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  • Author: Jim Smythe
  • Date Posted: Friday, August 31, 1945
  • Category:
  • Address: Riccione, Italy

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.


4 August

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


6 August

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


7 August

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/


10 August

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


14 August

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


15 August

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


16 August

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


20 August

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


21 August

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”


23 August

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


27 August

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