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
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.
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