Left the Rest Home at 1240hrs and we traveled back the same way as we went down, FORLI,CESENA,SAVIGNANA,REIMINI,RICCIONE. When we left it was a very dull sort of a day but it came out a bit warm near Cesena. We reached the guns just at tea time and after eating off plates for a week the food never tasted very good out of my dixies. I was in bed about 9 o’clock and was I tired, the journey up was very tiring. Received two Aircards from Janet (that’s Frances)
Wrote Janet two (2) Aircards
This possition is a very muddy one and the days are now very cold. All we done today was to pull the gun through and clean it up a bit. We are firing very little because of the state of the roads. We are restricted to ten rounds a day. This saves us a lot of work in the mud even if the “war” is not going forwaard very fast. Played bridge after tea but this was interupted at 1900hrs when we had to fire three rounds. We continued playing bridge after this and was in bed by 2100hrs but not to sleep because at 2153hrs we were up to fire one round and this was repeated at 2211hrs, 2235hrs, 2310hrs and at 2320hrs all one round each. I was on picquet from 0330hrs till 0500hrs so I never got very much sleep at all tonight
Received one aircard from Frances. Started to write Frances No 115.
Just a dull sort of day the same as usual this time of the year. No firing up to tea time. Played bridge for about 2 1/2hrs before and after lunch. At 1920hrs we fired a small barrage of 94 rounds a gun, this was a mock show but it done the trick because although no atack was going in where we fired Jerry pulled back and st——— the road and nothing was there. The real attack went in on the right where the Tommie 46 div crossed the river and with the Poles made a bridge – lead with 4, 6 pounders and 2, 17 pounder guns
We continued the mockery this morning at 0715hrs when we fired 10 rounds per gun of smoke. This was to bring Jerries fire down upon the spot in the river where the smoke screen was supposed to be shielding our chaps who were putting up a bridge. There was no bridge or men but Jerry used all his guns on it and so saved the men who crossed the river during from a very unpleasant time, we won this battle on this way. FAENZA will be ours soon and so on to the next river. Off duty tonight , it is very cold too
Finished no 115 Frances 6 pag.Wrote Gran 3 pag
Slight rain tonight and it made the ground very muddy. I was on duty and we were out about nine times between 1910hrs and 2300hrs all for one round each. When we got up this morning it was a very funny day, it didn’t know wether to rain or not. We never fired a round from 2300hrs tonight so we were lucky to get several hours sleep. Received (2) Aircards (F)
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
I am off duty tonight and it is just as well too because it started to rain at tea time and it rained nearly all night. Those on duty never had to get up to fire so everyone was lucky. The war up here is still very grim one and we are pushing on despite the mud etc. This day we took RIVENNA. Everywhere else are advances also we should with any luck at all have this all over with in a few more months. Received Aircard Frances.
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
Received Aircard (F) Received three parcels, two from Frances, tobacco and papers Also a cake from Gran, this made up the three.
Very quite today and we never fired a round until 2100hrs tonight. These were (3) and no more after these. These parcels were the first I had got since Sep 18th. Dull today but otherwise quite warm. I am off duty tonight again. One of our gun crew went out today with Yellow Jurndous his eyes were very yellow. Percy Bedgood his name was.
We were told to be ready to move today at 1100hrs but this was canselled until tomorrow sometime. There are some chaps away this afternoon to the final of the “Div” football. The 22Bd is playing the Div Am team. The winer I will put in later here: Received two more parcels from Frances. I have not opened them yet I think one is wafers.The recce(?)party went forward this afternoon. Norm went from his gun sub with them. We have only fired six RdS within the last 48hrs
We are firing very little now only about five rounds each day. At 1020hrs this morning we had to fire over Jerries lines some pamphlets. This was fired in the usual way (in smoke shells) The first was fired in ten rounds gunfire then over a different target. There was another 10rds at 1100hrs then another fire again over another area at 1210hrs. This made 25rds per gun. Only our Baty fired this made 200shells altogether. Jerry never seemed to like them because within half an hour of our firing he sent off over “real shells” just to show us how we wasted our time. If I had my way they would have been “real” ones.
Today was a dull one no firing at all only one at 2300hrs. I done some washing and had a bath. Played bridge after tea.
Moved today at 1300hrs to our new possition which is very close to the front line. In one way it is only 1500yds from Jerry, in one phase and it is only about 1 ½ miles from FAENZA. We are sleeping in the farmhouse which is a large one. Three of us sleep on a dugout near our gun every other night. This dugout is dug under a haystack. The weather for the last four days has been very dull. Two Tommies were wounded this morning not very far from our gun but we were not here then.
A very quite day so far. Time now 1550hrs. I hope it continues to keep quiet. Finished our pit and put up a tent to keep our tents etc dry just as well to because at 1300hrs it started to rain and it is now very cold. The Tommee Engineers blew three houses down to get the bricks to make up a road the It is just had to get out. That was all this is “total war”
Another quiet day (in one way)
There is going to be a big attack going in very soon. There is going up the road all day today tanks and all types of stuff. The weather is not so bad and if it holds off we may be able to do something this time. The food is not much good just now. I am off my hunger(?)anyway just now. We can see FANEZA from the upstairs window of this house of ours
Wrote Frances Aircard (1)
There is an attack going in tonight, the zero hour is 2300hrs and the barrage is 390 rounds per gun and a whole comp is going to fire it. This is going to be a very big attack so we all hope it comes off as we may finish this country off before long. The Indians are going to take FAENZA tonight , we the NZ’s are going to cut Highway “9”. Finished the barrage at o240hrs firing 402rds then to bed off course this was after a cupa. It is now dark at 5.30pm now the shortest day in about six days.
Up again this morning at 0645hrs to fire 20 rounds at 60 seconds. We never went to bed after this. After the barrage last night it took us two hours to clean our gun up this morning. We were called upon to fire quite a few rounds during the day. I made a top for my pensil. I lost it when I was in Burnham. I am off duty tonight. The wafers were from Hilda not Frances as I thought
On duty tonight and we were up and out firing quite a lot. During the day we only fired about twelve rounds. Rained a bit and it is very cold. Wrote Frances Airgraph (1), Wrote Hilda Airgraph (1)
Received two aircards from Janet and a Xmas cable from Gran. Tonight I was on picquet and it was just as well because there were two shoots in the early hours of the morning one was at 0350hrs of 30 rounds(20 sec _) the other at 0450hrs another 30 (20 sec) altogether we fired 120 rounds during the night. As I was on picquet I made a extra man for the first shoot, we had to un-box all these rounds that’s where I came in. I was off picquet by the time the second shoot came and in bed by 0500hrs. Received parcel no 40 from Janet.
Rained slightly today making things very unpleasant again. A quite morning but the afternoon was a lively one until 1515hrs when our gun on firing one round of “sniper (?)would not run back so we will be out of action . This will mean either the L.A.D.or Workshops for some of us tomorrow. Played bridge after tea. Sat talking around the fire until 2230hrs.
Up this morning at 0700hrs and this was because I was one of our crew who were going out with the gun.We were away by 0830hrs down to the LA.D. where we were told we were staying for about four days. We are firing on a house with our R.E.chaps. Today is a fine one. They fired another barrage tonight of 430 rounds per gun.
Wrote Janet Aircard (1)
A very quiet day, had a clean up this morning and changed my clothes giving the dirty ones to the Itie women to wash. Played bridge this afternoon (for fun) Tonight I drew the plan of the firescreens using only a nitric rule and my pensil. Jerry has broken throkugh in the north of France and we are (according to the paper) unable to hold him up at all, we wonder.
Colored in my drawing of the firescreen with my coloured pensils. Was going into Forli this afternoon but the officers of the L.A.D told us that we would have to go back because he had told Reg that the gun was finished . We left at 1430hrs and had the gun back in the same pit as we took it out of by k1600hrs and by tea time we were all back in our old places in the house. We fired 16 rounds during the night. I was on duty on the guns as well as on picquet , this meant I hardly got any sleep as we were up three times before I went on picquet. 0115hrs and all went firing again at 0230 and 0425hrs. I should sleep well if there is no barrage on tomorrow night.
Wrote Janet No 116 6 pag. Sending the drawing of firescreen, shovel and pages from Cue metals.
This morning is very cold,, the sun came out this morning the first time for several days so Mr Barron took a photo of each Gun ——-It looks very much like snow and it certainly is cold enough for me. It remained dull and cold all day and bridge was played in the afternoon. I was on duty tonight and we fired quite a few rounds. Jerry planes over tonight droped a few bombs near Forli.
It is very cold this morning and I won’t be all surprised if it doesn’t rain or snow (time 0945) The time is now 1045hrs and it is snowing not very heavy but its snow and the air has seemed to have cleared now, it is not as cold as it was. Played bridge tonight and Mac and Sid was beaten by Imkit(?) and I by 1300 points. We were told at 2100hrs tonight that there was a small barrage on in the morning of 81 rounds. The zero hour was 0645hrs. The snow will be thick every where then I suppose. On picquet from 2100- 2200hrs.
Up this morning at 0615hrs. The snow had stoped but it had covered everything to a depth of one and a half inches. This was soon washed away from the gun after the first few shots however. There was no more snow the rest of the day. The 6th Fld Reg had their xmas day today this means I too. The Patriotic Fund done little for us, we had pork, cauliflower, roast potatoes, pumpkin, steam pudding was instead of plum duff. We got three bottles of beer and a parcel with 50 cigs per man all from the Patriotic Fund. We may get some things extra tomorrow. We were shelled this afternoon no one hurt but one shell landed just behind our house don’t know how it missed the house. Norms birthday today he is 26.
25 Monday (Christmas Day)
Wrote Frances No 116/ 9 pag
Today was a sunny day and we never fired a shot. In fact we were “out of action” from 1700hrs until 0700hrs tomorrow morning. We had pork and cauliflower for dinner with a small quantity of plum pudding after. This was all we got soup, bread and a few nuts. I was on duty and picquet but there was no firing or no picquet done. Everybody had a few drinks today. I had one drinking the health of my darling wife. As the burner the cooks use to cook our meals broke down we even had to cook our own breakfast this morning. We had a good meal too. Out of our own tucker boxes the cooks gave us sauguers and bread etc.
Wrote Frances No 117 5 pag
We fired this morning at 0830hrs two rounds and two more at 1422hrs. I wrote nearly all afternoon and during the day everyone just loafed round because the drinking had sort of made most of them “dull”. There was very little drinking done today. Played bridge and in three hours play my partner and I were beaten 3230 to 779. I am going to bed now the time is 1906hrs and it is cold “enough”. Outside there is not a cloud in the sky and the moon is making it like day, it is very near full. Jerry has had planes over every night since last Thursday
Wrote Aircard (1) Janet
Norm went away today down to B.Cmp his leave starts tomorrow to Florence. We got five more chaps in the troop tonight, three of them were old chaps who were in hospital but the other two are 11ths both are ex 3rd Div men one of them was an officer in the 6th Reg I was in at Rangiora. His name is Bill Rhoads. He came over as a Sgt but will be a hunner very soon the same as the rest of them. He is a very good chap. Jerry had some planes and put over a few shells tonight.
Received 2 Aircards from Janet. Played bridge with the two new chaps tonight they won by 650 points. I was off duty tonight so I could take my pants off when I went to bed. The meals are very poor just now. The weather is wonderful just now. We have not had any rain for two weeks not to speak of any way there has been the odd drop. The snow was the only thing to make the Christmas a wet one. We have not fired a shot for over 24 hrs but our range at one point is only 7500yds.
Wrote Aircard Janet (1)
This morning it was very cold because of the very heavy frost and there is a strong cold wind blowing. The time is now 1315hrs and we still have not fired a shot. This makes it nearly 48hrs. I think we are being held here in this possition in case Jerry tries to take FAENZA back which would put him to within a mile from us again but if he came this side of the river we would be forced to “sort of move back” We are all getting another needle for thyfus because it is raging up here.
Wrote Aircard Janet (1)
This morning it was very cold because it was snowing not very heavy but it was snowing and snow anytime near the new year is no good to us. The morning was taken up with a bit of work this being collecting wood for our fire and cleaning up our room in general, we were told we might be sstaying in this possition for several days so we thought we might as well jack ourselfs up a bit. The afternoon was a dull one. The evening was passed away on bridge when four of us had a real game changing around every “rubber”. Fired five rounds before 2400hrs.
Today is the last day of 1944 and unlike last year it is a beautiful sunny day wih not a cloud in the sky. Last year we had rain and a very heavy snow fall of some nine inches deep. There is quite a lot of washing going on today both of clothes and bodys. We have jacked the barber “Tubby Simmond” a real chair etc and we are all having a haircut. Went and seen the Kiwi Concert Party after tea. Arrived back home at 8pm. The New Year Party was just started and we had a very good evening, the best the old boys said they had ever had. We said goodby to 1944 in a good way after a toast to my darlling wife I went to bed after a cooked supper. In bed at 0230hrs (1945).
Up this morning at 0800hrs breakfast was at 0900hrs. They gave us a lie in for another hour. There is no word weither we will even fire from this possition as yet they are going on very well with their break in the Gothic Line and we might have to move up before we can fire. We looted a house this morning and I only got about 200 buttons. The planes are very active but on the ground the fighting is very quiet only a few shots from both sides. There is a terrible shortage of water we can’t get any more than we can drink . We will have to go dirty for a few days as all the wells are dry too. It is very hot just now and we are feeling the strain of the lack of sleep and shortage of meals.
Last night starting at 1600hrs we fired 92 rounds for the Canadians who were cleaning out a pocket of Jerries. The whole show took over two hours. We had to stop firing because we ran out of ammo. This was the first time this has happened in this country. This morning was very windy so it looks as if we will be getting a change in the weather. We got prepare to move at1400hrs and we are leaving this place and going back to the place we —————- The Gothic Line is well and truly broken it was very easy so they don’t need us now, we are again out of action. Left at 2215hrs and arrived back at 0050hrs. It is still blowing hard.
Wrote 104 Frances 7 pag. Sent Beans, buttons, photos of siena.
Never woke until 0800hrs this morning this was breakfast time. It rained very hard for half a hour after breakfast but we could see it coming long before so we were ready for it this time. Wether we are going to stay here where we are or go back to the Div area outside JESI we don’t know.
Norm won 27 pounds to-day playing “slippery sam” and “two up”. There is a parade for us tomorrow at 0900hrs. There was some NZ tobacco in today also a large cake of chochlate per man, the tobacco was “Melrose”. I was in bed at 2130hrs.
Wrote Frances Air Card (1)
Cease fire between Russia and Finland took place this morning. We are now massing in the German border. We have to clean our trucks guns and limbers up for the C.O. who is coming around this afternoon for an inspection of the same. Wrote to the E.R.S. regarding the housing scheme State Addresses etc.
Just resting at present. The “Gothic Line” has been well and truly broken so they don’t need us yet we shall go up when it gets a bit tougher I suppose.
Wrote Frances Airgraph (1), Mother Airgraph (1)
We had a Reg Parade for the C.R. Ack this morning. Our troop parade was at 0800hrs and the reg one at 0900hrs. We were back in our own lines by 1000 , the rest of the day we had to ourselves. I got the tomato I had to ripen for seed. I wanted to get there before they went bad. I got about 100 seeds out of half the tomato. They are the best and biggest (outside) tomatoes I have ever seen in my life.
At 1900hrs we were told that we would be moving out as the 6th(?) and going towards the beach, to swim or not I could not say. We have to be ready to move at 0505 in the morning. This means up about 0400hrs.
Up at 0350hrs wraped up our beds and tents put them on the limber and then made a cup of cocoa for the four of us. True to time they started to move 0510hrs and we were only going a few miles so breakfast was at the usual time. The distance traveled was 80 miles and it took us 2 hours to do this trip . We shaved and washed then had our breakfast. Easy dress parade at 0900hrs then cleaning up the guns for a hour, then rest for the remainder of the day. We may be moving tomorrow sometime. Steve in charge of the Div, “Tiney” is in hospital. Received Air Card (1) Frances.
I was very sick tonight. Had to go outside about 24 times.
Wrote Airgraph Frances (1)
Received parcel (cake from Frances Post Dated 7.5.44)
Was raining very hard when I woke up this morning but as I dug a drain around my tent when I put it up I was safe this time from being flooded out. It was raining when we went to breakfast but cleared up later only to start again and it has rained on and off all day. The time now is 1718hrs and another shower has just passed over. I was better when I woke this morning and I hope I am alright now. There are a lot of chaps got the runs now it must either be the grapes or the crook tucker we are getting lately. The Mobile Pictures were here tonight and it was one I had seen before “Mutiny on the Bounty”. It was very good.
Wrote Air card (1) Frances. Received (2) Air.C from Frances
Raining again this morning never went to breakfast. There is talk of us being here for a few days yet. There is still quite a number of chaps who still have the runs etc. I am one of them. Played bridge all afternoon. A very dull day in all there is pictures on here again tonight but it is the same one as last night
A Parade at 0900hrs then the whole reg dug a field level ready for the football that is going to be played within the next few days. The First game was between 30 & R.H.Q. 30 won 6.0 the next was 29 & 48. 48 won 8.0 so 30 will play tomorrow I suppose. Cards again this afternoon. Tonight I went to see the pictures as it was a different one showing . It was called “Thank your lucky stars” It had been made for the troops by all the “stars”. Reg parade tomorrow. Troop parade at 0810hrs.
Up this morning at 0710hrs and got fully dressed right away but at 0745 hrs the T.S.M. came along and said that the Reg parade had been wiped as we were moving sometime to-day. The time was not before 0700hrs so we played bridge all afternoon . We are moving at 2020hrs I think. We have two places to go either to the coastal sector or inland to help the British, the Canadians are on the coastal sector. This move was changed and we are now going into our possitions in daylight. We moved at 1345hrs and after traveling some 60 miles we droped the guns we dug our slitty before our gun pit this time as this is the new Div order. It is too near the end to take unnecessary risks now. Never fired so we were in bed by 2100hrs.
A day of rest. All we did today was put the finishing touches on our pit and got the ammo ready for our coming barrage which we hope is the beginning of the end of this country as far as Jerry goes.
Up this morning at 0755hrs and breakfast was at 0800hrs. We then had a wash and shave then on with a game of bridge. Lunch was at 1200hrs and after this we had to get 400 rounds ready as there is the first phase of a 7 phase atack going in tonight. The first rounds will be at 1800hrs these combined with the hundreds of planes that have been over. Today is what we call softening up process. The main barrage starts at 0100hrs in the morning 120 rounds per gun. This barrage went off very well and we finished at 0300hrs but there was a continuation of the last phase twice so we never got into bed until 0415hrs. It was by this time very cold and wet as the winter is very slowly creeping upon us again.
Up this morning at 0700hrs only to fire one rnd. We stayed up. We done very little until 1745hrs when we were started on a task which was the second phase of this big atack. It was stoped after only nine rounds as the infantory were not ready. It was to be on again at 1830hrs but the time now is sometime between now and 0100hrs and it is to be 110 rounds. The time is now 1955hrs so it should be very soon because it will take 2 hours to do it. There is a 75rd barrage again at 0100hrs. All this was wiped and instead we fired 10rds at 0140hrs and then to bed. It was our picquet tonight so I was up again at 0250hrs it was very cold and I wore my overcoat for the first time since I left Cassino. Went to the beach for 1 1/2hrs this morning.
Up this morning at 0620hrs we are now firing the second phase of the atack it is to be 120rds starting at 0630hrs and going till 0830hrs. We are all very hungary so we had hoped that it would be a good breakfast but it was poor fried bread and beans, two stewed peaches by themselves was instead of the usual porridge. The morning is fine but windy. The time now is 0912hrs so it is a shave, wash and get the gun cleaned and move ammo into the gun pit before we can rest. I ———— the gun for 1/2hr this morning. We never fired again till 2100hrs then it was only 10rds so we had a good sleep. This breaking of this line has proved a very hard job now for they are holding onto this last strong point guarding the Po Valley.
Wrote Frances 105 6 pag. Sent tomatoes (seeds)
Up this morning at 0600hrs and fired five rounds then back to bed and none of us woke until 0810hrs Breakfast 0800hrs we got ours anyway so we never worried very much over being 10min late although one of our officers said something about I never even looked around to see if it was me he was talking to or not. We have had enough of their pin pricking now and it is our turn they haven’t grown up yet anyway they might get their jobs of office-boys when they get home again. I do my bit so I say now whats right and whats wrong for my-self. We got prepare to move at 1100hrs this morning but we have not moved yet time 1730hrs but we may move to-night yet. Moved at 2240hrs and we are not taking the place of some S.P—— and we are very close this time. We dug our pit until 0430hrs then went to bed. We are all up here the 3 Reg’s. There was no shells near us at all to-night.
Wrote Air card (1) Date 15 Finished today
Up this morning at 0750hrs and after breakfast and a shave we finished off our pit. They then told us to get 410rds per gun ready as we would be firing a barrage at 1130hrs. The time was changed to 1530hrs this did not come off so we then got to work and dug ourselfs a deep dug-out each as in this possition we might need them. We fired on Jerry this morning at 2300yds and in a C.D.F. program(?) we have there is a range of 1900yds this is very close. Except for being close this possition is very good, we have huts, tables, chairs etc we are at a small creek and in peace time it has been used for boating. The hills are for the people who have boats, they are really “batches”
So this is Sunday. I and we, were up at 0445hrs and started to fire a barrage which lasted until 0700hrs back to bed was out of quistion because our pit came down along one side so after cleaning up this and dumping the “caps” etc we were ready for breakfast. We magined to make ourselfs a cup of tea at 0600hrs. This helped us along I may say. For the rest of the morning we rested a bit and even managed to get in 1 1/2hrs of bridge but after lunch we were firing again and continued to do so until 1630hrs .We then were free Mac and I went and done a Itie house “over” I got two cups and saucers and two wee dishes besides some more buttons. I went to bed at 2045hrs and I was very soon asleep. I am on picquet from 0810hrs to 0400hrs.
My picquet was never done because we were up firing at 0300hrs and we were to finish at 0700hrs. There was a atack on. It never went right and we were called on to fire until 1340hrs. This meant we had been in the pit for 10hrs 40min . We were without a shave we never even had a wash, this was done at 1500hrs. The first big break came at 1555hrs and we have not fired for over one hour. We have fired 30 rounds so far today. We handed in our shorts to-day. News not bad to-day. Received parcel from Frances (chochlate_ Received parcel from Mum. Fired most of the night again.
Wrote Frances Air card (1)
This great battle for RIMINI is being continued to-day in all its fineness(?) This is the third day and so far we have fired 15,000 rounds since it started 10 days ago. We are trying or rather we have to break into the Po Valley before it rains.. We were up and at it this morning at 0440hrs and we went right on until 1714hrs. In this time we fired over 700 rounds a gun. It is my night off tonight so I won’t be getting up when we have to fire a big barrage. I was in bed by 2000hrs and I was very soon asleep. In the last 72 hours ending at 1020hrs I have had only 12hrs sleep and at present I feel very done in. I can hardly do any work but it has to be done
Up this morning at 0440hrs and we aare going to fire some more to-day but it won’t be very many because our program was from 0445hrs till 0649hrs but we got the “stop firing” “stand easy” at 0600hrs and have not fired since . Time now 0930hrs there is even some talk of a move to-day.We started firing at a range of 2500yds(?) and after four days it is now up to 10,500yds so we are getting on at last.. We should have RIMINI anytime now, Looks like rain. We received to-day also our extra blanket this makes us four now. We got orders to move at 2115hrs and we did just as we were leaving this possition it started to rain and it continued to do so until breakfast next morning but a lot happened between when we started off and breakfast. We only had 6 mls to go but (from 2115hrs 20.10.44 to 0415 21.10.44) The roads were very thick with dust before it rained so now they were very thick with mud and the surface was very slipery. Two of our trucks went off the road and they held us up for over an hour to go these few miles Took us 4 1/2hrs and by this time we were nearly frozen stiff. My overcoat I had pushed in my bedroll so I could not get it until I untied my gear off the limber. When we got to our possition we put the gun down at 0245hrs and got on with our slittys rigiht away. I had my gear on the ground with a ground sheet over it so after I dug a bit of a hole and put my tent over it I put my gear in and at 0400hrs I put myself inside , also it was raining all the time. This makes our life very hard when one has to dig a hole to “line”
I never woke this morning until 0745hrs breakfast was at the usual time 0800hrs. The sun was up but it had to do a lot of work before the ground dried up again. We caught two suckling pigs, they were only about 6-7 weeks old, put them in a sack for tomorrow sometime. We had to shift our gun 50yds right this morning as they had put us in the wrong place as we were doing this it started to rain again and for the rest of the day we stayed in bed. We had up to this time fired no rounds. I started to write my letter again after tea but it became dark so quick that I was only able to do twelve pages and I couldn’t see any more. After having a few smokes and some chochlate I went to sleep , it was still raining then.
Up this morning at 0750hrs just in time for breakfast. Today was a much better day for the sun came out and stayed out. The ground and all damp clothing was soon dry. We cooked our two pigs for lunch, half frying half boiling then there were eight of us and we ate the lot. They were very good. After lunch I had a bath done some washing, this was just as well to because we got the orders to move at 1320hrs. We were to go to a possition the north side of RIMINI. This town had only been in our hands for 24 hours. We passed through it at 1740hrs and put our gun down some three miles on the “N” side of the town. Jerry is 3000yds away. Fired a barrage of 227rds for our own blokes. They went forward 3000yds In bed at 0300hrs and we were shelled very heavy.
Wrote Frances 106 4 pag (1) Airgraph
Up again this morning just in time for breakfast 0750hrs. We were told that we would be moving at 1200hrs but at 0940 hrs this was cancelled and now we may not move to-day.Jerry seems to have taken some of his guns back. Although the boys said we were shelled heavy this morning I never woke up at all, slept through all. Weather fine. We are held up again but it won’t be long before we are on the way again. Jerry runs for two days and stays for one. This will be the case from now on. We are now mobile. The Kiwis are in the fore once again . We are to take a town 40miles up the coast. Received 176 – 177. We done two hours harrassing fire between 2200 and 2400hrs then we had to get up at 0020hrs , 5rds – 0040, 5 rds, 0115hrs, 10rds- 0400hrs , 7 rds – and the last time was 0550hrs , 8rds.
We never went back to bed after we got up at 0550hrs We were told that we would be going forward at 0900hrs as we had to be back through REMINI before 0930hrs. The possie party went forward and we are not moving now as Jerry is simply blasting what was to be our possition with everything he has got, we are now firing the barrage from this possition. It starts at 2030hrs somewhere about 400rds per gun.. Found steel rule thought it was a booby trap at first and I pushed it across the ground with a stick. I had to goforward with another chap to our new possitons which are only 1000yds from the enemy at the present time .After the atack goes in tonight it will be somewhere around 4-5000yds. We had to level a piece of ground for each gun.. We stayed the night. The guns are coming up tomorrow sometime, weather fine. Bed 2045hrs.
Received fourletter and three airgraphs. Letters from Frances were 175-176 again and 178.Airgraphs were two from frances one from cousin Anne, two letters from Gran. I was up this morning at 0600hrs because I was to lead the guns into their possitions when they came, at first light but they never came until 1020hrs and we were all day in digging our slittys and gun pit . After all this was done we were told that we might be moving in the morning. The area has been very quite all day. The Arty lines I mean. We may get a rest to-night so I am sitting up on my slitty writing this. I have a candle going but as I have my tent up and blacked out I will be able to write a letter to. It looks like rain tonight.
Wrote Aircard Frances, Wrote No 107 9 pag
At 2000hrs last night I was flooded out of my hole and I had to make a run for the house which was about fourty yards from where I was. I slept there the night. The only clothes I had on were boots without socks, a singlet, jersey, overcoat and my—- bed. I had my gas-cape(?) this helped to keep me dry but my bed roll, big and small pack were dry but all my writing gear got wet through and I lost most of it. Today was mostly used with doing our gear, fixing up the pit etc then it was all to ourselfs. We fired very little all day and tonight we only fired two rounds. I was up this morning at 0100hrs until 0200hrs then from 0215hrs until 0305hrs I was on picquet. It looks like rain tonight so I put my tent up this time on the top of the ground.
It was my night off last night so I never had to get up for the two rounds that was fired at 0845hrs and when I woke it was breakfast time 0730. The cooks call for it woke me. The rain came a little last night but we got half an hour this morning but it is not very heavy and I don’t think it will be. B.B.C. news said last night that when the Italian campaining is over we will be going to the Islands and the 3 year men will be replaced. Weither we will go home first or not we don’t know but it is just like our Government to send us straight to the Islands from here. We are very bitter towards them now. We moved up 4000yds today the time was 1235hrs and we are now within 1500yds of Jerry. We dug our pit then our slittys and were in bed by 2000hrs. Very active up here now.
We got our breakfast this morning just before it started to rain and it rained very hard all day and by lunch time we were feeling very miserible as one may guess. We were wet to the shins and could not change our clothes as we had harrassing fire for several hours this meant one round at 1300hrs another 8rds after two more in another 6hrs and so on for about 40 rounds in three hours. We all moved into the house at 1600hrs and this will do us until we have this possition because the weathr does not look the best for the future two or three days. We were to fire a barrage of 400rounds at 2200hrs and harrassing fire of 60 rounds at 2100hrs but because of the terrible weather both were cancelled this shows how bad it really was.
Wrote air card (1) frances. Started No 108
Up this morning at 0745hrs and we had to dig a drain three feet deep to drain out pit. Wet , it was full of water this morning. We worked hard all day to make our selfs right again and we are now pretty right again. It never rained to-day but there is a high wind blowing but this helped to dry up the ground very good and now the mud has become hard enough to walk on without slipping .If it does not rain it will be right for a few days . I had my first wash this afternoon for 52hrs , no shave either was it a job. My hair had not even been combed but I am cleaned up now wrditing in the cassa by candle light. My night off.
Finished No 108 (11pag) ]
Rained this morning for a while but this afternoon it cleared up a bit although it is still overcaste. We spent a lot of our spare time washing and writing.Some of our team played slipery. I wrote Frances her Christmas letter as the Xmas mail closes tomorrow. We got our 2 NZEF Xmas Cards to-day and they have to go in tomorrow so they will get home by christmas. After tea there was about fourty rounds between 1730hrs and 2200hrs when we had to go on with twohours harrassing fire. We went to bed at 2115hrs and was lucky we never had to fire again until after breakfast. The life at present is very miserable for us although we are in a house. There are the next six months of wet weather to look forward to. Our outlook is very grim.
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)
It started to rain at 0900hrs the first for 4 days. Seen a kittihawk shot down by Ack Ack gun, pilot never got out. Seen where Mitchell was killed there were parts of the jeep scattered around for 50 yds it was 7 mines he hit. At 1600hrs 10 messies came over our position. We went to earth smartly they dropped several bombs but everything came out alright. They never came back.
Up at 0700 hrs. Traveled 8 mls. Ready to move at 0400hrs. Jerry is getting out of it . Moved at 1430hrs arrived at our new possitions at 1645hrs had 11 messies over just after we got here. Shells landing nearly all the time so far but they are some distence from us. We are on a hillside and the wagon lines are down in the gully a fair enough place I think. Dug me third slitty. Weather fine but cold.
Guns fired 72 shots at last possition. Very heavy frost this morning. Seen a messie shot down by a spitfire 1300hrs second one at 1545. On picquet at 0115hrs with a tommygun. The ridge above us was shelled all day. I don’t know what they are after for there is nothing there at all. Roy Murry had arm blown off with Ack gun. Mag left here on side of road was lucky to get out himself jeep blown up also.
Was going to move to=day but the Infantiary had a set-back so we will be here for a few days yet. Seen no messies to-day but our spitfires have been around all day. We got stuck into the veno which was in the house where the C Post is. We got 7 bottles filled . Kiwi Cam (?)got drunk and Bob Witter was nearly as bad. Went to bed at 2000hrs and was woke up very smartly by shellfire.
Wrote Frances No 32 … Airgraph Weather fine
Was up at 0230 hrs Shells were busting all around us.I could hear the shrapnel thudding into the ground by the Quad, 88’s and 210”s they were. Got out of Quad and slept in my slitty the rest of the time. There are a lot of holes in the ground that were not there before, no one hurt. Buried the Iti who had been lying by a hedge for 4 days, Jerry shell hit him and someone shot him to put him out of misery. Ouch, foot
Received 9 letters Gran 5 Mum 1 Harry 1, Frances 2. Wrote Frances Airgraph. Was on picquet to-night. We was shelled again to-night at 12.30am Jerry landed 7 by the waggon lines, but they were all duds Thank God. It was a very misty rain all day and the ground is very slipery again. Tom and I are sleeping in a wide slit trench now safer than the Quad.
Weather misty. We was shelled again this morning about 30 came over and shrap was falling all around.. I was unloading Amn when the first two landed and by the time I got down to the Quad and I just had my braces down when they started. I dived into our hole and they were close one rained earth on the tent, shrap 8” by 2” landed 12ft away another cut the Caugh net and went into the ground 2ft from my door. Fired big barrage, big atack.
Atack a failure a lot of men lost with it. They were all pushed back by tanks, red x going all day, was raided by missies three times, no shells close to-day. Seen one of our bombers get a direct hit with a 88, it jusst went up in a sheet of smoke (finish) Weather fine. Received letters 84 – 90.
Wrote Frances no 33
Had a hot shower at the NZ Red X. Showers ok. Very quite day to-day. About 25 Missies came over at 0912hrs but done hardly a thing . Still having very good meals. Received letters 82 – 83 so my line is now completed up to 92. Have no parcels yet but hope to get them before Christmas, don’t know what is going to happen at Xmas here. I hope we get a good dinner.
Was shelled again to-day, no damage done, we gave it back thick and heavy and they shut up. All the drivers encluding me got down a big drain and stopped there for a hour. The weather is still holding out, helped the cooks dig theire rubbage over and dug another big hole. Had fresh meat for tea. Went into garden, took basket of marrows for tea tomorrow.
6 Months in Middle East
Made a road and in between times picked over the bombed building, 3 shotguns were found also shawls, stockings cups etc and about 4000lire by three different chaps. It was in parcels which the Jerry’s were sending home to their people, soap made up one of the main items. They must be very short of soap in Germany. Rain at night.
Wrote (F) no 34. Also sent her money, wings(?) stamps. It rained hard last night. There was a church parade at 1030hrs. Compulsory everyone. Reg fired 31,000 rounds since we went into action in this country. Lt. Col Walters D.S.O. Bob Hodgson M.B.E. Very quite to-day seen no Jerry planes at all, a little shooting but not much. On picquet from 2000hrs till 2045hrs in bed 6.30. Got dyrear.
Received No 93
Did not go to sleep until 2am because of the guns. Done some washing and cut my big toe nail, the ingrown one, got my boots which were away being mended , a pretty good job too. The food is getting a bit on the poor side again but we are still getting a lot of fresh meat. Guns were shooting all through the night about every hour , slept very little.
Cable, Airgraph, also Clarice
I have got the runs to-day in fact I had to change my under-pants at 8.30 this morning. I am a bit better this after-noon . A thick mist coming up.I think it will turn to a drizzle before the night is over. Food is getting very poor. The rain did not come and the ground is very slipery with the drizzle on it was playing cards (500) for 2hrs tonight.
Wrote (F) No 35
A Barrage started at 0100hrs and the guns have been firing right through up to 1300hrs this after 100 smoke. Just before lunch our tanks crossed the road to Rome and dug in 19 of them, the whole of the 8 Army is going to put in a big atack in three days time. I have got a very weak stomach. I have been to our W.C. about 20 times to-day.
Messies came over at 0800hrs , done no damage , everything opened up on them. Rifles Bron’s, Spand—–, Tommy guns, borfos. They came again at 12 and again at 3pm. Seen one shot down but he landed in his own lines. I still have the runs. Got some suplies from the Naffi, chock, digs, matches. Weather not bad, very dark- no moon until 2100hr
Wrote Frances No 36
It is overcast this morning. I still have the runs. It rained a little to-day about 3.30pm. Not much firing but the 26th Batt and the tanks went into San Cusonia to see if Jerry was still there. I don’t know if he has gone or not yet, no word through as yet. 23rd were pushed off three times the other night but retook it after the third and held it.
To-day is very dull and very cold, we was thinking we was in for a fall of snow. Still got the runs. Was told the 23rd Batt was resting up in the town on top of the hill above us. I might get a chance to see Norm, have not got my new boots yet. Y.M. staff in to-day. Received 4 papers to-day. Dates 15,22,25,29 Sept.
Met B.Brooks, Seen Norm. Received 1 parcel and 4 letters 1 from Gran and 98 – 100 from Frances. Norm has been hit twice but no blood, just bruises once in the leg and once in the shoulder. He came to see me. I went up the hill to see him but he was another two miles further on. I never had the time. A very good day.
Wrote no 37.
Prepare to move at 11.15hrs Will not move to-day. Jerry is shelling the place we were going to and is he knocking holes in it. I am very pleased to be here, not a bad sort of place, don’t know when we will move now, the day has been very cold and the snow will be on us in a few weeks, they say it is a very mild winter so far, there are still leaves on the trees so autum is still here.
Received letters 96 –97
I can’t see where they get there winter from . Have to be ready to move out at any time. Our guns are still firing though. We will only move at night now because Jerry can see our possition all the time, very nice “e what” Rained a bit. I hope it does not last. On guard again, very cold . In bed 6pm Jerry shelled us 11 o’clock damage nill, shells 14, 8 died
Wrote (F) 38
Rained very hard from 0345hrs until 0700hrs. Ground very slippery and of course muddy. Bill Brooks came to visit me. Received letter from Norm saying he had decided to come over to me. I wrote out my claim and had it in 1 hour after I had received his letter, wrote and told him to put in for a transfer also. Will post them both tomorrow I hope we meet with much success. Weather cold no rain.
Up at 0515hrs moved guns at 0700hrs, 2500yds up the road. Tom took ours up, said it was very muddy and he got boged several times, wagon lines back here where the guns were using the G.pits for the Quads. Big atack going in to-night, guns might come back here if the atack is not successful. Cook house still here. Did not move in old house as Sigs were still there. Raining all night
Wrote 39 NZEF Times to
Norms birthday 24 years old
The town which is holding us up is Orsogna it is a fortress now. Still raining a drizzle and the ground is just a lake, it is very hard to even walk. Moved into the house after tea . We are going to have a party, for we have 2 bottles of beer each.
Wrote Frances No 40
Still raining. So this is Christmas Day in the army, it is the same as any other day, only a little quiter our side. We had a good victory in the morning with our guns around Orsogna, our rations to-day were very good. Wrote it all in letter No 40, issue of rum was the only extra we got. Went to bed at 8.30 and there finished the day out, thought very hard of home
Still raining, rations back to normal worst luck, and on goes the war again, it never stopped by a long way just slowed down a little. Wrote a bit more to letter no 40 got Toms pair of No 11’s out, my other boots are wet right through. Have not got my other ones back yet. Went to bed 1715hrs very cold and wet . On picquet from 2.30am until 3.15am.
New Boots, Pongo ones
Stopped raining at 1315hrs and the sun has come out but it is still very cold. Had fresh turkey for tea. Bob Witter got 6 Jelleys in a parcel , we made them up per instructions on the packet. We had fruit, nice with figs in Jelly and tinned cream and was we full. We are still very muddy but if the rain holds off we will be able to get cleaned up.
The rain has held off and I done my washing. Had a shave and a good wash myself, changed my sox, boots also, still very very cold but no snow yet. Made PLAN of Letter Box –Quad. Very windy and clothes drying good , hope to have them dry before night. No parcels yet, hope my diary comes soon three days to go. To bed at 1800hrs, very cold still but no rain
Up at 0715hrs, fine and no snow yet. Received word that the guns are coming back into the third possition and are going to dig in for the winter, we the drivers are going back to a village to stay. The infantary say they can only move 1000yds at the time so it is not worth it. We are all waiting for the 2nd front to start in the spring. Ground dry again. Norm came over to my troop this afternoon 1430hrs
Moved quads up by the railway this morning. Started to dig in but was told to stop for if it rained we could not get out so they are going to see if they can get us a better place. The village seems to be out for the present. Wrote F. 47 8 pages. Still in this possition ,quads are now in the railway line very dry, all stones, weather frosty tonight. To Bed at 1949hrs.
Frost this morning followed by rain at 1300hrs, very cold. Dug our hole a bit deeper this morning. Don’t know yet if the Quad have to stay here, or go back. Started to rain very hard at 1600hrs trouses got wet through going down to tea, came back and went to bed. Still raining, was going off to sleep very nicely and at 8.30pm my leg felt wet. I put my hand down and it went down into water up to my wrist. We decided to shift into the quad for the rest of the night.
Very cold, made our beds as usual, one on the seats, one on the floor and it was so cold we could not get warm enough to go to sleep. We did get to sleep after a while but it was still raining and hard too, good-bye old year 1943 you have been a hard one.
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