Navigation Menu
  • Author: Jim Smythe
  • Date Posted: Wednesday, February 28, 1945
  • Category:
  • Address: florence, italy


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.

2 February
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

3 February
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

4 February
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.

5 February
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

6 February
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.

7 February
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.

8 February.
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.

9 February.
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.

10 February
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

11 February
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.

12 February
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.

13 February
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.

14 February
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.

15 February
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.

16 February
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

17 February
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.

18 February
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

19 February
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

20 February.
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.

21 February
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.

22 February
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

23 February
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.

24 February
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.

25 February
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.

26 February
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

27 February
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

28 February
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