myself because I was on picquet in Perth and we were not allowed off the boat till 1400hrs. Our job gave us plenty of fun although we couldn’t get around town very much except when we went out in the trucks. The people gave us a good time, as is usual with the people of Perth and West Australia. My job finished at 20.30hrs and I came back to the boat and went to bed it wasn’t worth going out through town after that time. The chaps were coming onto the boat all night and after midnight they came on in their hundreds. I slept on deck tonight. Tonight was a good night to get up top because the chaps would be coming in from 10.00hrs till the time the boat left.
11 December Tuesday
Left Freemantle at 015hrs this morning and this was good-buy to Aussie. Our next step was 3100mls bringing us to Wellington. All afternoon we were within sight of land and we will be able to see it for a fair way yet. There are chaps lying all over the decks today sleeping off the effects of yesterdays drinking in Perth. Played bridge after tea
12 December Wed
We were still in sight of land when we got on deck this morning. We had changed course during the night from south to east, this meant we were now travelling across the bottom of Aussie. We lost sight of land at 0920hrs. This land was the SW point of Aussie. The next time we see any will be the SE point when we pass through the Bass Sqt. We are due in Wellington early on the morning of the 20th and so far the boat is going on to Lyttelton taking all the South Island chaps down then only 7 ½ days to go till we reach New Zealand.
13 December Thursday
I was not feeling very good today. I have my old pain in my stomach back again. I had to take things very easy today because of it. Today was very cold but the sea was calm. Following the boat today we had 18 Albertrosses and they were feeding on the ships scraps. I played bridge after tea but not for very long
14 December Fri
The cold is intense just now and it is useless going up on deck because it is to cold to stay up there. The ERS has cancelled there engagements for this afternoon because they usually use the Rec Room and because of the cold they are allowing the chaps in there today instead of holding their letchures. We only have 5 days to go now till we reach New Zealand. I hope this cold weather gets better tomorrow because if it doesn’t we will have to get into Battle Dress
15 December Sat
Another very cold day today and like the last three we spent them below decks. We were issued today with our Rations coupons and leave pass today. This leave pass is for the period seperating our landing in NZ and the time of our Med Board. Only 4 ½ days till we reach home. Went to the ships concert tonight, it was good for the ships effort
16 December Sun
The sun is shining a little this morning and today isn’t so cold as the last three days have been but just the same most of today will be passed away below decks. There is a Nat Pat issue today what it is I don’t know as yet. Only a few cigs each today but there was a cake of choch and a tin of fruit each. We were able to buy 40 cigs out of the ships canteen today. I bought two tins of salmon today and I shall buy another two tomorrow, they will help things a bit over Christmas where ever I stay. I don’t know where I am going to put my bed roll down when I reach home on Friday. I know Frances will have things ready but right now I couldn’t say where I will end up over Christmas
17 December Mon
Very cold today again and we will be getting the same sort of weather till we reach home again. There are notices going up all over the boat now telling us what we have to do and when. Everything is arranged now up to the time we each get to our own homes. We from ChCh start to disembark at 10.00hrs on Fri morning, so I should be “home” for lunch. Played bridge this afternoon for 3 per 100 and we won 1/3 cash my partner and I.
18 December Tuesday
Today is going to be a bit warmer. The sun is shining through the thick blanket of clouds that has been with us since we left Aussie. There is going to be boat drill this morning, why we don’t know. There is going to be a big parade and clean up tomorrow also
19 December Wed
This is our last full day on the ship. Tomorrow we get off. (the North Island chaps anyhow) Our trip has been a pleasant one although a long one. We have only been going half speed for the last 24 hours so we won’t get into NZ too soon. About 10.00hrs we ran into a very thick fog and we had to slow down to 3 knots. This fog was so thick that one couldn’t see the both ends of the ship if one was standing at either end. No notice was taken of it until about 1500hrs then the chaps thought that we would be delayed and would be late in to Wellington. About 1700hrs the fog lifted and away we went flat out and we were still going when we went to bed, 2100hrs
20 Dec Thursday When we went up on deck this morning land was both sides of the ship. New Zealand, it was the first time I’ve seen it for 2 years 7 months. Weather is dull with slight rain. We “south” chaps are going to get four hours leave I think. We leave at 1700hrs tonight for Lyttelton and HOME.
OTHER NOTES IN DIARY
“Zinc is not rolatile and during these processes is present in the atmosphere as a very fine zinc-oxid dust. If this dust is inhaled by workmen not protected with masks or respirators it accumulates in the lungs and from there is absorbed into the blood stream. Small amounts do not cause symptoms but if larger quantities are taken we see the clinical picture as “zinc chills” poisoning most characteristics of which are the so called “zinc chills” They are also called “Brass chills” because they occur most commonly in the brass foundaries. Brass chills however is a misnomer because the chills are due to the zinccomponent while copper, tin, lead, and————, which are also present in brass have nothing whatever to do with them.These chills are attacks of violent shaking with chattering of the teeth. They last from half an hour to an hour or more and are usually accompanied by nausea and vomiting. They may recur a number of times during a working day and with each attack the employee has to rest but once the chill is over he is usually able to go back to work. The use of efficient masks has very nearly eliminated these chills
“Poison Parade” William Boas M.D.
442371 L.E. Partridge, 1 Newell Street, Pt Chevalier, Auckland , New Zealand
248 Riccarton Rd (Les Moore)
Change of Address for Army Pay: The Director, Pay Accounts and Base Records, P.O Box 3044, Wellington, NZ
Are you married :Siete sposato”
What is your name Qual e il vastro nome:
How old are you Quanti arni avete
Messers Loewe & Coy Ltd, 58 Haymarket St, London 2 W.1
C/- Mrs C Weir, 344 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden , Auckland, New Zealand
Miss A King, c/- Mrs Rae, 27 Davoit Street, Glasgow, S.W.1
The End of the 1939-1945 War
Hostilities will end at one minute after midnight (GMT) on the 8th May, this will make it 0001 hrs on 9.5.45
Hostilities will end at 2301hrs CMF time which is here in Italy
Surrender signed at 0141hrs on the 7th May 1945
Surrender of Italy signed on the day May 2nd 1945
Des Stanley, 86 Grafton Rd, Auckland.
40 Stafford Street, Riccarton, Christchurch, New Zealand.
MUM Mrs J. Eaton, Egmont St, Ohakune Junction
GRAN Clyde Terrace, Kaitangata
Mrs W. Gray, 31 Derwent Street, Island Bay, Wellington
Mrs C. Weir, c/- Mrs F. Allen, 93 Great South Rd, Auckland, NZ
Mrs F. Ware, 434 Esplanade, Island Bay, Wellington, NZ
Frances sock size — 8 ½ – 9
1 November Thursday
Nothing doing very much today. I went to a ERS lecture this morning, it was about housing, I learnt quite a lot I didn’t know before. Wrote Janet three cards tonight. It started to rain very heavy about 1900hrs but by the time we were ready for bed it had stoped There was terrific thunder and lighting with it.
2 Nov Friday
Only three days to go we told ourselfs this morning but at 1500hrs word came round that the boat had been put forward 10 days, this will (if it is right) make our date about the 15th of this month. So far we have had the dates as such 26th, or 24th Nov and now this new one
3 Nov Saturday
Our boat has been put forward 10 days so the date will be the 18th. Went to the pictures tonight. I haven’t received any mail from Janet for 3 weeks.
4 November Sunday
Today as usual was very quiet. Wrote Janet card
5 November Mon
Today is Janet’s birthday she is 27 today the same age as myself. I had saved a bottle of beer from my last issue so I drank her health and happiness for the future. At one time I had hopes of being home for her birthday but now we will have to fight hard to be home for christmas
6 November Tuesday
Wrote Janet a card. Never went to the pictures tonight as I didn’t think I would like it. Went to the ERS workshop and made the pattern for our glass shelf in the bathroom I also made a good tooth brush rack for two, the bath jobs were made out of perspex
7 November Wed
I had my new slacks fixed up today, loops on the top and I had the bottoms widened from 29” to 22 ½ “ They don’t look so bad now. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “Where Salome __________” (fair) The weather is cold now and the rain is holding off so far.
8 November Thursday
This morning for breakfast we had egg powder making it the third morning running. The food is very scarse and we are just getting enough to eat and that’s all. There has been another cut of 20% this makes 60% cut now of the rations we were getting when we first came down here 5 weeks ago. 800 more men are coming off the draft for NZ they will be going to Egypt now, the date will be Sunday 11th. There are only a few single chaps here left of the NZ roll for this boat, all the married men are going home
9 November Fri
We have only a week to go now until we get on the boat. The days are cold now too. Pictures tonight
10 November Sat
Another cold day. The chaps who are going to the ME are going on Tuesday now instead of Monday(ME would be Middle East)
11 November Sun
It rained for a while this morning but not very heavy. Played bridge after tea. Ray Jarden arrived down here this afternoon he is going home with us he is a 11th but as his wife is very sick so he has got Compos Leave
12 November Mon
The chaps who are going to the M.E. packed up today it took them nearly all day to get done. Med Parade, pay parade just as we will be doing them in two days
13 November Tuesday
Rex Ball arrived Italy
At 0630hrs this morning it started to rain and at the time the boys left it reached its peak. They got pretty wet before they actually left the camp. The rain continued all day and all night. It was very cold too. Received my list of Bulletins from England. Wrote Tom Stoke(?) and give him the list of what I wanted. Spent most of the day in our tents. In bed at 1730hrs and read a book
14 November Wed
Today we changed our money. I put in 6 pound, 4 pounds for myself and 2 pounds for Ray Farden. “Short Arm” inspection. Rex left us today for Florence, he was around with me most of the time he was here. Pictures tonight The Naughty Ninetys “Costello Abbot”
15 November Thursday
Our boat has been put on 24hrs so we leave on Saturday instead of Friday as before. We will be very lucky to get home for Christmas now. A fine day today. Had a trial pack this afternoon. I shall have two large bags one down the hold and one with me. Picture “Black Swan”
16 November Fri
This is our last day in Italy. We are leaving at 0845hrs tomorrow morning. We have to hand in our blankets and webb etc at 0630hrs in the morning. We shall be going on the boat at 1015hrs in the morning. Our bag for the hold is being taken on board this afternoon. We collect our BMA at 1400hrs this afternoon. I arrived in this country (Italy) 2 years 10 days today. I have been overseas 2 years 6 months now. In the army altogether 3 years, 2 months 5 days today
17 November Sat
Left Adv Base at 0905hrs and traveled to TARANTO in trucks. The day is fine and warm.After waiting on the wharf for some five minutes we went aboard lighters and so onto our ship the “MOOLTAN” We left the shores of Italy at 1021hrs and it ws the end of the winter for us, within a week we will be in a much warmer part of the world. There are quite a few men on this boat and just about every “service arm” is represented even if only by half a doz. We embarked on the ship at 1050hrs. At 1400hrs the ship pulled out of the harbour and we were soon on our long way home. We were told that there were three ports of call. Tufick first then Colombo, on to Freemantle and then home. We would be arriving in NZ somewhere near Dec 21st so we should help to bring some happiness home with us for Christmas. Our quarters are not the best, we are sleeping in hammocks above our mess tables. Last night (today) I tried to sleep in my hammock but my back ached terrible so my sleep was almost nill I am going to sleep on the table tonight if I can. This ships top speed is 17 knots.
18 November Sun
We had to get up this morning at 0615hrs, breakfast is at 0645hrs so getting up is necessary. Today is a bit rougher and we are all feeling a wee bit off colour. I hope I am alright because I have been a good sailor up to now. We have been playing “bridge” most of the time so far. Was in bed by 2100hrs
19 November Mon
Today is our last one in the “Med” We will reach Port Said during the night. A very quiet day aboard ship
20 November Tuesday
When we got up this morning we were outside Port Said. After letting some South A’s off also some Poles we were all ready to get on our way again. Only vegetables had to be loaded on. I sent Janet a “special” air card. They were printed on the ship by the crew and they were very nice costing us threepence. We got under way again at 1220hrs and once again I was going through the Suez Canal. We were stoped about 1530hrs and we waited for two aircraft carriers to come through. These were the only aircraft carriers I have ever seen and they were there in all their glory. By tea time we were on our way again but I never seen anymore of the canal in daylight
21 November Wed
We were in Tufick this morning erly about 0500 hrs We are still here and the time is now 1245hrs. A very busy morning indeed, water and oil has been pouring into our tanks all morning. There are 1000 more men on board now, they are the 8ths that was left in Egypt. Reclassified 15ths and married 9ths. I don’t think we will be here very much longer as soon as the oil etc is on we will be on our way. I don’t think we will be here in the morning anyhow. I bought an Egyptian handbag from the “Wogs” that came alongside it cost me a pound but it is not so very good therefore I don’t think Janet will be wanting. I shall give it to young Norma I think (that’s if Janet doesn’t like it of course). There are one or two things to come on yet so I just heard, only time will tell I suppose. After loading some 1100 men on board we left Tufick at 1715hrs and headed into the Red Sea. It is getting warmer every day now, soon we shall be getting about only wearing shorts.
22 November Thursday
This morning found us well into the Red Sea. The sun is becoming very hot now. Living conditions are not so good now the heat combined with the salt sea-air makes our bodies feel very sticky at times but every day is a day nearer home and to Janet my dear wife.
23 November Fri
Our kits that we left in Egypt when we came over to Italy are now on the boat and we are allowed to get them for 24 hours. This will allow me to put a lot of things in mine when I get it, within a few days. The meals are still very good and they seem —— to continue to be the same for the rest of the voyage. They have stopped the sale of tobbaco for a few days. We were asked today for men to volunteer to work in the RNZAF WO1 Mess, we! Were asked , we of the army! I don’t think they shall get one. Our group “5” goes on ships fatigue on Sunday it lasts a week. I hope to get a good job and it will help to pass the time away for a week. Another week should see us in Colombo
24 November Sat
Today is our last in the Red Sea. During the day we were passing small islands and darkness came before we reached Aden. This time we passed ADEN at 2300hrs. Played bridge after tea
25 November Sun
This is our first day on fatigues and our group is on for a week. I was given a job for this morning but I couldn’t find the part of the boat I had to go to. We have now been on the boat for 8 days. We are due at Colombo either on the 29th or 30th of this month. Today was washing day for the troops and the top deck was covered with clothes just like thousands of flags. Bruce Coburn was down to see me today and I asked him if he would look after my battle dress for me until I needed it to get off when we reach New Zealand. Since we left Egypt the food has not been so good as it was the first three days at sea but I may say the meals are still very good and they will have to drop a long way until they come down to the army level that was set in Italy at ADV.BASE
26 November Mon
This morning we seen the last of Africa the most Eastern point . About an hour after we sighted two islands and then we were on the way to Colombo which is going to be the next land we will see for four days or more. The “Cap” said he hopes to get into Colombo by Saturday 1st Dec, now about 20 minutes to 2am. If this is right we should leave again for Freemantle at noon or later. Doing the speed we are now doing we should get there :Freemantel about the 9th or 10th and 9 or 10 days more will bring us about home arriving there about the 19th or 20th Dec. Life on ship is very dull now we have to do the same things every day. Had a talk with young Frank Allan. Played bridge after tea
27 November Tuesday
Best distance on trip so far. 383 Miles. We have been aboard ship 10 days today the time, although hard to pass, seems to be slipping by alright. We have just a little over three weeks to spend on the boat yet before we reach home. The sun is hot now and I have been getting a bit browner than I was when I came on the boat
28 November Wed
We received another NAT PAT issue today. 1 pkt biscuits, 1 tube tooth paste, and 1 cake of chochlate per man. I hope to get my “base kit” tomorrow morning at 1100hrs. In the 24 hours ending at 1200hrs today we had travelled 372 mls. Today for some unknown reason was not as hot as it should have been. We are now 2 ½ days off Colombo. I will have to write Frances a card tomorrow so it can be posted at Colombo on Sat the mail closes at 1000hrs on Friday. Although we are only a short distance from India we havn’t yet seen any sharks and I havn’t heard of anybody seeing one either
29 November Thursday
Today we came upon some islands, there was plenty of growth on them too. All afternoon it was showery and this was the first time I had ever seen rain at sea, there has been rain of course but I never had the chance to see any of it. To me it seemed funny to see rain pelting down on the deck with sea everywhere. We are due at Colombo about 1900hrs tomorrow. So far we have seen very little sea life
30 November Fri
Arrived in Colombo at 2000hrs. It was too dark to see very much only the lights of the harbour was all we could see. As usual in these ports, boats come fussing around here too but we were in bed by 2130hrs. It was very hot down in the ship tonight
1 October Monday
Made a crib board in the ERS workshop here. I made it out of perspex it looks as far as I’ve gone very nice . Rained today
2 October Tuesday
A very quiet day it was raining too
3 October Wed
Had our dental parade today. Went to the pictures tonight but they were not very good. Wrote Len Partridge and Janet card
Had my first shower for a week. After lunch there came through some news that we would be leaving Italy on the 26th of this month so we won’t be seeing Egypt again. The ship that is supposed to be coming in is the “Manat “ Played bridge after tea for three and a half hours
5 October Fri
Started making a “perspex” toast rack , it should take me four days to make it. Played bridge after tea. Very cold and it is raining
6 October Sat
Worked all day on my toast rack and it is coming on very well. We were told this morning that our boat for the 26th was cancelled so I don’t know when we are going to get home now. The weather is very bad, cold winds and rain is all we have been getting since we came down here
7 October Sun
The CRS workshop is not open today so I lay on my bed and polished the different parts of my toast rack with toothpaste
8 October Mon
Finished the toast rack today the whole job took 15 workiing hours. Played bridge after tea .Wrote Anne , Janet
9 October Tuesday
A warm sort of a day today but as usual it was very cold. After tea I play bridge in the YM till 2200hrs then to bed. Just at present we seem to be spending half of our time on or in our beds
10 October Wed
We were told this morning that we would all be going through the QM on Friday or Saturday exactly what for they don’t know as yet. Rumour says that the boat for the 26th is right again so if it proves to be true I will be home early in Dec. Today is not a bad sort of a day so far I hope it keeps like this
11 Oct Thursday
I got two boxes from the Camp QM last night and this ;morning I made myself a bed. I have been sleeping on the floor ever since I came down here and my back has been playing up with me. We are still waiting for something to happen around here and we are feeling the strain of waiting now. Received 3 cards Janet
12 October Fri
This place is so dull that at times I get a day or two behind in my diary this again does not allow me to remember the cards I have received or wrote, so from now on I won’t be keeping a record, I don’t think unless I start again today, I will. Wrote Janet 3 cards. I am going to Bari on leave tomorrow and I have to buy a few little things for myself in bed by 2030hrs
13 Oct Sat
Bought myself two small chains, a small pocket knife , a set of ribbons, three service stripes, some ink (this ink) a pipe (300Lire) Bari is very dull and I left with my cobber, George Thorn, straight after tea, was in bed by 2045hrs and asleep. Received 6 cards Janet
14 October Sun
A quiet day today . wrote Janet 3 caards, rebuuilt my bed. A drunk dived onto it last night and broke it. Today was very warm I even wore my shorts. Time now 1915hrs and I am going back to my tent and so to bed, I am now in the YM
15 October Mon
A quiet day today not even any mail came in and so far I haven’t wrote any, I may do some after tea. I am very pleased with the pipe I bought in Bari on Saturday
16 October Tuesday
All the chaps who are going to the ME tomorrow received their Battle Dress and usual winter issue. Went to the YM after tea and wrote 2 cards to Janet
17 October Wed
The M.East chaps left here this morning at 0730hrs. We were told that the rest of us would be leaving here about the 6th Nov the boat we were going on was the “Multar”(?) I hope it is right this time
18 October Thursday
Done very little today. Broke the pipe I bought in Bari but I will get one of my mates who is going in soon to buy me one, they are good pipes so that’s why I am going to get another one. I am not feeling the best today. I am going to get my old nervous trouble again that’s what it feels like anyway. Wrote Janet one card and another short one for her birthday. Wrote one to Gran and one to MUM .S
19 October Fri
Very cold today and during the afternoon it rained a bit and after tea it was looking like rain again and it did, starting about 2300hrs and lasting all night. Got our Battle Dress and usual winter issue also a good heavy shirt and tie with all the pretty coloured ribbons sewed on my battle dress I will look like a rainbow.
20 October Sat
Sunny but cold this morning. Spent most of the day in our tent as it continued to be very cold
There is no news coming out at all and life is so very miserable just now. I have never had a worse period since I have been in the army. Wrote Janet card
22 October Monday
I got three books from the ERS this morning they were on poultry. Wrote to England for a full list of Bullitins to be sent to me. Went to the pictures after tea and seen “The 5th Chair” not bad. Finished reading my book “Patriatic Murders” (Agatha Christie)
23 October Tuesday
This morning the boat roll came out and I am on it, all married men are , in fact. George Thorn out of our tent missed, (he was on E.4 with me all the time in Italy)
24 October Wed
Today was a quiet one spent mostly in our tents
25 October Thursday
Today I, with seven other chaps, worked on mess hut, a good job to pass away the time. After tea we went to the pictures. We were told today that we would be getting payed on the 27th and this would be our last pay in Italy and we had to draw enough to last us for 3-4 weeks. I can draw up to 7 pounds 10 shilllings and still have 50 pound in my book when I land home
26 October Fri
Today we never done anything to help pass the day away only the usual, lay on our beds. I was going to play table tennis for the Reg team from our chaps but I had a game today and I felt I was off form too much so I got some to take my place. Wrote Janet. Received a card from Mother K (Kennedy) thanking me for the gloves. Went to the second session of the pictures 8.15pm “Frountier Badman” this picture was the best we have had for over a week
27 October Sat
We received out last pay in Italy, this morning. So this pay has to last us for 3-4 weeks. I drew 6 pounds. Went to the pictures after tea
28 October Sun
As usual today was very quiet, not even our usual parade at 0900hrs. Tom Stokes(?) is going to England tomorrow on the two weeks leave he has been trying to get for four months. He is going to get some bulletins for me from England. They are dealing with poultry, gardens and fruits.
29 October Mon
Woke up this morning and I was moaning badly. The chap next to me was awake and he asked me if I was alright. I wasn’t! My back was very sore the time was 0125hrs when I woke. I never got much sleep after that and for the rest of the day I was feeling very quiet. I never went to the RAP in case they put me in hospital and I don’t get home with this draft. I Never went to the pictures tonight I was in bed early 1700hrs. The night is cold
30 Oct Tuesday
Had our change parade this morning. The wind is still very cold and it looks as if the weather has broke. Wrote Janet, Mum K
31 Oct Wed
Had our change parade today and everything I wanted I got except a new hat, which I need badly
1 September Saturday
We batted again this morning and this time we made 200 for 6 dec. This gave 2 ABRA 311 to make , they got 170 in their second ———- and it was all over by 1615hrs so back to Riccione we went. I made 2 N.O. again. So far the the Div I have got 38no, 4. 15. 9 n.o. 1, 2nd avg 39.6 Went to the dance at 5th Med Reg tonight
A quiet day today, a walk along the beach and then a game of cricket in the tennis court which was at one time Mussolini’s private one when he was in Riccione. The pictures after tea was called “Jerrie” (?) not bad. Wrote Janet
3 September Monday
Played cricket in the tennis court again this morning and we were all ready to move by 1400hrs but the Officer in charge and the captain all one man, had a “———“ on the beach and worked it so we couldn’t go today. So we all wiped him and we won’t be going till tomorrow now. Went into Catallosa tonight to the pictures. We all slept in the YM hostel tonight
Left Riccione at 0920hrs and arrived back at the Lake at 1710hrs. Went to the pictures that were showing in camp tonight “Jail Birds” was the name of it, very silly I thought. Received card from Janet and one from Mum S. I won’t be getting my pipes from England now so I will be getting the money order back instead
5 Sept Wed
Today was a quiet one. After tea I played in the Reg soccer team against the A/— we lost 2-1. Wrote Janet card
6 Sept Thursday
The days are now becoming to be very boreing they are all the same. There is a rumour on the board that states that the 9th reinf will be going out on the 15th of this month. I hope its true. There are still 500 8th Reinf left behind so the 9th and 7th could easy make up a boat load to return to NZ. Went to the pictures tonight. When I went to bed there was lighting flashing over to the south and it looked as if we might get a thunder storm before morning. Received 8 cards from Janet
7 Sept Friday
We only got a few spots of rain early this morning and now the day is good although a cool breeze is blowing. Wrote Janet 3 cards and one to mum. Finished my book “Mask these two Lovers” (?) not bad.
8 Sept Sat
Today was a quiet one indeed. Bruce went away to Farno this afternoon so this leaves me I charge of the YM again. Wrote Janet card (1)
9 Sept Sunday
I would have been at Farrars 13 years today if the war hadn’t come along (that was the foundry he worked at in Chch) I left work three years today to go into the army. Church this morning. Drew a plan of a “paper holder” I will send it home today with the photo of the kitchen I got from a Life Magazine. At 2030hrs there was lightening and thunder followed by rain, the YM hut got damp
10 Sept Mon
A quiet day today. It was raining when we woke but it cleared after breakfast and left everything nice and fresh it even made us feel better ourselfs. Wrote Janet card
11 Sept Tuesday
This morning there were two burners to clean as they both blocked up last night. Bruce came back today and with a load of stuff too. Had an hours cricket in our net before tea and after tea the motor that generates our power for the lights broke down, this took us 1 ½ hours to fix and it was2115hrs when we got it going again. I wanted to write and tell Janet that the time of going out was near, it will have to wait till tomorrow, next Tuesday is the day I think we go out. The days are now getting cold and I think we are in for a permanent change
12 Sept Wed
Another quiet day there is nothing happening now at all. We,9th Reinforcments were given a talk by the ERS officer for Div, ——— he spoke and about going home
13 Sept Thursday
Played 5th field at cricket this afternoon and we lost by a few runs. They got our score passed with only 3 minutes of their time left. We batted for 1 hour and three quarters each. Played in the final of the Reg Table tennis comp tonight. It was doubles this time and I played with Eric Skinner, we won one each but the other pair beat us 21-15 in the last game. Wrote Janet one card. Received my Desert shoes they are too good to wear over here so I am sending them home in a parcel along with several other things. My pipes are going into the parcel too.
14 Sept Friday
Last night and today I was very ill. Early this morning I was up twoce and it was dry reaching the second time. I am feeling very weak this morning and I got a little better as they day went on. Tonight I was in bed by 2200hrs
15 Sept Saturday
I am feeling much better now and I am eating again too. I am going to drive the YM truck up to SENIGALLIA. We are leaving at 1600hrs . We (Bruce and I) are only going up there for two days and we will be back Monday afternoon. Left for Senigallia at 1600hrs and arrived at the rest camp at 10.30pm unloaded the truck and went to bed
16 Sept Sunday
The clocks went back one hour last night and we had that extra hour in bed this morning. We never got up till 0930 hrs this morning. Wrote Janet one card. The day has been very good so far different from what we have been having. We are leaving here today at 1530hrs and staying the night somewhere and getting back to camp tomorrow about lunch time. Pulled in off the road at 2115hrs and we were 724 met ALT after a meal we went to bed and I was soon asleep
17 Sept Monday
Woke this morning and it was very cold and the fog was very thick. We couldn’t see out past the back of the truck. We were on our way and after calling into the YM bulk store we arrived back at camp at 1220hrs, had lunch and then got everything fixed up. Went around to the 4th Fld Reg playing table tennis for our Reg team. We won this but lost to bridge.
18 Sept Tuesday
Our Battery cricket team played 27 battery this afternoon and we lost. I made a duck being caught third ball I had. There was pictures on in our area tonight and it was “Eddy Cantor in “Show Bussiness” it was good
19 Sept Wednesday
Today we played cricket again this time it was the reg team playing against the ————They won by three runs I made 33 not out. Tonight the Kiwi concert party was in the Arty area they are showing here tomorrow night again. I will most likely go tomorrow night. I busted my right desert boot this afternoon playing cricket so I will have to get it stitched up before I can have any chance of wearing it again.
20 Sept Thursday
Breakfast was at 7.30hrs this morning because of the extra hours light each morning now the clocks have been put back an hour. Wrote Janet one card. Done some washing today and I will have to do some again tomorrow. Rumour has it that we 9ths are going out at 0200hrs on Sunday morning. We shall see. Some 9ths have been stopped going on the —-NRA trip to Trieste again so it looks as if it is right this time.
21 Sept Fri
Played cricket today against 24 Batt and once again we lost by only a few runs, this time it was 7, they made 113 and we made 107. I got 24 bowled. Went to the pictures after tea “The Unimuted”(?) was the title it was a “ghost” picture. Wrote Janet
22 Sept Sat
We have some news now. The 9ths are going out on Wed the 26th as far as we know now. The leave to England starts early next month and we are not going we are on our way home instead. Today has been quiet in one way. They all have been lately anyway. Wrote Janet one card
23 Sept Sun
Church Parade at 0900hrs and I read some of my book. Done some more washing this afternoon. Played in the Reg comp at table tennis tonight, all I done was get in the first six. Received the word that we are going out on Wed 26th and we heard that the boat is due to leave for home on the 14 oct if this is so I may even get home for Janet’s 27th birthday. I only hope I do for her sake
24 Sept Mon
The cricket for today was put off because of the dull weather. It looked very much like rain and we decided to tell the other team we would not be along just in case it did rain. It did on and off all day up till tea time. Played table tonight against some officers tonight the gunners won by 21-15. There is a bit of drink being drunk tonight a shout for the 9ths going home. I have only had two drinks myself. I am happy enough to know I’m going without having to drink over it. The time now is 2245hrs and I am going to bed now I am tired too. E Troop played basketball against F Troop, we lost by 26-17. I had a look over all my gear today but I will be having a real pack up tomorrow afternoon sometime.
25 Sept Tuesday
Today was one I had been waiting for ever since I left home. I packet my gear today and it was already by tea time. This afternoon it rained and we had a thunderstorm, this rain has not stopped yet and the time is 1900hrs. We are leaving tomorrow morning at 0430hrs and if this rain doesn’t stop it is going to be very miserable for us in the morning. I am going to try and write Janet a card tonight even if its only half of one
26 Sept Wed
Never wrote that card last night it was so cold I went to bed instead. We left camp this morning at 0420hrs and after picking up the trucks of the rest of the Div we were on our way. Our route took us up to Ausona(?) again we had to go this way to get to route 16. It started to rain about 0915hrs and it was still raining when we went to bed. We came south as far as Pascaro and stayed for the night in a paper factory five miles on the south side of the town. It was wet and cold so I was in bed by 1815hrs and as I only had three hours sleep the night before I was very tired and soon asleep
27 Sept Thursday
Up this morning at 0600hrs and we were told we had to have our gear on the trucks and be ready to move by 0730hrs. This was cancelled however and it was postponed for 24 hours. The morning was spent in playing cards (bridge) and in the afternoon it cleared up so we got a truck and went up to Chicti, a town we were only 40 miles from Christmas 1943. I was dissapointed in the place because I always thought it was a clean place but it is very dirty. Our cooks left early this morning and they couldn’t be called back. This caused some delay in cooking our tea. We 6th Fld had to mess with 5th Fld Reg and we never got our meal until 1900hrs it was not bad either. Bed was soon after tea and it was still very cold although fine
28 Sept Fri
We were woke this morning at 0600hrs and we were told we were moving at 0730hrs. We did ! Our route took us back to Pascaro then onto highway 16. About 10 miles past Otona(?) we had a breakdown the bottom fell out of our radiator, the time was 0815hrs then and the breakdown waggon never got us in tow till 1015hrs. We havd morning tea while we were there waiting. We were towed along with another 3 tonner as far as Termali where we had the hole soldered up and after lunch we got on our way once again. By this time the rest of the convoy was miles away. We arrived at FOGGIA at 1745hrs and we got tea at the NAFFI. I had three buns and tea at 1745hrs and then at 1800hrs I got a ticket and had a tea which was egg and bacon pie stewed tomatoes and bread, stewed fruit and custard was the (afters). Left Foggia at 1915hrs and got on our way to Bari. This journey from Foggia to Bari was done in the day and we were very tired when we got to Adv Base at 2315hrs. This ended a 400 mile journey after crossing many mountains and rivers one of them being of course the Great Sangro Rvr. We crossed it in a different place this time, than when we went across it in 1943. I seen a lot more towns I hadn’t seen before to so now all I am waiting for is the word to move in the second part of the trip home. Whether we leave here or leave from Egypt for home we don’t know as yet I would like to leave from here (Bari) There is some rumour that all the married men plus the 8ths and the “balloted” single men of the 9ths will go together to Egypt on the 4th of this coming month Oct
29 Sept Sat
Up this morning at 0800hrs breakfast was at 0830hrs. Our names numbers etc were checked and they checked the married men apart from the single men so I don’t know what is going to happen. It started to rain at 1400hrs and it looks as if it is going to rain all night. So far the meals haven’t been bad
30 Sept Sun
Today is going to be a very quiet one and by the looks of things every day is going to be the same
1 August Wednesday
Left FABRIANO this morning at 0700hrs and the journey was mostly through hills FOSSATO, NOCERA, FOLIGNO,PERUGIA and then LAKE TRASIMENO. We are camped beside it now not a bad area either, how long we are going to be here remains to be seen. We arrived at 1300hrs and after lunch we jacked our tents up. I received mail from Janet and Mum S. I got 9 aircards from Janet and one surface letter from Mum
2 August Thursday
Up this morning at 0715hrs for a check (?) parade, breakfast at 0800hrs and then a very easy day afterwards. We were told at 1400hrs that we have to move tomorrow morning to another area, it is only over the way a bit but we will be closer together there. The day is very good, cool for a change as there is a slight breeze coming off the lake I suppose. I sent the aircard for my four Loewe pipes
3 August Fri
After breakfast we packed up our gear and across the road we moved. I hope, this time to stay till we move towards home. The 8th Reinforcements were told they were going out on Sunday 6th. Wrote 2 cards to Janet after tea. The weather is very good down here not too hot and not too cold. There is a slight breeze blowing all the time. There was a great noise going on in the Reg tonight due to the reg being drunk for the 8th going home. I was in bed by 2245hrs.
There was no check(?) parade this morning due to several little things. The morning was a good cool one and we done several little things for ourselfs. This afternoon I went over to the YM and gave them a hand in several little things. Received a cable from Janet this morning saying “please address letters home writing in detail letter” Its got me worried because she must be going back to ChCh in a hurry because I received a few cards from her this morning also and the latest date was 27.7.45 only three days before she sent the cable and she seemed alright then, my guess is that her Mother has taken very ill. I can’t think of any other reason at all. Wrote Janet one card today.
5 August Sunday
Got word this morning that I was picked in the div team to play cricket all this next week . we are going on a sort of tour the tour for which I have been trying so hard to play myself into. Wrote Janet a card today. There arrived in the area today some R>D. tents and they were issued out to the gun ——bs . They are going to be put up in line and they were plotted in this afternoon with a compass. Tents layed with a compass, never in any of our experience have we seen it before anywhere. The rumour about the 9th leaving is saying the 28th of this month. Yesterday the rumour said the 14th of this month. The day was another good one and there was a cool wind blowing again this afternoon. The time is now 2140hrs and I am going to try and write a card to Janet tonight (later) I did write the card
Left camp at 0800hrs and after picking up two chaps from the Div Arty we all met in a town by the lake. We were on our way by 0930hrs this was the div cricket team. Our lunch was sort of messed up and all we were able to get was tea and cakes at the YM and Toffies(?) on the way up. After calling at the cricket ground at 1720hrs we came in to Riccione where we are staying for the week. It is a livily sort of place now being due of course to the Itialian people running nearly everything again. The weather is cold
Today we played 2 AGARA cricket it was a very good game indeed because we had them fighting for the runs all the way. We made 179 and they passed this so at 1827hrs only 3 minutes before the close of play they got them with the loss of only 7 wkts. They have us a very good time the meals were really good too. We arrived back at camp at 1930hrs got our tea and then got dressed and again went to the 5 MED dance and had a sit down there for a couple of hours. We were all in bed by 2400hrs after a very good day alround we enjoed it all although we were beaten. I only made 4 so my Avg for the div team is now 92. Went to the dance again tonight but was only there for half a hour. I was in bed by 1030hrs
8 August Wed
Today was going to be one of rest for us but we received a ring at 0920hrs asking us to play again today because a team hadn’t turned up 2 AGRA were to play 10 Indian Div but they couldn’t turn up because of the weather. They are at Govigia and were coming down by plane, this is why we played 2 AGRA again today. We avenged our defeat of yesterday. We batted first again and made 197 for 7 wkts dec and this time we put them out for 106. There was a big dance on again tonight and we all went down for awhile I came home early. There was a strong wind blowing at the time. Wrote Janet card
9 August Thursday
When I woke this morning it was raining very heavy and the wind was terrific. We never got up until 0830hrs breakfast time it was then. We all went over different parts of the town. Brian Smith and I went round to the YM where I started to write a letter. I was interrupted at 1040 by the driver of our truck coming round to pick up the team as the game was on at Rimini instead of the hospital which is only two miles away. We were ready to move at 1120hrs and away we went to the football ground when we arrived there it was to find that the match wasn’t timed to start until 1800hrs so we went down to the Noffie for lunch it was good too. The team we played was the 61 area team and we won the toss and fielded first. We had them 1 for 0, 2 for 0, 3 for 2, 4 for 5, 5 for 7 and then it stoped, they made 71 all out. It was far from their best team. We went into bat and we were out 4 for 10 ourself but the best was to go in so we managed to put on 151 for 9. It finished then I made 15 out. To date for the Div I have made 38 NO, 50NO, 4 out, 15 out. After tea Les Groves and I went to Rimini to the ENSA Show and it was very good to nearly all Ities of course. After arriving back the driver of our truck put on a cupa just for the three of us and we were in bed by 2400hrs. We were tired too/
Today is fine, but there is no water today either and we find it hard to wash. I am going to finish the card I started yesterday.This morning wrote one card Janet. Loafed around on the beach most of the day and at 1730hrs we left here to go to the football match at Rimini, it was 8th Army, 2 AGRA and it was a good game ending in a draw 2 all and after a wash we went to the dance and we had a good sort of party till 2400hrs. I was feeling lovely myself
11 August Saturday
Up this morning at 0745hrs and breakfast was at the usual time. After breakfast we went about our shaving, washing, etc and then to the Naffie for a cupa after that we went down to the beach where we played cricket and lay on blankets under the shade of large umbrellas. This is the second day we have been here for lunch and it was alright too. Tom Pritchard has been asked to join the CMF side and he went away this morning straight after breakfast, the team is going to England but first they are going to play a match against MEF who are flying out from England. We may be able to see the game in Rome, the CMF or MEF one. Wrote Janet one card. We all went around to the dance but were home by 10pm. And went to bed, there were no drinks tonight. We have the big game on tomorrow
12 August Sunday
Up early had breakfast 0830hrs and we went over to the Naffie for a cupa just before we left for the cricket. The game started at 1115hrs we fielded first, their first pair put on 50 and at lunch they had 79 for 2. After lunch it was very quiet and fielding was very tireing we struck a good patch and it was a —— in the end because we got them out for 122. 2 AGRA the team was. We went into bat right away. Paul Whitelaw and Jack Robertson opened, these two brought 60 up on the board before Jack was given out LBW to a ball he glided down to fine leg, we passed their total with only 3 wkts down and we continued on till 1815hrs. Ken Diprase (?) got 108 not out. We ended up with 255 for 5. Went to the dance after we got back and had a good time for our last night we never got home till 0030hrs. We are leaving here tomorrow afternoon about 1400hrs
13 August Monday
Left Riccione at 1350hrs and we were soon cracking on our way home, it was a long trip and we never arrived here at the Lake until 2245hrs. We dropped the players at their different camps along the route. A change has been made in the camp also the possition of it. We are now in R.D. tents, 6 men to a tent. All the guns are lined up and each troop is a line of tents also
This morning we were up at 0600hrs for a check parade breakfast is at 0700hrs , route march from 0800hrs to 0900hrs, work on the trucks from 0900 to 1000hrs. We never done very much after morning tea. The war is nearly finished with the Japs also we are only waiting the signing of the peace, it is expected over the radio any time at all. When it does come over we expect all this work and marching will be cut out. Half the 9th and 10th reinforcements are on leave at Sanizattea (?) and they don’t expect to come back here before they go home, there are still a lot of 9th and 10th reinf here n camp, we are expecting reinforcements in this week. I hope they come because there are only a few men here in camp now we havd 15 chaps on battery parade this morning although there are only we five here they still keep the reg guard on, it is the forth day it has been posted. The time is 1715hrs and I am just back to normal. I will write a card to Janet tonight. Wrote Janet card tonight
We were woke up this morning at 0545 hrs by our officer who told us that the war was over without Japan. We are at peace once again after nearly 6 years of war, it only had to go to the end of this month for the 6 years. Today was a holiday for us and I wrote Janet 2 cards. I have to write Norm, Gran and Anne yet. There were pictures on tonight but I never went I wrote instead. I was is bed by 2000hrs it was rather chilly too
Another day of rest. All training etc has now been stopped and from now on it will be very boreing until the time comes for us to go home which I hope isn’t long. Wrote Norm a card. I have been offered a job looking after the YM at the camp where half the 9th and 10th reinforcements are staying. I will be boss and the job will be for about one month when the 9th reinf go out, I will go out with them this camp is near Farno
17 August Friday
Went for a route march this morning for one hour but the rest of the day was to ourselfs.I done some washing in the afternoon
18 August Saturday
A route march again this morning, it was only for onehour though. I am waiting for word about the YM job, I am going to take I will know within the next quarter of a hour. I am not going now as the Colonel said I had been away from the Regiment too much lately. I have taken another chaps place who works in the YM he was allowed to go but I could only go into the YM and help. The Col said this cricket was a good thing he is holding it against me I think. Wrote to Norm and Anne. I am now in charge of the YM for a few days as the rest of our boys are going away. Today I was offered Rome leave this morning and I took it. I go on the 21st Tuesday
19 August Sunday
Today I shifted all my gear over to the YM as I am going to be in there for good now until I go out with the 9th Reinf. I cleaned up the area around the YM and then had a sleep. After tea it was just the same as usual, tea had to be made and I was in bed by 2300hrs
Never got up this morning till 0820hrs missing my breakfast of course. The day was a dull one and during the afternoon there was some very heavy showers of rain. I had to wash my shorts, one shirt and three pairs of socks. These were not dry till 2200hrs. This afternoon I sliced my thum with my razor and I had to go to the RAP and have it fixed up, no stiches were needed, I was lucky as the blade was tight. I was changing the blade and when I was screwing the handel in the whole razor twisted in my hand so the edge wiped right across the ball of my thum. It is alright now. I am driving the truck on this leave tomorrow, it is E 5 a three-tonner. We leave at 0830hrs. The leave is for three days I think
Left this morning at 0830hrs for three days leave to Rome. I drove B. Five down as the driver has a bad knee. The journey down was a tiring one we went route 71-2 which took us through ORVIERO,MONTEFIASCONE,VITERBO, ROME . We arrived at Rome at 1430hrs and booked in at the club. Bill Rhodes and I planned to have a look over Rome. Tea was at 1800hrs and as there was nothing doing after tea we went to the pictures and seen “The Woman in the Window” We were back in our room by 2345hrs and it was so hot that there was only one sheet and one blanket on the bed, it was too hot even to use the blanket
22 August Wednesday
Drove the truck around this morning on a sightseeing trip. We went to St Peters Cathedral. I was unable to see it this time as I had to look after the truck. In the afternoon I went on a trip this time I was in the sightseeing party and we went to the Mussolini stadium which was very good. After tea Bill and I went and seen the opera “Carmen” it was easy on the eye that’s all. It was held in the great openair theater. On our way home from the stadium this afternoon we had a look over the church of the Capuchin(?) Fathers. There are several rooms underneath the church which in the old days were used as burial grounds for those monks who died . There were 4000 buried there until they stopped it. There can be seen the bones of these Monks as they were raised from the ground to make room for others, these bones are now all over the five rooms. There are several Monks just standing up against the walls they still have their clothes on. There is 4000 sets of bones and they cover the four walls and ceiling of each room, a very grim sight I may say. There was one Monk embalmed and he was just like the day he died and he was 200 years old. This club of ours is very dissapointing the meals are not bad though. When we went into the Opera there was an Itie at the inner gate hireing “Opera Glasses” he was doing a jig, every time some soldiers went past and he would say “Opera glasses, see the legs up”
This morning I went to one of the most interesting placesin the world , the Vatican City. I bought a book on it so I won’t try and say anything here other than it is a very wonderful place indeed. The bronze ball on the top of St Peters can hold 14 people inside it. Bill and I put our two ribbons up this afternoon and got our photos taken. After tea we went to the pictures picking up our photos by the way around they are not bad. I look a real “grim dig” I got one coloured and it shows up my 1939-45 star and the Itialian Star. The picture was very good “Holleywood Canteen” was the name of it.
24 August Friday
I walked around to St Peters this morning and had a look inside. It is a marvellous building indeed the best I have ever seen so far as cathedrals or churches go. The trip this afternoon was to the Coliseum then to the Catacombs and on the way back we went to St Pauls second church in Rome, this church is not so very old but it is a great one also. Most of these great churches are made of matereal most of which has been given by different countrys. I bought another bent pipe costing me 800L. It is a Balwin.
25 August Saturday
Today we leave for the Lake again we are going about 1400hrs. Just loafed around the club this morning and after overcoming a little trouble about getting my truck out of the car park we were on our way by 1445hrs. We took route 9 back and this brought us through some nice country and the towns we passed were NARNI,TERNI,FOLIGNO,PERUGIA,CASTIOLIONE, which brought us back to our “home” we arrived at 2215hrs.
26 August Sunday’
Only repacked all my gear today and done the odd job for myself. Wrote Janet one card. Received two from her and one from Mother and one from My Mum. There is a Div team going up north again on Thursday I don’t know if I am going or not yet
Never got up till 0730hrs this morning missed my breakfast. Put some papers in a envelope and sent them to Janet also sent the photos I had taken in Rome, by airmail they went. Wrote Janet two cards tonight. I have only received five from her in the last three weeks. There must be a lot somewhere because I have only got the one of 7.8.45 and that is twenty days. I was in the table tennis games tonight and I got in the last three. Bruce beat me in the semi-final he lost in the final
28 August Tuesday
Today was a quiet one indeed only the routeen was done. Wrote Janet 2 cards
29 August Wed
Jacked up a cricket team to play 29 Battery tomorrow. Received word that I was now playing in the Div team. We are leaving tomorrow morning at 0830hrs. Wrote Janet 2 cards
30 August Thursday
Left at 0845hrs and rrived at Riccione at 1910hrs we had a lot of trouble with the truck. I was in bed by 2000hrs as I was tired after the trip up
31 August Friday
Started playing at 1115 hrs this morning. This was to be a two day game and we batted first making 180 I got bowled for 1. We put them out for 69. This evening Les Groves and I went to the Opera “Tosca” it was the best I have ever seen to date. We have been having plenty of fruit again and not spending very much money this time. We haven’t got much to spend anyway. Never got home till 0020hrs. Opera came out at 2355hrs
1 July Sunday
Wrote Janet card. It rained most of the day so there was very little doing. I had to jack up a team to play NZA cricket tomorrow. Received 7 cards from Janet
2 July Monday
Left RHQ at 1030hrs and when we were within two miles of the cricket ground we meet the other team coming back. They said the ground we were to play on was waterloged so we came back to Monffalcone and played . Rain stoped the game at 1430hrs after NZA had made 87 for the loss of 7 wickets the game will now have to be played again because it was in the Div Arty Comp. We arrived back in camp at 1600hrs and it was still raining. This is five days running the weather has been wet, this is the middle of summer too.
Wrote Janet card. Started to rain at 1800hrs and it has never stoped since the time is now 1940hrs. I am going to bed just to keep warm
This morning I took a job on looking after the YMCA at Grado (Guado ?) I am looking after 100 men, /we never got here till 1500hrs but I had everything ready by tea time. The supper was not very large due to the number of cakes. I had 400 to get rid of and I would have needed 200 or more chaps to make it worth while. This is going to be a quiet sort of a job I think I may be able to do a lot of writing home. I have a lot to do as it is.Bruce came down after tea and we had a natter until 2345hrs. My bed is a good one and I will be having a good sleep tonight
Wrote 2 cards to Janet, Wrote cards to Bob Christian, and Mum. A quiet day and I went to the pictures tonight and seen Walace Berry in Barbra Coast Gentleman, it was a very good show too. The pictures never start till 2200hrs here because it is still quite light at that time, this makes it about 2345hrs or later before they finish. This is the open-air ones but the inside ones have two sessions one at 1800hrs and another at 2015hrs. I haven’t been to any of the inside ones yet. It never rained today, this is the first time there has been a day without rain for nearly a fortnight.
Never woke this morning until 0815hrs the cook came in and woke the Sgt Maj and I up, he had a late night last night upstairs talking etc with one of our officers Mr Cole. The breakfast was good this morning, fried potatoes, beans bacon and bread etc. I wrote to Hilda thanking her for the parcel of biscuits whe and mother sent me. Today is so far a very good one the beach will be csrowded I think for the first time for a week.
Wrote Janet card. There was a change of program on tonight but I never went and seen the picture, couldn’t be bothered is my only excuse I’m afraid.
Wrote Janet card. The staff came in at 2100hrs to night and had some cakes and tea, they thought it very good. I went and had a look at the dance and then to the pictures then home, the night was a nervy one I learnt quite a lot about the disposition of an Italian girl I could believe what I learnt. The story is boy dates girl who is one of four cobbers the whole four come together for awhile then one of the girls tags onto this chap and the one he dated was very wild, this chap really prefered the one who now had hold of his arm and the girl he dated then goes with a second chap but never once during the evening did she let the two out of her sight until such time as they got home, if this girl was going to have the chap for the evening the one whom he dated on the first place was seeing to it that he or she never got anywhere with her and the moral of the story is this, when these girls are dated they are dated and they don’t like being out? I will give them credit for their honesty in love whether it is going to mean anything to them or not.
Wrote Janet card, received 8 cards 7 from Janet and one from Harry in it he told me that he had been married at Easter. I wrote straight back and congratulated him. The seven cards from Janet were very good and in every one was a number of laughs. After tea I went for a plesent walk and did not get back till 1130hrs. The evening started off very quiet though
8 July Sunday
Breakfast this morning was fried eggs and chips very nice,it was. I started to write Janet yesterday but I will have to finish it today, it was my second one to her really. Finished card to Frances. Went out for a walk again tonight very good it was too. The weather has been very good today.
I left Grado this morning at 1130hrs and I may say I was very sorry to leave. I had a very good time down there. I went to bed at 2200hrs tonight because as I was playing in the Div cricket team tomorrow I needed some sleep
Left RHQ at 1200hrs and went into Trieste where we picked up the rest of the cricket team. Whitelaw Pritchard Groves etc. The game started at 1400hrs and the 10th Div batted first making 121 we went in and made 217 for the loss of 5 wkts Ken Defrase(?) got 110 retired I was second of top score with 38 not out , Len Partridge and I put on 61 for the fifth wkt he got 23 not out. It was 2230hrs before I got back and I had some onion sandwiches for my tea I was pretty tired so I went to bed early. I am in charge of the YM now because Bruce went away on another trip tonight. There won’t be very much to do while he’s away.
11 July Wed
Had another Vaccanton this morning. At 1080hrs it started to rain as usual, it came down very hard. I heard this morning that there is quite a few 8th Sgts going to be asked to stay behind. Wrote Janet card
Just had a quiet day doing the YM duties. Weather fine
13 July Friday
Received three cards Janet one letter from Gran and one from Anne. Went into Trieste this morning to take some watches in and to collect four , everything went well too. We had a look around the town and arrived back home by 1230hrs. Just in time for lunch. Took the wee car out after tea tonight and went to the Reg dance in Trieste I and the driver of the RAP truck, Jim Flanary, went we arrived home at 0110hrs.
14 July Saturday
This morning I had to go into Trieste to take the Pardrie’s watch in but when I got there the shop was closed. Went down to Monfalcone for drinks this afternoon. After tea I started to write to Janet but I never finished it. We had a few spots of rain today but not enough to worry anybody. Stared to write Janet card
Up this morning at 0800hrs and the Sgt brought my breakfast back with him. I only had the bread with apple jelly on it for mine because the breakfast was egg powder, sole.Bruce arrived back at 1030hrs this morning and this afternoon he and I went into the YM store in Trieste for two hours. Finished writing a card to Janet I started it last night. Wrote Janet a card. Fixed up a cricket team for Tuesday, it is a Reg game with 7th Aty on their ground. Talked till 2310hrs to Bruce about their trip
16 July Monday
Up this morning at 0715hrs there was a ch—– parade and another parade at 0900hrs. I was on the first one only I was down a the YM for the second one. The medals are being jacked up now and I got the Italy Star and the 1939, 1945 star just two only as far as I know. We had to do a lot of work on the quads this morning after morning tea. This morning clean everything that wasn’t needed. Started to write Janet card. There is a cricket game on tomorrow against the 7th Bty. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “Shine on Harvest Moon” It wasn’t bad really
And so ends six months of my experiences which they were as I have wrote them. Everything is true from day to day.
17 July Tuesday
My first job today was clean the quad for an inspection by the CRA In the afternoon the 6th Fld Reg played 7th s/th (?) cricket and we lost by 12 runs. We should have won because Len Partridge would not bowl his best, he refused to, straight out. Finished writing a card to Janet which I started yesterday. I am not feeling my old self tonight, this worry over all the cricket has made me down a bit nothing else has been doing any way. To bed 2300hrs..
18 July Wed
Worked on the quad all this morning, this afternoon I just rested. I really wanted to rest too. My Desert boots arrived today I have just been told. I haven’t seen them yet. My boots are alright I seen them straight after tea. Went to Trieste tonight to have a look in at the 48 Baty dance.. It was held in the Trieste gym and it was as good as the one 30th bty held there a week ago. On picquet in the early hours of the morning from 0130hrs to 0245hrs
Missed cl——– parade this morning and Cpt Smythe told me off about it. Our Reg is “rotten” at the present time “they” are getting very childish again. We may be moving within a few days. I don’t think it will be any longer than two weeks at the out side, my guess is about the 23rd of this month. Playing cricket tomorrow against the NZA team and I spent all evening picking the team which was a good one. Received card from Mum,Janet.
20 July Friday
I am five years married today. Received a cable from Janet this afternoon it was right on the day. CHQ wanted me to jack up a game tomorrow against 5th Fld which I did after a lot of trouble. We played the NZA today and we won it by 100 runs and I got 18 runs and took 1 wkt for 0. I found out only tonight that the game was the Div Arty final so we won after all. I was captain today. Received a letter from Norm today also one from Gran. Received a cable from Janet today it was on the fifth anniversary of our very happy marriage I do Love her so much.
Played 5th Field reg and this time we lost by 5 wkts we only had a very scratch team in and I knew we would lose before we left here this morning. I got top score for our team 48 we only made 117. I am playing for the Div on Tuesday the 24th we are playing the 56th Div which are the “Black Cats” Wrote to mother tonight one card. Wrote out a card to Loewe Co Ltd for some pipes too. I will send it when I send the money , the pipes take about five weeks to come over here.
Played the 5th fld reg cricket today and we got well beaten by five wkts. I made 48 of our 117 runs
I drove my quad to Udine this afternoon we were handing all our ammo in for good this time. We left at 1300hrs and we got back by 1815hrs it was a dusty trip back. At 2000hrs Bruce came round in the wee car and we went into Trieste for 30th Battery’s dance as usual it was a good show
24 July Tuesday
Left camp this morning at 0900hrs and went into town to meet the rest of the Div team. We arrived at Goriza Airport at 1000hrs and we started the game at 1130hrs. It was against the 56 Div team we battered first making 201 for 9 wkts. I got 50 not out after I had been in for two hours. They gave us a very good time indeed a very good lunch and afternoon tea with lemon drink on all the time. We got them out for 80 odd. Pritchard got 6 for 16. We had bowling against us Whatt who came out to NZ with C——s team in 1937 and a west indian who played for the West Indian team in 1928. My arm was a bit sore with the typhus needle I had yesterday but it never hurt me very much until after tea. I could hardly get to sleep for the ache of my arm. Wrote Janet
25 July Wed
There was a blitz on today by the 2 1/c reg so there is very little to put down because it would only concern regimental stuff. Wrote Norm card. I am on picquet from 2230hrs until 12pm tonight.
Worked all day today on the quads and the guns. There was quite a lot to do really. Went to the pictures after tea and seen “ Pillow to Post” it was a bit silly I thought. In bed by 2400hrs but I lay awake for a long time. I just couldn’t go to sleep. Our meals are very poor still
Worked only this morning as everything was just about done. I had a rest on my bed for two hours this afternoon. Most of the chaps went out to town tonight because this was to be the last leave we would be getting in camp here. We are leaving at 0630hrs on Sunday. Wrote Janet card
28 July Sat
Today was a very busy one for everybody we packed up everything ready for tomorrows move. We were finished at 1415hrs so those who wanted to go on leave could do so. They had to be back in camp by 2300hrs though. There were about fifteen chaps stayed in camp so we put on a brew of tea at 2130hrs we were all in bed by 2300hrs as we had a tiring trip ahead of us tomorrow
29 July Sun
So it is again on a Sunday that we make one of our big moves. When we woke this morning 0445hrs it was for some of us, the start of our journey home. So I said we were up about 5am and we were on our way by 0715hrs. Only 98 miles was done and it took us 6 hours to do it an average of 16 1/3 miles an hour only two halts of 5 minutes each was taken and we had lunch when we arrived here at Mestre the first stage of our trip to the Lake area. Mestre is just on the main rd by Venice. The journey down was not without trouble, one of our trucks went over a 20ft bank the driver went to sleep while driving, he got a good shake up when the truck hit the bottom but after getting five stitches in his head he came on and joined us again. In 48 battery a driver of a quad went to sleep and rammed his quad right into the muzzle of the gun in front. I nearly went to sleep myself, the reason was to same as the rest. They made the convoy so slow that it was not enough for the heavy trucks to keep in top gear so down to third we had to go and then we were keeping up with the truck in front without even using our throttle hence there was nothing to do as one might say. We all complained when we arrived at Mestre and told them there would be some more trucks out tomorrow if they never gave us a few more mls an hour. These heavy trucks of ours have to be driven they shouldn’t be allowed to run themselves like today. We will see in the morning what notice they take of us. We are getting up every day at 0445hrs and leaving at 0515. The time now is 2200hrs and I am going to put on a cupa very soon. Our route today was after leaving our area was OPICINA, PROSECCO, AURISINA, SISTIANA, MONFALCONE, LATISANA, MESTRE, 98 Miles from Trieste. We are camped only ¾ mile from the town and if any one wants to go in to Udine they can but as the red-caps are throwing Kiwis out they may not get right in. The day was a real hot one and every one is not looking forward to the 95 miles we have to do tomorrow this will take us down to a place I haven’t seen yet, BOLOGNA. The route there also takes us through Ferrana (?)
30 July Monday
Started off this morning at 0700hrs and the trip was a good one we got a bit of speed up. We left Mestre at 0700hrs and arrived at Bologna after a very good trip of 100mls One o’clock seen us arriving in our area. We passed through MESTRE, DOLO, PODOVA, MONSELICE, ROVIGO, FERRARA, ALTEDO and then BOLOGNO. Leave was granted into Bologno after tea so as I wanted to see the place in I went for the evening. I went with a cobber of mine and we only walked around. We both bought a pipe with a dogs head shaped for the bowl. They are a very good smoke too !. We had the odd drink of Vermouth and soda and we caught the truck at 2200hrs and were back in camp by 2300hrs after a cupa I went to bed it was sure hot in there too
31 July Tuesday
Up this morning as usual at 0515hrs and we had to cook our own breakfast we left at 0730hrs, the trip was a long one being 160 miles .We passed through a lot of towns we knew well. After leaving BOLOGNA, we went through FAENZA, FORLI, RIMINI, PESARO,SENIGALLIA, ROCCA PRIORA, JESI, FALCIONI, FABRIANO. We stayed the night just outside the town. The ities were round in droves wanting us to sell them anything of course we wouldn’t do a thing like that. I drove today for 10 hours and I was really tired by the clock showed 2100hrs
1 June Friday
I went to find out about the cricket this morning at 0900hrs and the officer told me that it was off, so as we cancelled our trip to Grado today we won’t be able to go. I found out if there were any more names to go on the list for this leave and there was one so I put my name down for it. We left camp at 1345hrs and were in Grado by 1430hrs. After a walk around we came back to the Hotel where we are staying at and got ready for tea which is between 1800hrs and 1830hrs. The time now is 1815hrs so I am going down to get mine right now. Received the cable telling me that the Cameo ring had arrived home, it took three days to get there. I received a letter from Anne also. Wrote Janet card.
Today I just loafed around doing nothing at all. There are hundreds of soldiers in this place and during the day the beach is just covered with sun bathers. There are two pictures on here but I have seen both of them before.
Wrote Janet two cards
This morning I went for a walk around town and after morning tea I wrote Janet two cards also a letter to cousin Anne. In the afternoon I had a three hours boat trip away out in the ocean. We went in a 22 footer. Posted a card to Janet and I forgot to put the number of the street on. I hope she gets them. I have one beofre and I posted one this morning so if these two go with the two without the number they will be alright. There are three dances here tonight but as I don’t dance I don’t go. I went and seen “True to Life” for the second time. In bed by 2300hrs. Wrote Janet card, Harry letter.
Left Grado this morning at 0930hrs and was back in camp by 1035hrs had morning tea at the YM and straightened out my gear before lunch. After lunch I done some washing and then I rested until tea time. Bruce Coburn asked me to drive the YM truck for five days and I had to ask our GPO for permission which I received. Was told by our Col about us going home it will be on the 2 NZEF Times tomorrow.
Started out driving the YM truck this morning and I never got finished my work until 1715hrs. We started off at 0900hrs. Today was very hot and I got a bit more tan on my right arm because I had it hanging out the window of the truck as I was driving. There is a Reg Cricket team playing tomorrow but as I am driving the truck I won’t be playing for a few days. Gave Bruce some money to buy me a pair of Desert shoes from Egypt they are the second pair now. I sent for a pair of desert boots before. I will send the shoes home. They cost me the same as the boots 1200lire 3 pounds. Received a card from Janet.
Took the truck into Trieste this morning then away down the road and back to camp. Started to jack up the Reg cricket tonight. I am forming a committee within the Reg. Bed by 2300hrs.
Never went out until 1500hrs today we had to change the self starter in the truck. Only went for drinks and cakes. Talked cricket after tea again. Wrote Janet card
Had the cricket meeting tonight and everything went off very well. We plan to play two Reg teams against each other on Sunday this will show up the players wh have rarely played the game
9 June Saturday
Went into Trieste and done shopping for the boys. We left there at 1230hrs and got drink and cakes for the YM and home. After tea I went into Trieste again this time to get some watches that we had being fixed up in there
10 June Sunday
Received three cards from Janet. Wrote Janet card. We played the game of cricket today I got 23 and took one wkt. The other side made 193 and we got 241`after being down for 66. The reason of course was I put all the chaps who had never played before in the first and we, who have, went in last.
Just done the cakes and soft drinks for the YM. Went into Trieste after tea to collect some watches
12 June Tuesday
Went to the sotre and got a load of stuff for the two Tommie Regs we are looking after. Picket the team for the Reg game against 5th FLD on Thursday. I am going with the YM truck to VERONA tomorrow, so we got nearly everything cleared up for our trip. Bed by 2300hrs.
13 June Wed
Left camp at 0940 and we were soon on the main road to VERONA after leaving camp we travelled through MONFALCONE, MESTRE, PADOVA, VICENZA and at 1700hrs we arrived at VERONA Went to the pictures after tea and it was a very good show. I am sleeping in the truck but I never slept very well last night as I was alright tonight.
Went shopping this morning and within three hours we spent 300pounds and we have 250 more to spend yet. We bought underwear, rubber coats, umbrellas, cig lighters. This place is about the size of Christchurch 200,000 people. We went down to the market this morning and bought some fruit, apricots, cherries, plums, peaches also vegetables are plentiful. Went to the stage show that was on here last night, it was very good in the first half but the second half was very poor. In our days shopping we spent over 400pound on underwear and we got some more rubber coats in the afternoon. Bed by 0010hrs, it was still very hot too
Done some more shoping this morning and tonight we took out our books and fixed them up, had a cup of cocoa and went to bed.
Left Verona at 1240 hrs and we came back via TREVISO, UDINE, arriving back at 2100hrs. I went over to my tent only to find that all my gear had been pinched while I was away. I lost my greatcoat and all my soap, tobacco, matches, cigs etc and my valese (?)which was full of all my good clothes of my own. I lost the plate I got from the Monastery at Cassino. The complete list in my valese was 1 woolen shirt, 2 KD shirts (one was my gentlemen drill I brought from home) 1 pr hanki socks, one dk blue socks, two yanky thin pairs of socks
To day I was not feeling very well the shock of the loss of my gear was more than I could stand so I went away from the camp after tea to get a breath of different air but it done me no good because the nerves of my stomach were playing up and I was a very sick man at 0100hrs
Received two parcels that were sent to Norm from the Tai Tapu one was a tin of chocklate and the other shortbread. Received two cards from my darling wife Janet.
We moved this morning at 0545hrs to a new possition 6 miles further up round the back of Trieste. It is a good place although not so shady as the other one we were in. We took all day to jack ourselfs up but we are now very comfortable. Wrote Janet 2 cards
Went to the Div sports to help make the “chy” (?) we were there all day and we were able to see the sports which were very good. We never got back until 1800hrs and I was talking cricket and YM until 11pm. Wrote Janet card
20 June Wed
This morning I am in charge of the YM because Bruce is away at the store. I made the tea and done all the business etc everything went off very good. We are going to Verona tomorrow again as far as we know
Received three cards from Janet. Another busy day at the YM
Left camp at 1400hrs today and arrived in Verona at 2130hrs the trip was the same one as we went on the first time. I slept in the truck for the night
23 June Sat
We done all our shopping in the morning getting all that we had orders for and in the afternoon we went up as far as the Lake Gardo and then on to the town of BRISCULA. This place was very nice much bigger than Verona. We traveled to within 20 miles of Milan and then turned back. Never went to bed until 2400hrs
Left Verona at 1400hrs and arrived at the same river as we stopped at on the way up We had a good meal there also a good wash, then on through Udine and “home” I bought a set of ladies underwear (pink) for Frances and a pair of shoes for myself When I go on leave to town I bought another pipe too, cost me 400Lire this time. Received 2 cards Janet
25 June Monday
Received three parcels this morning , two were for me from Janet and a tin of chocklate that was meant for Norm. One of the parcels I received on the 18th was from Mum. There was a game of cricket on against the 4th Fld today but it was put off just ten minutes before we were due to leave. Went into Trieste and to Monfalseone(?) this morning with the YM. Wrote Janet 2 cards
Today was a quiet day for the YM only a bottle of cordial was the thing we got from the store. I wrote Janet one card and wrote Anne a letter. I was talking until 11.30pm in the YM truck. Wrote Anne letter
27 June Wed
A load of stores were got the YM bulk store and although we never got there till 0930hrs we had to wait until 1300hrs before we got loaded. While we were in Trieste getting them there was a thunder storm came over the city and it did rain. The game of cricket we had fixed up against NZA for Friday has now been put off till Monday. Tried my new shoes out tonight and the YM staff went down and stayed there for an hour just to make ourselfs seen. I was on picquet from 10.30 –2400 It was not done though
28 June Thursday
Yesterday it rained on and off all day and when I woke this morning it was raining very heavy, but by the time our c eak parade was called the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing. I couldn’t hardly eat the breakfast it was thick porridge and egg powder . All I had was the porridge and one slice of bread and honey. I have been eating very little for months. I think I may pick up a bit when I get home in the near future.
28 June Thursday.
Very little rain in the morning but in the afternoon I had a rest. Went away from camp at 1700hrs down to Monfalsone to see some people I got to know. I was asked to go down there but when I got there the whole family was home. Left at 2215hrs and arrived back at camp by 0100hrs.
29 June Friday
Wrote Janet two cards one about the Ford —–. Rained very hard for about one hour this afternoon. Bruce and I went to the 30th Battery dance in Trieste after we had made the tea for the YM tent. The dance was a very good one although I don’t dance. We went down in the wee blue car and it went very well. I am getting my pen fixed up for 40 Lire so it should last me until I get home
30 June Saturday
All I done this morning was some washing but this afternoon we went out to Trieste and then down to Monfalcone to get some drinks. Never arrived back until 1830hrs we missed out tea. Received five cards three from Janet, one from Lower Hutt and one from Bob Christian. Also received two parcels one from Janet chock and sweets and one from Hilda and Mum biscuits. Wrote Mother. In bed by 2230hrs
We were on the road again this morning at 0940hrs and after travelling only a few hours we came to a halt, the time was 1215hrs so we had our lunch we had our own bread etc with us. This halt was a long one and it was 1550hrs before we got going again. All we had to stop us was a bridge but it was only a pontoon one big enough to let one truck over at a time. The river was about fifty yards across. The afternoon is overcast again and it looks like rain. It did rain again at 1530hrs and the jorney was a pretty dull one. At 2030hrs we came upon a washout in the road and we were working on it carring logs and anythink we could find and dumping it in. After the time got around to 2230hrs we were able to get through and we halted for the night at 2400hrs in a village called RONEHI which is only 10 miles from TRIESTE. It was still raining and everything and everybody was feeling very happy I must say. We were given shelters to sleep in and our “sub” slept in a hay loft.
Word came through that the 2nd NZEF had joined up with Tito’s forces north of TRIESTE. We were woke up this morning at 0700hrs and thold that there might be an early move. So far we are still in this town of RONEHI., the time is 1800hrs. They are very good people to us but they are really not Ities they once belonged to Yougoslavia and they took it. Most of them are fair and the men have rough skins instead of the usual oiley skins of Ities. All the people wear the red star either in there hats or on their clothes. The girls are very friendly . Sold all our sugar and cigs and today I made about L16 so I will be right for a while. The reccie(?) party is on 10 minutes notice and when it goes we will have an hour afterwards. Today so far has been very fine and it looks as if the rain is over at last. We never moved tonight so we joined in the fun that was going on in this town. TITO had passed through the next village and all these “Ities” from here went up on carts to see him. The war in Italy finished today but there is still a lot of trouble with the forces over here. The forces of TITO want to control northern Italy but they can’t make any headway because “Chenwicks”(?) King Peters followers are fighting them. Two more different forces are in too the Itie facists are trying to stop TITO taking the country, he wants, and the Itie Partesans are fighting anyone at all so there is plenty of trouble everywhere. We all got drunk tonight to celerbrate the end of our fight in Italy.
We moved this morning and we are now in a possition north of TRIESTE and we are resting but! We may be going into action anytime. The British don’t want the same trouble they had in Greece so we are up here to show them that we mean bussiness and our strength shows them if they misbehave themselves and want to play we will play too, we might not fire a shot. We hope we don’t have to. What is to become of us I don’t know I suppose we will be pushed around for awhile yet until such time as the war in Germany ends, then what? There was a very heavy downpour of rain at 0010hrs this morning and it lasted for about half an hour. We did put the guns into “action” and we have 90 men ready to stand by with small arms in case any of these “partys” want to play. We hope they don’t. We were told that we may be here for a few hours, days or even two weeks. We are jacking ourselfs up for the two weeks stay. The country is very similar to the country around TARANTO. All pumic rock, it is impossible to even level a place out to sleep on tonight. Wrote Janet card. In bed by 2100hrs
I was very tired when I woke up this morning so I stayed in bed until 0940hrs, breakfast was not mich good so I thought it better for myself to stay in bed. Wrote Janet card No 4. Received a letter from Gran. It has not rained for 36 hours but the weather doesn’t look too good yet. I get my TAB 5 and a Vacc today so I will have a sore arm tomorrow. The recci party went out this afternoon but this is just in case there is any trouble further up. We are only 8000yds from TRIESTE and some 25 miles from the YUGOSLAVIA border. How long we are going to be up here I don’t know but as soon as this trouble is over we may find ourselfs down south once again. Wrote Gran card. This needle I got has made me a bit silly and I was in bed by 2000hrs
This situation up here has got worse and we have to be ready for anything. There is a Yugoslavio Div reported to be twenty miles over to our left front, they souldn’t be there so we are waiting for developments. We have the 56 British Div a Yank Div and ourselfs up here so one can imagine what will happen if TITO wants to play. We all hope it is settled without us firing our guns, someone might get hurt and it might be some of us. The sky is overcast again today. Received a parcel from Janet, she sent it on her birthday in the parcel was sweets, choc, tissue, tobacco and soap (12 cakes) No 46 . When “Tinee”(?) Fryberg went and seen Tito the other day he said he never wanted to speak to a General he wanted to see a Field Marshal or nobody. Our answer to this was simple. :”he never wanted to speak with a General so we have a “corp” facing him now this is three Div’s I said we had yesterday. We will have wait in the end either quitely or by force, why!! We could wipe him out in a week or more. Wrote Janet card. In bed by 2130 hrs and had a read of the Digest Janet sent me.
Up this morning at 0710hrs. Church parade 0715hrs although we are still “in Action” in front of TITO all these things are going on just the same. Today was a very quiet day. I done some washing and wrote Janet also a card to Harry. Every day now the war is getting closer to its end and by the news this morning it won’t last more than three or four days. Wrote Harry
7 May Monday
C parade (?) again this morning and although there was a very heavy dew last night it is a very warm morning. We have had no more news about the trouble up here. I hope it is all worked out soon.
THE WAR IS OVER . It was signed at 0200hrs this morning. Mr Churchill is going to give his speech tomorrow at 1500hrs. In the last week or so I have forgotten tomention one or two points that are of great interest. Due to the Allied bombing over a period of five years there has been many places wiped out as the papers said. Not seeing any of the resluts one just took it for granted that it was right. Now after this great dash up here to TRIESTE I have seen with my own eyes a lot. Mighty bridges, railway stations and hundreds of trucks, power plants but the one I noticed most of all was the number of dead horses these told there own story, they were used to pull guns and have been for a long time now, this shows the great shortage of petrol even when the Jerries were going back, the Ities were telling us that one truck would be towing about five others. We never had any celerbration tonight as it was a “dry evening” We never had any drink here. Tomorrow night we are getting some Itie beer in. In bed at 2300hrs. Wrote Janet 2 cards
8 May Tuesday
There was no c———parade this morning and I was not up until 0805hrs breakfast time. I washed my two pairs of Jerry underpants and a pair of shorts. Some of our boys got into a surply barge yestserday, it had been shot up on the beach and the sern was under water. This barge carried new summer clothes which are very good quality so we got the underpants and a pair of shorts each, others got very good shirts also. Today is a very warm one but there is no work of any kind. Mr Churchill is going to speak at 1500hrs and “ceasefire” is going to be at 2300hrs tonight I think. Hostilities end tomorrow morning at 0001hrs so Bill Lawdrey wins the sweep now by one minute, his date is the 9th. Received a letter from Jocelyn and one from Gran. We got our beer this afternoon and it is a fair sort of one issue which was a free one paid for by the Baty funds, we got 13 bottles of beer each six small ones and 7 large ones. The small was Canadian and the large Itie. We were up until 0030hrs trying to drink it all but we still had 25 bottles left when we went to bed and we were not anywhere near drunk. We had 104 bottles for our sub.Wrote Janet card.
This morning we moved over to the other side of the road next to F.Troop and by lunchtime we were all jacked up again. We all have bed boards to sleep on now. Received a letter from Gran. We had a talk from our Maj this morning and he didn’t know how long we were going to be here or anything else. In comparassion to others this day was a very quiet one. I have a pain in my stomach and it is the same old trouble back, it lasted until the early hours of the morning. I was still awake at 0400hrs. Wrote Janet.
Church parade this morning and at 0900hrs I went for a trip past Romeni to see two big railway guns of Jerries they were well worth seeing I may say. Each gun was tended by fire trucks one was a generator while the others were for ammo. Their bore was 270mm or 11 inches the barrel was 70 feet long and at the breach it was 3ft 6inches thick. The charge case was made of brass and this brass was 3/16th inch(?) thick and stood about 3 ft high weighing nearly 100lbs with out the charge. They are the biggest guns I have ever seen, so far.. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “True to life” it was alright to see a picture and we all got a good laugh out of this one. Met Ray Mac there also George Cale and I sat with them. I was not in bed until 2330hrs as we never arrived back until 2310hrs. Wrote Janet. Our Col is leaving us and we are getting our old B.C. back to the Reg as Col Maj Angel. The ex Col gave us a talk and he said that nobody knew what was going to become of the Div now. We only had two things to do. Go home or go to the Islands. If we are going home we might be here for another 6 months yet or on the other hand we may be here only two, he said that we have 30,000 men in this Div but only about 15,000 would go to the islands if we went because there are a lot of units that would be wiped. Tanks and engineers would be out —— even the Arty may be out a bit. But we all pray that it is home to get on with production. We shall know within two ——–he said which way we will be going. There are quite a number of the chaps in this Div done three or nearly three years overseas.
My stomach is still very weak this morning but I feel alright otherwise. Made a shower this morning for the troop, we got the thank, pipes etc from a Jerrie possition in which were a Battery of 88__ The rest of the day was spent in resting and a night. I had a hours bridge.
To-day I went into TRIESTE to do the city over and at 0920hrs I was on my way arriving there at 1015hrs. The shops close at 1200hrs so we had to get on with our shoping with some speed on. I bought Janet a scarf and two pairs of sissors one medium and one small, also a few combs. I got ten pkts of seeds for myself , flowers and vegetables. The town was not bad although the place is almost controled by Tito’s men but as we have a fair number of armed soldiers in there, we got around unmolested. It is just like any other town though. Our lunch was a beaut to. We had brought some bread with us from the Bakehouse and when we all got together again we had our meal at 1410hrs as I said we only had the bread so we went to the market square and bought two pounds of onions and three lettuces, took all we had into a wine shop layed it on a table and went to work. There was seven of us altogether. With this meal we had a glass of vermouth and one bottle of chanpagne which cost us 1100 lira. We arrived home at 1630hrs had a wash and then our tea. I wrote a card to Janet and a letter to both Jocelyn and Anne. It was one of the hottest days we have had for some time.
13 May Sunday
We went out on a picnic to-day to a very nice place on the coast called “GRATO’ it has been a tourist resort in peace time in fact there is supposed to be 47 hotels here, it is right off the coast altogether and a cause-way leads out to it – the same as the one close to VENICE. There is a good beach here and it was alive with soldiers all afternoon. The day is another very hot one. Thhis place is about fifteen miles from TRIESTE (south). A romour came amongst us today saying that from a American Radio Station came the news that the 2 NZEF Divs ground forces would fight in the Islands. I hope this is far from being right. Received a parcel tonight from Janet, it was a tin of alsorts of sweets ———— and two tins of salted peanuts also a tin of “sticking plasters” for cuts. I may get a very thoughtful gift to every man over here in Italy. Wrote Janet card
Received two cards from Janet.
Started a second one after tea but never finished it. I wrote here one while the thunder storm was on. Played bridge after tea. By the news now, Japan is being very heavyle bombed 500 or more super forts (?) at a time. The weather cleared at 1915hrs and the rest of the evening was fine and lovely and cool
This morning was a very good day after the unsettled night last night. We had to take the Quad and Limber away this morning and have it washed. Made a tin and packed my parcel which consisted of the following. 1 Pr Candle sticks, model plane (stuka) books, 1 box of taps, 1 pkt of taps, 1 Die, 1 scarf, 1 spandua belt, 2 pipes, 5 combs, seeds : onion, 2 whhite onion, chives, leeks, sweet peas, 2 panseys, 3 shirley poppeys, 1 brass bullet cases, 2 big and 4 small, domes, 1pr shorts, photos of Trieste, 2prs sissiors , one medium and one small.
I will be able to send this parcel soon within the next day or so. There was pictures on tonight at the 21st Bty lines and we could go as usual. I had seen the picture before it was very good though “Pumpernil Smith(?) Lesley Howard was in it. There is black clouds in the sky and lighting can be seen in the distance I don’t know if we will get any rain or not. Received card from Janet. Finished card to Janet.
Time now 0120hrs. I am still dressed as I have just finished the card to Janet that I started on the 14th. I am on picquet from 0100hrs until 0200hrs and breakfast is at 0630hrs for everybody in the “hours to come” There is a trip to Austria in the morning starting at 0730hrs. I missed it but there may be another one later in the week. Seen a black snake tonight about four feet long. Went for a cold shower at 1800hrs and it was good. The weather is good now, hot until 2000hrs and not dark until 2115hrs. We left on our picnic at 0900hrs and we took 6 yanks with us, we went to a small town which is on one of the main roads and in a very shady spot. We stoped the truck beside the river and some of the boys were in straight away but they said it was very cold. It should have been too because it was a snow fed one. It had a beautiful blue-green colour. River was the Izoro (?) We played cricket before lunch and after lunch we played baseball and a very good day was had by all
After a very good sleep last night I was up this morning at 0715hrs (for the —— parade) Early this afternoon I done a bit of washing and some sewing and I played our bridge game in the comp. We lost so as far as we are concerned we are finished. At 1500hrs I decided to sit in a small Red Dog school that was going and by tea time I had won 2500Lira when we knocked off for tea the “kitty” was worth 13,500lira which is 32 pounds 15 shillings so we had to play after tea to cut it out. I done very well winning over 22 pound – about 200lira about. I have on me at present 34 pounds 17 shillings and 6 pence and about 33 pound in my pay book in credit which makes me worth about 67 pounds altogether. This tonight was the biggest win I have ever had in my life so far.
Received a cable from Janet dated May 8th , it was sent on the occasion of the end of the war, a very nice thought on her part. I thought. Went to the pictures tonight at 2100hrs and seen “The Women About Town” I am now lying on my bed writing this and the time is 2330hrs and I am now going to bed. I bought three pairs of gloves tonight from the Y.M. They were 350 a pair, their sizes were two 7’s and one 6 ½ . Wrote Janet card The picture tonight was :A Woman about Town” and it was a very good cowboy picture
Wrote two cards to Janet. Played Red Dog for a few hours this morning but never won or never lost anything. Played cricket against F.Troop but the game was unfinished because we smashed the only ball we had in the Battery. Bruce Coburn told me tonight that there was two sets of cricket gear coming into the Reg within a few days. I was in the party going to Austria tomorrow but at 2235hrs the trip was cancelled, reason unknown.
The trip to Austria was put off because of the trouble we have with Tito and this morning our little defense platoon is getting ready, we have to man the guns also. This is only practice but they are expecting something to happen as “he” has been told to get out I think. Just had a talk by the B>C and he told us the whole trouble about tito and it is right that he has been told to withdraw back Morgan Line which is East of TRIESTE . He also told us a bit about our future. The 6th Reinfs are due to go out anytime now followed by the 7th but the 7th won’t be allowed to go as long as we are in the Trieste area. These Reinfs will be followed by the others in turn. The notice said “It is desiriable that the 2nd NZEF ground forces be used in the Pacific but the matter is under considerations with the NZ Gov and the British Governments I hope they want us home and very soon
20 May Sunday
Reg Church Parade this morning, and after it we worked right up till 1200hrs. Received three cards from Janet and one from Bob Christian, Janets last one was the 5-5-45. Sewed the parcel up this afternoon and I put 3 shillings worth of stamps in case it went over 11L. After tea tonight we were told that the trip to Austria was on tomorrow, the time is now 2230hrs and its still on. The trouble we are having with TITO is still unsettled although he is drawing his forces out of Southern Austria by 7 in the morning. We have to be ready to move within half an hour now. There was an issue of Itie beer today but no cigs or tobacco, we are pretty short of smokes now too. A few spots of rain fell this afternoon.
Up this morning at 0600hrs and after a wash and breakfast we were on our way to Austria by 0710hrs. The first town we came to of any size was a place called GORIZIA the others up to the border were KANAL, KABRAIO,, and TARVISIO. Which is only about two miles from the border. We crossed the border and camped about ½ mile inside for lunch after lunch we walked the rest of the way to the nearest village on foot, it was about ¼ mile. It was here we seen the difference really because all the names changed from Itie into German within only only a few yards. The name of the village in Austria that we went to was Arnoldstein, a small but very pretty place indeed. The country in northern Italy is very ruggered only in the valleys are there any signs of life then the villages are far apart and only small clusters of houses. The sceanery is nowhere to be compared with our own Alps the bush is very stunted and not very thick anywhere. We did see two lovely sights, one was a great waterfall coming out of the side of a hill and the other sight was a small lake. Thhis was really wonderful only a small lake but it was ringed by spruce trees and the water was a deep green as we came upon this place we were about 2000 above sea level and this scean looked very good from that hight. Although we only went into Austria a mile or so what I did see was well worth the trip. Standing in one place I could look around and at every turn it looked like an oil painting. The houses are far different from those of Italy , differently designed and there is also a lot of wood used in their construction, every house has its own garden and they are a picture in themselves, well kept and well layed out. It was in one of these I see blackcurrents and gooseberries, the first I have seen since leaving home. Austria although very hilly is very pretty. The dress of the few people we seen was just like we read about, feathers in their hats and everything else. We could only stay there ¾ of an hour as the trip back had to be done by tea time. We left there at 1420hrs and we came a different way back passing through first DOGNA, RESUITTA, PORTIS, UDINE and so on to our camp by Trieste. The whole trip was 196 miles and as we landed “home” at 1900hrs it had taken us nearly 12 hours to do. It was a very dusty ride and my eyes were very sore when I got back after bathing them and having my tea I went to the pictures and seen “Deana Durban” in “Spring Parade” I had seen it before but it was alright the second time. Received three letters, two from Gran and one from Jocelyn. In bed at 2330hrs
22 May Tuesday
Up this morning at 0400hrs. I was on picquet from 4 til 5. I have not gone back to bed so that’s why I have just wrote up yesterdays and this bit of todays. I worked it out today and I must have traveled nearly 7000 miles in this country up to the present time. I have now been from the south of Italy “TARANTO’ to the north TARVISIO’ The day is overcase with the rain clouds not very far away.
We put our guns into action on the other side of the road at 1300hrs, they are now trained on Tito’s forces, two more Divs are coming into the line now. This makes two armys we have ready for him, I still hope we don’t fire our guns. “You” see dear, the war is not over for us but I can’t tell you in a letter, we have here now the 56 Div, 10 Indian, 52 USA Div, 5 USA and ourselfs. The 46 British is hanging around too. I have my “home” facked up just as I had it up over the road. I hope we don’t move from here for a few days now. I spent all afternoon putting it up.
Wrote Janet card, Gran card. Just as our luck would be it rained as we started to pull down our tents but after a quarter of an hour it cleared up and was a very good afternoon
Wrote Jocelyn.Just as we were going to give our gun a clean up this morning the LAD chap came down and told us that our gun had to go to the workshops for a few minor repairs so we needn’t have come over this side of the road again, we could have stayed where we were. It got away before lunch time so we are free for the time it is down there. There are two of us left on the gun possition, two away with the gun and the other four are over the other side of the road, they are members of the defence platoon we have. Went and seen the kiwi concert party tonight, it was very good to although some of the party has gone home now.. It started to rain about 2230hrs but we seen the concert out and just as we were coming home down the rain came propely. I reached my tent and everything was going well so I went to bed and had no worries over getting wet during the night.
It must have rained all night because it was still raining when I woke this morning. I got my breakfast in between a shower and by 0945hrs it had cleared up altogether. Sent through the YMCA for one pair of Desert Boots and a pouffe for Janet, this is a leather coushin and will go home from Egypt , the boots will come to me here. Wrote Bob Christian card. Wrote Janet card. Got my sandles mended. Done some washing. The 6th reinforcments are leaving us tomorrow at 0700hrs. I was in a small town this morning and TITO’s men were pulling out so this is a good sign for our future, I hope
Sent parcel this morning, candlesticks etc. There were pictures on last night but I never went. We have plenty of tobacco in our canteen at present so I am buying a packet each day because like it has been before there will come a day when they won’t have any for weeks. Received 6 cards and one photocard from Janet, they were very nice and the photocard was good quite a surprise too. Ordered five photos off George Hunter.
Wrote two cards to Janet. Wrote another card after tea making it three altogether. Wrote Mum S. Played bridge for a while after I finished my writing and after one hours picquet from 10-11 I went to bed
Never got up till 0910hrs went without any breakfast it never is worth going for anyway. There is tea and cakes on at the YM every morning so I had a few cakes and some tea at 1015hrs. Just as I arrived across there down came the rain again it had been raining since early this morning. Wrote Janet card. Played bridge after tea. In bed by 2130hrs
27 May Sunday
Up this morning at 0820hrs and again missed breakfast, it was very poor so I was told so I never missed very much. Went and had morning tea then had a game of bridge till lunch time. Washed three shirts and a pr of shorts after lunch and got them all dry before tea. I also sewed good buttons on a K.D (or O) shirt that I am going to make my best one.
Started to write a card to Janet but I have so little news that I had to give it up with only a page and a half done. It rained most of last night but we had a very fine day today
Just had a very lazy day. I was on picquet from 1080hrs till 1200hrs this morning. There is some talk of a Reg cricket team playing tomorrow against a Tommi crowd when and where I don’t know yet . Finished the card I started yesterday. Pictures tonight and I seen “Forever in my Heart” Gloria Warren singer. I met Ray , Mac, George and the third chap in the snap I got from home, Noel was his name. Never got home until 2345hrs.
The Reg Cricket hame is on this afternoon and F.Kinn——- and I are playing in it, we have RHQ at 1330hrs. We played against a Tommie team the 5th — Reg they made 96 and we made 86 in the first innings in the second they got 63 and we got 180 for 8 wkts. I done very well making 22 in each ——-. I also took 3 for 13 and caught a good catch in slips. We heard over the radio tonight that up to the 10th reinf were going home as soon as possible and the rest were going too make up a ground force to go to the Islands somewhere. I had a long talk with Bruce Coburn tonight. Finished writing to card to Janet.
Went into Trieste for a ride with the YM this morning. I bought myself a wallet costing 750L. It is a good one though. While we were in there a terrible thunder storm came over the town and lighting struck down into one of the streets making a noise just as if a 5.5 gun went off. I have never heard anything like it before. It rained very heavy for a hour. After touring around the town for two hours we came home in time for dinner. After lunch we had to take the gun down and have two rivits welded it took us one and a half hours to do the job of taking the gun out and putting it back. I got Eric Baker to cut my hair , had a shower then tea. After tea it rained but Bruce Coburn asked me to go to the pictures as he was taking the Jeerry car down. It was alright to sitting in the car watching because it started to rain about 2300hrs. The picture was “Stage Door Canteen” very good. The Jerry car was given to the YM by the 48 Battery but unless they get a permit they won’t be able to keep it. We had some trouble starting it before we got home and it was 0001 hrs before I got to bed , we had a lot of fun though.
It rained all night and it was raining when I woke this morning so I never got up for breakfast but I had to get up for a small parade at 0900hrs. I had my usual cup of tea at the YM at 1015hrs. Fine this morning. We are playing 29 Baty cricket tomorrow starting at 1000hrs At 1600hrs today I was on board the Ajax, we had been invited on board by the crew. The first thing we done was to go down below and have tea which was at 1630hrs. This consisted of buns, bread and real butter, it was very good too. A lovely cup of tea went with it. After we had finished this we had a look around the ship. The guns were our chief concern so into one of the 6 inch gun turrets we went. They are great, two guns side by side. The rest of the ship was full of gear mostly radio gear of which there was plenty altogether it was a very interesting afternoon although we got wet going out to the boat. We had to go out to it by launch and it was standing about three miles off shore. At 2000hrs we had to leave the ship and the trip back was a dry one because we came back on “Lighter” or “landing craft”. We arrived home at 2110hrs and after a cup of tea at the YM I went to bed
Although I never got to bed until 0400hrs I was up again at 0745hrs had breakfast after we had put the net up over the gun. The pit was finished and everything a”Home” as we were so close I dug it about 2 1/2ft deep. I was on picquet but off duty tonight. The area is very quiet for such a place in the line only MG fire and a few shells can be heard. We won’t be putting in our big show for a few days yet, everybody has to get into possition yet.
Breakfast this morning was two boiled eggs and fired bacon with tea etc. We cleaned our gun and the rest of the day was to ourselfs. I was mistaken a bit there because we now have to move again to another possition. This possition is reserved by some Tommies who are bringing 4-5—in. Our C.R.A told our Cpt just to dig in here in case the Tommies changed their minds about coming here (they never) so we now move at 2000hrs it is just dusk then. These men are supposed to be our leaders and they muck us about like this. Today is a very hot day and I think the summer is here alright. As far as we know we are getting our summer issue on the 15th of this month. Moved at 2000hrs but we only went about 500yds back we are on the other side of the canal and we are now firing on our nearest point at 2700yds instead of 2300yds, but so far we have not fired a round yet. Hilda’s birthday I think. Wrote Janet card.
Finished this pit put the net up and the rest of the day we spent in digging ourselfs in. We are going to be here for a week or more so we all made a good effort in our wee “homes” Received five cards three from Janet one from Bob Christian and one from Mum. I had my shirt off today and I got sunburnt a bit . I don’t think I will peel because there was still “tan” on my skin from last summer. We had a slight rain at 2030hrs. How much we are going to get remains to be seen. Wrote Janet and Bob Christian. We have 1000 rounds per gun on the possition ready for the big attack we are going to put on very shortly.
Up this morning at 0820hrs but never missed my breakfast as the cooks were late also. Wrote Janet and Mum. To night was very cold so to bed we went early There is going to be a frost I think. Jerry threw a few shells around the area but out of 15 he never got a good one, they were all duds. At 2400hrs we were called out to fire three rounds. Jerry had sent out a strong patrol around the back of our infantary so back he had to go before he seen too much. The rest of the night was quiet for us but there was plenty of firing from both sides
Wraped up a 2nd NZEF “Times” to send home. There was no firing today and we don’t know yet when the big attack is going in. We ourselfs expect it to come off on Sunday as this seems to be the Armys big day always. Although the sun has been out today it has been a very cold wind blowing. Wrote all feb in this book which I am using for my 1945 diary. I got an Itie girl to fix up my second grey shirt today. I washed it and my sleeveless jersey to-day. This is the first time I have ever washed my jersey since Frances gave it to me over two years ago
Very cold this morning and there are not very many shorts being worn today. We handed in one blanket, our jerkin and one battle dress to=day. We start taking our “little yellow pills” tomorrow, we are building up a resistence for the “mossie season” nearly starts. Bob Flureys (?) birthday today. He is 25 so he paid for our beer issue yesterday. He is our No 1 at present and I am 2 i.c he is only a “BOR” and I am a “gunner”. He is a very good chap. He was also the first chap wounded in Italy out of our Battery this was at the first possition on the Sangro River. In bed by 2100hrs. Jerry started to shell us at 2330hrs and he was still going when I looked at my watch last which was 0030hrs. The shells were going just over our heads and landing 150yes behind us, they were landing amongst our infantary and near F.Troop. The 25,26, and 23 Batts were dug in behind us waiting for the day to move up for the big attack about 150 shells were landed in the area and as far as we know no one was wounded, one landed four yards away from the trail of F4 gun. I turned my stomach into the bank of my slittle, buried my head into a corner and went to sleep in spite of Jerrie and his shelling. Wrote Frances card.
Jerry kept shelling for three quarters of a hour after I went to sleep last night so the boys informed me this morning. They told me after finishing the shells he started with the “Minnies” and for all their noise which is terrific I never woke. One sure gets used to all the “funny” noises in this war. This shelling last night was the biggest concentration of Arty fire any of us have heard Jerry put over since we have been in Italy which is 18 months. Wrote Janet card also a small surface letter sending cutting out of 8th Army News
I have now caught up on this years diary. I have been all morning writing up the month of March and the few days of this one that have passed. The time now is 1133hrs and I am sitting in my slitty because there is a very strong cold wind blowing everybody is humped up in their tents either writing or reading. We have no word about our coming attack yet we expected it to come off tonight but it doesn’t look very much like it now. Wrote Janet 2 cards. The news reports the Allies only 7 miles from Hanover and at the nearest point only 157 miles from Berlin. A quiet night but a cold one.
A rumour came out last night that our “D.Day” in Italy was starting at 1500hrs this afternoon. We will know if this is to be or not to be within a few hours, the time now is 0850hrs.
Our D.Day is here starting at 1520hrs. We are going to rake Jerries F.D.Ls with H.E. up to a certain point then back again then up and back again. The infantry are putting in their attack at 1920hrs. The whole show today is going to take 700rounds. All the new 3rd Div chaps are here with us, gazed with awe at the hundreds of rounds that are stacked up in each pit, they have never seen so many rounds in one pit in all their lives. They will know what war really is after this big attack is through. We are going to be at it for two days about 1000 planes are helping us to-day and tomorrow. Time now 1216hrs.
Heavy bombers started to go over at 1340hrs and they will be coming over in twleves up to 1520hrs. We can see great columns of smoke rising up from over the other side of the Sario (?) RiverThe planes are flying fortresses, Mediums and Fighters are going to follow them after. Time now 1930hrs and up till now we have fired 222 rounds .Our gun broke down at 1800hrs and the Reg Tiffie is now on the job.We will be ready to fire again within one quarter of an hour. We are firing the barrage for the Infantry now, only our gun is out of action. 40 Poles were killed and 40 wounded by the bombing by the heaveys early this afternoon. We were in action again by 1950hrs and we only missed 60rds of the barrage. The barrage was of 250 rounds. We fired altogether today just over 500 rounds in bed by 2320hrs.
Up this morning at 0030hrs, we were called out to fire fire. C.D.F targets all over, three rounds each, the rest of the day up till we moved was quiet for us. We were told to be ready to move though we had to move as soon as we were ready. The time was 1150hrs when we moved and our new possition is 800yds from the Sario River. We are all settled in now, the time is 2010hrs, we have not fired a shot so far and we may not fire from this possition as the tanks and infantry are still moving up and not meeting hardly any opposition. The great push is on, we are using everythink including “flame throwers”. We had planes over us from 1340hrs until some early hour this morning, they were droping flares then going in to bomb. I am going to bed very soon. I may write and I may not.
I never wrote last night as I was too tired, I never got into bed until 2130hrs. We were up at 2440hrs this morning fired 27 rounds harrassing fire and again at 0240hrs we were up firing 24 rounds gun-fire. I was awake at 0730hrs and was told that we are moving at 0915hrs. There was a rush for us to do this but we were all ready to move by 0925hrs. We moved up about 6 miles crossing the Saino (?) River and our possition at present is halfway between the two rivers the Saino and the ——–. So far today time now 1620hrs we have fired 40 rounds. We are still going forward every where along the entire front. We are firing on a range of 4000yds from here. The day has been very got. I have had my shirt off all day and I am starting to get brown again. Air Force over all day again to-day fighters, this time. Started firing about 1800hrs and it turned out to be almost continuous until 2300hrs in this time we done ½ a hour harrassing fire on a Jerries S.P gun. There were crowds of Ities coming through our lines from up the front. Their houses were all blown down by Jerry they said. There was three men, one woman and two small boys in one batch and they had only passed about two minutes when a Itie “Partisian” came running down after them and yelled out to us that one of the chaps was a “TED” two of our chaps grabbed rifles and went with the Itie. It was not necessary because after the Itie had taken a shot at the Ted some Tommies smartly grabbed him. He proved to be a Jerrie Captain dressed in Itie clothes. The Itie said he had been waiting four months for the English to come so he could “get” this Jerry who had made him work very hard at the point of the pistol.
The rest of the night was a very broken one. I was on picquet from 0045hrs until 0130hrs and were up firing at 0350hrs, 0550hrs,and again at 0700hrs. I stayed up then. So far from this possition we have fired over 200 rounds made up of the odd 3,5,7 rounds gun-fire and this is a lot of rounds when they are fired in this fashion and we have not been here 24 hours until 1020 this morning. News came over the radio this morning that “New Zealanders” had smashed their way across the Sanio River and up to the next one the ‘SENTERNO RIVER. Wrote Janet card. Received cable from Janet, she was in Auckland when she sent it. Dated 5th April. The news is still very good over the air. Fired only 150 rounds so far today time now 2030hrs. We may be moving again tomorrow morning our Infantry are still going forward. In bed by 2045hrs Off duty. Rained 1 hour
13 April (Friday)
Fired a barrage this morning of 240 rounds. At 0910hrs we moved up again this time some four miles! And we are just on the outskirts of Massa Lombarda. After digging ourself a slitty we done the pit. We had a shell land only 20 yds from us this morning but we were lucky as none of us were hit. A chap on E.2 was hit in the forehead but was alright only there was a lot of blood, he was Ivan Watson who came over in the 14th Reg. He was a 3 Div chap who came over with Ray Mac. Fired 150 rounds so far today and so far since “D.Day” we have fired 1230. We are firing a 300 round barrage at 0200hrs in the morning. Time now 2030hrs We are on harrassing fire from 2320hrs until 2400hrs. All the boys are now feeling the strain of the Battle. We have been at it night and day since the 9th we are getting our sleep only a few hours at a time. Passed through LUGO this morning at 1000hrs.
The time now is 0525hrs and I have just got back into my slittie after firing the Barrage. It lasted 2 hours 40 minutes (300rds) Sleep was impossible after this because we fired 30 rounds in smashing up a counter attack. The time now is 0600hrs and it is daylight. So I have only had from 0010hrs until 0150hrs sleep, 4 hours last night and 3 hours the night before. I am feeling the strain myself now. The T.S.M and Tiffie made us a cup of tea at 0430hrs very nice to. Started to write Janet at 0845hrs but could only do five lines. We were called out within 10 min of getting back into our tents. We were called upon to fire 30rds before breakfast so any further rest or writing was impossible. We moved this morning again at 1115hrs going forward 6000yds. We are in a very open possition and only 3000yes from the River bank which we can see. Had a few shells around near our area but no damage done. We are very glad that we have moved from this last possition because of the dust we got from the road. Air Force over all day. I bought another pipe yesterday it cost me 500Lire.
I had a complete rest last night going to bed at 0815hrs and to sleep never woke up until 0800hrs this morning. We fired about 30 odd rounds before lunch. Jerry has brought one of his crack Divs in front of the 2nd NZF the 4th Paratroop Div it is , that’s why we are stoped a bit, we are firing a big barrage again soon so we will most likely be on the move again within two days. Finished writing the card I started yesterday morning. We fired 75 rounds harrassing fire between 1530hrs and 1800hrs and at 2100hrs we started a barrage which lasted 2 hours s50 minutes, 340 rounds were fired and the attack that we fired it for went off very well every company got well past their finishing line. The 25B.T got four “Tiger Tanks” and about 200 P.O.W were taken. There were only two D.F—fired so Jerry could not have had much “guts” left when we ended the barrage.
This morning we have fired about 40 rounds. The sky is slightly overcast and there is a chillie wind blowing (all shirts are on). There is a possible chance we may move today as the Ressie (?) party are going out after lunch. We were tald at 1230hrs to prepare to move which we did but we never expected to have to wait for several hours until we moved. Our time to move came at 1930hrs and it was getting a bit chilly by this time too. We had only gone half a mile or more when our first hold up came and from there on we only moved a few yards at a time until we got to our new possitions at 2130hrs and we are only 3000yes shorter in range than we were at the last possition. The area we are now in was the scean of hard battles and destruction of both houses and human lives. Jerry had just brought up 500 —— before we opened up our barrage (which was only last night) Each gun fired 50 rds on the opening line so there were thousands of rounds fired into this town. The Jerries were lying everywhere along the road in and in the town itself. But the grimest sight was not the jerries or the buildings .What we had done we done! There were men , women and children lying on boards, sheets and on the ground, Dead! When one sees small children , three and four lying dead, killed by shellfire it is a sorry thing, to know he helped to do it, I did! Because I fired our gun in this barrage “May they forgive me”
Up at 0800hrs no firing last night. We are moving again at 1245hrs to a possition 6000yds up, we are still advancing very well. We arrived at this possition at 1345hrs dug our slitties and fixed up our beds etc, just as we had done. This we were told that we were moving again but this was cancelled again so we are now “bedded down” for tonight, we have fired 30 rounds from here already , time now 1700hrs. Fixed up “Times 8” Army News etc to send home. We fired nearly 100 rounds harrassing fire tonight but I was off duty, but on picquet from 2245hrs until 2320hrs. A barrage was set for tonight of 240 rounds but it was cancelled at 2000hrs, it was timed for 2300hrs. We now have a 3rd Div Sgt in charge of our gun.
The time is now 1030hrs and so far this morning we have not fired a round. There were a few shells near our area last night. I think the Barrage will be fired tonight, there is talk of one that will cover 480 rounds but we have been told not to prepare the ammo in case this is changed. Wrote Janet card. Received card from Janet 2.4.45. The barrage was on ! and it lasted until 0140hrs. The night was a warm one but a watery moon was shining.
I was in bed by 0210hrs this morning and up again at 0800hrs. Just as we fired our last round this morning the church bell tolled, why I don’t know may be for those caught in the murderous fire from our guns and flame throwers. We have just finished cleaning our gun down. Since D.Day we have fired 2626rounds out of our gun which means about 189.050 for the Div Arty since the 9th April ten days today. Wrote Janed card “growling” Wrote Anne. Only fired the four rounds all day and by the looks of things we will be moving tomorrow. In bed by 2130hrs but I had to get up for picquet from 0450hrs till 0825hrs (near town of Medicina)
Up this morning at 0600hrs for the day. We were to move at 0700hrs. Breakfast was at 0615hrs and we never moved until 0755hrs. Our advance was only 3000yds but this brought us to within 4000yds but we may be moving again because “Ted” is moving back all the time. We will meet him at the Po River. I suppose there he will try ;and make a stand. We did not move for the second time today at 1120hrs this time we went forward 6000yds and on the route we seen the grim realitys of war as grim as any sights one could see. After leaving our first area we got onto the main road and after going only a few chain down we came to a “new” cemetary. No one was buried in it then but there was a line of twenty men, all wraped in a blanket waiting for the holes to be dug. We passed several small villages all of which had been hit by our shellfire and it was not very long before we were in the area that Ted had been there only this morning. This could be seen by the amount of gear lying around, there were Kau— trucks, hay-stacks, and tanks of both sides burning some with men still in them. When we came to the stop-bank on which we fired our barrage two nights ago we seen for ourself what destruction we had caused. The flame throwers helped do what we seen also. The stop-banks are the sides of canals dug years ago by the Ities for the irrigation of their land. The banks are ten to twenty feet high and every one we came to there is usually a fight and a bloody one at that. The first two we crossed were no exception, the dugouts the enemy dug in these banks showed what price “he” is paying to hold this country. All along the bans were dead men, some just lying peacefully while others were still standing up in these dugouts where they had either been bajoneted, burnt or shop as our boys came over the top. Of all the men we seen these will stand out in my memory forever, the first must have been hit in the stomach because his inside was sticking out, blown up like a great bunch of baloons, the next one was hit with shrap because the top half of his body was gone and the third was caught in a truck. He was burnt to a cinder. A bit further up they were a bit fresher because the ones we seen were just lying where they had fallen only twenty four hours before. One was all over the road though where he had fallen was right in the path of a tank and there had been countless tanks and trucks over this part of the road before daylight fell. I hope his wife or mother thinks of him buried peacefully in a quiet little grave”somewhere in Italy” but he couldn’t even be buried. My thoughts were far away with my darling wife, why? I cannot say here! I will tell her when I get home and she reads these pages. When we neared our new possition even the Itie people were not above going down into their dugouts because they never knew who a gun or a tank belonged to for a start. We dug a pit and after a wash went into our own slitties to sleep. We only fired 30 rounds from the time we got here until we went to bed.
At breakfast time I got up and by 0900hrs I was shaved and ready for what the day may bring. We received news of a parcel mail that was sent from Nov 1st until 4 Dec. All the boys got salt water in them but they are sending the oridginal bags up to us so we may salvage any pieces we can So it looks as if my new Diary will be in this lot. We moved this afternoon at 1730hrs and our advance this time covered 9000yds. Jerrie broke today and we are after him with everything. BOLAGRIS (?) fell this morning and the 6th Arm Div took FERRARA. After we dug our own slittys we dug a “one spit” gun pit and went to bed , we fired 15 rounds harrassing fire. Wrote Janet card.
This morning is a better one the sun is shining and the sky is almost cloudless. Time now 0900hrs we have just had breakfast. We were told to be ready to go mobile by our new G.P.O our ex 3rd Div “boy” 22 he is and what is he dumb, any-way we took our own time and got ready to move as we always have done. He told us at 1150hrs and we knew when we would move. It is now 1507hrs and we may be here for the night even yet. Our Infantary are 16,000yds in front of us and are still going. We won’t be needed until they come to a halt somewhere, this is not much good to us because we have to remain packed up ready to move at a moments notic. Time now 2000hrs and there is no more before first light in the morning. We have now put our tents up again and ready to bed down any time at all.
Up at 0500hrs and we were on the road by 0545hrs after traveling nearly twelve miles we came to a halt in a Reg area just outside the village of St Georgie but our stay here is only going to be a few hours because we are on the move again at 1200hrs, lunchtime now 1130hrs. Weather fine. I think the Div is being pulled out. This time we moved went through St Georgia and travelled north for about two miles where we are now going to stay for about two days. Our welcome to this part of the country was different because of our quick advance. Itie flags were hanging out and the people were lining the streets. The great advance is going so well now that our Infantary doesn’t need our support and the front has got narrower too because some Divs are being squeezed out. The Poles are out now because the Yanks cut them out. Went out for a walk after tea and went into a cassa the Ities were very pleased to have us and came from nowhere . We stayed there until 2015hrs, it was very cold so we came back cooked four eggs each then went to bed. Wrote Janet letter “safe conduct sheets”
I was up this morning at 0805hrs this morning (just in time for breakfast) and by 0845hrs we knew that we were going into action again , not as if we had been out but we have not been firing for a few days, only following up. Until today at 1700hrs when we came into the possition we had been waiting up to eighteen months to take up, this was the possition in front of the Po River. We are now only 8,000yds from this river and the war is so good that we were not going to dig a “pit” even but we who are “here” know the same thing can happen now as it did two, three or four years ago wo we take all safty measures and will do so until the “cease fire”. We left our other area at 1045hrs and pulled into another possition for lunch, we were told to stay mobile as we may move at anytime , we did and the time was 1600hrs and after one hour and a half travelling we arrived here. Our Armys have crossed the Po River in several places I don’t think Italy has very long to go now. It is still a matter of Jerry in one house for breakfast and we are there for tea. I am in bed writing this, the time is 2120hrs and I think there is going to be a very heavy mist come from the river.
Up at 1245hrs and it was to fire a small barrage for the 23rd Batt to cross the “Po”. The 21st Bat had a company across yesterday but the Air Force (our own) drove them back to the Island again, this island is in the middle of the river (like the one at Kaitangata in the Clutha) (a river in the south island) I don’t think there is going to be any great battles for the Po River. It is on and on now until there are no Teds left in Italy. The battle of Berlin is still on. Time now 1545hrs. We have just been told that we have to be ready to move by 2100hrs tonight, over the Po River. It will be this time I suppose. We moved at 2220hrs and the journey was a slow one, my first sight of the Po was at 1140hrs and we just got over the bridge by 2359hrs so our crossing of the Po was made on Anzac Day. It is the biggest river we have seen in this country, it was easy 150 yards wide where we crossed.
This morning at 0100hrs found me digging a slittie and I was bedded down by 0130hrs and I never got up until 0810hrs breakfast time. The time is only 0930hrs and we already have 40 eggs and two more chaps have gone out to get some more. We moved from this possition at 1000hrs and after travelling about four mile we went into action again. This is No 14 possition since “D.Day” April 9th, the time now is 13f40hrs and we are packed up ready to move forward again even at this stage the Po River is a long way behind. It is a dull day and we have had the odd shower of rain but it is warm. Moved at 1530hrs and after a very good trip we found ourselfs within easy range once again. We had fired right up to 11,675yds and now we are down to 4,000yds. This new possition is just in front of the river. We have dug our pit and our own slitties, the time is 1835hrs and we have just finished our tea. There are a few spots of rain falling but I hope we don’t get very much more. Fired 60 rounds today so far. We have taken up three different possitions within fourteen hours. This is the first time we have had more than two possitions since we have been in Italy. The food is scarse and it is not very good either. We haven’t even time to wash our clothes which are at the present time very dirty. My wish about the rain was not heard because at 2100hrs it stated but as I had my “bivvie” up very well so I went to sleep.
I was awake this morning at 0410hrs. The rain woke me up it was that heavy. I give my “wee home” the once over but it was holding the rain out alright so I went to sleep again not waking until 0820hrs when our breakfast came around. Although it is not raining, the sky is overcast and it is cold. We have several “bridgeheads” over the river in front of us so as soon as they get a bridge across we will be on our way again. Last night we got a 800lb bag of sugar for each sub. We are going to sell it as we also split up two more amongst ourself for our own use. Done some washing this afternoon but there is very little drying. We may even move tonight yet. Wrote Janet card. We did move and at 2330hrs too this trip was going to be a long one too our advance this time is going to be over the Adigli (?) Rr. After travelling for 4 1/2hours (a yard at a time almost) we put our guns down at 0400hrs on the morning of this day the 27th. We went to bed at 0430 in a Itie house.
Up at 0810hrs this morning and after only 3 1/2hours sleep was very tired. Just loafed around this morning and this afternoon so far I have done nothing. I think we will be staying here tonight, we are going very well up here but they are going back so fast we don’t know where to move to so we can still be in range the next morning. The rain was on all last night again but so far today it hasn’t rained but it looks very much like it. We moved again today at 1545hrs and just as we got into our Quad it started to rain, we were able tokeep dry which is the main thing. We had a very fast trip of about 7 miles which brings us to the view of the hills. The Ities all gave us a very good welcome, lining all the streets of all the towns we went through (if we could have only stoped) if the rain had stoped we would all have been on top of the quad. Now for a very grim tale, These stories have been wrote about in the paper for years and whether they are believed or not they will be when I write this. I have seen both with my own eyes. In this cassa where we are now there is one such story only last night if we had been here it would have been different. At 7.30 yesterday morning two “Teds” came to this Cassa and demanded food to take away for his men, the Ities refused to give them any so these two shot five of the Ities who are now lying in the next room to us now all were old, no babies I mean. So “you” can imagine the Ities being very happy here, this house is a very dull sort of place. Now for the other one which is only another cassar. This one is only a few yards down the road. The “Teds” demanded the same here weither they were the same Teds or not I don’t know but five Ities, two men and three women were locked into a room then hand grenades were thrown through the window, those who were still alive (there were three) were fired at with a rifle and then for good luck all were hacked to pieces about the face with a sharp end of a pick. There faces were just a mass of blood and wounds. The day is coming when men like these killers will pay the price. It is these things that make us laugh when we see such sights as we did with the dead terrier lying dead on the Senio’s stopbanks. We are now going to shift Ted out of this country starting tomorrow we are going flat out. The time now is 1945hrs and we are going to pack up ready for a very early move in the morning.
This morning I was up early 0315hrs to be exact we had to be ready to move at 0345hrs and we did. The time now is 0800hrs and we have been on the road for four hours but not travelling all the time. Last night I never seen two more dead Ities in the second cassa, they were by themselves and they were two children, one 14 and one 7 years old. They were the only remaining members of a whole family that I never seen. The day is overcast also. At a halt in a village we had breakfast and on again but there were several stops until we got some very stumbling news of two columns of Teds heading for the town of PADOVA. We were on the road at the time of course and we put the guns into action right on the road. Due to the very scattered front there was a mix up and the “Teds” turned out to be the 6th Arm Div who had got mixed up somehow. We got going again and we are now having lunch 1320hrs. (later) The time is now 1635hrs and we are still waiting on the road we move about ten yards a hour, it looks as if we will be travelling all night. Had a very heavy downpour about 3 oclock but it was just a thunderstorm which passed over. After passing through several towns we came in sight of VENICE at 2000hrs. The only very large town which is on the map was PADOVA then a right turn towards the coast,. We are now camped about eight miles from Venice our objection was supposed to be Trieste but the Tito forces took this place yesterday so I don’t know where we will head for. Italy is just about cleaned out of Jerries. Wrote Janet
Received 4 cards also one from Anne. Cards were 2nd (1) and 8th (3) We were told that we would be moving about eleven this morning but the time is now 1410hrs and there is no sign of a move. We travelled 58 miles after we got moving last night after 1700hrs and the people gave us a tremendous welcome everywhere. The Jerries had only left the same morning. It was a very good sight after so long in Italy. For them the war is finished. Wrote Mum “K” card
At 1510hrs word came round that there were eitht men and one Sgt to go into Venice on leave so our G.P.O picked them out. He is a 3rd chap so he picked all the 3rd Div cobbers of his, we the old chaps only had one rep. This made us feel very good after fighting in Italy for 19 months. We were done out of seeing Venice after all, all because the 3rd were trying to run us just how they thought fit, we didn’t like it at all, so we took the law into our own hands and went into Venice AWOL nearly the whole troop went. We left our area at 1610hrs and arrived in Venice at 1700hrs, we hich-hiked in of course. The first thing we done was have a ride in a “Gondola” and from it we seen several places that were very beautiful buildings that were that old that I don’t think anyone knew how old they really were. Our journeys end was going to be at the great Cathedral and it was worth seeing, it stands at one end of a great square (the size of Hagley Oval) It came on to rain then and this mared our sightseeing a bit. This City is all that one reads or sees in pictures about it. There are hundreds of canals but one can walk through it just the same, by going over several small bridges. There were only about three shops open in the city. I never seen them but three of our chaps did! The streets are very narrow only about ten feet wide, the main ones were very wide though. Our welcome was very warm and so it should have been because the Kiwis had only taken the city 24 hours before we got there. There were some very beautiful women in this city. A very funny thing can be noticed about the buildings in this place, most of them are three stories or more. Our “Leave” came to a end and 2030hours we were going along the courseway again, this built up piece of land is about 40yds wide and it must be many miles long, I should say “three” We arrived back at 2100hrs and the cooks had our tea still. Bed was next and just as I got into mine it started to rain.
This morning was another misty one but again it had cleared away by lunchtime. The price we are getting for our covers over our pits is 37pound 10/-. This is not bad for nothing. We are going to the harrassing possition tomorrow. Wrote two cards to Janet
We moved this afternoon around to the harrassing possition and when we are moving again we will be going out for a rest. We fired 40 rounds last night. I was off duty though. Received 9 letters today. 6 from Gran, 1 from Jocelyn and no 94 and a card from Frances she told me that she had received two parcels from me. They were the ones I sent her in Novermber from the “school”. Rained during the night. Wrote Janet card
Although it rained last night it is fine today. Fired no rounds today. This place is very quiet, we can hardly find enough to pass the time away with. There are several games of bridge on but they are for 6d a 100. Our beer issue to-day was in time just like “brasso” It was very weak stuff too. We have run a sweep on the end of the war 10/- each my date was May 4th
We fired last night late some 40 rounds, it was very dark too. Four of us went to “Clare’s” (?) cassa tonight for a party. It was wee Marvro’s birthday he is three. The Ities turned on a meal of bacon half smoked, turkey, cake and lots of vino. Left there at 2230hrs after a hame of “housey” and some supper.
To-day is another fine day and I hope it continues to be so, for tomorrow is the day that will see us on the move again, this time it is going to be back. We are going back somewhere near the area we were in Oct last year near Cerretto D’Esi.. We leave tomorrow morning at 0630 hrs and we are not expected at our destination until 1745hrs or after. We have to pack up today because there is going to be too much to do tomorrow morning as it is revelli, is 0430hrs in the morning. There is a turkey here sitting on 16 hens eggs.
Up this morning at 0345hrs packed up and moved at 0515hrs after we lined up on the road we all moved off at 0540hrs, the day so far was fine. Our trip was a fast one and the towns we went through we had been in several times before. The first one of course after leaving the FAENZA area was FORLI, then in turn there was CESENA, SAVIGNANA,REIMINI,RICCIONE,CATTOLICA,PESARO,FANO,SENIGALLIA,MONEKTEMARCIANO,FALCONARA,CHIARRAVALLEO,JESI,CERRETO D’ESI,MATALICA then we proceeded to the area which was accepted by the 4th Field last time we were out for a rest which was in Oct 1944. We are now quartered in houses. We arrived here at 1500hrs. I was very tired after the journey which was about 140 miles altogether. I was in bed very early.
Wrote Janet one card. We cleaned the gun this morning and in the afternoon there was a game of football. The weather is still good and this area is going to be alright as far as we can see it so far
Received card from Janet also three parcels from home, two were for me and one was from Norm. This one was a cake Frances had sent him. Mine were a cake and a tin of chochlate. Wrote Janet one card. 30th Battery soccer team played the rest of the Reg today and it was a draw 0-0. A very even game and a good one. Went out after tea with the boys Mac, Bill, Bob and myself there was. We went up the hill to a cassa to get some eggs .We arrived back at 2230hrs and as we were all hungary we cooked three eggs each including three gooses eggs, one of them filled the bottom of a dixie.
When we woke this morning there was a blizzard blowing and this gave me a shock because I was on picquet last night from2200 till 2300hrs and when I came off the sky was clear. By 0900hrs the blizzard was finished and the sun came out again and it was hot enogh for me to go for a shower which I did at 1100hrs. This was into MATALICA There was a hockey practice for the Reg team after lunch A party was held in our room after tea and I never got to sleep till after midnight because of the noise. Wrote Janet card.
I went to the “Barracks” this morning with a few other chaps our job was to mark out the buildings that were going to be used by our Battery when we went there. The morning was just a waste of time because we never got a thing done. Our Officers are sure a dead lot now. These Barracks are called “Lanciano Barracks” and the old buildings were once P.O.W “cages” for British etc. Every building in the place is new now though and it is a very big place. Our Battery played soccer this afternoon and won by 1-0
This mornling we had two clothing “parades” so now we all have everything we need or should have. Our Reg hockey team played the 4th Reg this afternoon and we won by 4-2. I received two smacks with a stick one on my sore knee which was only a slight one but hurt very much because any smack on my left knee now hurts ever since I had my accident. The second one was right across my left foot and this was a very hard one indeed. We went out tonight and got 67 eggs and this time we had 4 each for supper.
To-day I stayed very quiet because my foot was not very good. I don’t want to go to the R.A.P if I can help it but if there is no change tomorrow I will have to go that’s all about it.
I had to go to the R.A.P this morning to see the Doc about my foot which is very still and sore. He is sending me out to INZGH to have it xrayed as he said that there might be a small bone broken. I left in the ambulance 1300hrs and went to 5th Fld Am where I will be staying the night. The boys are moving into the barracks on the 14th so I will miss a few days now
Left the M.D.S at 0940hrs and after a trip up the coast through the towns of FAGNO and PESARO I arrived at SENIGALLIA (where No 1 NZGH IS) just on lunch time 1245hrs. I was given a bed plus pyjamas, shirt and towel etc but I never had to go to bed. The hospital is right on the coast and it is not very warm here. FrankDobbs is in the ward I am in he was wounded before Christmas at FAENZA. A piece of shrapenel hit him just below the knee breaking his leg, he has three other wounds besides this one. These wounds have knocked him about a bit as he is very white and very thin but he will get well I’m sure. Another chap is in here too, I know his name is Merve Travathan (?) He comes from the North Island. I was in the ADV.Base Hospital with him and he came into my room to take over the day I left the club in Florence, he is hit in five places, he also has a homer I think.
I was in this hospital all day and all I did was just walk around through the wards etc. No one bothered about me. I talked most of the day to Frank Dobbs and the other chap. Read a book “wide world” and wrote Janet a card
I was told I was leaving here at 1000hrs this morning. I did! And I went to NZRT 11 which is also in this town of SENIGALLIA. I arrived there at 1030hrs went through the R.A.P got issued with all new gear, got a paltuss and fixed my-self up for a nights stay only. In the afternoon I went to the pictures and seen a second rate show I never even bothered with its name. Wrote Janet card (1) Bed by 2200hrs
Left NZRT 11 at 0845hrs and went back to the Reg which was now in the barracks. After doing a lot of work for myself in the way of straw going through and own Q store etc I was jacked up by tea time. After tea I had a look at the four parcels that came in for me this morning. They were all from Janet. Good====== they were No 42-43 and two cakes which I know now were both good. 42 was a whole tin of choclate. Wrote Janet. It is St Pat’s day today there is the add lot of green ribbon around but I don’t know where it came from.
Up this morning at 0715hrs. After breakfast I went playing hockey into Matalica. We were playing the 5th Fld Reg for the Div Arty final. We decided to put the game off until the afternoon as the ground was very wet and sticky. We played our game at 1230hrs and we lost 5-1 so we are out of it now. Wrote mum airgraph.
I was working in the mens mess to-day and I only had enough spear time to go over and watch the football this afternoon. After I finished my work I had a wash then went into the YM and played “500” till 2030hrs then to bed and read until lights out 2330hrs.
Up this morning at 0610hrs. We had to hand all our blankets in to be changed all because (they said) of an outbreak of “crabs” in 29bty. A very nice day to-day the sun is getting some heat in it now. Wrote Janet 3 cards. Received 1
There was a football match on this afternoon, our Reg played the 5th Reg and we won by 19-8. It was a great game. Wrote Janet 2 cards
Div Arty parade this morning we went on the first one, our own troop parade at 0930hrs and we were not fallen out until 1145hrs , one chap fainted. Played soccer in the afternoon against 27 Battery 5th Fld Reg. We lost 4-1. Wrote Janet card. There was a concert on in our YM hut after tea but as the Ities who put it on were very poor I never stayed there long
Our 0900hrs parade was the only one we had today. We are going out for two days on a manovour with our new 9th Brigade, tomorrow we are going to fire a barrage for them. Moved at 1800hrs and after traveling some 30 odd miles we put the guns “in action” then bedded down for the night. I am not feeling very well don’t know exactly where I am sick yet it sounds funny I know. Wrote card , Unfinished.
During the day there was only four shots fired by each gun soley for practice they were, each gun fired the opening round of the barrage, to see if everything was going right. The first barrage was fired at 2200hrs this was of 45 rounds. The second one was at 2400hrs, this was also for 45 rounds. Only two chaps were hurt in both barrages and these were only hurt by flying stones. I am still feeling out of sorts, it is the old complaint of nervous “skin:” headache over right eye and this time a bad cough.
Two of us came back early this morning by RGQ trucks this was necessary because of a hockey match we are playing this afternoon against the 9th Inf Brig. I hope the ground is alright because we had a very heavy frost this morning. This place where we done the shooting was large enough to hold all three fld reg’s and it was 2000ft above sea level. The hockey proved to be a very close game and we just managed to win by 4-3. I am still feeling out of sorts. I thought a good run around would help me sweat it out but no!
To-day we were back to normal again parades etc were enjoyed by all!. We won’t be here very much longer because everything points to our getting ready to move any day. Tents have to be fixed up, all extra gear dumped. Rations were handed out , these are our 3 day extra rations we carry all the time on the quad. Finished the card I started to write on the 23rd. Played bridge for an hour after tea but still feeling out of sorts. I hope I am alright tomorrow
Woke up this morning only to find I had a sore throat so I went to the RAP. I told the Doc how I felt, how long I have been getting these attacks and everything about myself. The Doc told me that I had a very rare complaint there is no known cause and no know cure but he told me there was nothing to worry over as it was not serious in anyway. He wants to see me when I get my next attack “straight away” if I can. I am having the odd pill and after two a day of these for two days he said I would be right again. Div Arty hockey is playing a game today but I can’t play because I don’t feel up to it really.
I am still out of sorts, but I think I will be right again in the morning. We went out this morning for another shoot for the officers was back again by 1400. After tea I wrote Janet card (1)
Played hockey for the Div Arty to-day, we played two games. The first one was against 4th Brigade when the full time was up we were still without any score and so there was no draw in this comp. “Overtime” had to be played not until 35 minutes afterwards did the game end our inside-right flicked a goal from the edge of the ——- . We won 1-0 we then had to play in the final. The final was Div Arty v Armd Reg. We beat the Armd Brigade by 3-1 so we won the Div Brigade Comp. I was unable to play in the second game because the over play in the first game took too much out of me after being ill. I was pretty weak when it ended. I was very tired when I got back to camp 1830hrs so I was in bed by 2000hrs.
A very quiet day no sports at all. Everything points towards an early move up the front for us. Mac went away today and now we have 40 eggs for our trip, it will be within the next two days I’m sure
Today’s the day. We leave here at 1715hrs for the front, we are going straight into action in this one trip. I don’t think we will get any sleep at all because we have about 150 miles to do half of it in the dark. We went back into the FAENZA area once again. We went up the old route again to FORLI turned right and droped the guns “into” action at 0345hrs then went to bed. We were given three rooms in the house for the night. The range is close, our nearest point to the Senio River is 2300yds.
1 February 1945
Left “B.Ech” at 0900hrs this morning and traveled to Div Amm. Left there at 1020hrs. Our trip was through to Highway 67 then straight over the mountains to FLORENCE a distance of 80miles. On the mountains there was several inches of frozen snow and on either side of the road could be seen isicles hanging from the cliffs some of them were over twenty feet long and over a foot thick at there base. There was a very heavy mist and we could not see any distence in front of us we could not even see the trucks behind and was it cold. We arrived at the NZ club at 1455hrs and afternoon tea was at 1530hrs so we had two cups each. Mac and I walked around the town and after tea went to the pictures. In bed by 2200hrs. We were sleeping between sheets here too.
Up this morning at 0745hrs was finished breakfast by 0900hrs. Once again we went for a walk around the town. I bought Janet her Cameo Ring this afternoon it cost me L1000 which is 2 pounds 10/-. It is a real good one. I know Janet will like it. I was dissapointed only one tonight. I am very tired tonight for we walked for many miles today both sides of the river “Arno” We delivered the letter Mac had this morning. There were two girls at this house and they were both engaged to Tommies “what a joke” These girls had a aunty who lived in the casa where our guns were. One was 22 and the other 17 ½ years old
Around town again today but did not buy anything, there is plenty of time yet. We went to the pictures and we seen “
Dragon Seed” It was not very good. We are seeing a bit more of the town each day and it is now starting to make me feel homesick, the reason of course is all the shops, the people and everything is just like it is at home
To-day is Sunday and just like home everything is very quiet. We went out for a walk this morning and there are some very beautiful women in this town. I still say the Itilian women are the prettist in the world, they must be. They have taught me a lot about women’s clothes. The men do their part (only in dress though) Went to the pictures twice today this afternoon we seen “Till we meet Again” and in the evening we seen “Thousands Cheer” the last one was good as there was no war in it, the first picture we have seen since we have been here that has had no war in it.
Up town again and again to the pictures this time we seen “They Came to Blow up America” this one was alright. At 1700hrs I had my photo taken, their size is 9x14cm and there cost is 90Lire. I will get them tomorrow evening. I hope. After tea I went out for a while —– via SERRAGHI, BRODETTI VAL
To-day we had a walk and this time we found our way to the old bridge “Ponte Vecahio” this is the one with the “silver smiths” on also their houses. Most of the big buildings in this town are over 1300years old. Mac went out tonight. I was in bed by 2000hrs and was soon asleep.
To-day is our last day here so we are going to do our shoping. I bought Frances a braselet which was made of “Florentine Masoque” It cost 210L and it is very nice. Met V on the steps of the Cathedral at 1900hrs. We both walked about for awhile with her then came back to our club. I had supper, listened to the band then to bed. Mac was out.
This morning I bought my pipe, it cost me L600 and it is a very good one. We were due to leave here this morning at 0900hrs but as the trucks were full we waited until we could get a better ride which we did in a staff car. We left FLORENCE at 1330hrs and after a very nice trip through the mountains we arrived back at our B.Ech. only to find mud several inches deep. While we had been away the shaw had come and all the ice and snow had melted leaving a great sea of mud. We go back to the guns tomorrow.
Left our B.Ech at 0920hrs this morning and arrived back at the guns at 1300hrs. When I say the guns I mean the old possition because the chaps were up at the harrassing possition and when we came back we stayed at our own possition. Received four cards from Janet also one from Anne. Rained all day and the mud is terrible over a foot deep in places. In bed by 2200hrs.
Wrote three cards to Janet. Received five from her also one from Mum. To-day is fine so we sorted out some changes ready for the “calabration” which we are going on in a few days. We are going down near the beach somewhere . Looks very much like more rain too very black clouds one overhead. The time is now 1000hrs and it is raining very hard so bang goes our good day for tomorrow
Wrote card to Janet. Weather fine today. Weighted shells this morning for the calabration when we had done them, they were taken to the guns around at the harrassing possitions as they are going out from there. Our gun has to get a new barrel before it goes. Worked on the road today putting load after load of bricks down into the ruts. Fixed up my parcel to send home. There is the lace and ring in it. I will send it home within the next few days.
In the parcel there is the cameo ring, buckle, sword-chain, bangle. Got another load of bricks for the road this afternoon. Played cards with the Ities after tea. Wrote Norm, Mum and Anne.
Never done any road work today. The guns are moving from there possition tomorrow morning. Received cable from Janet telling me her Dad had died it was dated Feb 5th. Went to bed at 2100hrs and read a book. Fine weather. My book was a Murder one.
We received the news to-day that BUDAPEST had fallen. A few more bricks on the road today. While we were getting these bricks there were some tommies getting wood from the houses and they blew up a three storie house with a “tuller mine” The house had “had it” so it was a good job they done. The roads are in a very bad state. Our guns went down by RIMINI for the calabration they will be away three days. I never went on this trip either I never wanted to go.
Worked on the road again to-day, the road has had about 50 loads of bricks on it so far. Played soccer this afternoon and after tea I went to bed and had a read.
Road work again to-day. The guns have not fired a round of there calabration shoot so far due to the poor visibility down there. Played soccer after our work was done
The road was the job again to-day but I never went I had a rest instead. Received two cards from Janet and one from Harry. Played soccer this afternoon and after tea “bridge” was the game.
To-day is Sunday so we are not working on the road for a change. Wrote Janet a card. Received my washing back from the Ities. Played soccer today. The weather is very dull again and it might even rain again
Wrote card to Janet and got one from her. Played rugby this afternoon because the boys came back from the calabration. This meant there were plenty of chaps for two teams at rugby. Our team won by 30-9 I even scored two tries myself. Jack Stafford and I went to “R.Es” Cassa tonight and played bridge with the boys. We won by 1258 points we were only playing for fun
Up this morning at 0740hrs shaved before breakfast because this was a new “order”. We are now going to have laying(?) practice and gun drill every morning although we are still in action. Played B.C.P soccer today we won by 3-0 but the game was interupted by some shooting. We had to do this enabled me to fire the gun. This was the first time I had seen our gun go off for over three weeks. Weather very good today in fact everything points to a early spring.
Wrote Janet a card. To-day is very good and there is now a good deal of heat in the sun’s rays. Played soccer today and played bridge tonight but lost by 286 points. The meals are good again and we are getting a lot of fresh meat. Received a card from Janet.
Received two cards from Janet. I was one of a working party who had to go around to a place and dig four pits. We were digging new ones because at this place the old ones were impossible to get into now because of the mud these pits are to be our new harrassing possition. Played bridge after tea and lost by 55 points
The weather is very good now and it is real good to get these fine days again after so much rain and snow. I hope it is the spring with us at last. We received in our rations this morning fresh eggs, potatoes and cabbages. Turkey declared war on Germany and Japan today.
Wrote Janet two cards. To-day is another good day. We worked on the laying practice this morning until1130hrs and after lunch we played soccer.My team lost by 5 goals to 4. Wrote two cards Janet. Egypt declared war on Japan and Germany. Lunch is now at 1230hrs as the day are much longer now. The news is very good tonight. Run a sweep on the football match England v Scotland. Scotland won by 18-11. It was a surfaces match. I never won the sweep . Jack Stafford did which makes him three in a row.
To-day is Sunday but one would think it was any day but Sunday because our new G.P.O is about 17/6 in the pound and the things he is making us do are very childish indeed. We have a 3rd Div officer with us now a two-pipper he is and he has already voiced his mind about some improvements he is going to bring about in our troop. We are only waiting until he gets a few shells up his —————. They will brighten his ideas a bit.
Received a card from Anne. Wrote Gran a airgraph.
The game today was soccer and we were beaten by F.Troop 5-3. We then played a team picked from the rest of our troop, they also beat us by 4-3. Played the Ities “Scopper” after tea. Mac and I won three games to nil. In bed by 2200hrs
Our team played F Troop at rugby today and were beaten by 30-5. Everything we have played we have lost now. Read a book called “The Peacock Feathers Murder Mystery” and it was not bad at all. Up to lunch time today there was a very heavy mist but it cleared up then. Played “Scopper” tonight again. Read my book awhile but was bedded down by 2310hrs
At 0700hrs the sun was shining very brightly but when I got up at 0800hrs there was another very heavy fog again just the same as it was yesterday and it is very damp and cold. There was no laying practice again today because we could not see our Aiming Point which was only twenty yards from the gun, we were still on “night lines” and using the electric lamp. We are going to sell our covers over the pits to the Ities they cost us nothing so we are making everything profit. A lot of the boys sold some of their surplus gear to the Ities today
Today we are feeling very well after our good party last night. The weather is very good although cold. We are having heavy frosts now and they are freezing the ground so hard that trucks can run almost anywhere. Fired some twenty rounds today, our job was to help the Air Force in blowing down “Casas” one troop would fire smoke and the other H.E. The smoke would show the planes where to bomb. We would shell each casa in turn. This went on all morning. In bed at 2015hrs. I was off duty and because of the late night I was very tired.
Never got up for breakfast thhis morning and I stayed in bed until 0940hrs. There was an informal troop papade at 0945hrs this morning. Our G.P.O. Lt Barron told us there was going to be no more drinking on the gun possition as long as he was G.P.O.of our troop. We told him what we thought of it all and that was the end of it all. A very good day today the sun came out but it was cold. No shooting to-day so far time now 1710hrs. Received card from cousin Anne. Won 150 L playing crib.
To-day is going to be a very good one for our troop because there is going to be a party on to-night. Six of the “kiwi concert party” are coming up here from FORLI after their show and they are staying the night. They arrived at 2200hrs and after a few drinks they done a few “turns” for us which was very good. We were able to help them out with one or two things ourselfs so after a good night but a noisy one we went to bed at 0300hrs.
We were up this morning at 0615hrs this a stand-to incase Jerry was going to play rough. There is every possible chance of him putting on a large counter atack and in doing so try and take back FAENZA unless of course we put in a major one before he tries anything. We only sat around the fire but we could have put our guns into action within two minutes. We gave the concert party chaps breakfast in bed this was the only way we could get ourselfs out of a spot of trouble regarding the shortage of plates cups etc. They left at 1105hrs and so the day went on the same as usual. We all had our photos taken five times. I hope to get one of each.
“Stand to” again this morning at 0615hrs and it was very cold. The day was for us a busy one. We made a brick path along our house also dug a drain for the water when it comes. We were told today that this was our winter time and we had to prepare ourselfs for a stay in this possition for the next two months. This won’t be so bad staying at this casa but it also means a stand-still and we won’t get home like this.
To-day is my birthday. I am now 27
Early this morning it rained very heavy but as the drain we put in yesterday is doing its job everything was getting away. A chap who has just come back from Rome told us that back at Cerretto D’Esi where we were resting there was now seven feet of snow. Wrote Cousin Anne answering cigs. At 1540hrs it started to snow heavy. It was on my birthday last year that it snowed too so this is my last two birthdays I have had a white one each time. The snow was about four inches deep. We were told earlier on in the evening that there might be harrassing fire but they must have let us off at Div Arty. We were very thankful to them if they thought of it in that respect.
Today it was fine but not very cheerful for us. We had to shift about five loads of ammo from outside and put them in our other casa to keep them dry. This job lasted until 1530hrs and then we had afternoon-tea. My feet were wet through but I washed them in hot water changd my socks and put my leather boots on. My rubber boots I put by the fire and left them there all night. Played Bridge after tea and was in bed by 2230hrs. I was off duty all day and night, this was the duty on the gun I mean.
Only the duty crew had to “stand to” this morning, this enabled me to stay in bed until 0800hrs. After breakfast we had to put a roof over our gun-pits. This is to protet the gun etc from any further fall of snow. Started to snow again at lunch time and we finished work, putting everything under cover as best we could. Two 3 tonners were inFAENZA this morning getting loaded onto them wood, iron and anything else that would be useful in making the roofs for the guns. I seen the longest flakes of snow this morning that I have ever seen, they were as big as “half-crowns”
More snow to-day but it was only slight this time.Finished covering in our pits this afternoon, we got all sorts of things from FANEZA to cover the pits with for our pit “E4” we used the iron sides off latriens that had been blown down in the streets.
Wrote card Janet. Two of our chaps made a “uke” out of a M.G. ammo box, a piece of wood for the stem and the strings were cig wire. It was a very good job and for our type of singing it was all the music we needed. It was very cold to-day.
Received cable from wee Janice in answer to the letter and post-card I sent her. Played bridge after tea and I lost 18/- playing for 1/- per 100. Done very little work to-day. No firing either, we have not fired a shot for two days. Weather fine but cold.
Received card Janet. Went into FAENZA and had a shower this morning. I was up this morning at 0420hrs and I could have gone back to bed at 0510 hrs because my shift on picquet ended then. I lit the fire and had my shave before breakfast. Received two letters from Gran. Received one letter from Jocelyn. Wrote Gran and Jocelyn. Wrote Janet a aircard.. In bed by 2100hrs
Snowed a little this afternoon. We had to enlarge our pit this morning to allow enough room to fire on 67deg right, we had to push one side out. Played bridge tonight.
I was off duty last night so I was able to sleep in until 0800hrs this morning. There was very little to do today so I wrote out two copies of leaflets Jerry had fired over our lines. I sent them in a green envelope to Janet, this letter was no 118.
Wrote Janet card (1)
Received 3 cards from Janet also a cable for my birthday . I and nine other chaps had to go forward this morning to dig four gunpits. These were going to be our next possitions. We are going into them one Battery at a time and it is from this possition we are going to do our harrassing fire, each Battery staying there for five days. We don’t go till last which will be in 10 days time. I should have gone out to our B.Ech this morning for a few days spell but this job put it back which will be tomorrow now. In bed by 2100hrs.
Went intoFAENZA this morning to get some wood for our fire when we get to B.Ech(?)We pulled it out of a blown-up block of shops. After lunch we went out. We are cramped up into one room , there are seven of us here. After making a new fire-box out of a round oil tin we cleaned up a bit and by the time we had things right, our new fire was burning great. There were two chaps here tonight from the L.A.D and our quiet evening turned into a (booze up) and there were three chaps “out the monk”(?) I went to bed at 2200hrs. I was alright as I had had very little drink
I was up at 0745hrs and only one other chap and myself went to breakfast. The others were feeling very sick and one never got up till 1120hrs so they were almost washing and shaving all morning. Only Jack Currie and I are here this afternoon , the rest went into town FORLI. Wrote Janet card (1)
Jack Currie and I went into Forli this afternoon had a look around and bought a few post cards to send home. Jack bought some buttons but I never. We had a quiz all by ourselfs after tea and talked until 2400hrs then decided it was bed time. The weather is fine but the great ice period is still on. Received 3 cards Janet.
Never had any breakfast this morning because we never woke up until 0815hrs. This is our last night here and we thought it was going to be a quite one until Tom Scott and Aussie Fairweather came in. Tom had come to “shout” for us as he is going on a tour of duty to Egypt, three more chaps came in and the party went on until 2400hrs. Wrote Janet card.
Up this morning at 0800hrs and we had to be ready to move by 0900hrs our time was up so back to the guns we had to go. We arrived at 0945hrs. At 1330hrs the chaps who are waiting to go home from our troop were told that they would be going out tomorrow or the next day . Norm of course is one of them. I am going to give him my two diarys to take home with him 1943 and 1944 , they are, he is also taking my coin collection with him.
Up this morning at 0630hrs and I was in the party that went into FORLI to see a model gun-pit that had been built by our Engineers, it was a good effort on their part but as far as we were concerned it ws not very good to us, too much time would be lost in building such a pit. Had lunch at the Noffie and then walked around the town. We had to be back at B.Ech (or Cmp) by 1400hrs because our trucks was picking us up there and so back to the guns. The North played the South at soccer using the rugby ball. We (the south) won by 4-3 . After tea we had a great party for the boys who are going home , beer, gin, whiskey and vino. It was our beer issue two days ago and the Officers bought it all for us for the party tonight. Never got drunk and was in bed by 0300hrs
Up this morning at 0800hrs and had breakfast, then shaved, washed etc. The day was a very quiet one, the boys who are going home are still here they are going out to B.Ech tomorrow. We had a few drinks all round tonight but most of us were in bed by 2100hrs.
To-day the chaps went out to B.Ech . Norm is with them, they went at 1530hrs. Wrote Janet card. Received card from Janet. Jerrie have four planes over our area tonight and they droped bombs in FAENZA and about eight only 300yards from us. Weather fine hence the planes I suppose.
Up this morning at 0800hrs. We played football and the South won again 2-1. We are playing again this afternoon. The weather is fine. We picked four teams 6 men a side and had a wee competition amongst ourselfs, my team won the final 2-1
Our guns went up to the other possition this afternoon at 1200hrs and every gun was ready to fire by 1330hrs. Only four men per gun stayed on the possition so the rest of us came back to the house and after tea we had a party downstairs in the kitchen with the Ities.. Snowed during the night to a depth of 2 inches
After lunch we had orders to dismantle to “houses” over our gun pits, as we were moving to a new area and because this winter is far from over yet we are going to buuild them over the pits again at the new possition. We are now out of range here and we have to get somewhere to surport our own 6th Brigade
To-day we stayed inside as there was nothing to do anywhere, we had everything reddy for our shift from here
We are leaving tomorrow sometime. The guns are still at the other possition. Our new possition is going to be in the area held by the 56 Div, we are relieving them. Raining to-day
To-day we are moving and we (the chaps who are here at this cassa) have to pack every one elses gear because the guns are not coming back here they are going straight to the new possition. Moved at 1600hrs after saying good-by to the Ities who have been our friends for nearly six weeks. Snowed slightly for five minutes this morning
Last night I was on duty and picquet. We had to get up at 0s315hrs and again at 0635hrs firing two rounds each time. Made a lamp this afternoon from half my own and a small one I picked up. We have a good pit and we now have it covered with its house again. Played soccer for one hour this afternoon. Dinner at night is now at 1700hrs because the days are much longer now. Wrote Card Janet.
A very quiet day today no shooting at all. I am going to FLORENCE on the 1st Feb with the Killer(?) (my Sgt) we have from the 2nd to 7th
went down to B.Ech this afternoon had tea and sorted out our gear then to bed by 2100hrs
Left the Rest Home at 1240hrs and we traveled back the same way as we went down, FORLI,CESENA,SAVIGNANA,REIMINI,RICCIONE. When we left it was a very dull sort of a day but it came out a bit warm near Cesena. We reached the guns just at tea time and after eating off plates for a week the food never tasted very good out of my dixies. I was in bed about 9 o’clock and was I tired, the journey up was very tiring. Received two Aircards from Janet (that’s Frances)
Wrote Janet two (2) Aircards
This possition is a very muddy one and the days are now very cold. All we done today was to pull the gun through and clean it up a bit. We are firing very little because of the state of the roads. We are restricted to ten rounds a day. This saves us a lot of work in the mud even if the “war” is not going forwaard very fast. Played bridge after tea but this was interupted at 1900hrs when we had to fire three rounds. We continued playing bridge after this and was in bed by 2100hrs but not to sleep because at 2153hrs we were up to fire one round and this was repeated at 2211hrs, 2235hrs, 2310hrs and at 2320hrs all one round each. I was on picquet from 0330hrs till 0500hrs so I never got very much sleep at all tonight
Received one aircard from Frances. Started to write Frances No 115.
Just a dull sort of day the same as usual this time of the year. No firing up to tea time. Played bridge for about 2 1/2hrs before and after lunch. At 1920hrs we fired a small barrage of 94 rounds a gun, this was a mock show but it done the trick because although no atack was going in where we fired Jerry pulled back and st——— the road and nothing was there. The real attack went in on the right where the Tommie 46 div crossed the river and with the Poles made a bridge – lead with 4, 6 pounders and 2, 17 pounder guns
We continued the mockery this morning at 0715hrs when we fired 10 rounds per gun of smoke. This was to bring Jerries fire down upon the spot in the river where the smoke screen was supposed to be shielding our chaps who were putting up a bridge. There was no bridge or men but Jerry used all his guns on it and so saved the men who crossed the river during from a very unpleasant time, we won this battle on this way. FAENZA will be ours soon and so on to the next river. Off duty tonight , it is very cold too
Finished no 115 Frances 6 pag.Wrote Gran 3 pag
Slight rain tonight and it made the ground very muddy. I was on duty and we were out about nine times between 1910hrs and 2300hrs all for one round each. When we got up this morning it was a very funny day, it didn’t know wether to rain or not. We never fired a round from 2300hrs tonight so we were lucky to get several hours sleep. Received (2) Aircards (F)
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
I am off duty tonight and it is just as well too because it started to rain at tea time and it rained nearly all night. Those on duty never had to get up to fire so everyone was lucky. The war up here is still very grim one and we are pushing on despite the mud etc. This day we took RIVENNA. Everywhere else are advances also we should with any luck at all have this all over with in a few more months. Received Aircard Frances.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
Received Aircard (F) Received three parcels, two from Frances, tobacco and papers Also a cake from Gran, this made up the three.
Very quite today and we never fired a round until 2100hrs tonight. These were (3) and no more after these. These parcels were the first I had got since Sep 18th. Dull today but otherwise quite warm. I am off duty tonight again. One of our gun crew went out today with Yellow Jurndous his eyes were very yellow. Percy Bedgood his name was.
We were told to be ready to move today at 1100hrs but this was canselled until tomorrow sometime. There are some chaps away this afternoon to the final of the “Div” football. The 22Bd is playing the Div Am team. The winer I will put in later here: Received two more parcels from Frances. I have not opened them yet I think one is wafers.The recce(?)party went forward this afternoon. Norm went from his gun sub with them. We have only fired six RdS within the last 48hrs
We are firing very little now only about five rounds each day. At 1020hrs this morning we had to fire over Jerries lines some pamphlets. This was fired in the usual way (in smoke shells) The first was fired in ten rounds gunfire then over a different target. There was another 10rds at 1100hrs then another fire again over another area at 1210hrs. This made 25rds per gun. Only our Baty fired this made 200shells altogether. Jerry never seemed to like them because within half an hour of our firing he sent off over “real shells” just to show us how we wasted our time. If I had my way they would have been “real” ones.
Today was a dull one no firing at all only one at 2300hrs. I done some washing and had a bath. Played bridge after tea.
Moved today at 1300hrs to our new possition which is very close to the front line. In one way it is only 1500yds from Jerry, in one phase and it is only about 1 ½ miles from FAENZA. We are sleeping in the farmhouse which is a large one. Three of us sleep on a dugout near our gun every other night. This dugout is dug under a haystack. The weather for the last four days has been very dull. Two Tommies were wounded this morning not very far from our gun but we were not here then.
A very quite day so far. Time now 1550hrs. I hope it continues to keep quiet. Finished our pit and put up a tent to keep our tents etc dry just as well to because at 1300hrs it started to rain and it is now very cold. The Tommee Engineers blew three houses down to get the bricks to make up a road the It is just had to get out. That was all this is “total war”
Another quiet day (in one way)
There is going to be a big attack going in very soon. There is going up the road all day today tanks and all types of stuff. The weather is not so bad and if it holds off we may be able to do something this time. The food is not much good just now. I am off my hunger(?)anyway just now. We can see FANEZA from the upstairs window of this house of ours
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
There is an attack going in tonight, the zero hour is 2300hrs and the barrage is 390 rounds per gun and a whole comp is going to fire it. This is going to be a very big attack so we all hope it comes off as we may finish this country off before long. The Indians are going to take FAENZA tonight , we the NZ’s are going to cut Highway “9”. Finished the barrage at o240hrs firing 402rds then to bed off course this was after a cupa. It is now dark at 5.30pm now the shortest day in about six days.
Up again this morning at 0645hrs to fire 20 rounds at 60 seconds. We never went to bed after this. After the barrage last night it took us two hours to clean our gun up this morning. We were called upon to fire quite a few rounds during the day. I made a top for my pensil. I lost it when I was in Burnham. I am off duty tonight. The wafers were from Hilda not Frances as I thought
On duty tonight and we were up and out firing quite a lot. During the day we only fired about twelve rounds. Rained a bit and it is very cold. Wrote Frances Airgraph (1), Wrote Hilda Airgraph (1)
Received two aircards from Janet and a Xmas cable from Gran. Tonight I was on picquet and it was just as well because there were two shoots in the early hours of the morning one was at 0350hrs of 30 rounds(20 sec _) the other at 0450hrs another 30 (20 sec) altogether we fired 120 rounds during the night. As I was on picquet I made a extra man for the first shoot, we had to un-box all these rounds that’s where I came in. I was off picquet by the time the second shoot came and in bed by 0500hrs. Received parcel no 40 from Janet.
Rained slightly today making things very unpleasant again. A quite morning but the afternoon was a lively one until 1515hrs when our gun on firing one round of “sniper (?)would not run back so we will be out of action . This will mean either the L.A.D.or Workshops for some of us tomorrow. Played bridge after tea. Sat talking around the fire until 2230hrs.
Up this morning at 0700hrs and this was because I was one of our crew who were going out with the gun.We were away by 0830hrs down to the LA.D. where we were told we were staying for about four days. We are firing on a house with our R.E.chaps. Today is a fine one. They fired another barrage tonight of 430 rounds per gun.
Wrote Janet Aircard (1)
A very quiet day, had a clean up this morning and changed my clothes giving the dirty ones to the Itie women to wash. Played bridge this afternoon (for fun) Tonight I drew the plan of the firescreens using only a nitric rule and my pensil. Jerry has broken throkugh in the north of France and we are (according to the paper) unable to hold him up at all, we wonder.
Colored in my drawing of the firescreen with my coloured pensils. Was going into Forli this afternoon but the officers of the L.A.D told us that we would have to go back because he had told Reg that the gun was finished . We left at 1430hrs and had the gun back in the same pit as we took it out of by k1600hrs and by tea time we were all back in our old places in the house. We fired 16 rounds during the night. I was on duty on the guns as well as on picquet , this meant I hardly got any sleep as we were up three times before I went on picquet. 0115hrs and all went firing again at 0230 and 0425hrs. I should sleep well if there is no barrage on tomorrow night.
Wrote Janet No 116 6 pag. Sending the drawing of firescreen, shovel and pages from Cue metals.
This morning is very cold,, the sun came out this morning the first time for several days so Mr Barron took a photo of each Gun ——-It looks very much like snow and it certainly is cold enough for me. It remained dull and cold all day and bridge was played in the afternoon. I was on duty tonight and we fired quite a few rounds. Jerry planes over tonight droped a few bombs near Forli.
It is very cold this morning and I won’t be all surprised if it doesn’t rain or snow (time 0945) The time is now 1045hrs and it is snowing not very heavy but its snow and the air has seemed to have cleared now, it is not as cold as it was. Played bridge tonight and Mac and Sid was beaten by Imkit(?) and I by 1300 points. We were told at 2100hrs tonight that there was a small barrage on in the morning of 81 rounds. The zero hour was 0645hrs. The snow will be thick every where then I suppose. On picquet from 2100- 2200hrs.
Up this morning at 0615hrs. The snow had stoped but it had covered everything to a depth of one and a half inches. This was soon washed away from the gun after the first few shots however. There was no more snow the rest of the day. The 6th Fld Reg had their xmas day today this means I too. The Patriotic Fund done little for us, we had pork, cauliflower, roast potatoes, pumpkin, steam pudding was instead of plum duff. We got three bottles of beer and a parcel with 50 cigs per man all from the Patriotic Fund. We may get some things extra tomorrow. We were shelled this afternoon no one hurt but one shell landed just behind our house don’t know how it missed the house. Norms birthday today he is 26.
25 Monday (Christmas Day)
Wrote Frances No 116/ 9 pag
Today was a sunny day and we never fired a shot. In fact we were “out of action” from 1700hrs until 0700hrs tomorrow morning. We had pork and cauliflower for dinner with a small quantity of plum pudding after. This was all we got soup, bread and a few nuts. I was on duty and picquet but there was no firing or no picquet done. Everybody had a few drinks today. I had one drinking the health of my darling wife. As the burner the cooks use to cook our meals broke down we even had to cook our own breakfast this morning. We had a good meal too. Out of our own tucker boxes the cooks gave us sauguers and bread etc.
Wrote Frances No 117 5 pag
We fired this morning at 0830hrs two rounds and two more at 1422hrs. I wrote nearly all afternoon and during the day everyone just loafed round because the drinking had sort of made most of them “dull”. There was very little drinking done today. Played bridge and in three hours play my partner and I were beaten 3230 to 779. I am going to bed now the time is 1906hrs and it is cold “enough”. Outside there is not a cloud in the sky and the moon is making it like day, it is very near full. Jerry has had planes over every night since last Thursday
Wrote Aircard (1) Janet
Norm went away today down to B.Cmp his leave starts tomorrow to Florence. We got five more chaps in the troop tonight, three of them were old chaps who were in hospital but the other two are 11ths both are ex 3rd Div men one of them was an officer in the 6th Reg I was in at Rangiora. His name is Bill Rhoads. He came over as a Sgt but will be a hunner very soon the same as the rest of them. He is a very good chap. Jerry had some planes and put over a few shells tonight.
Received 2 Aircards from Janet. Played bridge with the two new chaps tonight they won by 650 points. I was off duty tonight so I could take my pants off when I went to bed. The meals are very poor just now. The weather is wonderful just now. We have not had any rain for two weeks not to speak of any way there has been the odd drop. The snow was the only thing to make the Christmas a wet one. We have not fired a shot for over 24 hrs but our range at one point is only 7500yds.
Wrote Aircard Janet (1)
This morning it was very cold because of the very heavy frost and there is a strong cold wind blowing. The time is now 1315hrs and we still have not fired a shot. This makes it nearly 48hrs. I think we are being held here in this possition in case Jerry tries to take FAENZA back which would put him to within a mile from us again but if he came this side of the river we would be forced to “sort of move back” We are all getting another needle for thyfus because it is raging up here.
Wrote Aircard Janet (1)
This morning it was very cold because it was snowing not very heavy but it was snowing and snow anytime near the new year is no good to us. The morning was taken up with a bit of work this being collecting wood for our fire and cleaning up our room in general, we were told we might be sstaying in this possition for several days so we thought we might as well jack ourselfs up a bit. The afternoon was a dull one. The evening was passed away on bridge when four of us had a real game changing around every “rubber”. Fired five rounds before 2400hrs.
Today is the last day of 1944 and unlike last year it is a beautiful sunny day wih not a cloud in the sky. Last year we had rain and a very heavy snow fall of some nine inches deep. There is quite a lot of washing going on today both of clothes and bodys. We have jacked the barber “Tubby Simmond” a real chair etc and we are all having a haircut. Went and seen the Kiwi Concert Party after tea. Arrived back home at 8pm. The New Year Party was just started and we had a very good evening, the best the old boys said they had ever had. We said goodby to 1944 in a good way after a toast to my darlling wife I went to bed after a cooked supper. In bed at 0230hrs (1945).
Went for a short route march but only got a few chain as it got on to rain so we took cover in a cassa when it eased off we came back to the school where we spent the rest of the day which was a very quite one.
Just another lazy day. Done work on the gun all morning and in the afternoon I started to sew my buttons onto cardboard in preparation to send them home. Went to the YM pictures after tea. I was not there for the start so I don’t know what the name of it was ever.
Started to write Frances No 112
Went to the concert put on by the Canadians in FABREARNO. It was very good but it made us or me homesick because there were Canadian girls in it and it always makes us feel very blue when we hear any English speaking girls. But we will overcome this one day soon, when we all are home I hope.
Wrote Frances No 112 (9)
Went to a concert in MATALICA this was put on by the Ities. It started at 1500hrs and we never came out until 1705hrs. Our tea had been on twenty minutes then but although we arrived back at 1730hrs our tea had been kept for us. We were 23 in all. There was a sports quiz on at the YMCA so I went to it . Afterwards I wrote Frances 112. Bed at 2215hrs.
Wrote Frances Airgraph (1)
My darling wife’s birthday. She is 26.
Reg church parade this morning and we were then finished for the day. Played bridge in the morning. Dinner at the same time 1200hrs. The morning was very misty but the sun came out just on lunch time and now it is very clear and warm. It was very cold this morning. Played Bridge to night at the YM
In Italy one year
This morning was taken up with training on the guns and from 11 – 12 we went for a route march.
This afternoon we (some of the team) went down to the village square and played soccer. We are playing against the Itie tomorrow, it is a Reg team. I am in goal for the team, we have fixed up a game for next Sunday against the Ities, this is going to be a Baty team. Went to the pictures tonight at the YM and seen “Zigfield Girl” It was poor in conparason with the “Cowboy” one we seen the other night
I am on picquet today and was on from 1200hrs till 1400hrs but had this changed to a earlier shift so I could play this afternoon in the game against the Ities. The last two days have been fine although the nights have been very cold. “No snow as yet”. We won the soccer match 2 – 0
Just another day of rest. There was work in the morning as usual but it is very cold in the afternoons and evenings so we don’t wander away very far. Played bridge in the YM after tea then to bed at 2040hrs
After a morning of work on the quad I played soccer in the afternoon. This was just a kick round by ourselfs and as some of us were going to see the Kiwi Concert Party after tea we had to be back early.
Tea for us was at 1630hrs . The truck left at 1645hrs. We were in MATALICA where the show was by 1715hrs so we were first at the door which never opened until 1755hrs. We never minded waiting because we got to seat in the very front row downstairs. They played No 10 show. We had seen it before but it was not bad again
Wrote Anne Airgraph (1)
Wrote Frances (Airgraph) (1)
Received Cigs from Cousin Anne (200)
When I woke this morning it was snowing and outside the place was covered as it had been snowing since 0400hrs. The rest of the day was very very cold with snow in between times. We managed to get a game of soccer in against the 25th Baty and they beat us by 6-1. We got into our truck to come home just in time because down came another heavy fall of snow which lasted until 1700hrs again covering everything.
Very cold today. Done very little work. Went to the Pictures in the afternoon and seen Bing Crosby and Bob Hope “Star Spangled Rythams” Very poor I thought.
Wrote Frances No 113 11pag
Received letters 189-190 Fr. Received Airgraph Anne, Airgraph Lois, 3 Letters from Gran.
Instead of having our Reg Church Parade today we worked on the guns instead why I don’t know. I went down to the YM at night and done some writing.
Our Reg played the fifth Fld at Rugby and were beaten 19-0. We started our Bridge games afternoon . My cobber and I won by 103. I got a “Grand Slam” for the last hand which gave us two rubbers each. If I had not got a slam we would have lost. We have two games to play of course this is if we win our next one.
Sewed up the parcel which contains the two cups and saucers I got out of the Ities house. The two wee glass dishes, buttons and the beans, pumpkin seed as well as the calapers “3” I hope they all get home. We had to get everything ready today by 1600hrs as there was a “ready to move” within three hours notice, after 7 O’clock tomorrow morning we are supposed to be on one hours notice to move. Itie house drinks after tea. I am driving Y2 for a few days as the driver Don George is away on leave to Rome. He joined the Reg long after I did, there are about 7 gone to Florence or Rome already who joined after him.
I woke up during the night with the noise of heavy rain in my ears and it never stoped until 1000hrs this morning. I put a new battery into the truck I am looking after Y2. Sewed up the roll of tea=towelling I have ready to send it home. I will send both the cups, buttons etc and this roll home together. Had a bath this afternoon (inside)
16 Thursday = Sent parcels, teatoweling, buttons, cups etc.
Was told that we were moving tomorrow at 0930hrs. Our Battery played the 4th Fld at soccer this afternoon and we lost 1-0. Pictures tonight. “Flanegan on Allen” is the picture (Theater Royle). We are going into action again tomorrow. I think at a place only 10 miles from where we left three weeks ago. Today was fine but the night does not look very promasing for a fine day tomorrow. I hope it is. Received a aircard from Frances today telling me that her Dad is in a very bad condition. He has cancer and is not expected to live very long.
Moved this morning at 0730hrs and although it was very cold it was fine. We are going to a place near CASENA. Our route took us back the same way as we came down this meant we went from CEARETO D’ESI, CHIARAVALLEO, FALCONARA,MONTEMARCIANO,SENIGALLIA,FANO,PESARO,CATTOLICA,RICCIONE,RIMINI,CAVIGNANA,CESENA. We arrived at our staging area at 1505hrs had a wash etc then cooked our own tea as we had to move in the morning. We only put a cover up to stop the damp coming down and with plenty of straw underneath it made a fair sort of a bed. I was in bed at 1810hrs and I had a very good sleep.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
Up at 0500hrs and we were on the move at 0530hrs. We were moving into action once again. After traveling some miles we passed through FORLI and three miles passed this we turned right and droped the guns down at 0710hrs. We never dug a pit just built the front up. Dug three holes for those who will be on duty for the night. The rest will sleep in the house. We have three rooms. The old man of the house is in bed upstairs he is dying. 72 he is. I am off duty tonight. May have a easy time here and we may not. Mac, Bill F and Andy went down to the house and got seven fowls. We boiled them and had them for tea and supper.
One year ago today we went into action on the Sangro River.
We were told this morning that there was a atack going in tonight but at 1500hrs it was cancelled for another 24hrs. Last night there were a few shells around, one in our own area. This one landed just outside E3 pit and the ground is so soft that it only covered the gun with mud one hole through a water tin was the only damage done. I am sleeping outside tonight in the slitty as I’m on duty tonight. In bed at 2000hrs. Wrote two airgraphs one to Anne and one to Lois. Got 4 fowls last night
Last night was a quiet one so I was able to have a good sleep. Up this morning at 0800hrs put on my clothes and went to breakfast. There is nothing to do much today. I am going to fix up my tent a bit better as it won’t quite fit me. The right section played the left at rugby this afternoon. The right won by 20-0. We put up forts and dug the lines and all and we are only 4000yds from the front line. We are getting cheeky now ! We are firing a barrage tomorrow morning at 0200hrs as we will be a very cold crowd about 0300hrs. The number of rounds is about 170
The atack was not a success and by 1015hrs this morning the infantary were back at their start line. I suppose now it will have to be done all over again. Played football this afternoon, North v South(seven a side) we won (south). There was pictures on this afternoon but I never went. Started to write Frances No 114 done only three pages. Jerry had a few planes over tonight but they were only bombing the main road highway g.
We were lucky not being called upon to fire any more than one (1) round today, this was at 1202hrs. I was told I would be going to RICCIONE on six days leave starting on Saturday and ending on Friday 1st Dec. There is no town much there so I won’t be able to buy anything. Played football today amongst ourselves. It was a draw 13 all. Played Bridge after tea.
No football today so I went to the pictures instead, the show was in FORLI and the name of it was “KATINA”. It was not bad at all. We fired a barrage at 1605hrs of 110rds and every thing went very well all places was taken. Played bridge after tea and was in bed by 2100hrs. We were under a few shells just after tea as Jerry was shelling FORLI
A very quiet night last night as Jerry is going back again and this morning there is hardly a gun firing. I am going on leave tomorrow morning. We are now within 1000yds of FAENZA so we are sure chasing “him” up now. The tommys are putting up a bridge over the river by us and it was a great experiense for me watching it being pushed across with a bulldozer
Wrote mother Airgraph (1)
Left this morning at 0730hrs and I won’t be coming back until the 1st Dec. This will mean five days. After leaving the gun possition we traveled back through FORLI,CESENA,SAVIGNANA,REIMINI and so to the NZ YMCA at RICCIONE where we are now staying in a hotel which is being used as a hostel and very nice it is too.The meals are wonderful, morning and afternoon tea with scones as well as supper. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “Let Diddle Did—–“ it was poor in parts. In bed by 2220hrs and was soon asleep
Finished No 114 to Frances. (9 pgs) Sent Lists, Car, Egg book.
Up today at 0750hrs breakfast at 8-9. This was very good, spent the rest of the morning writing. The day is overcast and although it does not look like rain it is cold so by the fire it is for us today. There are no vino shops in this town, this makes it a very nice place to live because there are no drunks coming in late at night. Played Bridge after tea my partner and I lost by 176 points, it was too wet to go to the pictures
Aircard (1) Janet
After breakfast I had a read and wrote a aircard to Frances. Had a shave by the barber, here it only cost five lire it was just as well too. It was raining all day so I never went out until 0750hrs we then went to the pictures and seen a picture called “Jack London” it was a fair type of show. We went to the 6 o’clock show and was back by 2030hrs in plenty of time for supper. In bed at 2130hrs read till 2230 when the lights are put out.
Still raining a bit and the roads now are almost flooded throughout the town. The elastic I bought Janet the other day cost me 190L. The meals are still very good in this place, the cooking is done by a Itie chef. There is a Canadian Concart on tonight. We will try to get in although we are getting no tickets
Cold day today. Went to the Canadian Concert tonight. It was not bad at all. Shall be going back tomorrow. Tonight there are pictures on in the town and they are on in our Lounge here also. We are going to see both one session is at 1730hrs and the ones here start at 1900hrs
We were told today that we were not going back until tomorrow sometime. The Arty leave is over at this place for a month as the Infantary are now going to have a months leave here. There are pictures on in town and in our Lounge again tonight. We will be going to see both again
Fine today with a little bit of sun enough to dry some washing. We had to fire smoke at 1805hrs for the bombers that was to come over but after we fired 39 rounds they told us to stop firing as there had been a stuff up some where and the bombers were not even off the grounds. We then had to do another 52 rounds again at 1605 this time the bombers came only 18 of them (———-) They were Bostins(?) We then had our tea as this shoot brought us to 1657hrs as they were one round per min I was off duty tonight so I never had to get up for the harrassing fire that had to be done from 0100hrs to 0300hrs. Those who were on had to get up at 0045hrs and never got into bed again till 0500hrs
Rained all day. Got my tin hat riddled with shrap also my gas-cap and scarf. The skull cap that was in my tin hat was cut up a bit to. The shell was a 170 which landed between two limbers blowing them to pieces setting the charges that was inside them all on fire. Played bridge in the morning and up to 1435hrs in the afternoon. We have not fired to-day yet. I have only had a shave so far, no wash even. It is very cold now and we are very lucky we got the Battle Dresses the other day. There was no one hurt today with the shelling we had. On duty tonight. There was not very much shelling until about 2215 when we then got a packet sent down upon us.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
I was up all hours through the night and early hours of this morning . We done harrassing fire from 2400hrs to 0130hrs this morning and we fired three rounds again at 0635hrs and 0700hrs. After this we had a lot of work to do in cleaning up the pit as it was very muddy again after the rain yesterday. I am off duty tonight so I might get a bit of sleep. After tea I played bridge for awhile but was soon in bed. Jerry started to shell us very heavy at 0100hrs but no damage was done . This time we are in a very hot spot and we will have been here a week tomorrow. The other team on our gun worked pretty hard through the night
Wrote Harry aircard
We had just finished our breakfast and was down at the gun having a shave when Jerry got on to us again. The gun, the 170mm that was used on us the day before. We were down in the drain twice before we made the house and cover. This time it was F.Troop that got the hit it was with the first shell, it hit T.L.F setting it alight also it caught three haystacks which burnt all day and night. Was on duty tonight and was out four times before 2000hrs and from 8 til 9 we fired 6 rounds, was out again at 2215hrs, 2250hrs, 2350hrs. Picquet 0024 – 0100hrs and fired 5rds at 0105 up again at 0330hrs till 0530hrs, harrassing. 60rds this was and at 0215hrs up again. No sleep as we were heavily shelled all night. We fired altogether 105rds from 1900hrs till 0715hrs. 12hours solid we done. A chap wounded in F.Troop
After we finished this morning we had a wash and a shave and we three who were on all night had to keep on till 1200hrs then we came off until 1200hrs tomorrow when we again do 24hrs on the gun. Ready to fire any time they call upon us to do so. It rained from 0715hrs until 1115hrs and it is now fine but cold(time 1400hrs) Just rested all afternoon and tea was at 1735hrs. It was nearly dark as the sky was overcast . In bed by 2040hrs and was soon asleep. At 0025hrs I was woke up by the fall of bricks and the whistle of flying bricks . Got dressed and went downstairs. Jerry had landed a shell (105) under E3 limber blowing it to peises also four hay stacks were set alight. No one was hurt. The fire burnt all night . The wall of our room is shelled(?) with holes. Weather fine.
Sent Christmas cards (arty)
Got to bed at 0200hrs this morning and this time slept with my pants on in case we were forced to go downstairs again. Everything was quite for the rest of the night. E3 gun is out of action at present. All the shells went up in the limber last night and we had to get in a very safe place when they started there was 27 of them to go off. To-day is very overcast with a little rain. I got on duty for 24 hours at 1200hrs. The rest of the day was a busy one for us. It rained a little but only enough to make the ground slipery. I am off duty tonight so I will be able to have a sleep. Everything was quiet until 2358hrs when Jerry got a direct hit on the lower portion of the house and I woke in time to see holes apear in the wall oppersite my bed. Went downstairs very smartly but was back again at 0045hrs. No more shells tonight.
When I woke this morning I was not feeling the best. My head was aching terriably. I was aching in every joint and I was shivering and sweating all the time. I got worse until I could not find enough strength to lift a 25lb shell . At ——- hrs I went to the R.A.P to see the Doc he took my temp which was 99.2deg. he sent me back for my gear and told me to come back after tea and he would send me out for a few days which he did. I went first to the M.D.S then on to the 5th NZ Flo Am M.D.S. I arrived there at 2100hrs and got examined then to bed. They thought I might have yellow jaunders or Malaria with such a fever. I was feeling a bit seedy on it and I was soon asleep. Because of the shelling we had been getting each night my sleep had been somewhat broken.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
Was woke up this morning at 0515hrs and had my temp taken, what it was I don’t know. I was soon asleep again and woke up in time for breakfast. After breakfast I drew a ———– for a hack saw frame which I seen an Itie doing and it is a pretty good one and very easy to use and make. In the afternoon I discovered that Alec and Frank Allen belonged to the hospital and I talked to them all the afternoon. After tea I went over to their house and made a boiler for them one large enough to hold three cups of tea. I got back to the ward at 2250hrs and the chap next to me said they were looking for me and very cross. The Sarg came in and told me that I was on ————- in the morning. I went to sleep on that . The rain was falling very heavy.
Up at 0615hrs washed and was dressed and had my breakfast by 0715hrs. I was on trial at 0730hrs. The Lt.Col gave us (three) a little talk and dismissed the case. I was the only one not going back to his unit to-day so the Col sent me back as punishment I suppose. I arrived back at 30Baty B.cmp at 0945hrs and went from there back to the guns to show the G.P.O my chit for 3 days rest at B.Comp. Went back there and I am now in one of their houses. There was a prepare to move by 1800hrs but it was canceled and now it is no more before 0800hrs in the morning. The time now is 1900hrs and it is nearly time for bed. It was still fine when I went to bed.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1) Wrote Gran 2 pag
Sent “wee” Wootton a christmas card. Sent Frances some of my drawings so I would not loose them Sent Norm a card too
It rained very hard all morning and the guns were to move at 1200hrs but this was cancelled and they are not moving today now. The ground is in a very bad state, some parts are just flooded. I played cards tonight but it was only for fun this time. The weather is fine now and I hope we are going to get a break for a few days. The front news. The river is just flooded now but we are still gaining on slowly . In bed by 2200hrs
Still at B Cmp and I never got up until 0800hrs this morning. It was a very bright morning so I hope it continues to keep like it for a few days. I have wrote to cousin Anne and Lois this afternoon only airgraphs but they will do. I will be going back to the guns within two days I suppose worst luck. The guns are now in their new possition but Jerry is supposed to be going back and there is new talk of moving again.
Played pocker after tea tonight and I won 700L this is the first time I have won for some time that’s why I have not played very much. The guns moved to their new possition to-day. It is just over the river.
In the morning we played cards for a hour. This was after I cleaned my boots both pairs and done another few jobs. We continued our wee game after lunch until 1500hrs when the B .Cmp got orders to move . This was done and we are now by the guns the distance traveled was 10mls by road. We are in houses but as we had to get our tea before it got dark we never had the chance to have a look around. After tea we played poker again and I lost 150L all night we played until 2145hrs and was in bed by 2300hrs. I am sleeping on the brick floor of the top story of the house in a room of course. Weather is fine and it is very quite at present.
Wrote (2) Airgraphs Frances
Up this morning at 0720hrs. Shaved before breakfast which was at its usual time 0800hrs(three helps of porridge and my ration of mashed potatoes and fried bacon with bread and coffee).
Handed in our summer gear that we still had. Sorted “all” my gear buttons and all. The flies are very bad in this house.
Received letter (Airgph) from Bob Christian. Received (2) Aircds Frances
Played poker tonight and only won 50L. Never got to bed until 2300hrs.
This morning is another fine one and now the ground has almost dried up again. Another chap and I went for a walk this morning over to a village but it was almost a waste of time as there was nothing in it, we were back for lunch. After lunch I drew a plan of the “screw draw” of my workshop bench. Started to write to Frances no 109 so have done four pages so far.
Wrote Airgraph(1) Bob Christian
Today brought another move for the guns the time was 1400hrs and they went up by road 4 ½ mls taking them to within the same range as our 4.2” . morters.-the ——. C.P. and our C.P is in the same house. They are going to get too cheeky one of these days. I am still at 2 Cpy but expect to go back to the guns any time at all. The days back here are spent on writing or talking. We have only the papers to read no books of any kind are here. We have the wireless going for the news Played poker . Lost of my own money 100L handledthrough the night 1000L up and down
Wrote Frances No 109 6 pag. List of screws etc.
This morning is rather dull and at 1100hrs there were a few spots of rain but nothing to worry over. There is nothing doing to-day so it will be another quiet one I suppose with poker again after tea. Rain is holding up most of the fronts except the Russians and we are going on slowly. Done some washing and got it nearly dry before the sun went down. Hung it up in the room and it will be dry by the morning.
Heard to-day that through-out the 3 Divs action in the Islands only 700rds were fired altogether we have fired 700 in 14hrs. At 1020hrs it started to rain and it come down very heavy . The ground soon got water loged again and this is what we didn’t want because there is a big atack going on tonight, what time and the number of rounds in the barrage I don’t know as I am still at B.Cmp. I have been here now a week. The rain stoped at 1800hrs and the clouds cleared away . We can now see the starts. The time is 2310hrs and the barrage hasn’t started yet. Jerry shelled the main road tonight about one dozen shells all told. Played poker and won 200L
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
Still at B.Cmy but expected to be sent back to the guns this morning but it never came off. Played poker after tea and lost 250L. I was still up even now because I have 500L odd and I come into B.Cmp with 330L. There is a barrage on tonight at 2245hrs. Don’t know how many rounds. Last nights attack was postponed because of the weather. A new moon tonight so it will only be a few days before we will be able to see our way about at night. Received 183 8 pag and one air card from Frances. Jerry sent a few shells over tonight.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
Attack a success and we were woke this morning with someone yelling in our ears. Prepare to move straight after breakfast, we were to move at 0815hrs but all the trucks were away from B.Com by 0730hrs. The truck I traveled on never left until ——– it was the ————– truck. We arrived at the gun possitions at 0900hrs and they were all waiting until we got here before they moved off as we were to take over the house as —Com. The house is a very large one and very solid. The Ities are still living in it. We are having a quite night tonight writing, giving the poker a rest tonight. We even got tired playing this. Weather still fine. Jerry is still going back slowly.
Our guns are on the move again today. The quads were at the guns by 1100hrs and the B Cmp moved up to where the guns were at 1530hrs. The guns had not moved and were still in action. They fired 80rds harrassing fire starting at 2000hrs and the next morning they pulled out they were away by 0615hrs and the quads were back at B.Cmp for breakfast. Tonight Jerry shelled us with 88 and 170 doing no damage to our house only shook it rather badly at times with the 170. Very cold tonight
Received from Frances letters 179-182.
Wrote Frances no 110 (7pag) Wrote Frances Airgph, wrote Frances Aircard
This morning is overcast and it may rain a bit it is rather cold to. This farm house we are out is very well stocked up with hens and rabbits, while the guns were here they had several hens and a pig besides. One of the ammo drivers got some hens but all the time we have been taking these things from these farms we have never bothered about the rabbits. There are dozens of them here to from white to black. There are also some quinie pigs here too. A very quiet day altogether and I went to bed at 1915hrs wrote a aircard then went to sleep and I was woke up by very heavy rain falling but it never lasted for any length of time so I went to sleep again hoping it would be stoped by day light came.
Received 187 –8 from frances. 1 letter from Jos, 2 from Gran. Wrote Gran, Jocelyn and Frances an airgraph.
Very cold again tonight and we had a few drops of rain this was just enough to keep the ground greasey. There is some talk of us going out for a while and the place we hear that we are going to is away back past JESI. I think if we do it will be to reform The “5th” are going to be pulled out by what we hear. The rumours say that the 13th Reinf are at Mardi and the 14th are on their way . the number we heard was 13,000 we will see in the future if there is any truth in it.
Very dull today with a few spots of rain. I heard this morning that the rest of the Div is out already and the Arty is the only ones “in” at the present time so it looks as if there might be some truth in the rumours that we have been hearing. I have been out at B.Cmp now for twoweeks and if we are pulled out within the next day or so they might leave me here and so I will have a long rest before we go in again. I hope we are pulled out very soon. The Dive Bombers are doing good work now and they are over all day now bombing and straping(?) Jerry. I left Egypt one year today. The Ities dug up the old man he was killed by one of our shells and they buried him by the back door. A wee girl was in the coffin with him. She was killed by the same shell
The move is right and we are going back and the distance is going to be over one hundred miles. We are not going back so far for nothing and it is going to be very interesting to see what this move really is for. The weather is not very good and it has been raining off and on all day.
Drew two drawings, one of a “miter board” and the other of a “wood guage” I will send them both home soon. Today was a very dull one as far as news goes and I was in bed by 2000hrs
(our truck stayed and we looked over FANO)
Moved today at 1150hrs this morning and the weather is not looking the best. I will have to ride on top of the truck so I hope it keeps fine. We were soon on our way south and we passed through many towns that we had been through before . Our route was REIMINI, RICCIONE, CATTOLICA, PESARO, FANO, SENIGALLIA, MONTEMARCIANO, FALCONARA, CHIARAVALLEO, JESI,. We are now camped about 80 miles from Jesi in a small town. We stayed the night on Highway 16 because of a breakdown to one of the bridges, we had oysters in patties for supper and then to bed in the back of the 15cwt. There were three of us. It had been raining since 1700hrs and we went to bed at 2100hrs. It was still raining but we were soon asleep. There was no move before 0600hrs in the morning
(memo – send card to Frances for her birthday. This will give it (11) days
Moved at 0650hrs and after doing another 28 miles we came to the villiage of —————– .Where we are now camped in the town itself our Battery is in a school. It has been raining all the time since 1700hrs last night. There was a few bottles of rum etc to be bought by the boys in the troop , the Maj. got them in Ancona. After tea there was a stir up amongst the boys. I was out of it . If it had been beer I would been in but I don’t go the hard stuff. In bed by 2010hrs and never went to sleep because of the noise and cannot growl at this though have been in these “ do’s” myself at times.
Wrote Frances No 111 (8)pag, Aircard (1), (1) Airgph
Up at 0730hrs “dined” at 0800. There was to be a parade at 0845hrs but this was put off because of the rain. It had not stoped all day or night and it is still going. The air is very cold now and it is even hard to get warm in bed at nights. We have a canteen and a bar going now. Started today. I have been writing most of the morning and all afternoon, the time now is 1615hrs and after tea it will be bed for me I think.
This Town is called CERRETO D’ESI.
Rained today also so this made it a day inside which was a very dull one indeed
The notice came out today that the 5th Reinf were next to go out. The time was going to be sometime in late December or early January. The 3rd Div boys are coming over but the notice said that it would take several weeks to train them. Some of our Officers have gone to “Bari” already they aare going to train them.
Received Cable from Frances. Money 4pounds 16 shillings
Picquet today so I never went on the parade which was a Reg Church parade by the way.
E6 and E5 were swaped over today and now we have instead of the Quads 8 tonners. These belonged to the Ack Ack (?) which are being brought down in strength they have only one Battery or Reg now. I think it is a Reg (one) instead of three. The Armored aare being brought down in strength to.
I got from the “Tiffie”(?) of F. Troop three pairs of calapairs today. They were 4” inside and 4” outside ones also one pair of 6”inside calapairs. I will send them home in my next parcel. Came off picquet at 1000hrs and it will be 9 days before I am on again.
The weather is still very bad and it has no future just yet either.
This area we are in is a very wet place it is right in amongst hills and we are in the river bed in places
This morning was a fine one and the day was a warm one although the mud is still several inches deep, we were working all morning. This included ½ hours “gun drill” . We were free this afternoon so I had a bath, changed my clothes washed the dirty ones and put them out but by 1800 they were only half dry.
We draw a sweep on the NZ Trotting Cup tonight 100L each. I drew Haughty and by what I hear it has a good show. We will see after the race which is on Sat I think.
The Y.M.C.A has tea on every night now at 1900hrs.
Up this morning at 0800hrs breakfast was at 0900hrs. They gave us a lie in for another hour. There is no word weither we will even fire from this possition as yet they are going on very well with their break in the Gothic Line and we might have to move up before we can fire. We looted a house this morning and I only got about 200 buttons. The planes are very active but on the ground the fighting is very quiet only a few shots from both sides. There is a terrible shortage of water we can’t get any more than we can drink . We will have to go dirty for a few days as all the wells are dry too. It is very hot just now and we are feeling the strain of the lack of sleep and shortage of meals.
Last night starting at 1600hrs we fired 92 rounds for the Canadians who were cleaning out a pocket of Jerries. The whole show took over two hours. We had to stop firing because we ran out of ammo. This was the first time this has happened in this country. This morning was very windy so it looks as if we will be getting a change in the weather. We got prepare to move at1400hrs and we are leaving this place and going back to the place we —————- The Gothic Line is well and truly broken it was very easy so they don’t need us now, we are again out of action. Left at 2215hrs and arrived back at 0050hrs. It is still blowing hard.
Wrote 104 Frances 7 pag. Sent Beans, buttons, photos of siena.
Never woke until 0800hrs this morning this was breakfast time. It rained very hard for half a hour after breakfast but we could see it coming long before so we were ready for it this time. Wether we are going to stay here where we are or go back to the Div area outside JESI we don’t know.
Norm won 27 pounds to-day playing “slippery sam” and “two up”. There is a parade for us tomorrow at 0900hrs. There was some NZ tobacco in today also a large cake of chochlate per man, the tobacco was “Melrose”. I was in bed at 2130hrs.
Wrote Frances Air Card (1)
Cease fire between Russia and Finland took place this morning. We are now massing in the German border. We have to clean our trucks guns and limbers up for the C.O. who is coming around this afternoon for an inspection of the same. Wrote to the E.R.S. regarding the housing scheme State Addresses etc.
Just resting at present. The “Gothic Line” has been well and truly broken so they don’t need us yet we shall go up when it gets a bit tougher I suppose.
Wrote Frances Airgraph (1), Mother Airgraph (1)
We had a Reg Parade for the C.R. Ack this morning. Our troop parade was at 0800hrs and the reg one at 0900hrs. We were back in our own lines by 1000 , the rest of the day we had to ourselves. I got the tomato I had to ripen for seed. I wanted to get there before they went bad. I got about 100 seeds out of half the tomato. They are the best and biggest (outside) tomatoes I have ever seen in my life.
At 1900hrs we were told that we would be moving out as the 6th(?) and going towards the beach, to swim or not I could not say. We have to be ready to move at 0505 in the morning. This means up about 0400hrs.
Up at 0350hrs wraped up our beds and tents put them on the limber and then made a cup of cocoa for the four of us. True to time they started to move 0510hrs and we were only going a few miles so breakfast was at the usual time. The distance traveled was 80 miles and it took us 2 hours to do this trip . We shaved and washed then had our breakfast. Easy dress parade at 0900hrs then cleaning up the guns for a hour, then rest for the remainder of the day. We may be moving tomorrow sometime. Steve in charge of the Div, “Tiney” is in hospital. Received Air Card (1) Frances.
I was very sick tonight. Had to go outside about 24 times.
Wrote Airgraph Frances (1)
Received parcel (cake from Frances Post Dated 7.5.44)
Was raining very hard when I woke up this morning but as I dug a drain around my tent when I put it up I was safe this time from being flooded out. It was raining when we went to breakfast but cleared up later only to start again and it has rained on and off all day. The time now is 1718hrs and another shower has just passed over. I was better when I woke this morning and I hope I am alright now. There are a lot of chaps got the runs now it must either be the grapes or the crook tucker we are getting lately. The Mobile Pictures were here tonight and it was one I had seen before “Mutiny on the Bounty”. It was very good.
Wrote Air card (1) Frances. Received (2) Air.C from Frances
Raining again this morning never went to breakfast. There is talk of us being here for a few days yet. There is still quite a number of chaps who still have the runs etc. I am one of them. Played bridge all afternoon. A very dull day in all there is pictures on here again tonight but it is the same one as last night
A Parade at 0900hrs then the whole reg dug a field level ready for the football that is going to be played within the next few days. The First game was between 30 & R.H.Q. 30 won 6.0 the next was 29 & 48. 48 won 8.0 so 30 will play tomorrow I suppose. Cards again this afternoon. Tonight I went to see the pictures as it was a different one showing . It was called “Thank your lucky stars” It had been made for the troops by all the “stars”. Reg parade tomorrow. Troop parade at 0810hrs.
Up this morning at 0710hrs and got fully dressed right away but at 0745 hrs the T.S.M. came along and said that the Reg parade had been wiped as we were moving sometime to-day. The time was not before 0700hrs so we played bridge all afternoon . We are moving at 2020hrs I think. We have two places to go either to the coastal sector or inland to help the British, the Canadians are on the coastal sector. This move was changed and we are now going into our possitions in daylight. We moved at 1345hrs and after traveling some 60 miles we droped the guns we dug our slitty before our gun pit this time as this is the new Div order. It is too near the end to take unnecessary risks now. Never fired so we were in bed by 2100hrs.
A day of rest. All we did today was put the finishing touches on our pit and got the ammo ready for our coming barrage which we hope is the beginning of the end of this country as far as Jerry goes.
Up this morning at 0755hrs and breakfast was at 0800hrs. We then had a wash and shave then on with a game of bridge. Lunch was at 1200hrs and after this we had to get 400 rounds ready as there is the first phase of a 7 phase atack going in tonight. The first rounds will be at 1800hrs these combined with the hundreds of planes that have been over. Today is what we call softening up process. The main barrage starts at 0100hrs in the morning 120 rounds per gun. This barrage went off very well and we finished at 0300hrs but there was a continuation of the last phase twice so we never got into bed until 0415hrs. It was by this time very cold and wet as the winter is very slowly creeping upon us again.
Up this morning at 0700hrs only to fire one rnd. We stayed up. We done very little until 1745hrs when we were started on a task which was the second phase of this big atack. It was stoped after only nine rounds as the infantory were not ready. It was to be on again at 1830hrs but the time now is sometime between now and 0100hrs and it is to be 110 rounds. The time is now 1955hrs so it should be very soon because it will take 2 hours to do it. There is a 75rd barrage again at 0100hrs. All this was wiped and instead we fired 10rds at 0140hrs and then to bed. It was our picquet tonight so I was up again at 0250hrs it was very cold and I wore my overcoat for the first time since I left Cassino. Went to the beach for 1 1/2hrs this morning.
Up this morning at 0620hrs we are now firing the second phase of the atack it is to be 120rds starting at 0630hrs and going till 0830hrs. We are all very hungary so we had hoped that it would be a good breakfast but it was poor fried bread and beans, two stewed peaches by themselves was instead of the usual porridge. The morning is fine but windy. The time now is 0912hrs so it is a shave, wash and get the gun cleaned and move ammo into the gun pit before we can rest. I ———— the gun for 1/2hr this morning. We never fired again till 2100hrs then it was only 10rds so we had a good sleep. This breaking of this line has proved a very hard job now for they are holding onto this last strong point guarding the Po Valley.
Wrote Frances 105 6 pag. Sent tomatoes (seeds)
Up this morning at 0600hrs and fired five rounds then back to bed and none of us woke until 0810hrs Breakfast 0800hrs we got ours anyway so we never worried very much over being 10min late although one of our officers said something about I never even looked around to see if it was me he was talking to or not. We have had enough of their pin pricking now and it is our turn they haven’t grown up yet anyway they might get their jobs of office-boys when they get home again. I do my bit so I say now whats right and whats wrong for my-self. We got prepare to move at 1100hrs this morning but we have not moved yet time 1730hrs but we may move to-night yet. Moved at 2240hrs and we are not taking the place of some S.P—— and we are very close this time. We dug our pit until 0430hrs then went to bed. We are all up here the 3 Reg’s. There was no shells near us at all to-night.
Wrote Air card (1) Date 15 Finished today
Up this morning at 0750hrs and after breakfast and a shave we finished off our pit. They then told us to get 410rds per gun ready as we would be firing a barrage at 1130hrs. The time was changed to 1530hrs this did not come off so we then got to work and dug ourselfs a deep dug-out each as in this possition we might need them. We fired on Jerry this morning at 2300yds and in a C.D.F. program(?) we have there is a range of 1900yds this is very close. Except for being close this possition is very good, we have huts, tables, chairs etc we are at a small creek and in peace time it has been used for boating. The hills are for the people who have boats, they are really “batches”
So this is Sunday. I and we, were up at 0445hrs and started to fire a barrage which lasted until 0700hrs back to bed was out of quistion because our pit came down along one side so after cleaning up this and dumping the “caps” etc we were ready for breakfast. We magined to make ourselfs a cup of tea at 0600hrs. This helped us along I may say. For the rest of the morning we rested a bit and even managed to get in 1 1/2hrs of bridge but after lunch we were firing again and continued to do so until 1630hrs .We then were free Mac and I went and done a Itie house “over” I got two cups and saucers and two wee dishes besides some more buttons. I went to bed at 2045hrs and I was very soon asleep. I am on picquet from 0810hrs to 0400hrs.
My picquet was never done because we were up firing at 0300hrs and we were to finish at 0700hrs. There was a atack on. It never went right and we were called on to fire until 1340hrs. This meant we had been in the pit for 10hrs 40min . We were without a shave we never even had a wash, this was done at 1500hrs. The first big break came at 1555hrs and we have not fired for over one hour. We have fired 30 rounds so far today. We handed in our shorts to-day. News not bad to-day. Received parcel from Frances (chochlate_ Received parcel from Mum. Fired most of the night again.
Wrote Frances Air card (1)
This great battle for RIMINI is being continued to-day in all its fineness(?) This is the third day and so far we have fired 15,000 rounds since it started 10 days ago. We are trying or rather we have to break into the Po Valley before it rains.. We were up and at it this morning at 0440hrs and we went right on until 1714hrs. In this time we fired over 700 rounds a gun. It is my night off tonight so I won’t be getting up when we have to fire a big barrage. I was in bed by 2000hrs and I was very soon asleep. In the last 72 hours ending at 1020hrs I have had only 12hrs sleep and at present I feel very done in. I can hardly do any work but it has to be done
Up this morning at 0440hrs and we aare going to fire some more to-day but it won’t be very many because our program was from 0445hrs till 0649hrs but we got the “stop firing” “stand easy” at 0600hrs and have not fired since . Time now 0930hrs there is even some talk of a move to-day.We started firing at a range of 2500yds(?) and after four days it is now up to 10,500yds so we are getting on at last.. We should have RIMINI anytime now, Looks like rain. We received to-day also our extra blanket this makes us four now. We got orders to move at 2115hrs and we did just as we were leaving this possition it started to rain and it continued to do so until breakfast next morning but a lot happened between when we started off and breakfast. We only had 6 mls to go but (from 2115hrs 20.10.44 to 0415 21.10.44) The roads were very thick with dust before it rained so now they were very thick with mud and the surface was very slipery. Two of our trucks went off the road and they held us up for over an hour to go these few miles Took us 4 1/2hrs and by this time we were nearly frozen stiff. My overcoat I had pushed in my bedroll so I could not get it until I untied my gear off the limber. When we got to our possition we put the gun down at 0245hrs and got on with our slittys rigiht away. I had my gear on the ground with a ground sheet over it so after I dug a bit of a hole and put my tent over it I put my gear in and at 0400hrs I put myself inside , also it was raining all the time. This makes our life very hard when one has to dig a hole to “line”
I never woke this morning until 0745hrs breakfast was at the usual time 0800hrs. The sun was up but it had to do a lot of work before the ground dried up again. We caught two suckling pigs, they were only about 6-7 weeks old, put them in a sack for tomorrow sometime. We had to shift our gun 50yds right this morning as they had put us in the wrong place as we were doing this it started to rain again and for the rest of the day we stayed in bed. We had up to this time fired no rounds. I started to write my letter again after tea but it became dark so quick that I was only able to do twelve pages and I couldn’t see any more. After having a few smokes and some chochlate I went to sleep , it was still raining then.
Up this morning at 0750hrs just in time for breakfast. Today was a much better day for the sun came out and stayed out. The ground and all damp clothing was soon dry. We cooked our two pigs for lunch, half frying half boiling then there were eight of us and we ate the lot. They were very good. After lunch I had a bath done some washing, this was just as well to because we got the orders to move at 1320hrs. We were to go to a possition the north side of RIMINI. This town had only been in our hands for 24 hours. We passed through it at 1740hrs and put our gun down some three miles on the “N” side of the town. Jerry is 3000yds away. Fired a barrage of 227rds for our own blokes. They went forward 3000yds In bed at 0300hrs and we were shelled very heavy.
Wrote Frances 106 4 pag (1) Airgraph
Up again this morning just in time for breakfast 0750hrs. We were told that we would be moving at 1200hrs but at 0940 hrs this was cancelled and now we may not move to-day.Jerry seems to have taken some of his guns back. Although the boys said we were shelled heavy this morning I never woke up at all, slept through all. Weather fine. We are held up again but it won’t be long before we are on the way again. Jerry runs for two days and stays for one. This will be the case from now on. We are now mobile. The Kiwis are in the fore once again . We are to take a town 40miles up the coast. Received 176 – 177. We done two hours harrassing fire between 2200 and 2400hrs then we had to get up at 0020hrs , 5rds – 0040, 5 rds, 0115hrs, 10rds- 0400hrs , 7 rds – and the last time was 0550hrs , 8rds.
We never went back to bed after we got up at 0550hrs We were told that we would be going forward at 0900hrs as we had to be back through REMINI before 0930hrs. The possie party went forward and we are not moving now as Jerry is simply blasting what was to be our possition with everything he has got, we are now firing the barrage from this possition. It starts at 2030hrs somewhere about 400rds per gun.. Found steel rule thought it was a booby trap at first and I pushed it across the ground with a stick. I had to goforward with another chap to our new possitons which are only 1000yds from the enemy at the present time .After the atack goes in tonight it will be somewhere around 4-5000yds. We had to level a piece of ground for each gun.. We stayed the night. The guns are coming up tomorrow sometime, weather fine. Bed 2045hrs.
Received fourletter and three airgraphs. Letters from Frances were 175-176 again and 178.Airgraphs were two from frances one from cousin Anne, two letters from Gran. I was up this morning at 0600hrs because I was to lead the guns into their possitions when they came, at first light but they never came until 1020hrs and we were all day in digging our slittys and gun pit . After all this was done we were told that we might be moving in the morning. The area has been very quite all day. The Arty lines I mean. We may get a rest to-night so I am sitting up on my slitty writing this. I have a candle going but as I have my tent up and blacked out I will be able to write a letter to. It looks like rain tonight.
Wrote Aircard Frances, Wrote No 107 9 pag
At 2000hrs last night I was flooded out of my hole and I had to make a run for the house which was about fourty yards from where I was. I slept there the night. The only clothes I had on were boots without socks, a singlet, jersey, overcoat and my—- bed. I had my gas-cape(?) this helped to keep me dry but my bed roll, big and small pack were dry but all my writing gear got wet through and I lost most of it. Today was mostly used with doing our gear, fixing up the pit etc then it was all to ourselfs. We fired very little all day and tonight we only fired two rounds. I was up this morning at 0100hrs until 0200hrs then from 0215hrs until 0305hrs I was on picquet. It looks like rain tonight so I put my tent up this time on the top of the ground.
It was my night off last night so I never had to get up for the two rounds that was fired at 0845hrs and when I woke it was breakfast time 0730. The cooks call for it woke me. The rain came a little last night but we got half an hour this morning but it is not very heavy and I don’t think it will be. B.B.C. news said last night that when the Italian campaining is over we will be going to the Islands and the 3 year men will be replaced. Weither we will go home first or not we don’t know but it is just like our Government to send us straight to the Islands from here. We are very bitter towards them now. We moved up 4000yds today the time was 1235hrs and we are now within 1500yds of Jerry. We dug our pit then our slittys and were in bed by 2000hrs. Very active up here now.
We got our breakfast this morning just before it started to rain and it rained very hard all day and by lunch time we were feeling very miserible as one may guess. We were wet to the shins and could not change our clothes as we had harrassing fire for several hours this meant one round at 1300hrs another 8rds after two more in another 6hrs and so on for about 40 rounds in three hours. We all moved into the house at 1600hrs and this will do us until we have this possition because the weathr does not look the best for the future two or three days. We were to fire a barrage of 400rounds at 2200hrs and harrassing fire of 60 rounds at 2100hrs but because of the terrible weather both were cancelled this shows how bad it really was.
Wrote air card (1) frances. Started No 108
Up this morning at 0745hrs and we had to dig a drain three feet deep to drain out pit. Wet , it was full of water this morning. We worked hard all day to make our selfs right again and we are now pretty right again. It never rained to-day but there is a high wind blowing but this helped to dry up the ground very good and now the mud has become hard enough to walk on without slipping .If it does not rain it will be right for a few days . I had my first wash this afternoon for 52hrs , no shave either was it a job. My hair had not even been combed but I am cleaned up now wrditing in the cassa by candle light. My night off.
Finished No 108 (11pag) ]
Rained this morning for a while but this afternoon it cleared up a bit although it is still overcaste. We spent a lot of our spare time washing and writing.Some of our team played slipery. I wrote Frances her Christmas letter as the Xmas mail closes tomorrow. We got our 2 NZEF Xmas Cards to-day and they have to go in tomorrow so they will get home by christmas. After tea there was about fourty rounds between 1730hrs and 2200hrs when we had to go on with twohours harrassing fire. We went to bed at 2115hrs and was lucky we never had to fire again until after breakfast. The life at present is very miserable for us although we are in a house. There are the next six months of wet weather to look forward to. Our outlook is very grim.
Received 164-167 Frances
Fired first thing this morning at 0715hrs and we were off and on all the time. I was transferred to E.4guns at 0100hrs This is my old gun I used to drive for I had to help them dig their pit also I had to dig another slitty. These two jobs took me and the rest of the crew up until tea time 1800hrs. We were told at 1900hrs that we have to fire a barrage starting off at 2300hrs. It was over 200 per gun but we had to get 500 ready. The barrage started at 23 00 hrs and we fired the last shot of it at 0345hrs. We then had to fire more away these carried us to 0420hrs in bed at 0435hrs. We were all done.
Up and firing again at 0715hrs. I had had only 3 ¼ hrs sleep. We have been firing all morning to and it looks as if there is another barrage tonight.
Later: There was but it only lasted for ¾ hr starting off at 1800hrs and finishing at 1845hrs. We then went to bed after we had cleaned up a bit.
PARCEL: No 30 Dicenory etc. Since we have been in action this week we have fired nearly 2000rounds. This means we have fired on a avg 500 rounds a day. I am just about done too, we all are anyway. “I” Sectoon said that Jerry was pulling out tonight from our sector.
Wrote Frances No 99 (6pag)
Jerry did pull out last night and we are going to follow him because we were told this morning we were leaving this possition at 0930hrs and go forward. We are still here and it is now 1335hrs. I am going to drive E5 for about five days as the driver has gone to Rome on leave for that period. We have fired no rounds to-day although our guns were still in “action”. Moved at 2000hrs. The road out was very twisted and very steep our route took us through two villages the first one being PISIGNANA then LA Romola. They were blown to pieces by our shells. The second one was where we fired on all night on the 29 July. Very smelly. This last one, must be a lot of Jerrys buried in the ruins.
We came 7 miles (by road) last night and our new possitions are very close for Artly being only 2000yds away. We arrived here at 2215hrs last night and the guns are getting ready for action now 0700hrs.They have some very high hills in front of them and they could not fire last night for fear of hitting the hill. It is only this morning they could fix up their “crest clearance” Florence can now be seen from one of these hills it is only three miles away. Reports came through at lunch time that there were some “kiwis” in the town so it looks as if we have it at last. We shelled this vicary (?) pretty good and heavy by the looks of the holes and the amount of shrap lying around. There are quite a few dead (good) Jerrys still lying about. There is a ————- pit on the side of the hill which must have got————— hit there is a bit of a mess around. There is shaving gear in the pit. They were shaving.
Yes it looks as if the crew of the gun were in the act of shaving when the shell hit their pit. Their shaving gear is all over the bottom of it. The guns have not fired to-day. In this country to date 15,000 rounds per gun have been fired this was told to us two days ago. We have no shells back in this area yet and we don’t want any either. I am still on the Quad E5 but I only expect to be here another two days more. I made a jelly this after noon I was going to have it with a small tin of cream for supper tonight but it has not set yet so now I am going to have white bait tomatoes and onions instead. The meals have gone back the last few days. We were told our troup have withdrawn from Florence to regroup, we go around this (open city)
We are just resting now although Jerry is landing shells not ½ mile from us, he is shelling the road somewhere in front of us. I will be back on the guns tomorrow. We are moving to sometime tomorrow the rumour says it is going to be 17 miles to the west so we will be over on the Adriatic Coast soon again we are going to take the place of a Indian Div (they say).
Received Airgph Frances 17.7.44.
Rained all afternoon but it eased about tea time. The ground was wet for the rest of the evening. I was in bed by 2130hrs.
Received 172 Frances. 1 Norm 1 Gran
Very quite this morning up till 1105hrs when we got orders to get ready to move. I was still living up with the quads as there was nothing doing down at the guns. After pushing our gear on the limbers we moved down to the guns having lunch at 1200 and by 1230 we were on the move. We went back the way we had come in to this place. We went as far as La Romola and turned left passing through two more bombed out villages. The people were hunting through what was left of their homes for what few items they had. We came to a halt at 1615hrs and we had to wait here until 0100 the next morning when we were going to move up under the cover of darkness . The gun pit we were going to was already we were taking over from the 8th Indian Div.
After we landed here this morning at 0200hrs we put the gun into the pit and then we were told that no men was to bed down without first digging himself a 2ft slitty. Some place this must be we thought. The ground was very hard for the first foot but after I had gone down a bit more I put some straw in the bottom and then my bed roll into which I soon got when I looked at my watch it was 0250 hrs. I was soon asleep and I never woke until we got a take posts at 0215hrs. This morning breakfast was at nine. Never fired much during the day we put over a few after tea but we were all in bed by 2145hrs and were soon asleep. Jerry sent over a few shells about tea time.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
This morning at 0315 seen me in the gun pit firing. It was to break up a slight attack Jerry was putting in we fired 5000 rnds and from then until 0700hrs I was asleep again. This morning when we were firing E2 gun hit a tree twice and there were four or five chaps got a wee piece of shrap in different parts of their body. Five rounds was all we fired up till 2100hrs for then we had to do harrassing fire until 2359hrs This was three hours and we only had to fire 30 rounds in this time only three of us stayed up to do it. It started to rain about 2400hrs but it was only a slight thunder storm lasting until 2300hrs we were in bed by 0015hrs. Les Moore joined the troop today.
Wrote Frances No 100, 6 pag. Wrote Joss
I was woke this morning by the call for breakfast the time was 0840hrs and I was in for a shock because it was teaming rain, the water had run down the sides of my dugout and my bed was slightly wet. It was on and off nearly all day after this. The front is very quite just now as we are now at the Gothic Line and Jerry has not fallen back on to it proper. We are going to try and break through it before he does get dug in propely.
Received letters 170-1 173
Also two air-graphs and 1 airgph. Also one airgraph from Clarise telling me she is expecting Fred home within two weeks. 1 Letter from Gran.
It rained this afternoon and it was very heavy. It washed us all out. My tent was leaking so I had to take every thing off the floor. Then I striped off and got out with a shovel and dug drains all round. I got wet through of course. I even took off my watch before I wenet out. The rain stoped at 1500hrs it lasted one hour. Went to bed at 2200hrs I never had to get up tonight my night off.
Wrote Frances no 101 8 pag. Wrote Air card “Farmers” Wrote Air card Frances
Up this morning at 0800hrs very quite. Played bridge all morning and wrote most of the after noon only fired five shots all day. Had some lovely grapes from a vineary only a few yards away from our gun. Played bridge nearly all day. We only fired a few rounds.. Very hot to-day. I wrote out-side it was too hot in my dug out.
Wrote Harry 3 pag
Up this morning at 0800hrs. This was just in time to have my shave and wash before breakfast came down. Played bridge all morning and afternoon also a round or two after tea. We were payed tonight at 2200hrs. I drew 4 pounds the reason for this was we are going to another possition and we were told to draw about 2 pounds extra so we must be going to somewhere so we can spend it. The rumour is over to the “Adriatic Coast” for the break through onto the Lombardy Plains. The news is very good to-night we are going forward fast on all fronts bar this one (40 miles from Paris) Gun out of action it is firing 400yds short. We need a new ———-
Very heavy mist this morning it did not clear until 0845hrs. We are all short of smokes again there has been very few in lately. Played bridge nearly all day. What rounds we did fire only needed three men because we only fired three all day. After tea there was a task for us to do harrasing fire. This meant because our gun was out of action as far as the night firing was concerned we had to go on other guns to help because the time was from 2100hrs until 0800hrs. 6 hours. We four went on first and the rest at 2359 hrs. We fired in those three hours 61 rounds
Up to 1330hrs to-day we have not fired a shot. We are going out to-night or rather we are leaving this place in the early hours of tomorrow morning either 4 or 7 oclock. The quads are coming in when it gets dark. We are not allowed on the road until 0700hrs tomorrow. We are going back towards SIENA for how long we don’t know. Was told of the landing in the south of France. The only things we could do was take our tents down. We were able have a rest for six hours so it was whorth getting into bed.
We were up this morning at 0300hrs we had to be ready to move by 0415hrs. There was a new moon up but this never made much difference, it was very dark. We had all our gear packed up on the quads and limbers and we got under way at 0440hrs. The distence we were going was 35 mls it should not have taken us very long but there was some long halts etc and we never landed at “Castalina” until 10.15hrs. The other five towns we went through were MONTESPERTOLI, POPPIANO, SAN PANCRAZIO, TAVARNELLE,TIGNANO,. Played bridge all afternoon. Slippery Sam at night Lost 22/- Received Airgph Frances (1)
Breakfast at 0745hrs. Troop parade at 0830hrs. Reg parade at 0845hrs. We were only out of action 29hrs when we had this last parade but hats had to be on the right angel, boots pollished, clean clothes etc. The rest of the day was taken up with cleaning and oiling the Quads, guns and limbers. This took us up until 1500hrs so after this the time was our own. I played bridge until 1800 which was tea time, it was a game for 6 pence per 100 and I was 5/6 which meant I was 1050 ahead of the others.. Went down to the 4 Field Reg after tea and seen Les Bradshaw he is now a two pippers(?) and is G.P.O of D. Troop 26 Battery.
Wrote Frances No 102 5 pag. Sent photos of the boys. They were the ones from Clary Carew
We had another parade this morning at 0900hrs this was only a troop parade and we had to clean in side the limbers also the ammo which it carries 32 rounds. This took us up till lunch time and just as we had finished eating this it rained as hard as it did a few days ago flooding us all out just as it done before. I had to make another “home” altogether and this time I will be safe if it rains again . I have a drain one foot deep around my tent. It turned out fine about 1600hrs and the rest of the day was alright. I wrote the above letter after tea the time was 2030. I used my candle to do it.
We are now having a parade every morning at 0900hrs but from on there is not very much work to be done this will give us plenty of time to ourselves until we move again when this is going to be I don’t know.
Norm came back this afternoon and I did get a shock to see him . I thought he was getting a job back at Base. I wrote him a letter last night and posted it this morning. He will get it in about a months time . I will check the time. We had some vino at the Battery area to=night and we all had a good time. Mr Barron (?) and I had a understanding.
Wrote Frances airgraph (1)
To-day the guns are going back to a range to be calabrated. We are leaving at 1815hrs. The distance is over 50 miles.
My gun was the last one in the convoy as the new “piece” it was getting was not finished being fit until 15min after the convoy had ended. This meant we would be on our own which was a good thing. We were going back as far as Lake ————- Our route in turn through MONTERONI, BUONCOVNENIO, TORRENIERI, SAN QUIRICO, PIENZA and at 1800hrs we came to our camping area. We had tea but at 2030hrs we had a big meal of saugiges, potatoes, tomatoes then some vino to finish off with. In the last town there were some very pretty girls. We won’t be able to get back to this place the only trips we are getting from here is to the lake which is nine miles away.
We are having a very easy day to-day. We won’t be taking our gun down until tomorrow sometime. Those who wanted to go down to the lake and swim could do so. We on E.4 had to stay for our guns had to go down and fire 10 rounds from our gun at five oclock they said but our day was mucked up as usual and we never went down until 1930hrs. We went to a Cassa after the finish. After we came back we had a feed of chips and tomatoes a few more drinks and then to bed. Went out realy to pinch some fowls etc, never got any.
Breakfast was at 0800hrs as usual and we were told that we was not going to fire to-day. This meant we would be free for the rest of the day. The Sargt “took a snack” and four of us set off across country starting off at 1045hrs we walked for miles and at 1800hrs we had lunch at a Itie Cassa. This consisted of tomatoes, eggs, and bread. We left here and went on to a few more and we got eggs at every one. By the time we arrived back we had 24 and we arrived back just in time to take our gun out to shoot, we went to the Cassa when we came back, this time we took some soup, meat and coffee. We got another 18 eggs here making us 42 for the day. Full Letter ——- notes.
To-day we returned to our Camping area. Most of us went down to the lake for a swim this morning we came back at 1100hrs cooked our own lunch which was spam, tomatoes and three eggs each, we played bridge until we got the word to move, this was at 1345hrs. The trip back was along the same route and there was PIENZA, SAN QUIRICO, TORRENIERI, BUONCOVNENIO, MONTERONI, then Siena and back home where we arrived at 1730hrs. We got our Alabassta goods, we put in money for the day we left they are now good to and I wish now I had put in a bit more. I only had 100pounds in but I got a small ———- out of it. Camp area Lake Chuise.
Wrote Frances No 103 – 9 pag. Aircard (1)
Check (?) Parade this morning at 0700hrs and there was a troop parade at 0815. We have to be ready to go on a parade anytime after 0830hrs . This is for Mr Churchill who is going to inspect us the exact time is not known. We are also under very short notice to move from this place and go into the line again. There is going to be a big push within a few days. News came through that Rumainer has chucked it in—–Had two bets on the “two up” to-night and lost 300L. Seen old Churchill to-day , it was a great thrill he is very short and bald.
Down has to come our signs once again. We are on a move somewhere very soon and it is very secret Its just they are trying to keep it quieter this time than ever before. The places that have the best chances with the boys are the south of France and the Adriatic Coast of this country. Some even say to England, Greece, Yougaslave, and of course “Home” is in the running too. The Kiwi Concert party was in the Arty lines last night and gave a very good show for two hours twenty minutes. We never got back to our own area until 2230hrs. Received letter 174 Frances.
Wrote Airgph cousin Anne in Scotland.
We are moving tomorrow night so we have been told. So far they have gave the troop one new truck. T.L.F inspected our boots both pairs, gave all the guns new cough-play nets(?) and they are making sure every truck has them to. Don’t know where we are going yet. This after-noon was only passed away in playing bridge so was the evening . I was in a game for 6d per 100 in the evening and I lost 7/6. The weather is still very good.. The grapes are nearly all ripe now and there are some wonderful bunches.. Some of them must be five or more pounds in weight. We were told tonight our starting time is 0900hrs tomorrow as it will be a day-light trip.
Up at 0645hrs and breakfast at 0730hrs we were ready to move long before the start time. The troop started at 0900hrs but the Reg never got going until 0930hrs and our route was to take us back to Lake Trasuneno and the length of our days travel was 135miles through some very pretty country. The trip around the lake was very pretty. We passed through several towns on our way they were the same nearly as before. After leaving our camping area we came through SIENA, PIENZA, MONTEPULCIANO, NOTTOLA, ACQUAVIVA, CASTIGLIONE, PERUGIA, SPELLO, FOLIGNO,. We were told to-night we were going another 90 miles to-morrow to a place called JESI which is only 10 mls from the Adriatic Coast and this place is only 20 mls from ANGONA. We were very dirty when we arrived but we had to cook our own tea before we could clean up and we were in bed by 2130mls and soon asleep.
Up this morning at 0650hrs and cooked our own breakfast as we have to cook all our meals to-day. We are moving sometime around 1100hrs. We moved at 1045 hrs and our route took us back through FOLIGNO where we had stayed the night about five miles on the south side. SCOPOLI, CASENOVE, CASTELLO, TOLENTINO, MACERATA, FILOTTRANO, JESI. This trip was 89 miles to-day. We stoped about 1 1/2mls on the north side of the town. We traveled right around Lake Trasuneno which is the large lake between Rome and Siena. The country through which we passed was very pretty and over here on the Adriatic is very well cultivated, the vinerys are very good, tomatoes, potatoes, melons etc are plentiful. After cooking our own tea we went to bed at 2100hrs.
Wrote Air card (1) Frances
Up this morning in time for breakfast (0800). There was a parade at 0900hrs then after we had cleaned the guns and the drivers their trucks we were free. There are some wonderful grapes around about us and this after-noon I got some tomatoes, and cucumbers. The cooks are once again cooking our meals for us.
Received 4 Air cards Frances, 1 Airgraph mother, Received parcel from Mother. Shortbread and wafers. Post dated 5.5.44.
I was in bed by 2130hrs and was soon asleep. At 2400 hrs I was woke up by our Bdr who told me that I had to be ready to go forward at 0700hrs in the morning. This meant fully dressed with bed roll ready and everything else.
Received Airgraph (1) Frances
Up at 0635 shaved and packed up ready to move at 0655hrs but this move never came off so I and the other seven who were going with me will now go with the rest at 1400hrs. We were on the road again and we went back through the town of JESI and turned off in an easterly direction. This meant we were going towaards the coast. We passed through REVELLATO, OSTRA and we were within 4mls of FANO when we turned left again towards the hills and of course the Gothic Line. The days journey was a long one and we never stoped until 2100hrs. This meant we had been 7 hours on the road and we had only traveled 45 miles all told. Tea was at 2200hrs and it was steamed pudding, stew mince, potatoes and tea. Not bad for the time of night. We are going to stay here to-night and move up into our possitions tonight. We are going to break this Gothic Line and Italy.
We could hear a few shells come back last night but they were half a mile in front of us. We were all very tired so we slepted on top of the ground. To-day has been one of rest well up until 1505 anyway. At this time we moved again. We were now going into action once again. The distance we were to go is not known when we first moved off and it was not known until 2300hrs. The distance covered was 9 miles and it took us 8 hrs 45min to do it just over 1 ml per hour. We put the guns “down” at 2345hrs and then dug a pit. Up till now we had had no tea so at 0150 the cooks lined up their dixies and we got stew, peas, potatoes with rice and stewed peaches. We then went on digging the pit after we done this we dug ourselves in. Went to bed at 0315hrs. Jerry was sending a lot of shells over.
Played Cricket against 2 NZEF H.Q. They won by 2 wkts I only made 6.
Norm came into this camp this afternoon from 3 NZGH his wound is healed up good. He is going to play cricket for us tomorrow.
He and I went for a walk after tea. We went up to S Sprido and via the sea back home.
Played cricket from 10.15 to 1700hrs. The match was A. Coy v B & C. they won again this makes it two wins for them. I have had enough cricket now I am stale. I only got 7 in the first innings and 10 in the second one. There is a game on Wednesday but I am going for a trip instead.
Norm played for B.C. and the two innings he had he never went out he got 46n.o. in the first and 6 n.o.in second
I am tent picquet this morning up to lunch time. My back is starting to peel now. Went to the pictures in the village this evening.
Went on a trip to see an old castel. It was built by or in his time Frederick 11. The date was 1246 it looked it too. It was on top of a hill and one could see the country for miles around. The name of the place was Castel Del Monte. It was about 20 miles from the Con camp.
Went to the Opera in the evening and seen Madam Butterfly. It was not bad the girl was a very good singer but the man was too weak one could barely hear him.
RECEIVED letters 158 – 161 from Frances also three airgraphs.
Went on another trip today this one was an all day one starting off at 1080 and coming back at 1900hrs. The towns we went through were VALENZANO, CASAMASSINA, PUTIGNANO, ALBEROBELLO, FASANO, CASTALLANA, POLIGNANO, MOLA DE BARI and so through the country back through the city of Bari and then home.
There were pictures on in this camp tonight they were open air ones.
I had a MI this morning at-9.40 and I was made A. I never played cricket. I went on the trip instead.
Wrote Frances No 91 8 pag. Airletter card (1)
Had C.O. parade at 10.30 this morning he thought about me for a few minutes and then asked me if I thought it would be alright of course I could only say one thing, I thought I would be going out tomorrow but my name is not on the list so I will be going on Sun. There must be a big cricket match on during the weekend thaats why I am staying home.
Some of the Kiwi Concert Party came in here for a rest. They have been doing there playing for 7 weeks so they are having a rest. Played cricket against E.R>S after tea and won I made top score 32.
Received Air Frances (1)
Wrote frances No 92 7pag
This morning is a very dull one that’s why I wrote the above letter. This afternoon is -only pay for those who want it.
Played bridge to-night until 21.30hrs.
Played cricket this afternoon against an Air Force team. We made 138 and they got only 47. I made 10 and Norm got 15. I went wicket keeper catching one and stumping one.
Norm and I went to the pictures over in the Village (Pelisa) the name of the film was “Turin” It was all about a ship.
I am leaving this camp tomorrow at 8.30 am and I am going to Adv Base once again
The trucks never left the con camp until 9 0clock this morning, they were timed to leave at 0830hrs . We arrived at Adv Base at 10.48hrs it was a very fast trip.
After handing in our pay books we filled in a clothing card then we were finished until 0815 in the morning.Today is very hot.
Wenet throught the QM store first thing this morning and at 10.45 we were given all the needles we needed. I got Typhus (5) and T.A.B 4. I was feeling alright until 1600hrs when I had to leave a game of bridge. I was playing in the Lowry Hut. I went back to my tent took off my boots and got into bed where I stayed until 0715hrs the next morning (tues) I spent a very complisant (?) time I could not lift my head up in fact I never had the strength to turn my-self over in bed.
This morning I am much better but my arms are sore. I had Typhus in the left and TAB in the right. I left Reception Depot at 9.30 this morning and I am now in A. Depot once again after ten weeks from the time I was here before.
We had to carry all our gear from Reception Depot to our own tents in the Depots themsleves.
I have a bed made of planks which are 2 inches off the ground.
It rained very hard tonight for an hour at the start then nearly all night.
Wrote Frances No 93 10 pay. Aircard (1)
I am on a Sig Course starting off this morning at 0600hrs, we go till 12.30hrs then we are finished for the day. Done some washing. At 1800hrs it came onto rain and it was very heavy. This was two nights running.
Played hockey against a Indian Con team at “Castallona” they won by 3 goals to 4.
We left this camp at 1400hrs and we went as far as “PECTIGNANO’ where we stayed for ½ hour and had a few drinks. We then went into the Indians Con Camp, we had our own rations with us so we had tea at 1630hrs then the match.After the match we came back to there, washed and then they gave us tea, cakes and ice-cream . We then went to a garden and have a look and in a café. There we had a few drinks. Then back to PUTIGNAMO where we stayed until 2200hrs drinking. Arrived home at 23.15hrs.
Wrote Frances No 94 6pag Photos of Castellanno. Air (1)
I am on the draft which is going up the line tomorrow morning at 0600hrs. There are over 1000 men going from here, 250 Arty. We are all in the same mind we think we are going back to take the place of the 4th Reinf who are up there they are going home by the looks of things.
Maori Concert on in the camp to-night (not bad)
Received cake from Gran
I am on my way back to the Div in the morning at 0600hrs.
15th also. There is 28 men on our trucks.
Up at 0480hrs and breakfast at 0510hrs. We were ready to leave at 0640hrs. It was to be a long day as we found out. We stoped at 1830hrs for tea and bed we had come 202 miles from Adv Base. The first town we went through was GIOIA, ALLAMUNA, GRURINA, SPINAZZOLLA, MINERVINO, CANOSA, GERIGNOLA, FOGGIA, LUCERA, VIOLDURARA, JAN-RLESA, JELSI, GILDINE, BIOANO, ISERNIA, VENAFRO, .. peaches, plums, spemata(?) Traveled 202 miles. There were some very old towns in our route. They were mostly on the tops of hills to. Our food is not much good but it is only for three days. Will see Cassino in the morning. We are sleeping out in the open tonight we have no tents.
On the move again this time at 0700hrs. The town I wanted to see most was Cassino and it was the first place we went through starting off with Cassino, ROECASECCA, ARCE, RIPI, FROSITONE, FERENTINO, VALMONTONE, ZAGAROHO, ROME. This trip was a distance of 157 mls. Cassino is a very sorry sight it is only heaps of rubble the same with the Monastery. We went through Rome and by what I seen of it it is a very great City. The railway station has been knocked about a bit but the rest of the town is untouched. The roads either side of the main road are strewn with a lot of M.T. Guns with tanks hundreds of them ——-
VITEREO, MONTEFIRSEO, FREICHIE, COLLE. Some towns today. 120 miles
Off again this morning at 0800 hrs this time we are going the rest of our trip to the front. We came through some very dusty country. The roads have been torn up with tanks etc. It was a very tiring trip. We stoped at a house for lunch but there was no fruit this time only a few apples which was green. We arrived at Div Arty at 1800hrs and we old hands are going back to our own Regs. We went first to Battery ORD reg and then to our troup. I landed at E. Troop at 1915hrs and the Coy did get a shock. The cooks got more tea on for us and then I put my gear by E- Quad. I wont be on it but I had to have some where to sleep. There is only one to a Quad now. I don’t know what I am going to do now.
Wrote Frances Airgraph (1). Wrote Frances No 95 (8)
Breakfast at 8am. I have no job now. The Jerrys(?) are going back because our guns are out of action, and they were out of range at.1400hrs this afternoon. They are still there ———- we might be moving any time now and it will be back. The fourth will be going out to-day because they are going home on leave.
The boys have got very clicky since I have been away some of them will hardly speak at times but I am not going to let that worry me they don’t mean that much to me not THE ones any way.
To-day was very hot. The Quad have a few more holes in it now since I left.
Wrote Frances No 96 (8) Sent Rollte(?) Cards.
The meals are keeping up there good line and I hope they do so for a long time. We are doing nothing at all. I can only hear a few shots away in the distance but I can only just hear them.
Played “Slipery” this after-noon won L550 it came on to rain at 2.30pm and it was very hard for 15 min there was thunderstorm, lightning from then and it is still going now the time being 1815 and it looks as if we are going to get it to=night also. Played Slipery after tea also never lost and I never won. The rest of the boys were all drunk (the guns are out of action at present.)
Four years married. This will be a day Frances will never forget, ever because I done my best to make it so. To-day is fine so I will be able to carry my things out they got a bit wet yesterday when it rained.. I celerbrated our Annav. of our wedding by getting a little tight on vermouth . This is the only way in which I could do it by getting drunk. There was a 60 gal keg brought into the Baty and it was all free some of the boys got it from a brewry. We are going to move very soon the guns are locking in after tea.
I had a little to much vermouth last night because this morning I am very drozey. I will not have any more for a while now Nov 5 will be the next time, and I hope it will be at home.
We were told this morning that we will be moving at 1300hrs to-morrow. It looks like a few spots of rain this afternoon, time now 1800hrs. There was only a few spots of rain. We are going up to a place in the front line somewhere near Florence which is in the centeral sector.
Received 3 ———- and my anniversary cable
Moved this afternoon at 1330hrs we traveled some 45 miles through some very pretty country this northern Italyis mostly used for the growing of grapes and fruit, plumes, pears are mostly seen.
The road was only a secondary one and it was not tar-sealed. This made the trip a very dusty one and as usual the trip took us 4 1/2hrs to do it. There was a lot of stops all along the route.
We are now only a few miles north of a place called SIENA. We are only 20 miles from Florence. We are not in action but expect to be within a few days. We are under 3 hr notice.
Aircard (1) Frances Posted no 96 Wrote norm.
We are only resting to-day. We done a little work on the guns this morning but it was not very much. There are two chaps allowed to go into Siena , one lot went at 0930 hrs but the two other lots 1300 and 1500h (my lot) will not get now I don’t think because there might be a move anytime.
We can hear the guns in the distance and at night time we can see the flashes.
We were told we were going to move at 1715 and minutes later it was canceled because Jerery was shelling the place where we were going, very heavy. Went into Siena to-night and had a look around. It is a very good City (? ) Church it is half as big again as Auckland.
Airgraph (1) to Frances
I had my eye on a patch of onions so down I went this morning but I was laate, they were all taken except for a few small ones. I got them because there is tomatoes for lunch to-day.
At 1630hrs we were told that we were going to move to-night time unknown so far. We all pulled down our tents and got ready. Half the trip was done in daylight and the other half is dardness although we only had to go a few miles we took 6 hours to do it. We never stoped until 0110hrs and it was 0150hrs before we got into bed.
Airgraph (1) Frances
There was a heavy mist this morning but as I put my tent up last night I never got wet. It soon cleared when the sun got up a bit. We are a bit closer to the front now for we are on the same ground as some155mm guns. We are still out of action but expect to go up into a possition to-night. Received cable from Frances telling me she had received the buttons. It took 2 months 12 days to get home.
King George is coming up here tomorrow some of our boys are going to see him in the morning. I don’t worry if I am one or not.
Wrote Frances No 97 (9 pag)
Wraped up the photos of Siena I got the other day I will post them when I put some of my white linen thread around them. I never put the date inside.
Received from Frances letters No 162-163 also 2 from Gran. Gran said Laurise Smith’s husband has left her. Jerry started shelling a place somewhere over to our right, it is about ½ a mile away it is big stuff to.
This is the first “action” I have seen in exactly five months, it was a uncanny feeling at first but after the first two I was right again.
Received Aircard (1) Frances Airgraph (1)
Played “500” this morning and this afternoon we were on the move once again, this time we were going into action. We are going up some 12 milels where we are going to wait until darkness. Then we are going into our possitions which is somewhere in the Florence sector. We had our tea at 1900hrs. As the gun pit is going to be a 170degree one it looks as if we will be very lucky if we get to bed much before 3 or 4 in the morning.
Later : We went forward some 6000yds into our possition we are forcing a barrage at 0100hrs in the morning. There were 50 rounds in it and 17 other rounds for H.Battery .All this finished at 0245hrs. My first time in action for 5 months. I went last at Cassino 27th Feb.
Up this morning at 0700hrs because we had to fire 10 rounds gun fire.. I loaded our gun. This is the first time I have ever loaded a gun. Breakfast at 0800hrs. The atack was not a very great success and there was to be a very heavy day ahead of us. We fired up till 1700hrs, 300rds a gun but this was not to be the finish for we went on until 0300hrs the next morning and in the last 24 hours our NZ Arty has fired 55,000rounds, this means 763 per gun it is the hardest day I have had for a long time. We were using up the ammo that fast that the Ack Ack amm trucks had to help ours to cart the ammo to us. We were all very done when the time came to knock off. This was 0320. We had been almost 24 hours.
Wrote Frances No 98 (5pag)
I went to bed this morning at 0400hrs because after we finished firing at 0320hrs I had to do my pisqueet which was 85 min(?). I had opened the large tin of pineapple that Frances sent me last night and I only had eaten half of it. I now had the rest before going to bed. We were not called in to fire again until 0830hrs this morning and the time is now 10.00 and already we have fired 50 rounds. Rounds to-day 270. There are ten apple trees around about our guns and they very good. They are rearly all gone they are large to. Some nearly 4” across. My gun E.1. is out of action. I went on E.R. which is also out of action both gone to L.A.D. we have only 4 out of 8 left. Still firing like HELL. Will be all night. We ? were pushed out of the village at 2215 counter attacked straight away and retook the village.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
After retaking the village last night things came to a halt almost for at the pace of the last 40hrs neither side could have gone on any futher. The reason why Jerry is holding on so grimly to this sector is because if he moves from here he has to go back, he will also loose a lot of ground in other sectors. This village is the keypoint in their defense of Florence. No shots back (as yet) To day so far has been the quietest day we have had since we came here on Thursday evening.
Received cable from Frances thaning me for the parcel that I had posted up for her on July20th I senet the money her mother bought the flowers and present. We fired a barrage to night of 200 rounds start time was 2200hrs and it went on to 0285hrs then finish. My gun “E.I.” only came back from LAB at 2040hrs so did E2. We now have all our guns in action once again.
I was given a spell last night so I took all my clothes of and got in between the blankets for a change. There is once again a shortage of NZ Tobacco.Our first shot today was at 0730hrs.
After firing nerly all morning we were told we were going to move at 1700hr. The guns never went out of action until 1630hrs and we moved at 1715hrs although we were firing on 7 and 8 thousand yes. We moved 4 ½ miles by road this brougt us to within a range of 5000 yds or less. Charge (2) every shot.
In the last possition we had fired over 1000 rounds per gun. The weather is very hot and because of the hard work attached to firing so much and the blast we were not feeling the best this shooting was being done night and day. Dug the gun pit until 0600hrs.
WROTE MUM (8 pag)
A.Proban came into this camp this afternoon so I will now have some-body to go around with. We decided to go and play housey after tea and we won a house. It was worth L550 he gave me L100. I was very close myself more than once.
We then went for a walk around the block and back to bed.
Wrote Airghs (1) Wrote Frances no 86 (7pag)
Received a envelope from Adv Base Hosp. In it was my disco(?) and an airgraph from Frances.
I was transferred from C Company into B Company and I was given a job digging straight away but I never liked it so I went and wrote a airgraph instead.. Played Housey tonight but we never won anything..There were pictures on in the camp tonight but we never bothed to go to them. Andy and I went up to 2 NZEF. HQ and had a few tickets in the housey instead.
Received parcel from Frances Date 8.2.44
The Hon P.Fraser came to visit us at this con camp. He told us a few things.
As soon as we come upon a fixed line which was to hold us up for a while the furlough would be resumed in the form of replacements this concernes the 4th and 5th Reinf
New Zealand could only keep one Div going the High Command was deciding which one it was going to be. If it is the one for the Islands we would be going home from here and reform and if it was this one we will be home for the end (in Europe) We should soon know which one it is going to be very soon.
New Zealand is trying to get the airmail going again. From Celon to Fremantel. These are all his words as he said them.
On cookhouse duties in 3 days
The Allies entered Rome.
I was on mess fatigue yesterday , to-day and tomorrow also.
The Con Camp played the Pommey. ——unit at cricket we lost but only by 6 runs they made 257
Andy and I went into “Bari” tonight to see a Concert it was given by The 23d Concerto Sinfoniro(?) it was a Symphone Concert.
Received Parcel dated by Frances 20 Feb 1944
Wrote Frances No 87 7 pag. Airgraph
Still on Mess Fatigues but will finish up at 1800hrs to-night.
They asked me to play cricket for this camp on Wed. Played Housey to-night but never won anything. Went to pictures and seen Coney Island it was not bad.
By the Notice bourd this morning we read where there was 23 bags of letters ——-bags of parcels and some papers lost on there way to the ME from NZ. I never lost any letters because I received all ————–although no 122- 124 was posted on — — respectively don’t know about the parcels.
We were told that the second front has opened so the Jerry said over his raido. Our Officers told us that there were parashuts droping all over the French sector and that Le Havre is getting a terrific ponding but there is nothing over the radio from the BBC at 1800hrs. It will all be a flase alarm. I have not got a job to-day so far.
One of my parcels was posted on the 8.2.44 so I dont know what the talk is all about the mail and parcels being lost between the 3rd-12th Feb.
Second front has started landings on France and there were 4000 ships used besides 2000 small ones, 11,000 planes waiting.
Wrote Harry and Clarice
Airgraph Frances (1)
Played Cricket. The Con V Advance Base Hospital.team . They made 41 and another chap and I went in first and we beat them on our own we made 84 first wkt and he got. 48 and 51 not out.
Received 1 Airgh from Frances
“ “ Airgh “ Harry
I am on massarge from this morning
I was going on a trip to-day but it is off no trucks. There was pictures on at the camp to-night “open air” Had another M.I. and I am B.2 again for another week.
Not much doing to-day.
Played Housey tonight but never won anything
Andy and I went for a walk around the water-front after tea came back and went to bed.
Received 5 Parcels from Frances. 6 Chock No 25, No 27, No 28, No 24, No 29, No 26.
1 tin of choclate
I am on doing gardening again this time it is digging in between grape vines.
I got a pair of sand-shoes on loan from the Q Store to play cricket. I will have to take them back when I leave this camp
Played Bridge this afternoon
Went to the pictures in camp to-night but walked out. It was called “The Heavenly Body”
Wrote Airgph (1)
The water came on in the shower house at 1400hrs and I had a shower. The water was not much good for anything else but washing because it was full of “Red Lead”
Played bridge all after-noon.
There are two cakes of chocklate gone from one of the tins already. Went to the pictures to-night in the village.
In Middle East 12 months
Received two letters from Frances they were numbered 152 and 154. 152 was daated 8.4.44 and 154 9.4.44. I had already received 152 it was dated March.
Ray Mackinley sent a letter also and a small one inside from Bob Christenson. Received one from Mum too. Played the S.A. Arty at cricket they won by 150 runs. Howard Watt was in their team. I only made one was caught behind.
Played Bridge after the cricket match ended.
Working this morning digging the garden. Played bridge all after-noon. Went for a walk after tea.
This Army is getting worse now. They have put all sirvilians
laundaries out of bounds to us . we now have to do our own washing or put it in to the Q Store to the army contractors who must give the Col ———– a cut out of it.
They have also stoped that veno place at Pay Office. (we could go there) We have not seen beer since Feb.
Wrote Frances (Airgrph (1)
Got word at 1035hrs that Norm has been wounded and is now in 2 GH. Bari but it is not very bad. He got it in the back. This is the first smash he has ever had. He wants me to go in and see him, which I am going to do this after-noon.
Seen Norm he is alright but his would is a deep one it is in the left side. He is walking around.
There are quite a few other chaps out of our BATTERY in 3GH also no one was killed out of 18 wounded.
The wounded for the Reg in three days were 81. A very bad time. Jerry waited until the quads faded (?) away and then opened up on the quad.
Wrote Frances No 88(6)
We was to play cricket against a S.A.——-team but they never turned up so we did not play at all.
I played bridge all after-noon instead.
Went into S.Sespisto(?) before 6pm and had a few drinks.
Played cards after tea.
Helped a chap who is building a small shed on the top of the main building. The job lasted until lunch time. Went for a walk in the after noon
Had five drinks in a shop in S. Serfindo.(?) A walk and cards after tea. Received a Airgph from Mother 25.5.1944.
Heard C. Carew is going home so I wrote to him as I want to see him before he goes. I went to see if he will take that book home for me
Met GNR Prouse he is one of the chaps in our troup who was wounded he told me a lot more about things that happened up the line.
Went to the pictures to-night at 2030hrs it was “Yes PTE HARGREVE” It was a yanky army picture and it was just as we think it was.
Playing cricket against 2 NZEF at 13.30hrs this after noon
WROTE TO RAY MACKINLEY 7 pag
WROTE AIRGRAPH TO MOTHER
WROTE TO BOYD CHRISTIAN 3 pag
The cricket match was a win for us we made 192 they 34 I made 55.
Went to church parade this morning, it rained just as we were having our breakfast and as the floor of the mess room was being concreted the tables were outside and was there a scatter for the tents.
Played bridge all the rest of the morning.
Played cricket against 2 GH team in the after noon. We won by 70 odd runs. They made 140 and we got over 200. I made 2.
Played cricket after tea tonight and it was against the Blood Donors. We batted first making 43 and they went in and made 51 it was a very good game alround.
Played cards after the game until 2200hrs.
Went on leave to Bari with Larry Baird. We only walked around the town until lunch time and after lunch we went to a bar and had a few drinks after that we went to the hosp to see Norm but he was not there. He was out on the Plonk.
Came back to camp at 1800hrs and flayed bridge the rest of the evening.
Wrote Frances No 89 9pag.
Played cricket against NZ B.O.D. they made 24 and we got 201. I made 21. ——————. Roy Smith was playing in their team and he got his chin out with the ball it took two stitches to close it. He only made 6.
Open Air Pictures is in camp tonight. They were broken in the middle by rain. It never lasted for very long so the pictures continued.
Received Air (1) Frances.
Not very much doing this morning but this after noon I went for a trip which took me through MOLFETTA and BETANTO We arrived back at 1300hrs and after tea we had a game of Bridge which lasted until 2130hrs
Very dull today digging this morning in the grape vines and this after noon I told Ray Smith I would be down to see him but I could not go because I never got payed until 1455hrs. It was to late then.
Took my two grey shirts to the taliors to be fixed up will get them tomorrow.
Went for a walk came back to camp and played bridge.
I am playing cricket this afternoon against PAY OFFICE. The game starts at 1330hrs. They batted first and made 160 and we went into bat at 1645hrs and I went out second ball I got. The mat was covered with mud and I stoped when the Capt seen how wet it realy was he decided to pull out (after I went out) It is to be continued on Tuesday night.
Church parade at 0930hrs. Afterwards Bridge in the afternoon we played cricket against the R.E.team. we won by 1 innings and 80 runs. I was out LBW FOR 6. Bridge after tea.
Sent Frances photos of “Bari” Cartoon Arty Burrage., drawing of bench , photo of J Bower Martha(?). Played cricket Masharge v the Rest. They won by 60 runs we made 143 I got 52 retired.Went to the pictures in the village after tea.
Wrote Airgraph in club.
Received Air (2) Frances
Went into Bari on leave. I had told Norm Iwould meet him at the club at 2pm and we would get our photo taken which we did . they will be ready on Friday. They are larger than the ones I got taken last time and although it was taken at the same place they only cost 200 lire.
Received 2 letters from Frances also one from Gran. Franceses were 156-157.
Played cricket A v B.C company. They B & C won by 24 runs. I made 67 and C a B.Those last two days have been very hot nearly as hot as the days we used to get in Egypt only the reflection from the sand is not pleasant.
Wrote Airgraph Frances lettercard
Received one letter from Frances 155.
Nothing doing this morning.
This afternoon I played bridge and this evening the Con camp hockey team went to Bari to play the Indians at hockey. The game was at 3pm so I went in and seen them.
Jack Packhurse is here again. This time he is going to have his cartledge out .
Wrote Frances No 90 7 pag
These mornings are very dull. I was doing nothing this morning. This afternoon is pay day 1400hrs it is.
There are no showers on at present.
We are not allowed even to wash any of our own clothes. We have to take them to the Q Store on Mondays and Thursdays if we are running out on Mon – Wed or Thursday we have to take dirty clothes to Bari with us.
Started on a Mines Course this morning at 10.30hrs, this is going to take up the whole week. To-day it was nothing but lectures on all the different mines enemy, and our own. After tea I was going to play “Housey” but the chap who runs the hockey came arround to my tent and asked me if I would like to play hockey for the Depot team which was playing in Bari tomorrow they were playing 8 G.H. so instead of writing I went and had a knock round with the team, this was the first run I have had with a hockey stick since I was operated on for my vericuse veins in 1942.
On the mine course this morning at 0830hrs and we covered mines and also some of our own.Booby traps. I will be going into Bari at 1300hrs for the hockey.
1850hrs. The game is off the 8 G.H. crowd rang up just after lunch and said they would not be able to field a team so I will have to go on the mines again this afternoon.. Played Housey to night and I won my first house in my life it was worth 820L. Started to take our “Little Yellow Pills” for Malaria.
Still on the mines course and we had a small exam this morning. It consisted of four boxes each with two mines in them. We had to say what type of mines they were and then we had to say how to disarm them and make them safe. In the afternoon we had the mine detectors they were very interesting.
I wrote several more pages in my book and I now have 67 pages wrote in which are over 10,000words.
Starting to-night we have to use our Mossy nets from dusk until one hour before sunrise.
RECEIVED letters 135 to 138 also one from Gran and one from Mum. In 138 Frances told me she forgot to number them while she was on holiday so she started again about 135.
The last one was 138 post-dated 24.2.44 some of the boys have received mail 10-3-44 so there must be some more in the country. Parcels came in too there was about 100 of them but I never got one.
In one of Frances’s letters she told me not to send elastic and if I was going to send anything, to send buttons, a funny thing is that I sent 6 dozen buttons to her on the 16th April they were on there way three weeks when I got her letter.
Finished the mines course this morning we don’t know how we rearly got on all that happened was we answered 54 questions and the results were put in our pay books. “Done mines course A.B.” I got 5 wrong out of the 54
Played hockey at 1545hrs and we won 5 – 2. We played Camp hospital. I scored one goal and I trod in a hole and twisted my left knee which is my sore one it is starting to swell, it will be up tomorrow I think if so all the better as all the while it is like this I won’t be going up the line
WROTE FRANCES No 76 (8 pag)
No 77 (6 )
Another Camp parade this morning this lassted until 1000hrs. My knee is very sore this morning but I can walk a little. I went on the parade but it never loosened up any so I will be going to the Rap. At 12.30 to see what they have to say I might get into the camp hospital.
My knee is worse this afternoon.
Received four airgraphs.
WROTE FRANCES No 78 (7pag)
Wrote Norm and Tom.
Went to the “Rap” this morning at 0845hrs and the Doc said after looking once at my knee “there is only one place for you and that is the Camp Hospital where I_ went at 10.15hrs. They gave me towels etc and I had a bath in the real bath this was the first time I have sat in a bath since I left home.
They tried my knee up with the cotton-wool again.
How long I am going to be in here I could not say
The doc told me I might have the same trouble all my life.
Breakfast at 0780hrs made my bed and just played cards (500) for the rest of the morning. The food is much better in here because we are on the Hospital Ration again. 1 ½ instead of the field 1 ration. Everything is the same as the 3 GH
Received Parcel from Mum. I was worried over my gear for I did not take it into the G.M. myself. This meant a trip over to the tent where I was and I had left my face cloth over there to. They were all outside still. I have had this facecloth since Frances gave it to me when I went into the ChCh hospital with my veins. When I came back I was told to get into bed by the Doc.
Last night I never had much sleep because of the pain from my leg. They have put a pressure bandage on and they had a bit too tight causing the lower half to swell up pretty badly. I had it loosened off but when I was going into my bed the swelling had not gone down any. Wrote more into my book. I am now up to 109 pages it should be finished within a few days or so.
One year since I have seen my Loving Wife Frances (Trentham Station)
Finished my book Part 1 approx 12,300 words in it. This book has 115 pages in it and it covers the time from when I left Rangiora Camp until the day I sailed away from Egypy to go to Italy.
The heat to-day is great it is far the hottest day I have ever felt since I landed over here.
I have a very little change with my leg the calf is still swollen the same.
WROTE FRANCES No 79
Photos of caves No 81
Received 14 letters from Frances this morning. They were from 139 – 152 they were without a break too. I also received the photo from Frances And four letters from Gran. I took three hours in reading them all. Thhis made the total 19 letters altogether very good for to receive so much mail whhile lying in hospital. Today is another hot sort of a day.
There is some talks of fighting in Cassino again who is there I don’t know. The bandage was taken off this afternoon.
WROTE FRANCES No 80 (8)
No 82 (8)
The swelling has gone out of my foot now that the pressure bandage has been taken off.
Started to re-read my book putting in the “commars” etc
Read a book to-day 812 Pag it was called Tigerstalkers (?) it was a mistry story. Very hot to-day also every body is wearing shorts.
My knee is still very sore when I straighten it right out and if I kick any stones while going out-side it HURTS pretty bad. More talk about Cassino
A very bright morning the sun was up at 1800hrs. My knee and leg has lost most of the swelling now but the knee is still sore.
Mrs A.F.P. Chapman came in and gave us our Red Cross Cigs and writing paper.
This was a very quiet day all we done was read.
The sun was very hot to-day.
I have been in this hospital one week to=day.
WROTE FRANCES No 83 (5 pag)
On Active service 12 months
My knee is still sore on the same side this has been the case ever since I done it. I am still a bed patiense.
Drawing of the cabnit with the books wireless and portable gramphone on it.
Played pocker after tea won 40L
Was in bed at 2130hrs but could not go to sleep until 23.15hours or there-abouts.
WROTE FRANCES No 84 (4 pag)
AIRGPH 2 Also CABNIT
Showed the boys my drawing and they all thought it very good both as a drawing and as a piece of furniture I will send it home to Frances. In the next letter (crossed out)
RECEIVED 2 AIRGRAPHS FROM FRANCES DATES 22-25 April
The rest of the day was very quite.
I got for my cig ration to-day 50 cigs, 4 oz Capotan tobacco, two cakes of chock and 4 boxes of matches.
Cassino “ fell”. The eight “army” cut the No 6 highway at the back of cassino, thius forcing the jerrys to with-draw from the town.
Read another book to-day it was called “Something nasty in the Woodshed”
The news is very good over the road this morning the 8th Army is still going on as well as it has been for the last three or four days
Received a letter from Tom he asked me if he should send my gear down to me, he also told me that they were only having one driver per Quad and I won’t be getting back on the Quad.
What will happen to me now I don’t know.
This is my 13th day in this Adv Base Camp Hospital. I will be here for a few days more yet I think. Played Pontoon won 15/- played until 2130hrs.
The 8th and 5th are doing very well they have now broken and over run the “Gustave(?) Line”
Miss “Lowry” came in this morning and gave us our free sweets and writing paper.
The weather changed to-day and it has been raining on and off. It is not very cold though.
Played Pontoon again to-day and I won another 300L up till 1700hrs
Put a bridge head through the Hills (?)-Line and now they are 20ms from the Anzio line.
Played Pontoon all day. Not much change in the Cassino Front
The Hon Peter Frazer was supposed to come to this camp to-day it must have been right because there was a parade all jacked up. But he never came why well are had our __________
Done drawing of kitchen
Played Pontoon (lost) 15/- (15 shillings)
Rained early this morning but it was fine when we got breakfast “0700hrs (?)
Started drawing of a bench for the workshop or it can be used in any kitchen (built in or seprate)
Had a very heavy storm. Lightning and thunder.
No gambling to-day
Ray Dellow has got a homer he is still very weak, the piece of shrap went into his lung. Burt Dodds came over to the hospital this afternoon and just as he was leaving I seen him he told me about Ray Dellow.
Up today and in the afternoon I went for a walk over to “A” depot I got a shock because I seen Bob Witter there he came out again one month after ge got buried in the house. This time it was pnmonia. John Collins is in the Depot also. Both Bert Dodds and Bob Whitter are going back uup to the Reg tomorrow
Played Housey to-night and I sweated on no 90 for five calls but I did not win the house was worth 2 pound 10 shillings (Lire 3000) Played Bridge after I came back 1930hrs from Housey.
WROTE FRANCES NO 85 (5 PAG)
SENT 2 NZEF TIMES
Sun out but it is a very cold wind blowing
Played Bridge after tea
My knee is still sore, there is a very weak spot on the outside of the L knee just by the knee cap
Wind still blowing but it is not as cold as it was yesterday. The sun is up too and it might be a very hot day.
Received Airgraph from Frances. She had received my letter No 60 she wrote the airgraph on the 4 May 44. Frances that letters no 46 , 47 are missing as well as 50 – 58
I received a letter from the NZ Post Office concerning the parcel it was the complaint from the NZ end so now we have tried both ends without any luck
WROTE AIRGPH 1
Wrote the answer to the letter that I received yesterday regarding my parcel of 4th July 43 so now if nothing happens now that this complaint has come from the NZ end there will be no use worring any further.
A very dull sort of a day I just layed on my bed most of the time
Played Bridge in the afternoon and evening.
There were pictures at the camp tonight but I was very ill so I could not go.
I had that same pain in my side again the one I had when I was in Mardi
I here was a airraid on Taranto again I could here the bombs bursting this is the third they have since I came out to Adv Base.
I still have a slight pain in my side but other-wise I am feeling alright. To day is very hot and in this hut the heat is very bad. I might be going out in the morning. To Resp— depot.
Yes, I am going out in the morning alright but it is not to “A Depot” it is to Con Camp. I am very pleased about this for it is a better place than this only for one thing and that is the water.
WROTE AIRGRAPH (1)
Wrote to Norm
Wrote to Tom
Left Adv Base Hosp at 0845hrs went straight to Bari where we stayed for one hour having morning tea at the club.
I arrived out at Con at 1141hrs and was put into “C” Company. Had a M.E. and the doc told me I would have to look after my self. I am not allowed to play cricket until I see him again. The water here is very scarse. Seen a picture tonight “Forever and a day” good I thought.
Passed by the Dental (FIT)
Wrote Frances No 66 (13Pag)
Today is very cold just like the day we entered this camp the wind is coming off the sea again. We had egg and bacon for breakfast this morning and it was not bad either. We done 1 1/2hours digging this morning so we never done any exersizes this afternoon. Went to the pictures and seen “the Life of Vernon and Irene Castle” it was not a bad sort of picture. At 0200hrs we put our watches forward one hour.
Church parade at 0900hrs thhis lasted until 1000hrs. Just loafed around until lunch time and in the afternoon “Watty” and I went to the airdrome for a walk we seen and “touched” Spitfires and Hurricanes. There are several things on the real planes that I have not got on my models the latest ones have two large raidors one each side now and they also have a air intake on the body just below the prop. To day has been warm and after tea we went for a walk up to San Serprio
wrote airgraph (1)
Got up when the bugle went for breakfast 0730hrs. Parade as usual at 0830hrs then on with the digging until 1110hrs when I was graded again , now I am B 2 so I will be leaving B company and going to A company tomorrow sometime. We are now on duty until 1500hrs each day so we will not be able to go for our walks in the afternoon.
wrote Frances No 67 (8 pages)
Received 2 Airgraphs from Frances. Heard that Jeff Rashlio (?) has been killed. It is right because there were three hit by a 88 shell. Burt Dodds was hit in the ankle and Ray Dellow in the sholder. Feff got it in the back. That makes our Casa list to date KILLED 9 WOUNDED 14.
Two houses with chaps buried in so far two of HQ troop killed in the one where we used to get our meals from the cooks.
Went on leave to Bari. We have to hitch-hike in but we get a ride home in the leave truck. We (Watty, Bill Martin and I)arrived in the town at 1110hrs and we put our overcoats in the cloke room, we then went on our way around the town. There are a few shops open but not very much in them, plenty of buttons though I had forgotten what color frances dress was so I could not buy any. There are one or two houses of ill fame in the town also, had a look inside one and there were about 50 Itie soldiers waiting there turn. Got my photo taken. They will be ready on Sat they cost me L 200 for 1/2day.
Worked nearly all day in the garden. In the morning we dug under some orange and lemon trees. They are going to plant lettuces in it. Worked up to 1530hrs this afternoon planting onions silverbeet and the lettuces. There were 1000 of each and it took 12 of us three hours to plant them. At night we went to the village to see the pictures but there was none on why I don’t know so we had a walk round and then came home. A very dull day indeed.
Wrote Frances No 68 (12 pages)
To-day is a holiday. There was a parade at 0800hrs and after the roll call we were fallen out. I wrote the above letter before lunch time. In the afternoon Watty Bill and I went to the village and they got a tandam and I got a ordanory bike. We then went up the road to the “upper” village we had a ride around and then they went to find a place to get a drink. They found one and the time was 1400hrs . at 1615 I asked them if they were coming home and they said no so I left them and came home by my self. No pictures on to night either. The boys came in at 2115hrs and woke me up they were very worst for wear they had fallen off their bike 3 times on there way back.
Eggs for breakfast this makes four times this week very good a what. Working on making a brick wall this morning we never done very much for no one seems to be very interessted in us. We got our beer ration on Thursday and I still have half of my bottle left yet. Received the parcel of chock waffers and hum from Hilda. Received the recipt from the pay office for the two pounds I sent home. Seen picture called No No Nannette. There was a shaffly (?) plane over at 0145hrs and up went a barrage.
Wrote Frances No 69 7 pages
Church parade, This had just finished when it started to rain it kept on right on through the day on and off. The ground is in a terrible staate again but we are used to this mud now it continued on all through the night. Received two airgraphs from Frances.
wrote Air (1)
It is raining again to-day and everyone is wearing his gascape(?) There are no parades only a talk by the cpt of our Com. It was only a talk about of the war. There was not much doing because of the rain so we decided to play pontoon we played all afternoon and I came out winning one pound. After tea we went for a walk just the three of us.
wrote Airgraph (1)
Today is fine so we dug the garden again. The onions, lettuce and silver-beet as usual we worked after morning tea and at the 1.30 parade I told them my knee was getting worse. They are now putting hot packs on it and they are giving it massage for a few days to see how it gets on. I played cricket in the afternoon (only batted) I got top score which was 26 the game was between North and South Island the North won by 60 runs. After tea I went into town and seen the play called PYGMALION by GB Shaw. It was not bad
I am having hot packs on my knee twice a day now to take the swelling down they are helping it slightly. Received two parcels from frances, one was soap etc and the other was a cake which I wont open just yet. Bought Frances some buttons 73 altogether, they cost me 663 Lire which is one pound 18 and ½ pence. They were large 6d each buckle 40 lire and the small ones were 8.5lire each.
wrote Frances No 70 (8pag)
First four years of war casualties in the New Zealand Forces. Killed 2111 , Wounded 1337, P.O.W 7,305, Missing 801. These figures were given in the Union Jack. They were a mmistake for as anyone can see the killed and wounded are in the wrong places for one thing.We were visited by Tiney Fryburg(?) this morning. Played pontoon for 1 1/2hrs this afternoon. Lost 15/- Went to the pictures in the village tonight it was a Itie one, we could not understand any of the talk and we could only get a guess of what the story was. It passed away the evening which was all we went in for
Received a Patriotic Parcel to-day. Mine came from Moseborn Southland Ladies Patriotic Commettie. It was dated July 13th 1943. There were one tin of apricots, cream biscuites, tooth paste, gum, meat paste, oysters, soap, 2 cakes. I never got any pay to-day as I still have a few Lire. I am going into Bari on leave to-morrow to get our photos and a few more buttons some green and pink ones small this time for I have already got some large ones. The CmBDE is going to move from the Cassino front and they are going to “side step” over to the Central Sector they will be there when I get back there I think.
Went into Bari on leave for the second time. Got the photos and some more buttons this time they were some small green and pink ones. The day has been very hot. I went to 3GH and Ray Dellow is not there yet he is still to ill to move from 2 HG yet he was hit on the sholder very bad. Bart Dodds was up and able to walk about.
Sent Frances a parcel. Buttons, broach, necklet, two photos, two buckles put on the price as 10/- but really it cost me two pounds. Excatly there were 90 buttons altogether in it. Received a letter 5 pages from Frances there was no number on it and it was post-dated 17.2.44. Wrote airgraphs to Gran, Frances and Clarice. Received letter from Clarice. Went and seen the picture “Pride and Preganise” I had seen it once before at home
wrote Frances No 71 Sent the other three photos 3 pag
I was graded A at 0940 this morning so I won’t be in this camp very much longer. Wrote a note to Norm telling him I would be seeing him soon. Played cricket North V South picked from our company only 10 in the side. Won this time by 122 as against 47 . Watty made 52 and I a duck. I took three wkts for as many runs. Never went out of the camp to-night same picture still on. Received money from Frances it was four pound sixteen shillings she must have sent six pounds.
Went and seen the OC and he said he thinks I will be alright so I will most likely be going out to-morrow sometime. Played cricket North V South again we won again I got top score again 36(?). Never went out of camp to-night either because the Movement orders came out at 1600hrs and my name was on it so I will be going out to morrow morning at 0850hrs. I had to pack my gear ready for the early move.
wrote Frances No 72 8 pag
Moved from Com Camp at 0900hrs and went to NZ advance Base Italy which is between Bari and Taranto. We came 30 miles south of Bari and we aare 80 miles from Taranto. The main towns we passed through were Casamasa, masa and JOYEA. This camp is a fair size and everyone seems to be here. There are APR’s and graded men also. There is a canteen here and only cigs are rationed of course choclate is to it always have been. Tea on in the YM every night but nothing to eat. The Lowry Hut is a fair sort of a show , it is every bit as good as the one in Mardi. We can buy wine here to it is anything from 60 to 80L per bottle. They say it is not bad either.
The days are very hot now and a lot of chaps have been given shorts etc. I went up for my MI this morning and the doc just said see how I get on for a while in “depot” which is on the other side of the camp they are all in there lots Arty etc. The meals have droped a bit for where in the hospitals and Con Camp we were on 1 ½ rations we are back to one which is our usual front line ration. This is a day a lot of chaps will remember for to day the 11th REINFORSEMENTS arrived in Advance Base from Egypt.
I was shifted from Recption depot over to A Depot which is the Arty Depot. This is a step nearer to the front line. There are quite a few shaps who I know in here they are from our REG. There are also a few chaps who came over with the 11th. Yesterday who I know. The first one I seen was George Simmions he came over with me and the other was Charlie Spinks (?) he came with me also they have been doing _gardens and Charlie has been cooking. Wrote airgraph to Mother. Started letter No 73 to Frances. Rained very hard at 1500hrs and it kept on and off all night it is very cold again.
wrote Frances No 73 6 pages
Had a depot parade this morning then it was interior econimony(?) that meant the rest of the day off. To-day has been very cold but to get out of this place for a few hours I am going to an Opera to-night. The trucks are leaving at 1618hrs and the opera starts at 1800hrs the name of it was LA BOHEME. It was not bad for a change there was very good singing in it all the actors were Italian and the words were in Italion. It only cost us 25L each it was very cheap for this only 1/- ½ We arrived back at camp at 2215hrs it was still fairly cold the play was in the Garrison Theatre Bari.
Wrote Frances No 74 7 pages
This morning there was a church parade which was voulentry it is still a bit cold but the sun is shining. There was tea on at the YM from 2pm to 4pm this afternoon. I went over for it pasted away half and hour, away I say because that is the hardest thing to try and do in this camp and that is to try and pass away the time. Received 6 Airgraphs from Frances dated on them were 27th 29th 30th March and one was 2.4.44. Also a Cable dated CHCH 14.4.44 Cold tonight so to bed I went at 2000hrs.
On Guard to-day from 0700 to 0600hrs tomorrow morning. I put my name down for leave tomorrow we aare going on a sight seeing tour to some caves and some old villagges. It will be a break from this camp there is nothing at all to do here. I started writing letter No 74. I will finish it to-day sometime. If I can get out of Guard for 1 1/ 2 hrs after tea I will be playing hockey tonight at 1830hrs. Did not play hockey because the guard was put forward one hour making it 1900hrs. Wrote to Gran and Harry. Shift on Guard 1930hrs till 2210hrs.
There is a camp parade this morning but we don’t have to go in it. The Guard is of duty until 0900hrs. I missed the game trip today if the boys say it is any good I will go on Thursday if it is no good I will go to Bari instead and go into the hospital. It is a bit warmer to day for the wind we have been having the last few days has died down. Went for a trip this afternoon to a place called NORI which is inland. It is a very dull sort of a place but very clean up against the rest of the villages I had seen. To night there was a concert on here in camp it was given by a gang known as the Mud Larks.
wrote Frances No 75 (9 pages)
It rained last night but it had stoped by the time we got up this morning but it is very cold. We had a parade at 8.30 this morning but were dismissed and there is a pay parade at 1100hrs.. It rained all afternoon. We had a very good tea tonight. Pork (roast) mashed potatoes, cauliflower and apple sauce. For afters we had raisen squares with milk. If the weather is not better in the morning the same trip will be off.
27 Thursday The weather was alright this morning so away we goes to the caves. We went through several villages but most of them were small. We went through NOCI again and then the caves. These were not bad but they can’t be a patch on our own ones at home for the stalignites were only about two or three feet in length but just the same they were very good. They were only designed in 1938 there are electric lights and a good parth made right through. Received a letter from Burt Dodds. It rained once or twice during the day but it was nothing hard.
I bought a book yesterday so I will be able to write my story down from Rangiora camp to the time I left Egypt to go to Italy. There are 120 pages in this book. I will be able to fill it up I think if I do there will be over 18.000 wowrds in it. This should make very interesting reading. I started the book this after noon and is a good thing to have in this camp because it is passing my time away in grand style. It is very cold to-day and it has been the same for nearly a week now.
Received a letter from Burt Dodds he is now in Con Camp. Ray Dellow is still in 2 GH. Watty came out of Con Camp yesterdy and he said he is coming over to the depot tomorrow morning. I played Housey tonight but never won anything. I spent about 60 L . A chap who was in Con Camp with me won three and a half houses he won altogether 1900L in all them. I went to bed early because it was to cold to stay up any longer. Wrote more in my book.
Woke up this morning only to hear rain falling. Breakfast to-day is at 0730hrs so every one was in bed right up till 0725hrs and just as we left our tent the rain stoped for long enough to allow us to get over and into the mess hut without getting wet. No parades to-day so I was able to write my book up to page 50 which is not very far from half way. It has not rained this afternoon but it is sure cold, the wind is strong to, we are tighting up the ropes quite often during the day.
wrote frances no 56 – 2 airgraphs.
Wrote Norm. I had a bad night. I never slept very much my knee was throbbing like hell and when I looked at things this morning my foot was swollen also so things are not going so well.. The rain is very thick and we are having hail,ligtning and thunder also. But it is alright lying in bed listening to it all. There are five 6th field chaps in this ward where I am. I am the only one of the five who has not a direct wound . There are three very bad cases in here. Chaps who are hit in the chest.
2 Thursday. When I woke this morning I got a wonderful surprise. I was sound asleep and I was woke by someone pushing at my shoulder. I opened my eyes and looked up and I though I must have been in Heaven because looking down at me was a face of a angle. I looked away and then back again and I could see it was a nurse. It was wonderful in this way. After waking up for so long and just seeing mud or different other things which are connected with this dreary war I thought it great to see for the first time something that was very good.
To-day as far as I can see through the window. The sun’s rays is streaming through the window. I am still at 2.G.H. but I will be going to Bari soon. Left 2.G.H. to-day there are five going from our ward (?) we were told to be ready by 1.30pm and we were not moved until 1615hrs. We were taken to the train in Ambulance and put into it still in the stretches we got our tea at 1800hrs which was bread and salmon with tea. Our time for moving is 7 o.clock but we never moved until 7.20am(?) We did not very far before we stoped. ENGLISH N SISTER (?)
Had my first real eggs since I left home. We were starting and stopping all night. We got cracking again at 0715hrs. and passed right to Baletta where we were taken off . From there we went into Arbul to Aari after traveling two hours though. The time was 1715hrs when I got into bed and the time was 1425hrs when we stopped at BALETTA. Our journey had taken 19 hrs and we were all very tired after it. The first part of our trip was taken up with passing through fields of wheat and the second half we passed through nothing but vinerys hundreds of acres of them so in season there will be plenty of grapes when they are ripe.
Woke up at 0600hrs. Temp taken washed at 0700hrs and breakfast at 0730hrs. Still raing outside and it must be very cold judging by the drought that came through the window when it blew open (Ambulance) ? I am by my-self now for the three other chaps who were in this cubicial with me went to con camp this afternoon. I can see some of the city from my window but it is a very dreary outlook all told. This has been a very quite day as it is Sunday. I am very lonely as I am by my-self for the first time in many months. Makes me sort of Homesick. Lent Bob Webb 300L 15/-
Wrote Airgraph (1) Sent No 57 10 pag. Wrote Harry
Two eggs for breakfast. To day is fine with the sun shining great (outside). I cannot help thinking of the English sister she was with us on the train. She had been to the P and Somme in the last war and in this one FRANCE with the B?F Dunkirk, Egypt Sicily and now Italy. She must be about 55 years old and on her breast are her medals. I think I am going down to ward 11 tomorrow don’t know for sure will be told all about it in the morning I suppose. 1725 and no tea yet. pretty late tonight usual time 1630hrs. The house in which the drivers are was hit direct killing 3 persons and put the other five in hospital.
Wrote Air (1)
Was shifted this morning from ward 7 to ward 11. I don’t think the other one will be as good as this one is. A reminder to write on the back of Franceses photos 2 & 3 GH. . I had a great view of some bombers this morning there were hundreds of them. In one lot there were 100 “flying forts” and by the looks of them they were on there way to Cassino I hope so anyway. There were almost as many liberators up at once. Will here about it soon no doubt.
wrote frances no 58 10 pgs. 1 Air.
At 0030hrs this morning we were woke up by the noise of guns. There must have been a Jerry shuffty(?) plane over for there was a bit of firing from 3 – 7. I hope there is not going to be another air-raid like the last one they had here.Received letters 115-117 also 123. I think ** is now completed. Received one airgraph and two letters from Gran. Had my essices this afternoon down in the massage rooms. In 117 there was the photo of Frances taken at ____________
wrote Frances no 59 9 pag. Air (1)
Rained all last night and it was very cold. I shivered nearly all night. I had a very unbroken sleep and was very tired even when I woke up this morning.. Never seen any Bombers going over to day because visabilly was very poor. We got talking before tea and a bit after tea and it took me four hours in which to write three quarters of a page. So I put it away to be finished tomorrow. Got another blanket to night so I should be warm to night.
Fish for breakfast this morning and I walked all by myself to the “ lav” 10 yds. To day is very sunny. The rays are streaming in through the windows. I hope it keeps up for a few weeks. Went down to massage on crutches and my leg is getting its strength back real good. I should be up very soon. I have only see the Doc twice since I came in here.
Wrote Airgraph (1)
Doc seen me this morning and said I could get up which I did and I have been up all day. My first surprise came when I met G Wells and he told me that the house in which half our Quad drivers were living was hit the other day and there are five of the chaps in hospital Bob Whitter(?) K Cameron some are hit bad I think the house fell in on top of them. I am going to find out more this afternoon. It was the house that come down alright. The five of them are all in 2 GH. I went and seen G Buick, J patience and P Grey. Received 4 pairs of sox from Frances. Posted 5th Dec.
wrote Airgraph (1)
Eggs for breakfast this morning two of them fried with toast and bread and butter. Wrote my trip record up todate was two weeks behind with it. Was given a free cake of Chocolate by the Red Cross this morning. My leg is aching this morning it is coming on very slowly. I am still going to massage every day. Started to rain again at 1215hrs. I went around and seen some of our boys after tea. It rained very hard all night and it blew very hard, there were doors and windows blowing open all through the night.
Wrote Frances no 60 (9pag)
Received one parcel it was the one with 2oz tobacco and a tin and several loose cakes of choch in it. It has been raining half the day but it stoped at 1400hrs and the sun came out and the sky cleared up and everything points towards a very good day tomorrow I hope so anyway. My leg is aching a bit now after my trip down to the massage dept this afternoon. Well the days are drawing out now for it is 1830hrs and it is not propaly dark yet
I have checked the words of our letters on the pages of Frances letters there are 172 words and on my YM paper I get 170 per page call it evens. I now know the extent of the damage done by that shell which hit the house half our drivers were staying in. Bill Pearson was killed outright by a heavy wooden beam which crushed his head. John Collins is now in 3(?) GH with me fractured ankle. Bob Witter is alright and is back at the front. Bob Gibbs, Kieth Cammeron and Bunny Boughers(?) will be going back to the line in a very short time probely they are there by now even. Writing paper issue.
Started letter no 61.
The accident in which the boys got hit happened on Mon 6th at 1900hrs. Got Cig issue 50 Golden Cloud (?). News of an big attack on Cassino came over the raido not very much so far only that 1100 tons of bombs were droped on the town followered by a artly Barrage of several hundred guns. I am now going to massage at 1330hrs instead of 1515hrs this will be my third day at this time. My time for massage is changed again. I now have to go at 0900hrs starting off at tomorrow.
wrote Air (1)
I was told this morning that I would be going to con(?) camp soon might be tomorrow. The attack on Cassino is going ahead very slow but so far news is very weak as yet hope to hear more and better news tonight or early tomorrow morning. Today was very fine although there was a cold wind blowing. Eggs and bacon for breakfast. Had a lovely hot shower at 1915hrs and then to bed.
Finished letter No 61 (5pag)
Fish for breakfast. This morning is lovely the sun is shining great and there is not a cloud in the sky. Four of my room mates are going down for an operation this morning three with knees and the forth has a knee but he also has five other holes in him besides he is like a sive, they are still open. They leave them awhile so the muck comes out and they sort of fill out and then they stich them up. Sargent Delaney was told he was going out tomorrow. I thought I was going to but I missed. Was entertained by two Ensa girls who sand and played the paino in a room.
Wrote Air (1)
My first meal in the mess hall. We get a lot more to eat in there than the chaps get who are in bed. Had egg and bacon pie for lunch to-day. News still very vage about Cassino but I think it will fall very soon. Received three airgraphs from Frances one missing. Went and said goodbye to Gordon Buick. He is going home on the boat. It is the Moratatna(?) the chaps are still in the ward but will be going out anytime now.
wrote Frances No 62 (9pag) Air (1)
Received the missing airgraph it was page 1 of the second set the ones I received were two pages each and yesterday I got 1 – 2 of one and page 2 of another. Received a free cake of chochlate to-day. Sent Frances 2 Lira (?) one Italian and the other AMC. Went and seen Gordon Buick and once again I said good by to him. Did not go to bed until 2015hrs.
wrote Airgraph (1)
Up 0700hrs and got the four bed _________ washed before breakfast. Went before the Doc and I told him about my knee being sore again. It is very sore on the joint on the inside and it is burning now it started feeling like this yesterday morning. He said to carry on with the treatment a little while longer so now I don’t know what is going to happen to me. The chaps who are going home on the hospital ship left this afternoon at 1625hrs.
Change in the weather this morning at 1115hrs it hailed a little but not for very long. The sky is very overcaste and it looks as if it might be worse later on during the day. Received five letters from Frances they were No 122, 124 twice one of thesemust be 125 and 127-8. 126 is still to come yet. Was on supper to night. The letters from No 121 are all numbered wrong the dates. The correct dates numbers etc are No Date Wrote No.on it Pag.
121 1.1.44 121 7
122 1.1.44 122 10
123 2.1.44 122 7
124 6.1.44 123 5
125 9.1.44 124 10
126 13.1.44 124 8
127 18.6.44 127 7
128 20.1.44 128 8
wrote Frances No 63 (9pag)
Weather changed and we had rain at 1000hrs and it has been overcast all day and it is very cold. We had a Slave (?)Maj around to see us to day , he is a Doc. We got two more chaps in our room to-day one is from the 22nd A____________and one is from the 24 shot through the hand. There is a concert on tonight some air force show. The concert never finished until 9.30pm and we never got into bed until 10pm.
Wrote Frances Air (1) Wrote Ray
Received airgraph (1) page 2 so page 1 is to come yet. Rained a little to-day. Got two new chaps in our room to-day so we are now full up in our room (seven beds) Had the experence of seeing it rain mud and soot all this came from the eruption of Mt Vesuvisio which must be 150 miles away. Everything was just covered with soot. The sky was black and although it was only 1100hrs it was very dark and it looked as if it was about 1880hrs.
Wrote Frances No. 64(3 pag) Airgraph (1)
This morning when we looked outside all we could see were tents and cars outside and they were all black covered with this soot. The sky was black for awhile this morning for the smoke was still in the sky. Went to the pictures this afternoon the name of it was “She shall have music” I have seen it before but it was good to watch for the second time just the same. Never got up until 0745hrs this morning.
Got our beer Ration to-day ½ bottle per man 30 lire per. Received the other Airgraph Page (1) 6.3.44. Went and seen a _____________he came in two days ago he is ______________in one leg (L) from the knee down. Received Grans tobacco parcel.
wrote Frances Aigph (3)
Received two airgraphs from Frances. Was told I was going to Con Camp tomorrow so my holiday is now over. The boys are sorry to see me go so they said. I used to get them there water for their wash every morning and used to help them in any way I could after I got up and would walk around.
Went to the Ward Masters office at 0830hrs this morning and from there I went to the Pack and Clothing stores. The first things I got was my own gear and the next was all the things I never had bar a mug they never had any. We left the Hospital at 1480 hrs and arrived at the new Con Camp which is only 10 miles south of Bari and is on the coast in fact where we are is only about 500yds from the beach and the surf on this Adrito Coast is very rough. First thing done after here was to get our names etc taken then M1 then we got pallises and an extra blanket then by this time it was tea time 1700hrs. There is a strong wind coming off the sea and it is very cold.
Up at 0700hrs and breakfast was at 0730hrs. This cosisted of sausages and porridge it was not bad. Then at 0830hrs we had our first parade. At 0900hrs we were examined by the denstio(?) . I was fit so have nothing to worry about. At 1030hrs we had another parade and after this we were finished for the day until 0830hrs tomorrow morning. At 0915hrs this morning it started to snow but it never lasted for any more than five min but it is very cold to-day and it looks as if we might get some more snow yet.
To day is a much better day the sun is real good and I have never felt a hotter day since I have been in this country. WATT WG and I went for a walk into a village which is between our camp and Bari it is not a bad sort of a place there is no shops open but there is a bit of life around the streets. There is a good picture show there and tonight we are going to see “Sally” I had seen this picture before at home but it was pretty good just the same.
Wrote Frances Air (1) Mother Air (1)
Today is another good day so it looks as if the weather has turned for the good at last. We never went anywhere this afternoon we wrote instead. The mess queue’s in this camp are very long ones for there are only two mess huts and the chaps in camp have to go to either on of them and as there are about 300chaps in this camp that makes 150 per queue. We have to line up 15 min before meal times so as to get a seat in the hut they are the long ones made of iron.
wrote Frances No 65 (8 pag)
Dads Birthday 50 I think
Started on treatment to-day it consists of one hours digging in the morning and for half a hour in the afternoon we do exersizes in the gym. A wee bit colder to day so we stayed in camp and wrote letters again this afternoon. We went up town after tea and meet a religious possession coming down the main street all the girls of the town were walking down on either side in single file after this we went to the picture show but instead of seeing pictures we seen a “Itie” concert it was very good to. The singing was all in Itie.
Wrote Frances no 50 13pgs
To-day is very misty it is thick enough to leave our clothes damp if we put them down anywhere.
We went on a 1 hours route march across country this morning. Soldered the new bottom on the
condenser of our Quad we made a good job too, it is now very cold and I am going to bed early
to get warm. We got wind to-day that we are moving on Thurs 3rd but don’t know where to. I
suppose it is closer to the front line in case there is a break-through if so we will be in
2 Wednesday Wrote Airgraph
Had a route march of one hour this morning all across country. it was a very nice walk though.
Came back and did not do very much before lunch time. At 1325 we had a talk by a field sersecurity
chap a very interesting talk it was to. I had a bath after this and washed my hair. It is a bit
warmer to-day in fact the sun was real good. Received an Airgraph from frances dated 13th Jan
1944 she never mentioned the parcel at all.
This is the day we were told we were moving but as it is now 1515hrs I don’t think there will be
any more today. The ** party went out this morning and have not returned yet. We had ______
visit us today he just looked around 30th Baty lines, guns Quads etc he was dressed in Battle
Dress and wearing a Culengary (c cap) he never came very near our YM so I never seen him very
close he did not stay very long either. It is a bit cold to-day. Had route march this morning
No more to-day so a warm bed to-night.
Parade this morning at 0910hrs were told we were moving and that after 1100hrs we had to be ready
to move within a quater of an hours notice. It has been raining on and off all day hard too the
ground is muddy and it is very cold. our tents are still up and as the time is 1455hrs and we are
still here we might not move to-day even. We can go to one of two places which one it is going
to be we don’t know. Norm and I on picquet from 0100 hrs to 0800hrs.
In Action 19 days rest
Moved this morning at 1024hrs we are going 82(?)mls to take up positions which the yanks have
shifted out off. We stoped at 1320hrs after traveling 25miles, we are in a very muddy spot.
I1 got their gun in alright but as we were the only quad with chains on we had the job of
putting the other three in. The other Quads could not get their chains on. We are now living in
dug-outs which were made by the yanks. they are very good too. We had to take the ammo out of all
our Quads and spare limbers because the Amm trucks got lost. We also had to pull a truck out after
thhis, the time being 2000hrs we got to bed at 2100hrs.
We were shelled a little last night and we could not go to sleep not used to the shells bursting and
the guns firing, we did eventuarly but had a very broken sleep. We were up at 0730hrs never went
to breakfast cooked our own. Jerry is very active with his planes over this front and he also
seems to have plenty of guns. We have to walk 300yds to mess, we have it down at the guns. We
have had one killed and one wounded so far killed – a chap called Garret (?) wouned Gordon Buick
he came over with me. A ffew shells over to night but no damage done. Received 3 letters from
Frances No’s 112. 114. Also one from Gran
Very heavy frost this morning making it very cold. Bombers were very active all day. Started to
write frances no 51. Went to tea at 1630hrs and we got shelled while we were eating it and about
five minutes later over came four Hetty hawks and dropped a few bombs. no kiwis were hurt but one
of the bombs droped on a yanky cook house killing 10 and wounding 15 they took a very grim view of
it all. Our guns fired about 70 rounds last night. One or two shells came over but nothing much.
there is supposed to be a atack going on either to-night or in the morning some time.
8 Tuesday – finished No 51 Frances (9 pages)
Another very cold morning, a very heavy frost, had a fire going right up to lunchtime. Went down
to the cooks and got 4 rations of bread came back and had soup and toast. There is a terriable
amount of shelling going on from both sides. Received Cable from frances. Another quite night but
it rained very hard the wind blew it in through ourlittle door way and the bottom of my bed got
quite wet, our guns have to fire harrasing fire all night.
Wrote airgraph Frances
It was still raining when we woke this morning and it is very cold but the sun tryed to shine
about 1115hrs but there were to many clouds. Aircraft very active “Dive Bombers” Mustangs they are
We are in a large valley not far from Mt Cairo this mountain must be a fair height because it is
covered half way down with snow while all the other hills around are almost bare except for a
little snow in gulleys. We were shelled a little last night but I was sleeping so soundly that I
never heard any of it.
wrote Frances no 52 (9 pages)
Another heavy frost this morning but the sun is shining now and the sky is very clear. There were
two jerry planes over this morning at 0745 hrs they did not stay long for the sky was full of flack.
There is a lot of AckAck guns around this place which is a good thing. We drivers were making a
road this morning at 1145hrs and jerry started to shell the place no one was hurt but Tom Callisan(?)
got his shoulder tab on his battle dress nicked. One of the shells landed in amongst the yanks
and wounded one chap. The huns were firing very heavy last night. There must be something on.
Rained all last night and it is still raining this morning. The hills at the back of us are
covered with snow, not so good for they are only 1/2 mile away we might get some down in this
valley even yet. Jerery must have come down last night for we were firing at a very short range
in fact our shells were landing just at the edge of our valley about three miles away. The guns
everyone of them have been firing non stop all morning so something must be doing one way or the
other. The guns got shelled tonight no one was hurt but Clary Carew and another chap got there slittys
blown up by a shell. They had left them only 3 min before
Received 4 letters from frances No 108 -111 also one from Gran. No 109 had the photo of frances
and Joan etc in. Very heavy frost again this morning.This has been very bad for us we have been shelled
nearly all day spent a lot of time in our “fire hole” there were shells falling all over the
valley all day. E1 Quad got several pieces of shrap through it. We had yound Bob Gibbs to see us
and he could not go back to his own hole until 8.30pm because of the danger of shells. We were
scared even to wander away very farr from our own holes.
wrote frances No 53 11pages
This morning was opened up by more shelling. Jerry started up at 0645hrs and went for about 10min
To dangerous to go for breakffast so one of our chaps went down and got the porridge and bread.
Assie got two tins of spah out of his quad and we made toast. Jerry has been very quite all day
we don’t know what he is up to but I hope it is nothing bad. We had a very heavy frost this
morning but the rest of the day has been very sunny but not hot. In bed at 1845hrs a very safe
place so far and I hope it continues to be the same
wrote Frances No 54 (10 pages)
Another very quite night. There is a truce on this morning until 1011 oclock to enable both sides
to bury there dead. I hear there are a lot of Jerrys killed. Fighting is going on in the streets
of Casinno(?) Jerry asked for a truce because our guns got in amongst his troops killing 250. God
knows how many were wounded. Very quite all day and so far tonight. time now 1922hrs. Rations very
short we had no pudding at all tonight we are on 1/2 rations at present. We are feeding a Tommy
Div why I don’t know. We have got 1/5 of Cassino so far.
Today is a day Jerry will remember for a long time. The Monestory which is on top of a hill, in
front of us near Mt Cairo. It was very heavily bombed by flying fortrusses starting of at 0115hrs
with 70 then as they were going back another 50 came over. they did not do very much damage on
the building but the ground around it got a terrible hammering I was watching it all through
glasses. In the after noon there were over 100 Mitchells. they sure put some holes in the
building. Our guns were firing on Jerrys Ack Ack to keep him under the ground while the bombers
done there stuff of the 220 planes not one had as much as one shot fired at them nor were there
any Mossies around. 1000rds
This morning Benedictine Monastery of Montecassino which is on Abbey Hill looked a very sorry
sight after yesterdays bombing and shellings. This afternoon
Kitty Hawks dived bombed the
Monastory until 1100hrs. The weather looks as if it will change as clouds are covering the whole
sky and the snow seems to be piling up on the hills and mountains. The night is warm so we don’t
know if we are going to get rain or not. The front is very quite only harrassing fire can be heard.
wrote frances no 55 9 pages
At 0640 hrs Jerry started to shell us. I think he does his day’s work before we are up propely
because if he left it any longer we would be able to see his guns firing. he has not fired this
morning since the weather is very good this morning the *** got some heat in it for a change.
Helped the gunners with their ammo after tea and Keith Cam and I had to come back at 2100hrs
and help on our own guns we started to fire at 2115hrs and we stopped at 1115hrs started again at
0115hrs and went to 0235hrs firing for the Indians, Maoris and Engineers who were putting a bridge
altogether we fired 320 rounds all objectives were taken. The river they had to cross was the REPIDO(?)
Slept in this morning I never got up until 1000hrs. The Mombadeer brought me in a slice of toast
and honey and a cup of tea. The wind is very cold. Our guns have been firing almost non-stop since
2100hrs last night. This sector is a very stiff place, last nights attack was a British one only.
At lunch time word came through that Jeerry was massing for an attack, it is not in so far. Time 1545hrs
all our guns are ready for it if it should come off. RECEIVED 3 airgraphs, 22-25 25,1,44 last
letter reseived by frances was no 27. The Maoris (?) were pushed back last night, I think they
have had a very hard battering to things, at present seen in a bit of a mess
No frost this morning but the wind which is blowing very hard is very cold . enough to make us
keep inside our dug-outs. In the past 24 hrs our guns have fired over 550 rounds a price for
hardly any gains. This is Jerrys winter line we are trying to smash (a tough job) The tanks weren’t
back last night so I don’t know what is going to happen now, everything seems to be at a stand
still on both fronts.News of our crossing Italy came over the air last night it said we fought our
way across which was not so – unless they meant fighting the weather. Received 1 freelance Truth
and 2 sports (FRANCES)
This morning is dull and cold. The heavy guns are firing a lot but it is only on CDF –
Consintrated Defense Fire. How long we are going to be in this possition we don’t know for it is
now exactly the same as it was at Osonigna (?). We all hope the second front is not long in
opening. Rations are scarse again for tea to-night we only got MV Tea, no pudding of any kind.
We (Two Toms, Don, Ossie and myself never went down we cooked our own which was 1 tin of pork saugs
peas and carrots very tastey I must say. Some of the yanks arent out to night and a tommey
outfit with 25LPS took their place.
This morning looks very promising there is no frost and the sun is well up. a few clouds are
about through. (later) the clouds got thicker and have now blocked out the sun it is warm still
but dull. Jerry started to fire by us with an 88 * gun and things were whistling through the air
for a time. Gnr B.Kerr Hemmingway was brought back to the front to be tried by the C.O. We drivers
have to stand guard over him 24 hours a day until he goes out. Never went down to tea because
Jerry was shellilng the area between us and where we get our meals and we were not going to walk
Another fine morning. Kerr-Hemmingway was before the C.O. this morning he got off very light
getting only 7 days Royal Warrant and 28 day the Field Punnishment Center we are still on guard
over him two hours at a time and also two men at once. We have been shelled nearly all morning
some very close. One man hit slightly in the knee, he name was Bob Webb. Shelling has continued
all day. Some Tommy’s were hit very bad one had several pieces in his head one in his upper lip,
one in his leg and a very bad piece in his back poor devil (?)
Time 1015hrs and so far it has been very quiet. It is very dull so visability is very poor we can
just see the top jutting out into the sky of the hill which Jerry is still holding. At 1130hrs it
started to rain and in less than 1/2hr the ground was in a terrible state. We are now back to the
worst hardship a soulder can face rain without proper shelter. It is at these times we think of
the chaps at home who can sit by there firesides with nothing to worry them about, (no shells
with theiir rain, only comforts. Had to drive the A pip jeep to the O pip to night the trip took two
hours and half of it was in the dark. We left at 1230hrs and arrived at 1915hrs.
My job while I am here is changing the batterys which are used for the wireless and I have to look
after the truck in general it is a “white” The snow is very thick on the hills around us. Mt Cairo
which is very close to us where we are now. We are only 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from Cassino we are
in a old quarry and we are out of view from the town itself and also from the Monastery which is
a good thing. There is a Yank mortor company with us in this hole. It is a very lovely spot there is an
esplandie just around the corner and shells are coming over all the time.
We were shelled a terrible lot through the night but no one was hurt. A good number of * came over
but most of these are aimed at the cross roads or on the road itself. A big attack is going in
tomorrow morning and we will have (if it comes off)both Cassino and the Monatory. There are 320
planes going to take part, 150 flying fortresses, followed by Mitchells and then dive bombers,over
700 guns are going to fire the Barrage and NZs, Indians and Tommeys are going to do the ground work.
The Yanks left our area to night for a spell. They have been in the line 54 days.
We were up very )early this morning for we might have to go back a bit in case we are to close to
the bombing. 0816 hrs Infantary told us the attack was off because of the weather it is very
misty and the fog is thick in places so god knows when it will take place now. Today has been very
quite for visability has been very poor. It gives us a rest anyway.
Had accident while I was driving the jeep back from theO pip a three tonner hit it and pushed the
dash board right back,jamming my knee up against the seat. It was not very sore for a start because
I had to go back in a P.U.towards the O pip and pick up the jeeps cargo. When we got to the spot it
had disapeared we found it at the road clearing station. we transfered our gear to the P.U. and got
home the time being 1630hrs I then went to the R.A.P and the doc told me there were no internal
injuries but if it swelled any to come back to-morrow. Today has been very dull with rain at times.
Sergant Johnson died.
Received letters No 117 – 23? Last one received previous to these was no 109 & 111.Received 1 parcel
waffers. My knee is very sore this morning and I am unable to walk. I never got any sleep last
night with the pain of it. Rained all through the night. Went to our R.A.P this morning and I am
going to be sent out. I went from there to M.D.S from there I was sent on to C.C.S? and I stayed
there for the night. (having chicken for tea) I was lying next to a chap who is in 48 Baty. He has
a sprained ankle. We have only orderalys here and we have a N.Z sister who comes in every night.
Rained most of the night and this morning at o730hrs I seen the heaviest rain I have ever seen in
this country. It bounced about a foot after it landed. I left this place (cas) at 1000hrs and
traveled in the ambulance to 2 G.H? arriving there at 1213hrs. The town which I am now in is
Carurtsa which the yanks fought so hard for. it is about 30 miles from the front line. It is really
nice the building used to b a Army Barracks. We have nursses and sisters looking after us. I had my
knee xrayed this afternoon at 1530hrs. I will probaly know what is doing regarding it in a few days
January 1st 1944 268053
6th NZ Field reg
To my darling wife Frances
January 1 Saturday New years day
Woke up this morning only to find 9″ of snow on the ground. Went for breakfast. It is still snowing and raining and it is very cold. It wasnt the snow on the Quad that made it so cold last night, I have been in the quad all day, have not been down for any meals yet.
The Gunners have been moved into the house because their tents were flooded out. Very
little shooting today. It has been snowing and raining all day. Our holes are full up with snow, so are the gunpits the road is just a river for as we are on hilly country, the rain and snow is melting and draining down onto the road.
We were shelled this morning at 0030hrs never got out of the Quad, but they were landing
very close, we never had any slittys to get into if we had got out, They were 88s and the
suction of them as they went past rocked the Quad, we (Tom? and D?) were shaking with fright and we dont mind saying so. A piece of shrap hit the back of the Quad but never went through, when I took off my boots tonight I could ring the water out of my sox for my boots were just ozzing water We dug another dug out today and are going to sleep in it because we expect more shells over tonight.
Fine today and not so cold tonight. No parcels yet. was road making nearly all day. Had
hair cut by Itie. My knee is very sore, I never nicked it as I thought I remembered
I hit it on one of the seats yesterday. nothing has happened today “yet” time now is
1745hrs was told today that we were going forward to relieve the tommy 111 bty and after
a week we would be coming back into our forth positions. They say all this is going
to happen within the next five days if the weather holds off the way it has been, we are
having very good days lately
Another very fine day, relieving the other batty at dusk. We started to pull the guns out
at 1300hrs and the ground is in such a state that it was 1600hrs before the first gun
got onto the road and it was 1700hrs after number three gun got up or rather we were one
hour in getting our gun onto the road, after the third one pulled out. We are going
forward to a position which makes it our fifth one. Travelled 11 miles and dropped the
guns and came back to the wagon lines, we are now living in a house. Got into bed
at 2330 hrs and the frost is coming in because our room is very holey, we will see if we
can find another in the morning, 5.5s guns were taking our place back where we had
Up at 0730 hrs no one awake until 0820hrs, snowed slightly at 11.15hrs and it was very
cold today. Ossie had a rat jumping on him through the night, we shifted into another room today, and I think it will be better than the one down stairs it is larger, drier and it has a fire place also. We are now cooking for ourselfs. We have four days rations with us.
We are almost stuck for water for the well is 200ft deep and it is only with the Ities rope we can reach it. We could never reach the bottom even if we joined all our ropes together.
I had a bath in lovely hot water.
This is my birthday.
The town we are now near is called LANCIANO very cold this morning but we have an ammo
job on. We started it at 9am and we are back at the “mud hole” doing it.
It started to snow and we were soon covered with it. The cold was intense and it was the worst 4hrs I have ever spent in my life. I had enough by lunch time. The guns wanted it so get it they must. I was hungry, cold, wet through, lucky we have a house to go back to, a big fire too. I was rewarded after we got back which was 1500hrs for I got a cable to say Frances had received my parcels. Started to write Frances no 43
Received three parcels one from Gran one from Mum and one from mum and Hilda. The one
from Frances was lovely, in it was two tins of fruit, salts also this makes me 4 tins
now. Moved ammo again today and we were shelled, some landed ten yards from us no one was hurt. I dont know how we were missed. I thanked God for my being left unhurt. Finished this job at 2 o’clock. We had steak, chips and fried onions for tea, topped off with apple pie
and tinned cream the best feed I have had for many months. We got some veno and I had my birthday today instead of yesterday.
8 January Saturday WROTE FRANCES NO 44 7 Pages
Not much doing today. had a meat pie for tea, with prunes and rice very good for us.
Received airgraph from Frances telling me that Clary Crew and Clem Ragg were wounded, this was not right because they both went out sick. Wrote another airgraph to night telling her so.
WROTE FRANCES No 45 11pages
Another fine day but the wind was and still is cold. We had another apple pie tonight. This one was a wee bit better than the last one. We are going to have oysters for breakfast in the morning and for those who don’t like them there is going to be whitebait for them. All this is coming out of our own rations not the armys.
Done my washing today. Weather is still very good.
No more parcels yet a few letters but I never got any. We are having a fairly easy time lately which is a very good thing. Very little doing so I find it hard to find anything to write about
WROTE FRANCES No 46 6 pages
Up at 0800hrs. Breakfast at 0815 hrs. Fried bacon, toast and beans.
This is another fine day. The snow is still hanging around in different places. Was told E Troop had to stop firing last night because of the shelling they got. It must have been very bad if they were forced to stop firing. Received 2 cakes one from Gran and one from Frances.
We had word of a shift back, don’t know if we might even be going to another front. We heard today that the date was to be the 15th Jan. We shall see.
WROTE FRANCES No 47 13pg
Went in to the village by us and had a look around. The name of it I don’t know nor the age of it but there was a church in the middle and on it was a tablet with the date 1766.
The houses were all in a very bad way some of them were falling down. As usual the roads were all made of stones. The clock was still going although a piece of shrap had knocked a hole in the face of it. Been at this place 8 days now and if everything goes alright we will be pulling out on Sat 15th. We heard we are going back about 200 miles which will be past Foggir
We are now in a state of mind where we are all trying to guess where we are going after we pull out of the line tomorrow. We think we are leaving Italy for good this seems almost certain. All our Kiwi signs have to come down making us once more the Phantom Div. We drivers had a party last night and we drank Robbie’s health until 2330hrs we all felt very good. We got into bed at 2400hrs. One or two chaps were sick but they had drank two much vino. Altogether we had a very good night.
Everyone feeling very ill this morning. I am alright my-self. We are going to shift the Quads out onto the road today in case it rains we have had them in a ploughed paddock for nearly a week.We don’t know the exact time our move is tomorrow. Jerry shelled B E** tonight this means us to no damage done or no-one hurt. The Ities were very frightened as they don’t like them at any time. Received cable from Frances sent on my birthday Jan 6th.
Weather still good. We are getting our old Quad back this afternoon so told by Morris.
Had steak and onions for breakfast. Quad back at 1615hrs everything was in pretty good condition. Slept in the Quad again tonight to save a picquet
Rained very hard for about two hours. Quad leaked but it can be fixed.
No move to-day.
Out of action
Put the rest of our gear in the quad this morning. Checked over oil etc.
Moved at 1213hrs and went 3 miles to guns. We did not have much trouble in getting the guns out. We have them lined up on the road nose to tail. We are due to move at 1025hrs tonight and we are going back as far as the Sangro Halting at 1.30am and we all slept in the quad 6 of us. We had a drink of tea and some cake. going to sleep at 2.30am.
Started to move at 0600hrs this morning. It is very cold and we were very tired. We are going back as far as Lucera. We had breakfast in the dark. It was stew for we had to cook our own. The towns we passed through to-day those of any size at all were starting off with TERMOLI,
SERRACAPRIOEA, SAN SEVERO. Arriving at our staging area at 1317hrs still very cold. We are going on in the morning and we now know where we are going we aare not leaving Italy but we are changing from to thats all.
We are now going to fight in the 5th Army front. We are now on the west coast. We came on the east coast three days ago.
Up at 0545hrs moved at 0715hrs. We passed along very flat country for about 40 miles and then we went through 55 miles of very hilly country. In some places we used our very low gear Starting of from Lacerna we next passed through ARIANO which is 4 mls away next was GROTTAMINARDA which is 4mls from ARIANO. next in line were AVELLINO, BAIANO, CICAIANA, CANCISLLO, CASSROIA, CAPUA, BIANO, just passed this we stopped for the
night. We travelled 99miles to-day we by-passed Naples.
Where we are now we can see Mt Vesuvio it stands alone and it is very high. Grapes are grown in great numbers around these parts. There was an air-burst by us tonight it was close enough for us to hear the report when it burst. Bed at 1900hrs stoped 1545hrs
Up at 0315hrs on the move at 0400hrs traveled right on till 0915hrs. We are now about 20 miles from the front line. Our route to-day was through several towns starting off with CAMCAFLA, MAPALONA, CERLA, CIAZZO and DRAGON. In one village the streets were so narrow that there was places we had only 4″ of spare room on each side. We seen Mt Vesuvios give out sparks and smoke this morning at 0850hrs. We traveled 35miles this
Up at 0700hrs washed shaved and ready for breakfast which as at 0800hrs after the boots were polished rifle cleaned we were now ready for the 0900hrs parade. We have only been out of action three days of this we spent most of the hours of daylight and in darkness to traveling the distance of 230mls and we are now carrying on just the same if we were back in Mardi doing “one stop two” Although we have come 280mls by road we are in a straight line only 67 mls from our starting point. LANCIANO.
We are going to the workshops in the morning and as there is a Reg. parade. Tom and I shall miss it.
Only three of us went to the workshops the Seargent Tom and I when we dropped the gun we came back leaving the sergant still there.The boys had a route march up to the old ruins which stand on to of the hill at the back they must be hundreds of years old for they are falling down
everywhere. We got another needle this afternoon Typhus 11V.
Another good frost this morning. A Baty parade at 0845hrs followed by a route march of 5mls. We marched up towards the front line and when we got to within 1/2mile of the yank Army we turned back. There is going to be a big march past in a few days, first on foot and then in the truck. We have to clean our Quads up by first washing them in the creek 4 miles back after this we have to rub them all over with oil. There was a mail in today. I never got any. Not feeling so good today the needle has knocked me rotten.
Small route march and then a Reg Church Parade. We finished oiling our trucks today. Bombers were circling over nearly all day (ours) We received news of the landing south of ROME behind Jerry’s lines there was 1 British Inft Div. 1 YANK inf1 Div and one armoured yank div at present they are doing very well.
Rained a little today but nothing to worry about.
Finished letter No 48 started it on Jan 20th. 9pgs. Up at 0700hrs Parade at 0800hrs small route march followed by one hour of foot drill. This was to get us in training for our march past which I think is on Thursday.
We had to scrub our **belts, braces and gaiters a thing that we were never allowed to do at home because they all have been treated with anti gas stuff. Jerry is attacking very hard and the Yanks are coming back a little. The landing is going very well still. they are now only 8miles from the road within gun range.
There was another trail this morning first in the morning and this was on foot. In the after-noon we had a trial with the vehicles which was not bad. To day has been very cold and it looks as if we might be getting some more snow. Received 6 parcels in the afternoon. three from Frank one from Mum and one from Gran and after tea I got two more one from Frances and
one from Gran I received the soap etc and this Diary.
No parade this morning. we are having one at 1200hrs instead. We are having another trial this after-noon. The great day is to-morrow. We walked about 5 miles to-day. We got back at 1630hrs just in time for tea. On picquet tonight. Norm and I together we got first shift 7-9pm. It has just started to rain so it will be a night like last night I suppose. I am very tired or rather my feet is I will be able to take my boots off until after 09 oclock when I come of picquet tonight. Read the NZ times and did not get to sleep till 2345hrs raining just a few drops nothing to worry about.
The great parade day has arrived, we only had a small parade this morning, we had to line up the Quads at 1100hrs. We got on the move at 12.30hrs and we had 6 men per quad. we arrived at the parade ground at 1300hrs and we never started to move off on the foot part of it until 15.20hrs all this time we were in line when the time came our legs were nearly all numb and so was the rest of us. Linney Fryburgh took the salute not yanks as we were told first there were NZ Nurses there also every thing was in a bit of a mess by the time all the trucks had gone by but we got home at 1640hrs and thats all that worried us.
WROTE FRANCES No 49 9pag.
Parcels received to date 12
Our first day we have had off since we came out of action 12 days ago. All this time we have been getting ready for the big parade. I had a good wash my-self and also done some washing singlets shirts etc. Received two letters from FRANCES No 103-4 and two from Gran. I answered the two from Frances straight away. Very cold to-night. I am nearly frozen stiff
sitting up in my tent. Laurice’s baby was only 7 months?
Another good day so far just a troop parade this morning and then on with TASK 10. We are going to the pictures today the night section went at 1315hrs this afternoon. the name of the town where we are going to see them at is ELIFE which is only three miles back. We are only a short distance from a point of the Volturno River. The name of the picture was “The Meanest Man in the World” it was “not bad” We also seen the great polish paino player PADERISKEY? Broke my pipe stem but was able to fix it.
Reg Church parade this morning at 0915hrs. *M surplies came in there was 1 pkt of “Greys” per man and one cake of Choc cadburys 6″ size. I am going to see a game of football this afternoon. The first game was between 30th Baty and R.H.Q which was won by Rhq 8-5. The next game was between the Reg side and the Reg officers. this was a very good game and was won by the O.R’s by 3.0 which was only scored by a free kick, neither line was crossed so one can see what sort of a game it was.
Sent Frances (2) NZ Times.
Wrote frances Airgraph
Had 25 army acts read to us by the B.C. Then we had a route march of 1 hour up the hill towards the old ruins on top of the hill. Came back, had morning tea and then done a “tasks” in the truck. I am playing football this afternoon but I am only emergency for our troop “in the backs”. My pen is playing funny tricks again I hope it is does not break down altogether. We are leaving for football at 1345hrs.
F.Troop won the football 10-0.
Wrote Gran, Norma
It started to rain at 0900hrs the first for 4 days. Seen a kittihawk shot down by Ack Ack gun, pilot never got out. Seen where Mitchell was killed there were parts of the jeep scattered around for 50 yds it was 7 mines he hit. At 1600hrs 10 messies came over our position. We went to earth smartly they dropped several bombs but everything came out alright. They never came back.
Up at 0700 hrs. Traveled 8 mls. Ready to move at 0400hrs. Jerry is getting out of it . Moved at 1430hrs arrived at our new possitions at 1645hrs had 11 messies over just after we got here. Shells landing nearly all the time so far but they are some distence from us. We are on a hillside and the wagon lines are down in the gully a fair enough place I think. Dug me third slitty. Weather fine but cold.
Guns fired 72 shots at last possition. Very heavy frost this morning. Seen a messie shot down by a spitfire 1300hrs second one at 1545. On picquet at 0115hrs with a tommygun. The ridge above us was shelled all day. I don’t know what they are after for there is nothing there at all. Roy Murry had arm blown off with Ack gun. Mag left here on side of road was lucky to get out himself jeep blown up also.
Was going to move to=day but the Infantiary had a set-back so we will be here for a few days yet. Seen no messies to-day but our spitfires have been around all day. We got stuck into the veno which was in the house where the C Post is. We got 7 bottles filled . Kiwi Cam (?)got drunk and Bob Witter was nearly as bad. Went to bed at 2000hrs and was woke up very smartly by shellfire.
Wrote Frances No 32 … Airgraph Weather fine
Was up at 0230 hrs Shells were busting all around us.I could hear the shrapnel thudding into the ground by the Quad, 88’s and 210”s they were. Got out of Quad and slept in my slitty the rest of the time. There are a lot of holes in the ground that were not there before, no one hurt. Buried the Iti who had been lying by a hedge for 4 days, Jerry shell hit him and someone shot him to put him out of misery. Ouch, foot
Received 9 letters Gran 5 Mum 1 Harry 1, Frances 2. Wrote Frances Airgraph. Was on picquet to-night. We was shelled again to-night at 12.30am Jerry landed 7 by the waggon lines, but they were all duds Thank God. It was a very misty rain all day and the ground is very slipery again. Tom and I are sleeping in a wide slit trench now safer than the Quad.
Weather misty. We was shelled again this morning about 30 came over and shrap was falling all around.. I was unloading Amn when the first two landed and by the time I got down to the Quad and I just had my braces down when they started. I dived into our hole and they were close one rained earth on the tent, shrap 8” by 2” landed 12ft away another cut the Caugh net and went into the ground 2ft from my door. Fired big barrage, big atack.
Atack a failure a lot of men lost with it. They were all pushed back by tanks, red x going all day, was raided by missies three times, no shells close to-day. Seen one of our bombers get a direct hit with a 88, it jusst went up in a sheet of smoke (finish) Weather fine. Received letters 84 – 90.
Wrote Frances no 33
Had a hot shower at the NZ Red X. Showers ok. Very quite day to-day. About 25 Missies came over at 0912hrs but done hardly a thing . Still having very good meals. Received letters 82 – 83 so my line is now completed up to 92. Have no parcels yet but hope to get them before Christmas, don’t know what is going to happen at Xmas here. I hope we get a good dinner.
Was shelled again to-day, no damage done, we gave it back thick and heavy and they shut up. All the drivers encluding me got down a big drain and stopped there for a hour. The weather is still holding out, helped the cooks dig theire rubbage over and dug another big hole. Had fresh meat for tea. Went into garden, took basket of marrows for tea tomorrow.
6 Months in Middle East
Made a road and in between times picked over the bombed building, 3 shotguns were found also shawls, stockings cups etc and about 4000lire by three different chaps. It was in parcels which the Jerry’s were sending home to their people, soap made up one of the main items. They must be very short of soap in Germany. Rain at night.
Wrote (F) no 34. Also sent her money, wings(?) stamps. It rained hard last night. There was a church parade at 1030hrs. Compulsory everyone. Reg fired 31,000 rounds since we went into action in this country. Lt. Col Walters D.S.O. Bob Hodgson M.B.E. Very quite to-day seen no Jerry planes at all, a little shooting but not much. On picquet from 2000hrs till 2045hrs in bed 6.30. Got dyrear.
Received No 93
Did not go to sleep until 2am because of the guns. Done some washing and cut my big toe nail, the ingrown one, got my boots which were away being mended , a pretty good job too. The food is getting a bit on the poor side again but we are still getting a lot of fresh meat. Guns were shooting all through the night about every hour , slept very little.
Cable, Airgraph, also Clarice
I have got the runs to-day in fact I had to change my under-pants at 8.30 this morning. I am a bit better this after-noon . A thick mist coming up.I think it will turn to a drizzle before the night is over. Food is getting very poor. The rain did not come and the ground is very slipery with the drizzle on it was playing cards (500) for 2hrs tonight.
Wrote (F) No 35
A Barrage started at 0100hrs and the guns have been firing right through up to 1300hrs this after 100 smoke. Just before lunch our tanks crossed the road to Rome and dug in 19 of them, the whole of the 8 Army is going to put in a big atack in three days time. I have got a very weak stomach. I have been to our W.C. about 20 times to-day.
Messies came over at 0800hrs , done no damage , everything opened up on them. Rifles Bron’s, Spand—–, Tommy guns, borfos. They came again at 12 and again at 3pm. Seen one shot down but he landed in his own lines. I still have the runs. Got some suplies from the Naffi, chock, digs, matches. Weather not bad, very dark- no moon until 2100hr
Wrote Frances No 36
It is overcast this morning. I still have the runs. It rained a little to-day about 3.30pm. Not much firing but the 26th Batt and the tanks went into San Cusonia to see if Jerry was still there. I don’t know if he has gone or not yet, no word through as yet. 23rd were pushed off three times the other night but retook it after the third and held it.
To-day is very dull and very cold, we was thinking we was in for a fall of snow. Still got the runs. Was told the 23rd Batt was resting up in the town on top of the hill above us. I might get a chance to see Norm, have not got my new boots yet. Y.M. staff in to-day. Received 4 papers to-day. Dates 15,22,25,29 Sept.
Met B.Brooks, Seen Norm. Received 1 parcel and 4 letters 1 from Gran and 98 – 100 from Frances. Norm has been hit twice but no blood, just bruises once in the leg and once in the shoulder. He came to see me. I went up the hill to see him but he was another two miles further on. I never had the time. A very good day.
Wrote no 37.
Prepare to move at 11.15hrs Will not move to-day. Jerry is shelling the place we were going to and is he knocking holes in it. I am very pleased to be here, not a bad sort of place, don’t know when we will move now, the day has been very cold and the snow will be on us in a few weeks, they say it is a very mild winter so far, there are still leaves on the trees so autum is still here.
Received letters 96 –97
I can’t see where they get there winter from . Have to be ready to move out at any time. Our guns are still firing though. We will only move at night now because Jerry can see our possition all the time, very nice “e what” Rained a bit. I hope it does not last. On guard again, very cold . In bed 6pm Jerry shelled us 11 o’clock damage nill, shells 14, 8 died
Wrote (F) 38
Rained very hard from 0345hrs until 0700hrs. Ground very slippery and of course muddy. Bill Brooks came to visit me. Received letter from Norm saying he had decided to come over to me. I wrote out my claim and had it in 1 hour after I had received his letter, wrote and told him to put in for a transfer also. Will post them both tomorrow I hope we meet with much success. Weather cold no rain.
Up at 0515hrs moved guns at 0700hrs, 2500yds up the road. Tom took ours up, said it was very muddy and he got boged several times, wagon lines back here where the guns were using the G.pits for the Quads. Big atack going in to-night, guns might come back here if the atack is not successful. Cook house still here. Did not move in old house as Sigs were still there. Raining all night
Wrote 39 NZEF Times to
Norms birthday 24 years old
The town which is holding us up is Orsogna it is a fortress now. Still raining a drizzle and the ground is just a lake, it is very hard to even walk. Moved into the house after tea . We are going to have a party, for we have 2 bottles of beer each.
Wrote Frances No 40
Still raining. So this is Christmas Day in the army, it is the same as any other day, only a little quiter our side. We had a good victory in the morning with our guns around Orsogna, our rations to-day were very good. Wrote it all in letter No 40, issue of rum was the only extra we got. Went to bed at 8.30 and there finished the day out, thought very hard of home
Still raining, rations back to normal worst luck, and on goes the war again, it never stopped by a long way just slowed down a little. Wrote a bit more to letter no 40 got Toms pair of No 11’s out, my other boots are wet right through. Have not got my other ones back yet. Went to bed 1715hrs very cold and wet . On picquet from 2.30am until 3.15am.
New Boots, Pongo ones
Stopped raining at 1315hrs and the sun has come out but it is still very cold. Had fresh turkey for tea. Bob Witter got 6 Jelleys in a parcel , we made them up per instructions on the packet. We had fruit, nice with figs in Jelly and tinned cream and was we full. We are still very muddy but if the rain holds off we will be able to get cleaned up.
The rain has held off and I done my washing. Had a shave and a good wash myself, changed my sox, boots also, still very very cold but no snow yet. Made PLAN of Letter Box –Quad. Very windy and clothes drying good , hope to have them dry before night. No parcels yet, hope my diary comes soon three days to go. To bed at 1800hrs, very cold still but no rain
Up at 0715hrs, fine and no snow yet. Received word that the guns are coming back into the third possition and are going to dig in for the winter, we the drivers are going back to a village to stay. The infantary say they can only move 1000yds at the time so it is not worth it. We are all waiting for the 2nd front to start in the spring. Ground dry again. Norm came over to my troop this afternoon 1430hrs
Moved quads up by the railway this morning. Started to dig in but was told to stop for if it rained we could not get out so they are going to see if they can get us a better place. The village seems to be out for the present. Wrote F. 47 8 pages. Still in this possition ,quads are now in the railway line very dry, all stones, weather frosty tonight. To Bed at 1949hrs.
Frost this morning followed by rain at 1300hrs, very cold. Dug our hole a bit deeper this morning. Don’t know yet if the Quad have to stay here, or go back. Started to rain very hard at 1600hrs trouses got wet through going down to tea, came back and went to bed. Still raining, was going off to sleep very nicely and at 8.30pm my leg felt wet. I put my hand down and it went down into water up to my wrist. We decided to shift into the quad for the rest of the night.
Very cold, made our beds as usual, one on the seats, one on the floor and it was so cold we could not get warm enough to go to sleep. We did get to sleep after a while but it was still raining and hard too, good-bye old year 1943 you have been a hard one.
Clocks back 1 hour
Rained all day, had 24hrs rest from the guard, it was to much and we were cracking up. The sea was very rough to-day and some of the boys were sick but not very bad, slept and rested most of the day on my bed. The food is very poor still but I hope when we get on land it is better.
Wrote Frances 26th
Sighted land the S.E coast of Sicily at 1000hrs We are still getting ————-porridge for breakfast. Clocks back 1 hour. Berthed at Augusta (Sicily) 1600hrs. The hills are covered with green grass, the town almost deserted. Don’t think I will get ashore. Passed by Syracuse at 1220hrs. We are now 11 ½ hrs behind N.Z
Still berthed in Augusta.harbour, we are 420 miles from Bari. Bari has a population of 196,000. Two Italians came along side and sold a full sack of Arlmons and a barket of oranges, right from the tree. The weather is fine, there are 5 ships seen in or burnt out lying in the harbour. There is another town up on a hill a place for Malaria fever.
Wrote Harry No 3
Left Augusta at 0720hrs , raining and blowing.Are going up the east coast of Sicily We got ships with us, some landing barges also. Was on guard 1200 – 1400 hrs and again at 2400 to 0400 tomorrow morning. Still see land it is sicili but we will lose sight of it during the night. Still very cold.
My darling wife’s birthday – 25 years old. Many Happy Returns Dear. If Frances knew I was about 200 miles from the port of Bari she would not be feeling as she is to-day. Land in sight, Italy this time but the light is bad so we cant see much. Lost sight of land again, could not see which place it was now.
Air raid on land, could see it from the boat, hear it to. Landed at Bari 0922hrs a fair size city. Seen some Italian soldiers also about 100 young chaps about 19 they would be. There is a ship in the water right alongside a wharf a destroyer, it is, it was scuttled by order. Weather overcast, have to be ready to move as soon as our truck comes out of the hold at 2230hrs again at 0915hrs
This raid at 0015hrs was short, it woke us up, had another one at 0430hrs. No damage done in any of them. They droped some bombs and mines , draged mines. Up this morning. Went on to land at 1545hrs drove to Bari Stadium and parked the night. No air raid, walked around the track twice as it is a great show but it is unfinished.
Up at 0630hrs raining and cold. Left Stadium at 1030hrs on our way to Taronto, Took wrong turning and ended up out on our way to Naples. We were going inland instead of following the coast road, bedded down for night and was it cold. I had 4 blankets and my over-coat on top of me but the wind had ice in it.
Wrote Frances No 27
Up at 0600hrs and on our way back to Taronto arriving there at 1030hrs after a very enjoyable drive along the coast road, a great country.this. Taronto is full of all types of soldiers and trucks. We are parked up on a hill overlooking the harbour, big bombers are passing over all the time, aerodrome not far away , full of Hurricanes.
Received leetters No 74 to 81. Two cables, five airgraphs yesterday. Rested most of the day. Drove about 50 miles
5 months in ME
Went on leave to Matina a wine centre but only light wine is made there.( rest unable to read.)
Worked all day on New Morris Quad it is a terrible mess. I have just finished. Time now is 1730hrs. Will be going on picqueet at 1745hrs and we have to be ready to move at 0845 in the morning . Tom and I both slept in the Quad to-night the weather is quite good but a cold wind
On guard from 0400hrs to 0600hrs. Moved into possition at 0815hrs. Moved at 10.15hrs. We are going up to the front line our route was Matina, Loccrotonda, Alberobello, Loci, Gioti del Colle, Santeramo, Altamura. A distance of 78 miles from Taranto Staging Camp. Weather fine getting colder now and it is dark at 1730hrs, day-break is about 0550hrs
Started off again this morning at 0800hrs and traveled until 1430hrs stopeed at our area which is 80 miles from the front. We came through Corato, Andrea, Canosa, Cerignola, Foggia, Lucera. We will be stopped here for two days and then up to the front. We go for I don’t know how long
Wrote No 28
Up at 0650 hrs worked all day on the Quad and done some more-(unable to read)-I suppose it will hang on for quite a while. It is now raining very hard it is hard to keep dry. I have to stay in the quad all the time. Had two helpings at teatime. I was very cold and hungry.
Rained at 1710hrs. Raville at 0615 this morning but it is not raining yet. Traveled in the Quad . Up to-day at 1853mls. We did not do much work today for we done most of it yesterday. We got orders just now to be ready to move at 0630hrs tomorrow our destination is the front line so within 36 hours I might be in action, I hope it does not rain much.
Traveled from Lucera to Furci. Ravelle at 0515 hrs no shave because it is still dark. Started moving at 0645 hrs drove all day and all night and finished up 5mls from Jerrys lines. The time was 0800hrs on the 18th so we drove for 20 hours but we only traveled 114 miles but it was through nothing but mountains (unable to read)
—Jerry started to fire two 88’s he was shelling a bend in the road but no damage. Traveled from Lucera to a place by a river no name. We moved out of our possitions at 1630hrs and I got stuck ot out of that and was going along the road and two wheels sliped over the edge. Stoped , right road to bad washed out.
1ACTION. Rained. Started off at 0630hrs, breakfast at 0900hrs, we got on again at 1245hrs we were under
Up at 0615hrs raining all night and up to 0800hrs.
This morning it is very muddy. We had to put branches on the road so we could get a grip. Have not fired yet . My Quad is right below and in front of E3 gun. It will be like all hell let loose when it sstarts. Dug slittys because there might be something come back. Fired 5 rounds at 1720hrs.
wrote frances no 29
Up at 0615hrs. River gone down to normal, no tobacco yet. We are 4000yds from the Sangro River. 4 shells came over at 1300hrs they landed on the road about ¼ mile from us. Guns fired 8 shots at 1700hrs. Very little sleep because Jerry was shelling from 2000hrs until 0800hrs on the 22nd 12hrs in all
Wrote to Gran
Up at 0630hrs. Breakfasst at 0800. Guns have only fired about one round up to the present time which is 1615hrs. The big attack which was to go is at 0900 hrs in the morning has been cancelled because of bad weather. We have had no rain to-day . I had a barth in a half a keroseen tin to-day. I still have my cold
Wrote to Hilda no 1
Fired a barrage this morning starting at 0400hrs and going until 0600hrs. 50 shots per gun. 72 guns and it –
Wrote Frances No 30
Wrote airgraph Wrote Harry No 4
On picquet last night 3/4hr. Dryed out a pair of boots and put nugget on both prs. It has been fine today except for a few spots which are falling now 1545hrs. I had a very sick tummy last night but it seems to be alright now. Guns only fired 6 shots so far to-day. Planes very active. Kitty bombers and Bastons.
Wrote airgraph to Frances
Received two airgraphs from Frances. Not much firing too-day no rain but very cold, was woken up by shells at 0230hrs but they were 100yds away, not far enough. Bombers very active to-day. A U—88 flew just over our heads at 1000hrs this morning . We could have hit it with a tommy gun but it was past before we got our breath back, it crashed our side of the Sangro River.
ME 410. Wrote Frances No 31
Shot up at 30,000ft by spitfires —-The plane had been hit and was smoking in one engine. We got the two chaps who were in it alive as they can’t tell tales . The big atack is on in the morning we are firing 200 rounds per gun. I don’t think Norm is going to be in it until later. I might have to help on the guns as we are a man short 4 gone out in the troup on piquite at 2000hrs till 2045hrs. Broke the nib in my pen made a new nib out of a ordinary pen nib.
Mail in to-day. Never received any airmail received up to the 7 oct. Think some mail was received in NZ about the first week in Oct. Gun Mitchell who took over driving the Maj “jeep” was killed by a mine to-night, a tank mine. They think it was. He was up the front at theO.pip(?)Planes very active. 1 Messie was shot down by a spitfire never seen it my-self, no shooting to-night.
New moon and the weather is still good. The tanks took a village this afternoon at 1330. We put over a barrage of smoke. 25 shells each (1800 altogether). Us drivers went away today to get a load of smoke shells. 5 Kittyhawks of the U.S.A. Air force came over. There was a hay-stack burning nearby. I think that’s what attracted them anyway they opened up with M.G.shells(?). You cant trust the yanks. Landed near us.
Left possition at 1030hrs to go forward. Passed over the Sangro River at 1200hrs. It has a very wide bed but the chanal is only about 40ft wide. Pontoon bridge only so far. Took up new possition at 1300hrs 5000yds from Jerry seen 5 planes shot down , missie’s (?) they were and one spitfire can hear M.Guns fire at times. Shows how close we are. 4 and 5’s are just behind us and the tanks were going up all night. Traveled 6 9/10th miles
Loaded the Quad up with Ammo 36 H.F (?) 8 A.P. 48 Charges
Received two letters from Frances 72-73 still to get 74 – 75.
Went on trail run 30 ml to run in engine, it was so tight that the starter would not turn it over. We have had it out twice in two weeks. The boys had a trail pack. Think they are going tomorrow sometime. Painted a name on the Quad – Frances
The gunners, driver, M— etc left at 10.00hrs this morning. Tom had to go to. I am on my own now. I will not see him until I get the Quad, timber, gun over to where ever we are going. We wont be going for another two weeks yet.
Cleaned up the camp . Done a few small jobs, went down to the beach pretty rough surf. Went down for a spot of shooting with Rifle, Tommy and Bren. Hurt my shoulder in fact it is all skinned.
Wrote Frances No 18
Senet her Xmas card also one to Harry and one to Gran. Played F. Troup cricket, they made 109 we had to finish to dark. Will continue tomorrow night, we have 4 down for 22 we put the tail in first because of the light.
Worked a little harder today on the truck. Played cricket against F. Troup, made 62 Played on. Boys left Alex for Italy, did not know this until the day we seen them again which was the 9th November
Battery was flat when I went to start the engine this morning, one cell was no good. Got another one, swaped it for one from Arty tank. They are going to use it for a Raido. Played cricket against F. Trp. Made 23 we was beaten
Baby Wotton born. Played crickeet against H.Q. trp. 32 N.O. We won. Went to Alamein Cemerety seen about 3,000 graves. There were S.A., German, Ity, Aussie, Brisish and Kiwis mostly our chaps. It will be a great place when it is finished, all boarded around with white stone walls, chips of the stone on top and they are in very straight rows. Lt Cols Capt Pte all mixed up.
Played cricket to-day. 30 – 29 Bty . we won by 110 runs. I made 24. J. Hatchard 86— Repainted all the signs on the Quad. Got another pair of sandshoes. Have had no cig, tobacco for 5 weeks, hard to smoke pipe tobacco
Wrote Frances No 19
Painted the Caugf(?) in places over the Quad. We aare now grey and black. Still at Burgh El Arab. Don’t know when we will be going to join the boys. They have been away 1 week. To-day is very windy and the dust is thick, not so hot as the wind is coming from the sea 500yds away
Baby Wotton Died – 7 months
Played 48Bty cricket. We made 116. I made 34. We got them out for 74. I got two for 8. Fifth Field are receiving quite a lot of mail but we will have to wait until we get to where ever the boys are. It is not fair in one way. The wind has died down a bit it is not bringing the sand now which is much better.
Wrote Frances 20
Having a rest from cricket. A bit browned off, will start again about sat. Still waiting to move
Italy declared war with Germany. 3rd Div in action
Playing basket-ball. They have started a comp going. It is 7 months since I was in Chch
Wrote Frances No 21
Had a very easy day to-day. Have had no leave for five weeks
Wrote Frances No 22
Started the last letter will leave it until I am sure everything is in it which I wanted to write about. It is five months since I left Wellington.
Left Burg El Arab at 12.30 hrs wenet 80 miles and stayed the night at Wadi Natron. Arrived there at 1730hrs expect to leave at 0700hrs in the morning . Will be going to Port Tufick. Now we have no idea where we are going, might be India. Done 81 miles
Left Wadi Natron at 0700hrs went through Cairo at 1200hrs. Arrived at Port Tufick at 1720hrs we done 140 miles to-day, the Pongoes cooked tea for us , all we got was a plate of stew and a mug of tea which was almost sickly sweet. Will be here for a while I think they told us so anyway
Wrote frances No 23
Went to the pictures, seen The Little Foxes, not much. Otherwise we done nothing at all
The same to-day only we shifted the trucks into there lines. My line is P.Z.L which is the code name of the ship in which I am going in.
Went to the pictures, seen Tin Pan Alley, had see it before. We put our Quads on the whart just left them there because the boat was not there. Came back to our first camp for tea. Received 1 bottel of beer and at 6.50pm we went to the transit camp and then went to the pictures
Up at 0700hrs Breakfast 0800. Doing nothing at all, played cards for money for the time since I landed here. Lost 80 Akers. The ships in which we are going in aare fairly big about 10,000 tons by the looks of them. Pictures again. Seen Victory.
It rained this morning at 0230hrs woke me up and I had to turn around making me sleep with my head where my feel were and then I got wet. There was lighting and thunder. The lighting struck an petrol or oil dump and set some of it alight and it was just like day
Wrote Frances No 24
Went to pictures seen North of Klondyke, not bad. Rained again but notmuch. Think we will be going tomorrow.
Left transit camp at 1330hrs Got on the same sort of lighters as we did when we landed in June. Got on Lighter at 1435hrs got on ship at 1530hrs. We are sleeping down the hold, 1st deck. The ship is The ——– of Delhi. There are about 2880 chaps on board. Just one lamp (electric) lights up the place but it is 400L.P
Left Port Tufick at 0620 hrs went through Canal about 90 miles ,passed through Port Said at 1715 went straight out to sea and away so this is my Labor Day. I spent it passing through the Canal. We have about five boats and a destroyer in the convoy so far. I will see tomorrow.
Won 10/- B.MA at pontoon. Passed out into the sea and arrived at Alex at 1630hrs. We berthed. I don’t know how long for. The food so far has been poor. There is a baloon tied to us now for protection from planes. There are three hospital ships in and also plenty of war ships. We have traveled 320miles since we left Burg El Arab and we aare only 20 miles from there now
Nothing much to-day just being left in the harbour. Played cards. Was told we would be leaving at 0730hrs in the morning. We was told at 2000hrs.
This is Fridays also
Left Alex at 0800hrs. Went straight out into the sea and stopped at 11.45 to form up . there are some fighters over head but only about 4. Every boat has a baloon up above it.We are still stoped, it is taken a long time for the convoy to form up for the biggest part of the boats are very slow.
We are away again but have not picked up speed yet. The reason for me not putting to-days entry in yersterdays space is because I thought to-day was the 28. It shows how we think every day is the same, it is too, no Saturdays or Sunday. The time is now 2125 so to bed. Go on gun stations at 2400hrs off at 0400. I am in a 12LB Gun team
Wrote Frances No 25
Tired to=day. On guard at the guns and resting, had no sleep until 0430hrs this morning. Had a alarm tonight at 1745hrs. Planes supposed to be near at hand, each boat and there are 32 in the convoy, let off two smoke bombs each one at either end and set up a smoke screen. We had four fighters over head but nothing happened . Thank God !
Still at sea and will be for the next week or so. At about 0200(?)hrs this morning we passed through an electric storm. The lighting struck a ballons setting them alight. There was plenety of rain and thunder also. I was on guard at the guns. It is one weeks since we got on this boat. We are going to Bari via Malta, will see Malta tues sometime.
Played Troup cricket. E.Troop V F. Troop. E.Troop won , I made 6.
Wrote no 11.
Wrote to Frances and Harry, doing very little to-day
Eighth Army land in Italy unconditional surrender. Four years war.
Went to play cricket at S.A camp. Played 23 Reg, we made 114 and they made 117-4 wkts. We had Sat night dinner and tea we then had a party, drinks etc. We went to bed at 2359hrs. They had a dance band. Hillbilly, and a ventrilquist also a tenor who was very good. Met H.Watt the springbock footballer, he is a good chap.
Played 6th Field Reg S.A.A we made 71 and they made 87 all out. I took two catches behind and made 8. Yesterday I made 2 bowled both times. We had dinner at their mess, rost veal, roast spuds, egg, fruit, greaps and tin peaches, cream. This Reg seems to feed better than the 23rd Reg. Left their camp 1400hrs had tea in cairo back camp 2030hrs.
Wrote to Frances 12. Striped Quad of engine. Done other small jobs also had a lazy day. Out of tobacco.
Another lazy day done some writing, played table tennis with Alec and Frank Allen, went to the pictures, wrote to Mother.
Wrote to Frances 13
Wrote to Mrs Allen. No engine yet – no work. Wrote all after-noon. Very hot to-day 100deg all day. Armistic with Italy made known. Come over the raido at 9pm news M.E. time I was lying on my bed thinking of my dear wife at the time
A very quite day. I would have been 10 years at A. Farrars to-day.
The boys came back, our holiday is over. I got landed for the Baty runner job. We got free beer this week. Mr Harvy gave it to us, it was his birthday the officers talked him into it.
At 0855 (IT RAINED) Our engine came at 1700hrs so work at last. Got terrible pains in the stomach thought it was apendix. Seen the doc and he said I never even had a slight touch of it. He said it was wind.
Had church parade. Got another pair of boots and another blanket. I have 2 pairs of boots and three blankets now. New engine arrived. Still out of tobacco.
Put new engine in quad. Worked in the sun from 0900hrs until 1700hrs. Started engine, engaged clutch and found it was useless. Sabatarge, for when clutch plate was taken out it was old and rusty, replaced new one, seems alright now
Engine going alright have not run it yet though. Tobacco still short
Went on guard at 1200hrs after being held up on parade ground for 1 ½ hours.
On guard, wrote some of a letter to Frances Went into town this afternoon bought Frances a table center with 6 mats. I also bought Mother and Hilda a silk hankie each. The whole lot cost 120 Akers which is 1 pound 4/- Met Pat Patterson, we went around together.
Started to get ready to go into action again. New tyres, all the trucks painted dark grey, rifles etc issued to different chaps. All drivers got one. Loaded 24(?) rounds with charges into Quad also we got tins for petrol, kero, grease , oil etc. Threre is not going to be much space left when we arae fully loaded
Finished letter no 14. Wrote letter no 15. Sent Frances the Task(?) system. Done more to the quad. Loaded camel tank, spare limber wheel, long net and one or two more jobs, don’t know where we will finish up somewhere in Europe. We know that alright. The boys are leaving tomorrow afternoon the trucks wont be going till Wednesday
Just mucked around put our base kits in wont to see them for quite a while. We are going 97 miles from here to a place called Burgel Arab it is 30 odd miles from Alex. Worked on truck most of the day 20 Monday Boys left Mardi Camp for Burgle Arab at 1445hrs. They will stop at Meana which is the other side of Cairo from there they will march 14 miles a night for 7 nights. We lined up the trucks ready to take off . We leave to-morrow at 0600hrs having a rest to-day just odd jobs are being done
Jusst a few odd jobs are being done again to-day. Went to the pictures and seen “Seven Days Leave” Funny me seeing it for the last letter I got from Frances she said that she had been to see it. Very hot to-day. Went to pictures seen (Tommy Egcan) Robert Taylor on piquet from 11 – 12.
Wrote to Frances 16. Left Mardi at 0600hrs , going to a place near Aamien(?) . Traveled 157 miles landed at our camp at 1730hrs. We are bedded down at the same place as the chaps were this time last, it is about 12 miles from Alamein it might be wet soon, as where we are is the wettest place in Egypt.
Just fixing things up today. The food is not to good but to-night we had a good tea. Went to the beach and the sand is very fine, round qutze stone. It is pure white, there are small balls on the beach, they are made of weeds, they look like pieces of horse hair all tangled up. It is getting cold at night now.
We left this camp at 1900hrs. We are going to a place 28 miles from here, we are going to do it in the dark. 2230hrs had a crash. I stopped my quad and the one behind ran into it. I was able to go away under my own power but the spout of the hun pushed the front of his quad right in the spout even pokeing through his steering wheel.
Had gun inspected , have to take it back to B.Arab. Made the trip back in 1 ¾ hrs. It took us 6 hours. Last night we got to bed at 1.30am. This morning took the guns into possition at 1900hrs tonight, 6 miles away. Came back in the dark again and got to bed at 11.30 very heavy dew, will be wet in the morning.
Wrote Frances No 17
Breakfast at 0700hrs.at ——– It was wet this morning our blankets were wet through. Wind and sand very trying getting into everything resting at the wagon(?)lines. Are going to pick the guns up tomorrow and then back to B.Arab for I don’t know how long. Stacks of flanel shirts and B.D.s there now.
Came back to Burgle El Arab for good until we go overseas anyhow. Went to Alex on leave, a far cleaner place than Cairo, more white people. Things are very cear worse than Cairo. Sent Frances 3 cards and 1 Christmas card.
Got the Needel to=day. Tet, Proh III