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  • Author: Jim Smythe
  • Date Posted: Thursday, November 30, 1944
  • Category:
  • Address: Fabreano, Italy

1 Wednesday
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.

2 Thursday
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

3 Friday
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.

4 Saturday
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.

5 Sunday
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

6 Monday
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

7 Tuesday
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

8 Wednesday
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

9 Thursday
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

10 Friday
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.

11 Saturday
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.

12 Sunday
Wrote Joe
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.

13 Monday
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.

14 Tuesday.
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.

15 Wednesday
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.

17 Friday
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.

18 Saturday
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.

19 Sunday
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

20 Monday.
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

21 Tuesday
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.

22 Wednesday
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.

23 Thursday
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

24 Friday.
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

25 Saturday
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

26 Sunday.
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

27 Monday
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.

28 Tuesday
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

29 Wednesday
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

30 Thursday
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