1 November Thursday
Nothing doing very much today. I went to a ERS lecture this morning, it was about housing, I learnt quite a lot I didn’t know before. Wrote Janet three cards tonight. It started to rain very heavy about 1900hrs but by the time we were ready for bed it had stoped There was terrific thunder and lighting with it.
2 Nov Friday
Only three days to go we told ourselfs this morning but at 1500hrs word came round that the boat had been put forward 10 days, this will (if it is right) make our date about the 15th of this month. So far we have had the dates as such 26th, or 24th Nov and now this new one
3 Nov Saturday
Our boat has been put forward 10 days so the date will be the 18th. Went to the pictures tonight. I haven’t received any mail from Janet for 3 weeks.
4 November Sunday
Today as usual was very quiet. Wrote Janet card
5 November Mon
Today is Janet’s birthday she is 27 today the same age as myself. I had saved a bottle of beer from my last issue so I drank her health and happiness for the future. At one time I had hopes of being home for her birthday but now we will have to fight hard to be home for christmas
6 November Tuesday
Wrote Janet a card. Never went to the pictures tonight as I didn’t think I would like it. Went to the ERS workshop and made the pattern for our glass shelf in the bathroom I also made a good tooth brush rack for two, the bath jobs were made out of perspex
7 November Wed
I had my new slacks fixed up today, loops on the top and I had the bottoms widened from 29” to 22 ½ “ They don’t look so bad now. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “Where Salome __________” (fair) The weather is cold now and the rain is holding off so far.
8 November Thursday
This morning for breakfast we had egg powder making it the third morning running. The food is very scarse and we are just getting enough to eat and that’s all. There has been another cut of 20% this makes 60% cut now of the rations we were getting when we first came down here 5 weeks ago. 800 more men are coming off the draft for NZ they will be going to Egypt now, the date will be Sunday 11th. There are only a few single chaps here left of the NZ roll for this boat, all the married men are going home
9 November Fri
We have only a week to go now until we get on the boat. The days are cold now too. Pictures tonight
10 November Sat
Another cold day. The chaps who are going to the ME are going on Tuesday now instead of Monday(ME would be Middle East)
11 November Sun
It rained for a while this morning but not very heavy. Played bridge after tea. Ray Jarden arrived down here this afternoon he is going home with us he is a 11th but as his wife is very sick so he has got Compos Leave
12 November Mon
The chaps who are going to the M.E. packed up today it took them nearly all day to get done. Med Parade, pay parade just as we will be doing them in two days
13 November Tuesday
Rex Ball arrived Italy
At 0630hrs this morning it started to rain and at the time the boys left it reached its peak. They got pretty wet before they actually left the camp. The rain continued all day and all night. It was very cold too. Received my list of Bulletins from England. Wrote Tom Stoke(?) and give him the list of what I wanted. Spent most of the day in our tents. In bed at 1730hrs and read a book
14 November Wed
Today we changed our money. I put in 6 pound, 4 pounds for myself and 2 pounds for Ray Farden. “Short Arm” inspection. Rex left us today for Florence, he was around with me most of the time he was here. Pictures tonight The Naughty Ninetys “Costello Abbot”
15 November Thursday
Our boat has been put on 24hrs so we leave on Saturday instead of Friday as before. We will be very lucky to get home for Christmas now. A fine day today. Had a trial pack this afternoon. I shall have two large bags one down the hold and one with me. Picture “Black Swan”
16 November Fri
This is our last day in Italy. We are leaving at 0845hrs tomorrow morning. We have to hand in our blankets and webb etc at 0630hrs in the morning. We shall be going on the boat at 1015hrs in the morning. Our bag for the hold is being taken on board this afternoon. We collect our BMA at 1400hrs this afternoon. I arrived in this country (Italy) 2 years 10 days today. I have been overseas 2 years 6 months now. In the army altogether 3 years, 2 months 5 days today
17 November Sat
Left Adv Base at 0905hrs and traveled to TARANTO in trucks. The day is fine and warm.After waiting on the wharf for some five minutes we went aboard lighters and so onto our ship the “MOOLTAN” We left the shores of Italy at 1021hrs and it ws the end of the winter for us, within a week we will be in a much warmer part of the world. There are quite a few men on this boat and just about every “service arm” is represented even if only by half a doz. We embarked on the ship at 1050hrs. At 1400hrs the ship pulled out of the harbour and we were soon on our long way home. We were told that there were three ports of call. Tufick first then Colombo, on to Freemantle and then home. We would be arriving in NZ somewhere near Dec 21st so we should help to bring some happiness home with us for Christmas. Our quarters are not the best, we are sleeping in hammocks above our mess tables. Last night (today) I tried to sleep in my hammock but my back ached terrible so my sleep was almost nill I am going to sleep on the table tonight if I can. This ships top speed is 17 knots.
18 November Sun
We had to get up this morning at 0615hrs, breakfast is at 0645hrs so getting up is necessary. Today is a bit rougher and we are all feeling a wee bit off colour. I hope I am alright because I have been a good sailor up to now. We have been playing “bridge” most of the time so far. Was in bed by 2100hrs
19 November Mon
Today is our last one in the “Med” We will reach Port Said during the night. A very quiet day aboard ship
20 November Tuesday
When we got up this morning we were outside Port Said. After letting some South A’s off also some Poles we were all ready to get on our way again. Only vegetables had to be loaded on. I sent Janet a “special” air card. They were printed on the ship by the crew and they were very nice costing us threepence. We got under way again at 1220hrs and once again I was going through the Suez Canal. We were stoped about 1530hrs and we waited for two aircraft carriers to come through. These were the only aircraft carriers I have ever seen and they were there in all their glory. By tea time we were on our way again but I never seen anymore of the canal in daylight
21 November Wed
We were in Tufick this morning erly about 0500 hrs We are still here and the time is now 1245hrs. A very busy morning indeed, water and oil has been pouring into our tanks all morning. There are 1000 more men on board now, they are the 8ths that was left in Egypt. Reclassified 15ths and married 9ths. I don’t think we will be here very much longer as soon as the oil etc is on we will be on our way. I don’t think we will be here in the morning anyhow. I bought an Egyptian handbag from the “Wogs” that came alongside it cost me a pound but it is not so very good therefore I don’t think Janet will be wanting. I shall give it to young Norma I think (that’s if Janet doesn’t like it of course). There are one or two things to come on yet so I just heard, only time will tell I suppose. After loading some 1100 men on board we left Tufick at 1715hrs and headed into the Red Sea. It is getting warmer every day now, soon we shall be getting about only wearing shorts.
22 November Thursday
This morning found us well into the Red Sea. The sun is becoming very hot now. Living conditions are not so good now the heat combined with the salt sea-air makes our bodies feel very sticky at times but every day is a day nearer home and to Janet my dear wife.
23 November Fri
Our kits that we left in Egypt when we came over to Italy are now on the boat and we are allowed to get them for 24 hours. This will allow me to put a lot of things in mine when I get it, within a few days. The meals are still very good and they seem —— to continue to be the same for the rest of the voyage. They have stopped the sale of tobbaco for a few days. We were asked today for men to volunteer to work in the RNZAF WO1 Mess, we! Were asked , we of the army! I don’t think they shall get one. Our group “5” goes on ships fatigue on Sunday it lasts a week. I hope to get a good job and it will help to pass the time away for a week. Another week should see us in Colombo
24 November Sat
Today is our last in the Red Sea. During the day we were passing small islands and darkness came before we reached Aden. This time we passed ADEN at 2300hrs. Played bridge after tea
25 November Sun
This is our first day on fatigues and our group is on for a week. I was given a job for this morning but I couldn’t find the part of the boat I had to go to. We have now been on the boat for 8 days. We are due at Colombo either on the 29th or 30th of this month. Today was washing day for the troops and the top deck was covered with clothes just like thousands of flags. Bruce Coburn was down to see me today and I asked him if he would look after my battle dress for me until I needed it to get off when we reach New Zealand. Since we left Egypt the food has not been so good as it was the first three days at sea but I may say the meals are still very good and they will have to drop a long way until they come down to the army level that was set in Italy at ADV.BASE
26 November Mon
This morning we seen the last of Africa the most Eastern point . About an hour after we sighted two islands and then we were on the way to Colombo which is going to be the next land we will see for four days or more. The “Cap” said he hopes to get into Colombo by Saturday 1st Dec, now about 20 minutes to 2am. If this is right we should leave again for Freemantle at noon or later. Doing the speed we are now doing we should get there :Freemantel about the 9th or 10th and 9 or 10 days more will bring us about home arriving there about the 19th or 20th Dec. Life on ship is very dull now we have to do the same things every day. Had a talk with young Frank Allan. Played bridge after tea
27 November Tuesday
Best distance on trip so far. 383 Miles. We have been aboard ship 10 days today the time, although hard to pass, seems to be slipping by alright. We have just a little over three weeks to spend on the boat yet before we reach home. The sun is hot now and I have been getting a bit browner than I was when I came on the boat
28 November Wed
We received another NAT PAT issue today. 1 pkt biscuits, 1 tube tooth paste, and 1 cake of chochlate per man. I hope to get my “base kit” tomorrow morning at 1100hrs. In the 24 hours ending at 1200hrs today we had travelled 372 mls. Today for some unknown reason was not as hot as it should have been. We are now 2 ½ days off Colombo. I will have to write Frances a card tomorrow so it can be posted at Colombo on Sat the mail closes at 1000hrs on Friday. Although we are only a short distance from India we havn’t yet seen any sharks and I havn’t heard of anybody seeing one either
29 November Thursday
Today we came upon some islands, there was plenty of growth on them too. All afternoon it was showery and this was the first time I had ever seen rain at sea, there has been rain of course but I never had the chance to see any of it. To me it seemed funny to see rain pelting down on the deck with sea everywhere. We are due at Colombo about 1900hrs tomorrow. So far we have seen very little sea life
30 November Fri
Arrived in Colombo at 2000hrs. It was too dark to see very much only the lights of the harbour was all we could see. As usual in these ports, boats come fussing around here too but we were in bed by 2130hrs. It was very hot down in the ship tonight
Wrote Frances No 66 (13Pag)
Today is very cold just like the day we entered this camp the wind is coming off the sea again. We had egg and bacon for breakfast this morning and it was not bad either. We done 1 1/2hours digging this morning so we never done any exersizes this afternoon. Went to the pictures and seen “the Life of Vernon and Irene Castle” it was not a bad sort of picture. At 0200hrs we put our watches forward one hour.
Church parade at 0900hrs thhis lasted until 1000hrs. Just loafed around until lunch time and in the afternoon “Watty” and I went to the airdrome for a walk we seen and “touched” Spitfires and Hurricanes. There are several things on the real planes that I have not got on my models the latest ones have two large raidors one each side now and they also have a air intake on the body just below the prop. To day has been warm and after tea we went for a walk up to San Serprio
wrote airgraph (1)
Got up when the bugle went for breakfast 0730hrs. Parade as usual at 0830hrs then on with the digging until 1110hrs when I was graded again , now I am B 2 so I will be leaving B company and going to A company tomorrow sometime. We are now on duty until 1500hrs each day so we will not be able to go for our walks in the afternoon.
wrote Frances No 67 (8 pages)
Received 2 Airgraphs from Frances. Heard that Jeff Rashlio (?) has been killed. It is right because there were three hit by a 88 shell. Burt Dodds was hit in the ankle and Ray Dellow in the sholder. Feff got it in the back. That makes our Casa list to date KILLED 9 WOUNDED 14.
Two houses with chaps buried in so far two of HQ troop killed in the one where we used to get our meals from the cooks.
Went on leave to Bari. We have to hitch-hike in but we get a ride home in the leave truck. We (Watty, Bill Martin and I)arrived in the town at 1110hrs and we put our overcoats in the cloke room, we then went on our way around the town. There are a few shops open but not very much in them, plenty of buttons though I had forgotten what color frances dress was so I could not buy any. There are one or two houses of ill fame in the town also, had a look inside one and there were about 50 Itie soldiers waiting there turn. Got my photo taken. They will be ready on Sat they cost me L 200 for 1/2day.
Worked nearly all day in the garden. In the morning we dug under some orange and lemon trees. They are going to plant lettuces in it. Worked up to 1530hrs this afternoon planting onions silverbeet and the lettuces. There were 1000 of each and it took 12 of us three hours to plant them. At night we went to the village to see the pictures but there was none on why I don’t know so we had a walk round and then came home. A very dull day indeed.
Wrote Frances No 68 (12 pages)
To-day is a holiday. There was a parade at 0800hrs and after the roll call we were fallen out. I wrote the above letter before lunch time. In the afternoon Watty Bill and I went to the village and they got a tandam and I got a ordanory bike. We then went up the road to the “upper” village we had a ride around and then they went to find a place to get a drink. They found one and the time was 1400hrs . at 1615 I asked them if they were coming home and they said no so I left them and came home by my self. No pictures on to night either. The boys came in at 2115hrs and woke me up they were very worst for wear they had fallen off their bike 3 times on there way back.
Eggs for breakfast this makes four times this week very good a what. Working on making a brick wall this morning we never done very much for no one seems to be very interessted in us. We got our beer ration on Thursday and I still have half of my bottle left yet. Received the parcel of chock waffers and hum from Hilda. Received the recipt from the pay office for the two pounds I sent home. Seen picture called No No Nannette. There was a shaffly (?) plane over at 0145hrs and up went a barrage.
Wrote Frances No 69 7 pages
Church parade, This had just finished when it started to rain it kept on right on through the day on and off. The ground is in a terrible staate again but we are used to this mud now it continued on all through the night. Received two airgraphs from Frances.
wrote Air (1)
It is raining again to-day and everyone is wearing his gascape(?) There are no parades only a talk by the cpt of our Com. It was only a talk about of the war. There was not much doing because of the rain so we decided to play pontoon we played all afternoon and I came out winning one pound. After tea we went for a walk just the three of us.
wrote Airgraph (1)
Today is fine so we dug the garden again. The onions, lettuce and silver-beet as usual we worked after morning tea and at the 1.30 parade I told them my knee was getting worse. They are now putting hot packs on it and they are giving it massage for a few days to see how it gets on. I played cricket in the afternoon (only batted) I got top score which was 26 the game was between North and South Island the North won by 60 runs. After tea I went into town and seen the play called PYGMALION by GB Shaw. It was not bad
I am having hot packs on my knee twice a day now to take the swelling down they are helping it slightly. Received two parcels from frances, one was soap etc and the other was a cake which I wont open just yet. Bought Frances some buttons 73 altogether, they cost me 663 Lire which is one pound 18 and ½ pence. They were large 6d each buckle 40 lire and the small ones were 8.5lire each.
wrote Frances No 70 (8pag)
First four years of war casualties in the New Zealand Forces. Killed 2111 , Wounded 1337, P.O.W 7,305, Missing 801. These figures were given in the Union Jack. They were a mmistake for as anyone can see the killed and wounded are in the wrong places for one thing.We were visited by Tiney Fryburg(?) this morning. Played pontoon for 1 1/2hrs this afternoon. Lost 15/- Went to the pictures in the village tonight it was a Itie one, we could not understand any of the talk and we could only get a guess of what the story was. It passed away the evening which was all we went in for
Received a Patriotic Parcel to-day. Mine came from Moseborn Southland Ladies Patriotic Commettie. It was dated July 13th 1943. There were one tin of apricots, cream biscuites, tooth paste, gum, meat paste, oysters, soap, 2 cakes. I never got any pay to-day as I still have a few Lire. I am going into Bari on leave to-morrow to get our photos and a few more buttons some green and pink ones small this time for I have already got some large ones. The CmBDE is going to move from the Cassino front and they are going to “side step” over to the Central Sector they will be there when I get back there I think.
Went into Bari on leave for the second time. Got the photos and some more buttons this time they were some small green and pink ones. The day has been very hot. I went to 3GH and Ray Dellow is not there yet he is still to ill to move from 2 HG yet he was hit on the sholder very bad. Bart Dodds was up and able to walk about.
Sent Frances a parcel. Buttons, broach, necklet, two photos, two buckles put on the price as 10/- but really it cost me two pounds. Excatly there were 90 buttons altogether in it. Received a letter 5 pages from Frances there was no number on it and it was post-dated 17.2.44. Wrote airgraphs to Gran, Frances and Clarice. Received letter from Clarice. Went and seen the picture “Pride and Preganise” I had seen it once before at home
wrote Frances No 71 Sent the other three photos 3 pag
I was graded A at 0940 this morning so I won’t be in this camp very much longer. Wrote a note to Norm telling him I would be seeing him soon. Played cricket North V South picked from our company only 10 in the side. Won this time by 122 as against 47 . Watty made 52 and I a duck. I took three wkts for as many runs. Never went out of the camp to-night same picture still on. Received money from Frances it was four pound sixteen shillings she must have sent six pounds.
Went and seen the OC and he said he thinks I will be alright so I will most likely be going out to-morrow sometime. Played cricket North V South again we won again I got top score again 36(?). Never went out of camp to-night either because the Movement orders came out at 1600hrs and my name was on it so I will be going out to morrow morning at 0850hrs. I had to pack my gear ready for the early move.
wrote Frances No 72 8 pag
Moved from Com Camp at 0900hrs and went to NZ advance Base Italy which is between Bari and Taranto. We came 30 miles south of Bari and we aare 80 miles from Taranto. The main towns we passed through were Casamasa, masa and JOYEA. This camp is a fair size and everyone seems to be here. There are APR’s and graded men also. There is a canteen here and only cigs are rationed of course choclate is to it always have been. Tea on in the YM every night but nothing to eat. The Lowry Hut is a fair sort of a show , it is every bit as good as the one in Mardi. We can buy wine here to it is anything from 60 to 80L per bottle. They say it is not bad either.
The days are very hot now and a lot of chaps have been given shorts etc. I went up for my MI this morning and the doc just said see how I get on for a while in “depot” which is on the other side of the camp they are all in there lots Arty etc. The meals have droped a bit for where in the hospitals and Con Camp we were on 1 ½ rations we are back to one which is our usual front line ration. This is a day a lot of chaps will remember for to day the 11th REINFORSEMENTS arrived in Advance Base from Egypt.
I was shifted from Recption depot over to A Depot which is the Arty Depot. This is a step nearer to the front line. There are quite a few shaps who I know in here they are from our REG. There are also a few chaps who came over with the 11th. Yesterday who I know. The first one I seen was George Simmions he came over with me and the other was Charlie Spinks (?) he came with me also they have been doing _gardens and Charlie has been cooking. Wrote airgraph to Mother. Started letter No 73 to Frances. Rained very hard at 1500hrs and it kept on and off all night it is very cold again.
wrote Frances No 73 6 pages
Had a depot parade this morning then it was interior econimony(?) that meant the rest of the day off. To-day has been very cold but to get out of this place for a few hours I am going to an Opera to-night. The trucks are leaving at 1618hrs and the opera starts at 1800hrs the name of it was LA BOHEME. It was not bad for a change there was very good singing in it all the actors were Italian and the words were in Italion. It only cost us 25L each it was very cheap for this only 1/- ½ We arrived back at camp at 2215hrs it was still fairly cold the play was in the Garrison Theatre Bari.
Wrote Frances No 74 7 pages
This morning there was a church parade which was voulentry it is still a bit cold but the sun is shining. There was tea on at the YM from 2pm to 4pm this afternoon. I went over for it pasted away half and hour, away I say because that is the hardest thing to try and do in this camp and that is to try and pass away the time. Received 6 Airgraphs from Frances dated on them were 27th 29th 30th March and one was 2.4.44. Also a Cable dated CHCH 14.4.44 Cold tonight so to bed I went at 2000hrs.
On Guard to-day from 0700 to 0600hrs tomorrow morning. I put my name down for leave tomorrow we aare going on a sight seeing tour to some caves and some old villagges. It will be a break from this camp there is nothing at all to do here. I started writing letter No 74. I will finish it to-day sometime. If I can get out of Guard for 1 1/ 2 hrs after tea I will be playing hockey tonight at 1830hrs. Did not play hockey because the guard was put forward one hour making it 1900hrs. Wrote to Gran and Harry. Shift on Guard 1930hrs till 2210hrs.
There is a camp parade this morning but we don’t have to go in it. The Guard is of duty until 0900hrs. I missed the game trip today if the boys say it is any good I will go on Thursday if it is no good I will go to Bari instead and go into the hospital. It is a bit warmer to day for the wind we have been having the last few days has died down. Went for a trip this afternoon to a place called NORI which is inland. It is a very dull sort of a place but very clean up against the rest of the villages I had seen. To night there was a concert on here in camp it was given by a gang known as the Mud Larks.
wrote Frances No 75 (9 pages)
It rained last night but it had stoped by the time we got up this morning but it is very cold. We had a parade at 8.30 this morning but were dismissed and there is a pay parade at 1100hrs.. It rained all afternoon. We had a very good tea tonight. Pork (roast) mashed potatoes, cauliflower and apple sauce. For afters we had raisen squares with milk. If the weather is not better in the morning the same trip will be off.
27 Thursday The weather was alright this morning so away we goes to the caves. We went through several villages but most of them were small. We went through NOCI again and then the caves. These were not bad but they can’t be a patch on our own ones at home for the stalignites were only about two or three feet in length but just the same they were very good. They were only designed in 1938 there are electric lights and a good parth made right through. Received a letter from Burt Dodds. It rained once or twice during the day but it was nothing hard.
I bought a book yesterday so I will be able to write my story down from Rangiora camp to the time I left Egypt to go to Italy. There are 120 pages in this book. I will be able to fill it up I think if I do there will be over 18.000 wowrds in it. This should make very interesting reading. I started the book this after noon and is a good thing to have in this camp because it is passing my time away in grand style. It is very cold to-day and it has been the same for nearly a week now.
Received a letter from Burt Dodds he is now in Con Camp. Ray Dellow is still in 2 GH. Watty came out of Con Camp yesterdy and he said he is coming over to the depot tomorrow morning. I played Housey tonight but never won anything. I spent about 60 L . A chap who was in Con Camp with me won three and a half houses he won altogether 1900L in all them. I went to bed early because it was to cold to stay up any longer. Wrote more in my book.
Woke up this morning only to hear rain falling. Breakfast to-day is at 0730hrs so every one was in bed right up till 0725hrs and just as we left our tent the rain stoped for long enough to allow us to get over and into the mess hut without getting wet. No parades to-day so I was able to write my book up to page 50 which is not very far from half way. It has not rained this afternoon but it is sure cold, the wind is strong to, we are tighting up the ropes quite often during the day.
Clocks back 1 hour
Rained all day, had 24hrs rest from the guard, it was to much and we were cracking up. The sea was very rough to-day and some of the boys were sick but not very bad, slept and rested most of the day on my bed. The food is very poor still but I hope when we get on land it is better.
Wrote Frances 26th
Sighted land the S.E coast of Sicily at 1000hrs We are still getting ————-porridge for breakfast. Clocks back 1 hour. Berthed at Augusta (Sicily) 1600hrs. The hills are covered with green grass, the town almost deserted. Don’t think I will get ashore. Passed by Syracuse at 1220hrs. We are now 11 ½ hrs behind N.Z
Still berthed in Augusta.harbour, we are 420 miles from Bari. Bari has a population of 196,000. Two Italians came along side and sold a full sack of Arlmons and a barket of oranges, right from the tree. The weather is fine, there are 5 ships seen in or burnt out lying in the harbour. There is another town up on a hill a place for Malaria fever.
Wrote Harry No 3
Left Augusta at 0720hrs , raining and blowing.Are going up the east coast of Sicily We got ships with us, some landing barges also. Was on guard 1200 – 1400 hrs and again at 2400 to 0400 tomorrow morning. Still see land it is sicili but we will lose sight of it during the night. Still very cold.
My darling wife’s birthday – 25 years old. Many Happy Returns Dear. If Frances knew I was about 200 miles from the port of Bari she would not be feeling as she is to-day. Land in sight, Italy this time but the light is bad so we cant see much. Lost sight of land again, could not see which place it was now.
Air raid on land, could see it from the boat, hear it to. Landed at Bari 0922hrs a fair size city. Seen some Italian soldiers also about 100 young chaps about 19 they would be. There is a ship in the water right alongside a wharf a destroyer, it is, it was scuttled by order. Weather overcast, have to be ready to move as soon as our truck comes out of the hold at 2230hrs again at 0915hrs
This raid at 0015hrs was short, it woke us up, had another one at 0430hrs. No damage done in any of them. They droped some bombs and mines , draged mines. Up this morning. Went on to land at 1545hrs drove to Bari Stadium and parked the night. No air raid, walked around the track twice as it is a great show but it is unfinished.
Up at 0630hrs raining and cold. Left Stadium at 1030hrs on our way to Taronto, Took wrong turning and ended up out on our way to Naples. We were going inland instead of following the coast road, bedded down for night and was it cold. I had 4 blankets and my over-coat on top of me but the wind had ice in it.
Wrote Frances No 27
Up at 0600hrs and on our way back to Taronto arriving there at 1030hrs after a very enjoyable drive along the coast road, a great country.this. Taronto is full of all types of soldiers and trucks. We are parked up on a hill overlooking the harbour, big bombers are passing over all the time, aerodrome not far away , full of Hurricanes.
Received leetters No 74 to 81. Two cables, five airgraphs yesterday. Rested most of the day. Drove about 50 miles
5 months in ME
Went on leave to Matina a wine centre but only light wine is made there.( rest unable to read.)
Worked all day on New Morris Quad it is a terrible mess. I have just finished. Time now is 1730hrs. Will be going on picqueet at 1745hrs and we have to be ready to move at 0845 in the morning . Tom and I both slept in the Quad to-night the weather is quite good but a cold wind
On guard from 0400hrs to 0600hrs. Moved into possition at 0815hrs. Moved at 10.15hrs. We are going up to the front line our route was Matina, Loccrotonda, Alberobello, Loci, Gioti del Colle, Santeramo, Altamura. A distance of 78 miles from Taranto Staging Camp. Weather fine getting colder now and it is dark at 1730hrs, day-break is about 0550hrs
Started off again this morning at 0800hrs and traveled until 1430hrs stopeed at our area which is 80 miles from the front. We came through Corato, Andrea, Canosa, Cerignola, Foggia, Lucera. We will be stopped here for two days and then up to the front. We go for I don’t know how long
Wrote No 28
Up at 0650 hrs worked all day on the Quad and done some more-(unable to read)-I suppose it will hang on for quite a while. It is now raining very hard it is hard to keep dry. I have to stay in the quad all the time. Had two helpings at teatime. I was very cold and hungry.
Rained at 1710hrs. Raville at 0615 this morning but it is not raining yet. Traveled in the Quad . Up to-day at 1853mls. We did not do much work today for we done most of it yesterday. We got orders just now to be ready to move at 0630hrs tomorrow our destination is the front line so within 36 hours I might be in action, I hope it does not rain much.
Traveled from Lucera to Furci. Ravelle at 0515 hrs no shave because it is still dark. Started moving at 0645 hrs drove all day and all night and finished up 5mls from Jerrys lines. The time was 0800hrs on the 18th so we drove for 20 hours but we only traveled 114 miles but it was through nothing but mountains (unable to read)
—Jerry started to fire two 88’s he was shelling a bend in the road but no damage. Traveled from Lucera to a place by a river no name. We moved out of our possitions at 1630hrs and I got stuck ot out of that and was going along the road and two wheels sliped over the edge. Stoped , right road to bad washed out.
1ACTION. Rained. Started off at 0630hrs, breakfast at 0900hrs, we got on again at 1245hrs we were under
Up at 0615hrs raining all night and up to 0800hrs.
This morning it is very muddy. We had to put branches on the road so we could get a grip. Have not fired yet . My Quad is right below and in front of E3 gun. It will be like all hell let loose when it sstarts. Dug slittys because there might be something come back. Fired 5 rounds at 1720hrs.
wrote frances no 29
Up at 0615hrs. River gone down to normal, no tobacco yet. We are 4000yds from the Sangro River. 4 shells came over at 1300hrs they landed on the road about ¼ mile from us. Guns fired 8 shots at 1700hrs. Very little sleep because Jerry was shelling from 2000hrs until 0800hrs on the 22nd 12hrs in all
Wrote to Gran
Up at 0630hrs. Breakfasst at 0800. Guns have only fired about one round up to the present time which is 1615hrs. The big attack which was to go is at 0900 hrs in the morning has been cancelled because of bad weather. We have had no rain to-day . I had a barth in a half a keroseen tin to-day. I still have my cold
Wrote to Hilda no 1
Fired a barrage this morning starting at 0400hrs and going until 0600hrs. 50 shots per gun. 72 guns and it –
Wrote Frances No 30
Wrote airgraph Wrote Harry No 4
On picquet last night 3/4hr. Dryed out a pair of boots and put nugget on both prs. It has been fine today except for a few spots which are falling now 1545hrs. I had a very sick tummy last night but it seems to be alright now. Guns only fired 6 shots so far to-day. Planes very active. Kitty bombers and Bastons.
Wrote airgraph to Frances
Received two airgraphs from Frances. Not much firing too-day no rain but very cold, was woken up by shells at 0230hrs but they were 100yds away, not far enough. Bombers very active to-day. A U—88 flew just over our heads at 1000hrs this morning . We could have hit it with a tommy gun but it was past before we got our breath back, it crashed our side of the Sangro River.
ME 410. Wrote Frances No 31
Shot up at 30,000ft by spitfires —-The plane had been hit and was smoking in one engine. We got the two chaps who were in it alive as they can’t tell tales . The big atack is on in the morning we are firing 200 rounds per gun. I don’t think Norm is going to be in it until later. I might have to help on the guns as we are a man short 4 gone out in the troup on piquite at 2000hrs till 2045hrs. Broke the nib in my pen made a new nib out of a ordinary pen nib.
Mail in to-day. Never received any airmail received up to the 7 oct. Think some mail was received in NZ about the first week in Oct. Gun Mitchell who took over driving the Maj “jeep” was killed by a mine to-night, a tank mine. They think it was. He was up the front at theO.pip(?)Planes very active. 1 Messie was shot down by a spitfire never seen it my-self, no shooting to-night.
New moon and the weather is still good. The tanks took a village this afternoon at 1330. We put over a barrage of smoke. 25 shells each (1800 altogether). Us drivers went away today to get a load of smoke shells. 5 Kittyhawks of the U.S.A. Air force came over. There was a hay-stack burning nearby. I think that’s what attracted them anyway they opened up with M.G.shells(?). You cant trust the yanks. Landed near us.
Left possition at 1030hrs to go forward. Passed over the Sangro River at 1200hrs. It has a very wide bed but the chanal is only about 40ft wide. Pontoon bridge only so far. Took up new possition at 1300hrs 5000yds from Jerry seen 5 planes shot down , missie’s (?) they were and one spitfire can hear M.Guns fire at times. Shows how close we are. 4 and 5’s are just behind us and the tanks were going up all night. Traveled 6 9/10th miles