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
1 August Wednesday
Left FABRIANO this morning at 0700hrs and the journey was mostly through hills FOSSATO, NOCERA, FOLIGNO,PERUGIA and then LAKE TRASIMENO. We are camped beside it now not a bad area either, how long we are going to be here remains to be seen. We arrived at 1300hrs and after lunch we jacked our tents up. I received mail from Janet and Mum S. I got 9 aircards from Janet and one surface letter from Mum
2 August Thursday
Up this morning at 0715hrs for a check (?) parade, breakfast at 0800hrs and then a very easy day afterwards. We were told at 1400hrs that we have to move tomorrow morning to another area, it is only over the way a bit but we will be closer together there. The day is very good, cool for a change as there is a slight breeze coming off the lake I suppose. I sent the aircard for my four Loewe pipes
3 August Fri
After breakfast we packed up our gear and across the road we moved. I hope, this time to stay till we move towards home. The 8th Reinforcements were told they were going out on Sunday 6th. Wrote 2 cards to Janet after tea. The weather is very good down here not too hot and not too cold. There is a slight breeze blowing all the time. There was a great noise going on in the Reg tonight due to the reg being drunk for the 8th going home. I was in bed by 2245hrs.
There was no check(?) parade this morning due to several little things. The morning was a good cool one and we done several little things for ourselfs. This afternoon I went over to the YM and gave them a hand in several little things. Received a cable from Janet this morning saying “please address letters home writing in detail letter” Its got me worried because she must be going back to ChCh in a hurry because I received a few cards from her this morning also and the latest date was 27.7.45 only three days before she sent the cable and she seemed alright then, my guess is that her Mother has taken very ill. I can’t think of any other reason at all. Wrote Janet one card today.
5 August Sunday
Got word this morning that I was picked in the div team to play cricket all this next week . we are going on a sort of tour the tour for which I have been trying so hard to play myself into. Wrote Janet a card today. There arrived in the area today some R>D. tents and they were issued out to the gun ——bs . They are going to be put up in line and they were plotted in this afternoon with a compass. Tents layed with a compass, never in any of our experience have we seen it before anywhere. The rumour about the 9th leaving is saying the 28th of this month. Yesterday the rumour said the 14th of this month. The day was another good one and there was a cool wind blowing again this afternoon. The time is now 2140hrs and I am going to try and write a card to Janet tonight (later) I did write the card
Left camp at 0800hrs and after picking up two chaps from the Div Arty we all met in a town by the lake. We were on our way by 0930hrs this was the div cricket team. Our lunch was sort of messed up and all we were able to get was tea and cakes at the YM and Toffies(?) on the way up. After calling at the cricket ground at 1720hrs we came in to Riccione where we are staying for the week. It is a livily sort of place now being due of course to the Itialian people running nearly everything again. The weather is cold
Today we played 2 AGARA cricket it was a very good game indeed because we had them fighting for the runs all the way. We made 179 and they passed this so at 1827hrs only 3 minutes before the close of play they got them with the loss of only 7 wkts. They have us a very good time the meals were really good too. We arrived back at camp at 1930hrs got our tea and then got dressed and again went to the 5 MED dance and had a sit down there for a couple of hours. We were all in bed by 2400hrs after a very good day alround we enjoed it all although we were beaten. I only made 4 so my Avg for the div team is now 92. Went to the dance again tonight but was only there for half a hour. I was in bed by 1030hrs
8 August Wed
Today was going to be one of rest for us but we received a ring at 0920hrs asking us to play again today because a team hadn’t turned up 2 AGRA were to play 10 Indian Div but they couldn’t turn up because of the weather. They are at Govigia and were coming down by plane, this is why we played 2 AGRA again today. We avenged our defeat of yesterday. We batted first again and made 197 for 7 wkts dec and this time we put them out for 106. There was a big dance on again tonight and we all went down for awhile I came home early. There was a strong wind blowing at the time. Wrote Janet card
9 August Thursday
When I woke this morning it was raining very heavy and the wind was terrific. We never got up until 0830hrs breakfast time it was then. We all went over different parts of the town. Brian Smith and I went round to the YM where I started to write a letter. I was interrupted at 1040 by the driver of our truck coming round to pick up the team as the game was on at Rimini instead of the hospital which is only two miles away. We were ready to move at 1120hrs and away we went to the football ground when we arrived there it was to find that the match wasn’t timed to start until 1800hrs so we went down to the Noffie for lunch it was good too. The team we played was the 61 area team and we won the toss and fielded first. We had them 1 for 0, 2 for 0, 3 for 2, 4 for 5, 5 for 7 and then it stoped, they made 71 all out. It was far from their best team. We went into bat and we were out 4 for 10 ourself but the best was to go in so we managed to put on 151 for 9. It finished then I made 15 out. To date for the Div I have made 38 NO, 50NO, 4 out, 15 out. After tea Les Groves and I went to Rimini to the ENSA Show and it was very good to nearly all Ities of course. After arriving back the driver of our truck put on a cupa just for the three of us and we were in bed by 2400hrs. We were tired too/
Today is fine, but there is no water today either and we find it hard to wash. I am going to finish the card I started yesterday.This morning wrote one card Janet. Loafed around on the beach most of the day and at 1730hrs we left here to go to the football match at Rimini, it was 8th Army, 2 AGRA and it was a good game ending in a draw 2 all and after a wash we went to the dance and we had a good sort of party till 2400hrs. I was feeling lovely myself
11 August Saturday
Up this morning at 0745hrs and breakfast was at the usual time. After breakfast we went about our shaving, washing, etc and then to the Naffie for a cupa after that we went down to the beach where we played cricket and lay on blankets under the shade of large umbrellas. This is the second day we have been here for lunch and it was alright too. Tom Pritchard has been asked to join the CMF side and he went away this morning straight after breakfast, the team is going to England but first they are going to play a match against MEF who are flying out from England. We may be able to see the game in Rome, the CMF or MEF one. Wrote Janet one card. We all went around to the dance but were home by 10pm. And went to bed, there were no drinks tonight. We have the big game on tomorrow
12 August Sunday
Up early had breakfast 0830hrs and we went over to the Naffie for a cupa just before we left for the cricket. The game started at 1115hrs we fielded first, their first pair put on 50 and at lunch they had 79 for 2. After lunch it was very quiet and fielding was very tireing we struck a good patch and it was a —— in the end because we got them out for 122. 2 AGRA the team was. We went into bat right away. Paul Whitelaw and Jack Robertson opened, these two brought 60 up on the board before Jack was given out LBW to a ball he glided down to fine leg, we passed their total with only 3 wkts down and we continued on till 1815hrs. Ken Diprase (?) got 108 not out. We ended up with 255 for 5. Went to the dance after we got back and had a good time for our last night we never got home till 0030hrs. We are leaving here tomorrow afternoon about 1400hrs
13 August Monday
Left Riccione at 1350hrs and we were soon cracking on our way home, it was a long trip and we never arrived here at the Lake until 2245hrs. We dropped the players at their different camps along the route. A change has been made in the camp also the possition of it. We are now in R.D. tents, 6 men to a tent. All the guns are lined up and each troop is a line of tents also
This morning we were up at 0600hrs for a check parade breakfast is at 0700hrs , route march from 0800hrs to 0900hrs, work on the trucks from 0900 to 1000hrs. We never done very much after morning tea. The war is nearly finished with the Japs also we are only waiting the signing of the peace, it is expected over the radio any time at all. When it does come over we expect all this work and marching will be cut out. Half the 9th and 10th reinforcements are on leave at Sanizattea (?) and they don’t expect to come back here before they go home, there are still a lot of 9th and 10th reinf here n camp, we are expecting reinforcements in this week. I hope they come because there are only a few men here in camp now we havd 15 chaps on battery parade this morning although there are only we five here they still keep the reg guard on, it is the forth day it has been posted. The time is 1715hrs and I am just back to normal. I will write a card to Janet tonight. Wrote Janet card tonight
We were woke up this morning at 0545 hrs by our officer who told us that the war was over without Japan. We are at peace once again after nearly 6 years of war, it only had to go to the end of this month for the 6 years. Today was a holiday for us and I wrote Janet 2 cards. I have to write Norm, Gran and Anne yet. There were pictures on tonight but I never went I wrote instead. I was is bed by 2000hrs it was rather chilly too
Another day of rest. All training etc has now been stopped and from now on it will be very boreing until the time comes for us to go home which I hope isn’t long. Wrote Norm a card. I have been offered a job looking after the YM at the camp where half the 9th and 10th reinforcements are staying. I will be boss and the job will be for about one month when the 9th reinf go out, I will go out with them this camp is near Farno
17 August Friday
Went for a route march this morning for one hour but the rest of the day was to ourselfs.I done some washing in the afternoon
18 August Saturday
A route march again this morning, it was only for onehour though. I am waiting for word about the YM job, I am going to take I will know within the next quarter of a hour. I am not going now as the Colonel said I had been away from the Regiment too much lately. I have taken another chaps place who works in the YM he was allowed to go but I could only go into the YM and help. The Col said this cricket was a good thing he is holding it against me I think. Wrote to Norm and Anne. I am now in charge of the YM for a few days as the rest of our boys are going away. Today I was offered Rome leave this morning and I took it. I go on the 21st Tuesday
19 August Sunday
Today I shifted all my gear over to the YM as I am going to be in there for good now until I go out with the 9th Reinf. I cleaned up the area around the YM and then had a sleep. After tea it was just the same as usual, tea had to be made and I was in bed by 2300hrs
Never got up this morning till 0820hrs missing my breakfast of course. The day was a dull one and during the afternoon there was some very heavy showers of rain. I had to wash my shorts, one shirt and three pairs of socks. These were not dry till 2200hrs. This afternoon I sliced my thum with my razor and I had to go to the RAP and have it fixed up, no stiches were needed, I was lucky as the blade was tight. I was changing the blade and when I was screwing the handel in the whole razor twisted in my hand so the edge wiped right across the ball of my thum. It is alright now. I am driving the truck on this leave tomorrow, it is E 5 a three-tonner. We leave at 0830hrs. The leave is for three days I think
Left this morning at 0830hrs for three days leave to Rome. I drove B. Five down as the driver has a bad knee. The journey down was a tiring one we went route 71-2 which took us through ORVIERO,MONTEFIASCONE,VITERBO, ROME . We arrived at Rome at 1430hrs and booked in at the club. Bill Rhodes and I planned to have a look over Rome. Tea was at 1800hrs and as there was nothing doing after tea we went to the pictures and seen “The Woman in the Window” We were back in our room by 2345hrs and it was so hot that there was only one sheet and one blanket on the bed, it was too hot even to use the blanket
22 August Wednesday
Drove the truck around this morning on a sightseeing trip. We went to St Peters Cathedral. I was unable to see it this time as I had to look after the truck. In the afternoon I went on a trip this time I was in the sightseeing party and we went to the Mussolini stadium which was very good. After tea Bill and I went and seen the opera “Carmen” it was easy on the eye that’s all. It was held in the great openair theater. On our way home from the stadium this afternoon we had a look over the church of the Capuchin(?) Fathers. There are several rooms underneath the church which in the old days were used as burial grounds for those monks who died . There were 4000 buried there until they stopped it. There can be seen the bones of these Monks as they were raised from the ground to make room for others, these bones are now all over the five rooms. There are several Monks just standing up against the walls they still have their clothes on. There is 4000 sets of bones and they cover the four walls and ceiling of each room, a very grim sight I may say. There was one Monk embalmed and he was just like the day he died and he was 200 years old. This club of ours is very dissapointing the meals are not bad though. When we went into the Opera there was an Itie at the inner gate hireing “Opera Glasses” he was doing a jig, every time some soldiers went past and he would say “Opera glasses, see the legs up”
This morning I went to one of the most interesting placesin the world , the Vatican City. I bought a book on it so I won’t try and say anything here other than it is a very wonderful place indeed. The bronze ball on the top of St Peters can hold 14 people inside it. Bill and I put our two ribbons up this afternoon and got our photos taken. After tea we went to the pictures picking up our photos by the way around they are not bad. I look a real “grim dig” I got one coloured and it shows up my 1939-45 star and the Itialian Star. The picture was very good “Holleywood Canteen” was the name of it.
24 August Friday
I walked around to St Peters this morning and had a look inside. It is a marvellous building indeed the best I have ever seen so far as cathedrals or churches go. The trip this afternoon was to the Coliseum then to the Catacombs and on the way back we went to St Pauls second church in Rome, this church is not so very old but it is a great one also. Most of these great churches are made of matereal most of which has been given by different countrys. I bought another bent pipe costing me 800L. It is a Balwin.
25 August Saturday
Today we leave for the Lake again we are going about 1400hrs. Just loafed around the club this morning and after overcoming a little trouble about getting my truck out of the car park we were on our way by 1445hrs. We took route 9 back and this brought us through some nice country and the towns we passed were NARNI,TERNI,FOLIGNO,PERUGIA,CASTIOLIONE, which brought us back to our “home” we arrived at 2215hrs.
26 August Sunday’
Only repacked all my gear today and done the odd job for myself. Wrote Janet one card. Received two from her and one from Mother and one from My Mum. There is a Div team going up north again on Thursday I don’t know if I am going or not yet
Never got up till 0730hrs this morning missed my breakfast. Put some papers in a envelope and sent them to Janet also sent the photos I had taken in Rome, by airmail they went. Wrote Janet two cards tonight. I have only received five from her in the last three weeks. There must be a lot somewhere because I have only got the one of 7.8.45 and that is twenty days. I was in the table tennis games tonight and I got in the last three. Bruce beat me in the semi-final he lost in the final
28 August Tuesday
Today was a quiet one indeed only the routeen was done. Wrote Janet 2 cards
29 August Wed
Jacked up a cricket team to play 29 Battery tomorrow. Received word that I was now playing in the Div team. We are leaving tomorrow morning at 0830hrs. Wrote Janet 2 cards
30 August Thursday
Left at 0845hrs and rrived at Riccione at 1910hrs we had a lot of trouble with the truck. I was in bed by 2000hrs as I was tired after the trip up
31 August Friday
Started playing at 1115 hrs this morning. This was to be a two day game and we batted first making 180 I got bowled for 1. We put them out for 69. This evening Les Groves and I went to the Opera “Tosca” it was the best I have ever seen to date. We have been having plenty of fruit again and not spending very much money this time. We haven’t got much to spend anyway. Never got home till 0020hrs. Opera came out at 2355hrs
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).