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  • Author: Jim Smythe
  • Date Posted: Tuesday, July 31, 1945
  • Category:
  • Address: trieste, italy

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

3 July
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

4 July
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.

5th July
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.

6 July
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.

7 July
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.

9 July
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

10 July
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

12 July
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

15 July
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

19 July
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.

21 July
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.

22 July
Played the 5th fld reg cricket today and we got well beaten by five wkts. I made 48 of our 117 runs

23 July
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.

26 July
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

27 July
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