1 July Sunday
Wrote Janet card. It rained most of the day so there was very little doing. I had to jack up a team to play NZA cricket tomorrow. Received 7 cards from Janet
2 July Monday
Left RHQ at 1030hrs and when we were within two miles of the cricket ground we meet the other team coming back. They said the ground we were to play on was waterloged so we came back to Monffalcone and played . Rain stoped the game at 1430hrs after NZA had made 87 for the loss of 7 wickets the game will now have to be played again because it was in the Div Arty Comp. We arrived back in camp at 1600hrs and it was still raining. This is five days running the weather has been wet, this is the middle of summer too.
Wrote Janet card. Started to rain at 1800hrs and it has never stoped since the time is now 1940hrs. I am going to bed just to keep warm
This morning I took a job on looking after the YMCA at Grado (Guado ?) I am looking after 100 men, /we never got here till 1500hrs but I had everything ready by tea time. The supper was not very large due to the number of cakes. I had 400 to get rid of and I would have needed 200 or more chaps to make it worth while. This is going to be a quiet sort of a job I think I may be able to do a lot of writing home. I have a lot to do as it is.Bruce came down after tea and we had a natter until 2345hrs. My bed is a good one and I will be having a good sleep tonight
Wrote 2 cards to Janet, Wrote cards to Bob Christian, and Mum. A quiet day and I went to the pictures tonight and seen Walace Berry in Barbra Coast Gentleman, it was a very good show too. The pictures never start till 2200hrs here because it is still quite light at that time, this makes it about 2345hrs or later before they finish. This is the open-air ones but the inside ones have two sessions one at 1800hrs and another at 2015hrs. I haven’t been to any of the inside ones yet. It never rained today, this is the first time there has been a day without rain for nearly a fortnight.
Never woke this morning until 0815hrs the cook came in and woke the Sgt Maj and I up, he had a late night last night upstairs talking etc with one of our officers Mr Cole. The breakfast was good this morning, fried potatoes, beans bacon and bread etc. I wrote to Hilda thanking her for the parcel of biscuits whe and mother sent me. Today is so far a very good one the beach will be csrowded I think for the first time for a week.
Wrote Janet card. There was a change of program on tonight but I never went and seen the picture, couldn’t be bothered is my only excuse I’m afraid.
Wrote Janet card. The staff came in at 2100hrs to night and had some cakes and tea, they thought it very good. I went and had a look at the dance and then to the pictures then home, the night was a nervy one I learnt quite a lot about the disposition of an Italian girl I could believe what I learnt. The story is boy dates girl who is one of four cobbers the whole four come together for awhile then one of the girls tags onto this chap and the one he dated was very wild, this chap really prefered the one who now had hold of his arm and the girl he dated then goes with a second chap but never once during the evening did she let the two out of her sight until such time as they got home, if this girl was going to have the chap for the evening the one whom he dated on the first place was seeing to it that he or she never got anywhere with her and the moral of the story is this, when these girls are dated they are dated and they don’t like being out? I will give them credit for their honesty in love whether it is going to mean anything to them or not.
Wrote Janet card, received 8 cards 7 from Janet and one from Harry in it he told me that he had been married at Easter. I wrote straight back and congratulated him. The seven cards from Janet were very good and in every one was a number of laughs. After tea I went for a plesent walk and did not get back till 1130hrs. The evening started off very quiet though
8 July Sunday
Breakfast this morning was fried eggs and chips very nice,it was. I started to write Janet yesterday but I will have to finish it today, it was my second one to her really. Finished card to Frances. Went out for a walk again tonight very good it was too. The weather has been very good today.
I left Grado this morning at 1130hrs and I may say I was very sorry to leave. I had a very good time down there. I went to bed at 2200hrs tonight because as I was playing in the Div cricket team tomorrow I needed some sleep
Left RHQ at 1200hrs and went into Trieste where we picked up the rest of the cricket team. Whitelaw Pritchard Groves etc. The game started at 1400hrs and the 10th Div batted first making 121 we went in and made 217 for the loss of 5 wkts Ken Defrase(?) got 110 retired I was second of top score with 38 not out , Len Partridge and I put on 61 for the fifth wkt he got 23 not out. It was 2230hrs before I got back and I had some onion sandwiches for my tea I was pretty tired so I went to bed early. I am in charge of the YM now because Bruce went away on another trip tonight. There won’t be very much to do while he’s away.
11 July Wed
Had another Vaccanton this morning. At 1080hrs it started to rain as usual, it came down very hard. I heard this morning that there is quite a few 8th Sgts going to be asked to stay behind. Wrote Janet card
Just had a quiet day doing the YM duties. Weather fine
13 July Friday
Received three cards Janet one letter from Gran and one from Anne. Went into Trieste this morning to take some watches in and to collect four , everything went well too. We had a look around the town and arrived back home by 1230hrs. Just in time for lunch. Took the wee car out after tea tonight and went to the Reg dance in Trieste I and the driver of the RAP truck, Jim Flanary, went we arrived home at 0110hrs.
14 July Saturday
This morning I had to go into Trieste to take the Pardrie’s watch in but when I got there the shop was closed. Went down to Monfalcone for drinks this afternoon. After tea I started to write to Janet but I never finished it. We had a few spots of rain today but not enough to worry anybody. Stared to write Janet card
Up this morning at 0800hrs and the Sgt brought my breakfast back with him. I only had the bread with apple jelly on it for mine because the breakfast was egg powder, sole.Bruce arrived back at 1030hrs this morning and this afternoon he and I went into the YM store in Trieste for two hours. Finished writing a card to Janet I started it last night. Wrote Janet a card. Fixed up a cricket team for Tuesday, it is a Reg game with 7th Aty on their ground. Talked till 2310hrs to Bruce about their trip
16 July Monday
Up this morning at 0715hrs there was a ch—– parade and another parade at 0900hrs. I was on the first one only I was down a the YM for the second one. The medals are being jacked up now and I got the Italy Star and the 1939, 1945 star just two only as far as I know. We had to do a lot of work on the quads this morning after morning tea. This morning clean everything that wasn’t needed. Started to write Janet card. There is a cricket game on tomorrow against the 7th Bty. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “Shine on Harvest Moon” It wasn’t bad really
And so ends six months of my experiences which they were as I have wrote them. Everything is true from day to day.
17 July Tuesday
My first job today was clean the quad for an inspection by the CRA In the afternoon the 6th Fld Reg played 7th s/th (?) cricket and we lost by 12 runs. We should have won because Len Partridge would not bowl his best, he refused to, straight out. Finished writing a card to Janet which I started yesterday. I am not feeling my old self tonight, this worry over all the cricket has made me down a bit nothing else has been doing any way. To bed 2300hrs..
18 July Wed
Worked on the quad all this morning, this afternoon I just rested. I really wanted to rest too. My Desert boots arrived today I have just been told. I haven’t seen them yet. My boots are alright I seen them straight after tea. Went to Trieste tonight to have a look in at the 48 Baty dance.. It was held in the Trieste gym and it was as good as the one 30th bty held there a week ago. On picquet in the early hours of the morning from 0130hrs to 0245hrs
Missed cl——– parade this morning and Cpt Smythe told me off about it. Our Reg is “rotten” at the present time “they” are getting very childish again. We may be moving within a few days. I don’t think it will be any longer than two weeks at the out side, my guess is about the 23rd of this month. Playing cricket tomorrow against the NZA team and I spent all evening picking the team which was a good one. Received card from Mum,Janet.
20 July Friday
I am five years married today. Received a cable from Janet this afternoon it was right on the day. CHQ wanted me to jack up a game tomorrow against 5th Fld which I did after a lot of trouble. We played the NZA today and we won it by 100 runs and I got 18 runs and took 1 wkt for 0. I found out only tonight that the game was the Div Arty final so we won after all. I was captain today. Received a letter from Norm today also one from Gran. Received a cable from Janet today it was on the fifth anniversary of our very happy marriage I do Love her so much.
Played 5th Field reg and this time we lost by 5 wkts we only had a very scratch team in and I knew we would lose before we left here this morning. I got top score for our team 48 we only made 117. I am playing for the Div on Tuesday the 24th we are playing the 56th Div which are the “Black Cats” Wrote to mother tonight one card. Wrote out a card to Loewe Co Ltd for some pipes too. I will send it when I send the money , the pipes take about five weeks to come over here.
Played the 5th fld reg cricket today and we got well beaten by five wkts. I made 48 of our 117 runs
I drove my quad to Udine this afternoon we were handing all our ammo in for good this time. We left at 1300hrs and we got back by 1815hrs it was a dusty trip back. At 2000hrs Bruce came round in the wee car and we went into Trieste for 30th Battery’s dance as usual it was a good show
24 July Tuesday
Left camp this morning at 0900hrs and went into town to meet the rest of the Div team. We arrived at Goriza Airport at 1000hrs and we started the game at 1130hrs. It was against the 56 Div team we battered first making 201 for 9 wkts. I got 50 not out after I had been in for two hours. They gave us a very good time indeed a very good lunch and afternoon tea with lemon drink on all the time. We got them out for 80 odd. Pritchard got 6 for 16. We had bowling against us Whatt who came out to NZ with C——s team in 1937 and a west indian who played for the West Indian team in 1928. My arm was a bit sore with the typhus needle I had yesterday but it never hurt me very much until after tea. I could hardly get to sleep for the ache of my arm. Wrote Janet
25 July Wed
There was a blitz on today by the 2 1/c reg so there is very little to put down because it would only concern regimental stuff. Wrote Norm card. I am on picquet from 2230hrs until 12pm tonight.
Worked all day today on the quads and the guns. There was quite a lot to do really. Went to the pictures after tea and seen “ Pillow to Post” it was a bit silly I thought. In bed by 2400hrs but I lay awake for a long time. I just couldn’t go to sleep. Our meals are very poor still
Worked only this morning as everything was just about done. I had a rest on my bed for two hours this afternoon. Most of the chaps went out to town tonight because this was to be the last leave we would be getting in camp here. We are leaving at 0630hrs on Sunday. Wrote Janet card
28 July Sat
Today was a very busy one for everybody we packed up everything ready for tomorrows move. We were finished at 1415hrs so those who wanted to go on leave could do so. They had to be back in camp by 2300hrs though. There were about fifteen chaps stayed in camp so we put on a brew of tea at 2130hrs we were all in bed by 2300hrs as we had a tiring trip ahead of us tomorrow
29 July Sun
So it is again on a Sunday that we make one of our big moves. When we woke this morning 0445hrs it was for some of us, the start of our journey home. So I said we were up about 5am and we were on our way by 0715hrs. Only 98 miles was done and it took us 6 hours to do it an average of 16 1/3 miles an hour only two halts of 5 minutes each was taken and we had lunch when we arrived here at Mestre the first stage of our trip to the Lake area. Mestre is just on the main rd by Venice. The journey down was not without trouble, one of our trucks went over a 20ft bank the driver went to sleep while driving, he got a good shake up when the truck hit the bottom but after getting five stitches in his head he came on and joined us again. In 48 battery a driver of a quad went to sleep and rammed his quad right into the muzzle of the gun in front. I nearly went to sleep myself, the reason was to same as the rest. They made the convoy so slow that it was not enough for the heavy trucks to keep in top gear so down to third we had to go and then we were keeping up with the truck in front without even using our throttle hence there was nothing to do as one might say. We all complained when we arrived at Mestre and told them there would be some more trucks out tomorrow if they never gave us a few more mls an hour. These heavy trucks of ours have to be driven they shouldn’t be allowed to run themselves like today. We will see in the morning what notice they take of us. We are getting up every day at 0445hrs and leaving at 0515. The time now is 2200hrs and I am going to put on a cupa very soon. Our route today was after leaving our area was OPICINA, PROSECCO, AURISINA, SISTIANA, MONFALCONE, LATISANA, MESTRE, 98 Miles from Trieste. We are camped only ¾ mile from the town and if any one wants to go in to Udine they can but as the red-caps are throwing Kiwis out they may not get right in. The day was a real hot one and every one is not looking forward to the 95 miles we have to do tomorrow this will take us down to a place I haven’t seen yet, BOLOGNA. The route there also takes us through Ferrana (?)
30 July Monday
Started off this morning at 0700hrs and the trip was a good one we got a bit of speed up. We left Mestre at 0700hrs and arrived at Bologna after a very good trip of 100mls One o’clock seen us arriving in our area. We passed through MESTRE, DOLO, PODOVA, MONSELICE, ROVIGO, FERRARA, ALTEDO and then BOLOGNO. Leave was granted into Bologno after tea so as I wanted to see the place in I went for the evening. I went with a cobber of mine and we only walked around. We both bought a pipe with a dogs head shaped for the bowl. They are a very good smoke too !. We had the odd drink of Vermouth and soda and we caught the truck at 2200hrs and were back in camp by 2300hrs after a cupa I went to bed it was sure hot in there too
31 July Tuesday
Up this morning as usual at 0515hrs and we had to cook our own breakfast we left at 0730hrs, the trip was a long one being 160 miles .We passed through a lot of towns we knew well. After leaving BOLOGNA, we went through FAENZA, FORLI, RIMINI, PESARO,SENIGALLIA, ROCCA PRIORA, JESI, FALCIONI, FABRIANO. We stayed the night just outside the town. The ities were round in droves wanting us to sell them anything of course we wouldn’t do a thing like that. I drove today for 10 hours and I was really tired by the clock showed 2100hrs
1 June Friday
I went to find out about the cricket this morning at 0900hrs and the officer told me that it was off, so as we cancelled our trip to Grado today we won’t be able to go. I found out if there were any more names to go on the list for this leave and there was one so I put my name down for it. We left camp at 1345hrs and were in Grado by 1430hrs. After a walk around we came back to the Hotel where we are staying at and got ready for tea which is between 1800hrs and 1830hrs. The time now is 1815hrs so I am going down to get mine right now. Received the cable telling me that the Cameo ring had arrived home, it took three days to get there. I received a letter from Anne also. Wrote Janet card.
Today I just loafed around doing nothing at all. There are hundreds of soldiers in this place and during the day the beach is just covered with sun bathers. There are two pictures on here but I have seen both of them before.
Wrote Janet two cards
This morning I went for a walk around town and after morning tea I wrote Janet two cards also a letter to cousin Anne. In the afternoon I had a three hours boat trip away out in the ocean. We went in a 22 footer. Posted a card to Janet and I forgot to put the number of the street on. I hope she gets them. I have one beofre and I posted one this morning so if these two go with the two without the number they will be alright. There are three dances here tonight but as I don’t dance I don’t go. I went and seen “True to Life” for the second time. In bed by 2300hrs. Wrote Janet card, Harry letter.
Left Grado this morning at 0930hrs and was back in camp by 1035hrs had morning tea at the YM and straightened out my gear before lunch. After lunch I done some washing and then I rested until tea time. Bruce Coburn asked me to drive the YM truck for five days and I had to ask our GPO for permission which I received. Was told by our Col about us going home it will be on the 2 NZEF Times tomorrow.
Started out driving the YM truck this morning and I never got finished my work until 1715hrs. We started off at 0900hrs. Today was very hot and I got a bit more tan on my right arm because I had it hanging out the window of the truck as I was driving. There is a Reg Cricket team playing tomorrow but as I am driving the truck I won’t be playing for a few days. Gave Bruce some money to buy me a pair of Desert shoes from Egypt they are the second pair now. I sent for a pair of desert boots before. I will send the shoes home. They cost me the same as the boots 1200lire 3 pounds. Received a card from Janet.
Took the truck into Trieste this morning then away down the road and back to camp. Started to jack up the Reg cricket tonight. I am forming a committee within the Reg. Bed by 2300hrs.
Never went out until 1500hrs today we had to change the self starter in the truck. Only went for drinks and cakes. Talked cricket after tea again. Wrote Janet card
Had the cricket meeting tonight and everything went off very well. We plan to play two Reg teams against each other on Sunday this will show up the players wh have rarely played the game
9 June Saturday
Went into Trieste and done shopping for the boys. We left there at 1230hrs and got drink and cakes for the YM and home. After tea I went into Trieste again this time to get some watches that we had being fixed up in there
10 June Sunday
Received three cards from Janet. Wrote Janet card. We played the game of cricket today I got 23 and took one wkt. The other side made 193 and we got 241`after being down for 66. The reason of course was I put all the chaps who had never played before in the first and we, who have, went in last.
Just done the cakes and soft drinks for the YM. Went into Trieste after tea to collect some watches
12 June Tuesday
Went to the sotre and got a load of stuff for the two Tommie Regs we are looking after. Picket the team for the Reg game against 5th FLD on Thursday. I am going with the YM truck to VERONA tomorrow, so we got nearly everything cleared up for our trip. Bed by 2300hrs.
13 June Wed
Left camp at 0940 and we were soon on the main road to VERONA after leaving camp we travelled through MONFALCONE, MESTRE, PADOVA, VICENZA and at 1700hrs we arrived at VERONA Went to the pictures after tea and it was a very good show. I am sleeping in the truck but I never slept very well last night as I was alright tonight.
Went shopping this morning and within three hours we spent 300pounds and we have 250 more to spend yet. We bought underwear, rubber coats, umbrellas, cig lighters. This place is about the size of Christchurch 200,000 people. We went down to the market this morning and bought some fruit, apricots, cherries, plums, peaches also vegetables are plentiful. Went to the stage show that was on here last night, it was very good in the first half but the second half was very poor. In our days shopping we spent over 400pound on underwear and we got some more rubber coats in the afternoon. Bed by 0010hrs, it was still very hot too
Done some more shoping this morning and tonight we took out our books and fixed them up, had a cup of cocoa and went to bed.
Left Verona at 1240 hrs and we came back via TREVISO, UDINE, arriving back at 2100hrs. I went over to my tent only to find that all my gear had been pinched while I was away. I lost my greatcoat and all my soap, tobacco, matches, cigs etc and my valese (?)which was full of all my good clothes of my own. I lost the plate I got from the Monastery at Cassino. The complete list in my valese was 1 woolen shirt, 2 KD shirts (one was my gentlemen drill I brought from home) 1 pr hanki socks, one dk blue socks, two yanky thin pairs of socks
To day I was not feeling very well the shock of the loss of my gear was more than I could stand so I went away from the camp after tea to get a breath of different air but it done me no good because the nerves of my stomach were playing up and I was a very sick man at 0100hrs
Received two parcels that were sent to Norm from the Tai Tapu one was a tin of chocklate and the other shortbread. Received two cards from my darling wife Janet.
We moved this morning at 0545hrs to a new possition 6 miles further up round the back of Trieste. It is a good place although not so shady as the other one we were in. We took all day to jack ourselfs up but we are now very comfortable. Wrote Janet 2 cards
Went to the Div sports to help make the “chy” (?) we were there all day and we were able to see the sports which were very good. We never got back until 1800hrs and I was talking cricket and YM until 11pm. Wrote Janet card
20 June Wed
This morning I am in charge of the YM because Bruce is away at the store. I made the tea and done all the business etc everything went off very good. We are going to Verona tomorrow again as far as we know
Received three cards from Janet. Another busy day at the YM
Left camp at 1400hrs today and arrived in Verona at 2130hrs the trip was the same one as we went on the first time. I slept in the truck for the night
23 June Sat
We done all our shopping in the morning getting all that we had orders for and in the afternoon we went up as far as the Lake Gardo and then on to the town of BRISCULA. This place was very nice much bigger than Verona. We traveled to within 20 miles of Milan and then turned back. Never went to bed until 2400hrs
Left Verona at 1400hrs and arrived at the same river as we stopped at on the way up We had a good meal there also a good wash, then on through Udine and “home” I bought a set of ladies underwear (pink) for Frances and a pair of shoes for myself When I go on leave to town I bought another pipe too, cost me 400Lire this time. Received 2 cards Janet
25 June Monday
Received three parcels this morning , two were for me from Janet and a tin of chocklate that was meant for Norm. One of the parcels I received on the 18th was from Mum. There was a game of cricket on against the 4th Fld today but it was put off just ten minutes before we were due to leave. Went into Trieste and to Monfalseone(?) this morning with the YM. Wrote Janet 2 cards
Today was a quiet day for the YM only a bottle of cordial was the thing we got from the store. I wrote Janet one card and wrote Anne a letter. I was talking until 11.30pm in the YM truck. Wrote Anne letter
27 June Wed
A load of stores were got the YM bulk store and although we never got there till 0930hrs we had to wait until 1300hrs before we got loaded. While we were in Trieste getting them there was a thunder storm came over the city and it did rain. The game of cricket we had fixed up against NZA for Friday has now been put off till Monday. Tried my new shoes out tonight and the YM staff went down and stayed there for an hour just to make ourselfs seen. I was on picquet from 10.30 –2400 It was not done though
28 June Thursday
Yesterday it rained on and off all day and when I woke this morning it was raining very heavy, but by the time our c eak parade was called the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing. I couldn’t hardly eat the breakfast it was thick porridge and egg powder . All I had was the porridge and one slice of bread and honey. I have been eating very little for months. I think I may pick up a bit when I get home in the near future.
28 June Thursday.
Very little rain in the morning but in the afternoon I had a rest. Went away from camp at 1700hrs down to Monfalsone to see some people I got to know. I was asked to go down there but when I got there the whole family was home. Left at 2215hrs and arrived back at camp by 0100hrs.
29 June Friday
Wrote Janet two cards one about the Ford —–. Rained very hard for about one hour this afternoon. Bruce and I went to the 30th Battery dance in Trieste after we had made the tea for the YM tent. The dance was a very good one although I don’t dance. We went down in the wee blue car and it went very well. I am getting my pen fixed up for 40 Lire so it should last me until I get home
30 June Saturday
All I done this morning was some washing but this afternoon we went out to Trieste and then down to Monfalcone to get some drinks. Never arrived back until 1830hrs we missed out tea. Received five cards three from Janet, one from Lower Hutt and one from Bob Christian. Also received two parcels one from Janet chock and sweets and one from Hilda and Mum biscuits. Wrote Mother. In bed by 2230hrs
We were on the road again this morning at 0940hrs and after travelling only a few hours we came to a halt, the time was 1215hrs so we had our lunch we had our own bread etc with us. This halt was a long one and it was 1550hrs before we got going again. All we had to stop us was a bridge but it was only a pontoon one big enough to let one truck over at a time. The river was about fifty yards across. The afternoon is overcast again and it looks like rain. It did rain again at 1530hrs and the jorney was a pretty dull one. At 2030hrs we came upon a washout in the road and we were working on it carring logs and anythink we could find and dumping it in. After the time got around to 2230hrs we were able to get through and we halted for the night at 2400hrs in a village called RONEHI which is only 10 miles from TRIESTE. It was still raining and everything and everybody was feeling very happy I must say. We were given shelters to sleep in and our “sub” slept in a hay loft.
Word came through that the 2nd NZEF had joined up with Tito’s forces north of TRIESTE. We were woke up this morning at 0700hrs and thold that there might be an early move. So far we are still in this town of RONEHI., the time is 1800hrs. They are very good people to us but they are really not Ities they once belonged to Yougoslavia and they took it. Most of them are fair and the men have rough skins instead of the usual oiley skins of Ities. All the people wear the red star either in there hats or on their clothes. The girls are very friendly . Sold all our sugar and cigs and today I made about L16 so I will be right for a while. The reccie(?) party is on 10 minutes notice and when it goes we will have an hour afterwards. Today so far has been very fine and it looks as if the rain is over at last. We never moved tonight so we joined in the fun that was going on in this town. TITO had passed through the next village and all these “Ities” from here went up on carts to see him. The war in Italy finished today but there is still a lot of trouble with the forces over here. The forces of TITO want to control northern Italy but they can’t make any headway because “Chenwicks”(?) King Peters followers are fighting them. Two more different forces are in too the Itie facists are trying to stop TITO taking the country, he wants, and the Itie Partesans are fighting anyone at all so there is plenty of trouble everywhere. We all got drunk tonight to celerbrate the end of our fight in Italy.
We moved this morning and we are now in a possition north of TRIESTE and we are resting but! We may be going into action anytime. The British don’t want the same trouble they had in Greece so we are up here to show them that we mean bussiness and our strength shows them if they misbehave themselves and want to play we will play too, we might not fire a shot. We hope we don’t have to. What is to become of us I don’t know I suppose we will be pushed around for awhile yet until such time as the war in Germany ends, then what? There was a very heavy downpour of rain at 0010hrs this morning and it lasted for about half an hour. We did put the guns into “action” and we have 90 men ready to stand by with small arms in case any of these “partys” want to play. We hope they don’t. We were told that we may be here for a few hours, days or even two weeks. We are jacking ourselfs up for the two weeks stay. The country is very similar to the country around TARANTO. All pumic rock, it is impossible to even level a place out to sleep on tonight. Wrote Janet card. In bed by 2100hrs
I was very tired when I woke up this morning so I stayed in bed until 0940hrs, breakfast was not mich good so I thought it better for myself to stay in bed. Wrote Janet card No 4. Received a letter from Gran. It has not rained for 36 hours but the weather doesn’t look too good yet. I get my TAB 5 and a Vacc today so I will have a sore arm tomorrow. The recci party went out this afternoon but this is just in case there is any trouble further up. We are only 8000yds from TRIESTE and some 25 miles from the YUGOSLAVIA border. How long we are going to be up here I don’t know but as soon as this trouble is over we may find ourselfs down south once again. Wrote Gran card. This needle I got has made me a bit silly and I was in bed by 2000hrs
This situation up here has got worse and we have to be ready for anything. There is a Yugoslavio Div reported to be twenty miles over to our left front, they souldn’t be there so we are waiting for developments. We have the 56 British Div a Yank Div and ourselfs up here so one can imagine what will happen if TITO wants to play. We all hope it is settled without us firing our guns, someone might get hurt and it might be some of us. The sky is overcast again today. Received a parcel from Janet, she sent it on her birthday in the parcel was sweets, choc, tissue, tobacco and soap (12 cakes) No 46 . When “Tinee”(?) Fryberg went and seen Tito the other day he said he never wanted to speak to a General he wanted to see a Field Marshal or nobody. Our answer to this was simple. :”he never wanted to speak with a General so we have a “corp” facing him now this is three Div’s I said we had yesterday. We will have wait in the end either quitely or by force, why!! We could wipe him out in a week or more. Wrote Janet card. In bed by 2130 hrs and had a read of the Digest Janet sent me.
Up this morning at 0710hrs. Church parade 0715hrs although we are still “in Action” in front of TITO all these things are going on just the same. Today was a very quiet day. I done some washing and wrote Janet also a card to Harry. Every day now the war is getting closer to its end and by the news this morning it won’t last more than three or four days. Wrote Harry
7 May Monday
C parade (?) again this morning and although there was a very heavy dew last night it is a very warm morning. We have had no more news about the trouble up here. I hope it is all worked out soon.
THE WAR IS OVER . It was signed at 0200hrs this morning. Mr Churchill is going to give his speech tomorrow at 1500hrs. In the last week or so I have forgotten tomention one or two points that are of great interest. Due to the Allied bombing over a period of five years there has been many places wiped out as the papers said. Not seeing any of the resluts one just took it for granted that it was right. Now after this great dash up here to TRIESTE I have seen with my own eyes a lot. Mighty bridges, railway stations and hundreds of trucks, power plants but the one I noticed most of all was the number of dead horses these told there own story, they were used to pull guns and have been for a long time now, this shows the great shortage of petrol even when the Jerries were going back, the Ities were telling us that one truck would be towing about five others. We never had any celerbration tonight as it was a “dry evening” We never had any drink here. Tomorrow night we are getting some Itie beer in. In bed at 2300hrs. Wrote Janet 2 cards
8 May Tuesday
There was no c———parade this morning and I was not up until 0805hrs breakfast time. I washed my two pairs of Jerry underpants and a pair of shorts. Some of our boys got into a surply barge yestserday, it had been shot up on the beach and the sern was under water. This barge carried new summer clothes which are very good quality so we got the underpants and a pair of shorts each, others got very good shirts also. Today is a very warm one but there is no work of any kind. Mr Churchill is going to speak at 1500hrs and “ceasefire” is going to be at 2300hrs tonight I think. Hostilities end tomorrow morning at 0001hrs so Bill Lawdrey wins the sweep now by one minute, his date is the 9th. Received a letter from Jocelyn and one from Gran. We got our beer this afternoon and it is a fair sort of one issue which was a free one paid for by the Baty funds, we got 13 bottles of beer each six small ones and 7 large ones. The small was Canadian and the large Itie. We were up until 0030hrs trying to drink it all but we still had 25 bottles left when we went to bed and we were not anywhere near drunk. We had 104 bottles for our sub.Wrote Janet card.
This morning we moved over to the other side of the road next to F.Troop and by lunchtime we were all jacked up again. We all have bed boards to sleep on now. Received a letter from Gran. We had a talk from our Maj this morning and he didn’t know how long we were going to be here or anything else. In comparassion to others this day was a very quiet one. I have a pain in my stomach and it is the same old trouble back, it lasted until the early hours of the morning. I was still awake at 0400hrs. Wrote Janet.
Church parade this morning and at 0900hrs I went for a trip past Romeni to see two big railway guns of Jerries they were well worth seeing I may say. Each gun was tended by fire trucks one was a generator while the others were for ammo. Their bore was 270mm or 11 inches the barrel was 70 feet long and at the breach it was 3ft 6inches thick. The charge case was made of brass and this brass was 3/16th inch(?) thick and stood about 3 ft high weighing nearly 100lbs with out the charge. They are the biggest guns I have ever seen, so far.. Went to the pictures tonight and seen “True to life” it was alright to see a picture and we all got a good laugh out of this one. Met Ray Mac there also George Cale and I sat with them. I was not in bed until 2330hrs as we never arrived back until 2310hrs. Wrote Janet. Our Col is leaving us and we are getting our old B.C. back to the Reg as Col Maj Angel. The ex Col gave us a talk and he said that nobody knew what was going to become of the Div now. We only had two things to do. Go home or go to the Islands. If we are going home we might be here for another 6 months yet or on the other hand we may be here only two, he said that we have 30,000 men in this Div but only about 15,000 would go to the islands if we went because there are a lot of units that would be wiped. Tanks and engineers would be out —— even the Arty may be out a bit. But we all pray that it is home to get on with production. We shall know within two ——–he said which way we will be going. There are quite a number of the chaps in this Div done three or nearly three years overseas.
My stomach is still very weak this morning but I feel alright otherwise. Made a shower this morning for the troop, we got the thank, pipes etc from a Jerrie possition in which were a Battery of 88__ The rest of the day was spent in resting and a night. I had a hours bridge.
To-day I went into TRIESTE to do the city over and at 0920hrs I was on my way arriving there at 1015hrs. The shops close at 1200hrs so we had to get on with our shoping with some speed on. I bought Janet a scarf and two pairs of sissors one medium and one small, also a few combs. I got ten pkts of seeds for myself , flowers and vegetables. The town was not bad although the place is almost controled by Tito’s men but as we have a fair number of armed soldiers in there, we got around unmolested. It is just like any other town though. Our lunch was a beaut to. We had brought some bread with us from the Bakehouse and when we all got together again we had our meal at 1410hrs as I said we only had the bread so we went to the market square and bought two pounds of onions and three lettuces, took all we had into a wine shop layed it on a table and went to work. There was seven of us altogether. With this meal we had a glass of vermouth and one bottle of chanpagne which cost us 1100 lira. We arrived home at 1630hrs had a wash and then our tea. I wrote a card to Janet and a letter to both Jocelyn and Anne. It was one of the hottest days we have had for some time.
13 May Sunday
We went out on a picnic to-day to a very nice place on the coast called “GRATO’ it has been a tourist resort in peace time in fact there is supposed to be 47 hotels here, it is right off the coast altogether and a cause-way leads out to it – the same as the one close to VENICE. There is a good beach here and it was alive with soldiers all afternoon. The day is another very hot one. Thhis place is about fifteen miles from TRIESTE (south). A romour came amongst us today saying that from a American Radio Station came the news that the 2 NZEF Divs ground forces would fight in the Islands. I hope this is far from being right. Received a parcel tonight from Janet, it was a tin of alsorts of sweets ———— and two tins of salted peanuts also a tin of “sticking plasters” for cuts. I may get a very thoughtful gift to every man over here in Italy. Wrote Janet card
Received two cards from Janet.
Started a second one after tea but never finished it. I wrote here one while the thunder storm was on. Played bridge after tea. By the news now, Japan is being very heavyle bombed 500 or more super forts (?) at a time. The weather cleared at 1915hrs and the rest of the evening was fine and lovely and cool
This morning was a very good day after the unsettled night last night. We had to take the Quad and Limber away this morning and have it washed. Made a tin and packed my parcel which consisted of the following. 1 Pr Candle sticks, model plane (stuka) books, 1 box of taps, 1 pkt of taps, 1 Die, 1 scarf, 1 spandua belt, 2 pipes, 5 combs, seeds : onion, 2 whhite onion, chives, leeks, sweet peas, 2 panseys, 3 shirley poppeys, 1 brass bullet cases, 2 big and 4 small, domes, 1pr shorts, photos of Trieste, 2prs sissiors , one medium and one small.
I will be able to send this parcel soon within the next day or so. There was pictures on tonight at the 21st Bty lines and we could go as usual. I had seen the picture before it was very good though “Pumpernil Smith(?) Lesley Howard was in it. There is black clouds in the sky and lighting can be seen in the distance I don’t know if we will get any rain or not. Received card from Janet. Finished card to Janet.
Time now 0120hrs. I am still dressed as I have just finished the card to Janet that I started on the 14th. I am on picquet from 0100hrs until 0200hrs and breakfast is at 0630hrs for everybody in the “hours to come” There is a trip to Austria in the morning starting at 0730hrs. I missed it but there may be another one later in the week. Seen a black snake tonight about four feet long. Went for a cold shower at 1800hrs and it was good. The weather is good now, hot until 2000hrs and not dark until 2115hrs. We left on our picnic at 0900hrs and we took 6 yanks with us, we went to a small town which is on one of the main roads and in a very shady spot. We stoped the truck beside the river and some of the boys were in straight away but they said it was very cold. It should have been too because it was a snow fed one. It had a beautiful blue-green colour. River was the Izoro (?) We played cricket before lunch and after lunch we played baseball and a very good day was had by all
After a very good sleep last night I was up this morning at 0715hrs (for the —— parade) Early this afternoon I done a bit of washing and some sewing and I played our bridge game in the comp. We lost so as far as we are concerned we are finished. At 1500hrs I decided to sit in a small Red Dog school that was going and by tea time I had won 2500Lira when we knocked off for tea the “kitty” was worth 13,500lira which is 32 pounds 15 shillings so we had to play after tea to cut it out. I done very well winning over 22 pound – about 200lira about. I have on me at present 34 pounds 17 shillings and 6 pence and about 33 pound in my pay book in credit which makes me worth about 67 pounds altogether. This tonight was the biggest win I have ever had in my life so far.
Received a cable from Janet dated May 8th , it was sent on the occasion of the end of the war, a very nice thought on her part. I thought. Went to the pictures tonight at 2100hrs and seen “The Women About Town” I am now lying on my bed writing this and the time is 2330hrs and I am now going to bed. I bought three pairs of gloves tonight from the Y.M. They were 350 a pair, their sizes were two 7’s and one 6 ½ . Wrote Janet card The picture tonight was :A Woman about Town” and it was a very good cowboy picture
Wrote two cards to Janet. Played Red Dog for a few hours this morning but never won or never lost anything. Played cricket against F.Troop but the game was unfinished because we smashed the only ball we had in the Battery. Bruce Coburn told me tonight that there was two sets of cricket gear coming into the Reg within a few days. I was in the party going to Austria tomorrow but at 2235hrs the trip was cancelled, reason unknown.
The trip to Austria was put off because of the trouble we have with Tito and this morning our little defense platoon is getting ready, we have to man the guns also. This is only practice but they are expecting something to happen as “he” has been told to get out I think. Just had a talk by the B>C and he told us the whole trouble about tito and it is right that he has been told to withdraw back Morgan Line which is East of TRIESTE . He also told us a bit about our future. The 6th Reinfs are due to go out anytime now followed by the 7th but the 7th won’t be allowed to go as long as we are in the Trieste area. These Reinfs will be followed by the others in turn. The notice said “It is desiriable that the 2nd NZEF ground forces be used in the Pacific but the matter is under considerations with the NZ Gov and the British Governments I hope they want us home and very soon
20 May Sunday
Reg Church Parade this morning, and after it we worked right up till 1200hrs. Received three cards from Janet and one from Bob Christian, Janets last one was the 5-5-45. Sewed the parcel up this afternoon and I put 3 shillings worth of stamps in case it went over 11L. After tea tonight we were told that the trip to Austria was on tomorrow, the time is now 2230hrs and its still on. The trouble we are having with TITO is still unsettled although he is drawing his forces out of Southern Austria by 7 in the morning. We have to be ready to move within half an hour now. There was an issue of Itie beer today but no cigs or tobacco, we are pretty short of smokes now too. A few spots of rain fell this afternoon.
Up this morning at 0600hrs and after a wash and breakfast we were on our way to Austria by 0710hrs. The first town we came to of any size was a place called GORIZIA the others up to the border were KANAL, KABRAIO,, and TARVISIO. Which is only about two miles from the border. We crossed the border and camped about ½ mile inside for lunch after lunch we walked the rest of the way to the nearest village on foot, it was about ¼ mile. It was here we seen the difference really because all the names changed from Itie into German within only only a few yards. The name of the village in Austria that we went to was Arnoldstein, a small but very pretty place indeed. The country in northern Italy is very ruggered only in the valleys are there any signs of life then the villages are far apart and only small clusters of houses. The sceanery is nowhere to be compared with our own Alps the bush is very stunted and not very thick anywhere. We did see two lovely sights, one was a great waterfall coming out of the side of a hill and the other sight was a small lake. Thhis was really wonderful only a small lake but it was ringed by spruce trees and the water was a deep green as we came upon this place we were about 2000 above sea level and this scean looked very good from that hight. Although we only went into Austria a mile or so what I did see was well worth the trip. Standing in one place I could look around and at every turn it looked like an oil painting. The houses are far different from those of Italy , differently designed and there is also a lot of wood used in their construction, every house has its own garden and they are a picture in themselves, well kept and well layed out. It was in one of these I see blackcurrents and gooseberries, the first I have seen since leaving home. Austria although very hilly is very pretty. The dress of the few people we seen was just like we read about, feathers in their hats and everything else. We could only stay there ¾ of an hour as the trip back had to be done by tea time. We left there at 1420hrs and we came a different way back passing through first DOGNA, RESUITTA, PORTIS, UDINE and so on to our camp by Trieste. The whole trip was 196 miles and as we landed “home” at 1900hrs it had taken us nearly 12 hours to do. It was a very dusty ride and my eyes were very sore when I got back after bathing them and having my tea I went to the pictures and seen “Deana Durban” in “Spring Parade” I had seen it before but it was alright the second time. Received three letters, two from Gran and one from Jocelyn. In bed at 2330hrs
22 May Tuesday
Up this morning at 0400hrs. I was on picquet from 4 til 5. I have not gone back to bed so that’s why I have just wrote up yesterdays and this bit of todays. I worked it out today and I must have traveled nearly 7000 miles in this country up to the present time. I have now been from the south of Italy “TARANTO’ to the north TARVISIO’ The day is overcase with the rain clouds not very far away.
We put our guns into action on the other side of the road at 1300hrs, they are now trained on Tito’s forces, two more Divs are coming into the line now. This makes two armys we have ready for him, I still hope we don’t fire our guns. “You” see dear, the war is not over for us but I can’t tell you in a letter, we have here now the 56 Div, 10 Indian, 52 USA Div, 5 USA and ourselfs. The 46 British is hanging around too. I have my “home” facked up just as I had it up over the road. I hope we don’t move from here for a few days now. I spent all afternoon putting it up.
Wrote Janet card, Gran card. Just as our luck would be it rained as we started to pull down our tents but after a quarter of an hour it cleared up and was a very good afternoon
Wrote Jocelyn.Just as we were going to give our gun a clean up this morning the LAD chap came down and told us that our gun had to go to the workshops for a few minor repairs so we needn’t have come over this side of the road again, we could have stayed where we were. It got away before lunch time so we are free for the time it is down there. There are two of us left on the gun possition, two away with the gun and the other four are over the other side of the road, they are members of the defence platoon we have. Went and seen the kiwi concert party tonight, it was very good to although some of the party has gone home now.. It started to rain about 2230hrs but we seen the concert out and just as we were coming home down the rain came propely. I reached my tent and everything was going well so I went to bed and had no worries over getting wet during the night.
It must have rained all night because it was still raining when I woke this morning. I got my breakfast in between a shower and by 0945hrs it had cleared up altogether. Sent through the YMCA for one pair of Desert Boots and a pouffe for Janet, this is a leather coushin and will go home from Egypt , the boots will come to me here. Wrote Bob Christian card. Wrote Janet card. Got my sandles mended. Done some washing. The 6th reinforcments are leaving us tomorrow at 0700hrs. I was in a small town this morning and TITO’s men were pulling out so this is a good sign for our future, I hope
Sent parcel this morning, candlesticks etc. There were pictures on last night but I never went. We have plenty of tobacco in our canteen at present so I am buying a packet each day because like it has been before there will come a day when they won’t have any for weeks. Received 6 cards and one photocard from Janet, they were very nice and the photocard was good quite a surprise too. Ordered five photos off George Hunter.
Wrote two cards to Janet. Wrote another card after tea making it three altogether. Wrote Mum S. Played bridge for a while after I finished my writing and after one hours picquet from 10-11 I went to bed
Never got up till 0910hrs went without any breakfast it never is worth going for anyway. There is tea and cakes on at the YM every morning so I had a few cakes and some tea at 1015hrs. Just as I arrived across there down came the rain again it had been raining since early this morning. Wrote Janet card. Played bridge after tea. In bed by 2130hrs
27 May Sunday
Up this morning at 0820hrs and again missed breakfast, it was very poor so I was told so I never missed very much. Went and had morning tea then had a game of bridge till lunch time. Washed three shirts and a pr of shorts after lunch and got them all dry before tea. I also sewed good buttons on a K.D (or O) shirt that I am going to make my best one.
Started to write a card to Janet but I have so little news that I had to give it up with only a page and a half done. It rained most of last night but we had a very fine day today
Just had a very lazy day. I was on picquet from 1080hrs till 1200hrs this morning. There is some talk of a Reg cricket team playing tomorrow against a Tommi crowd when and where I don’t know yet . Finished the card I started yesterday. Pictures tonight and I seen “Forever in my Heart” Gloria Warren singer. I met Ray , Mac, George and the third chap in the snap I got from home, Noel was his name. Never got home until 2345hrs.
The Reg Cricket hame is on this afternoon and F.Kinn——- and I are playing in it, we have RHQ at 1330hrs. We played against a Tommie team the 5th — Reg they made 96 and we made 86 in the first innings in the second they got 63 and we got 180 for 8 wkts. I done very well making 22 in each ——-. I also took 3 for 13 and caught a good catch in slips. We heard over the radio tonight that up to the 10th reinf were going home as soon as possible and the rest were going too make up a ground force to go to the Islands somewhere. I had a long talk with Bruce Coburn tonight. Finished writing to card to Janet.
Went into Trieste for a ride with the YM this morning. I bought myself a wallet costing 750L. It is a good one though. While we were in there a terrible thunder storm came over the town and lighting struck down into one of the streets making a noise just as if a 5.5 gun went off. I have never heard anything like it before. It rained very heavy for a hour. After touring around the town for two hours we came home in time for dinner. After lunch we had to take the gun down and have two rivits welded it took us one and a half hours to do the job of taking the gun out and putting it back. I got Eric Baker to cut my hair , had a shower then tea. After tea it rained but Bruce Coburn asked me to go to the pictures as he was taking the Jeerry car down. It was alright to sitting in the car watching because it started to rain about 2300hrs. The picture was “Stage Door Canteen” very good. The Jerry car was given to the YM by the 48 Battery but unless they get a permit they won’t be able to keep it. We had some trouble starting it before we got home and it was 0001 hrs before I got to bed , we had a lot of fun though.
It rained all night and it was raining when I woke this morning so I never got up for breakfast but I had to get up for a small parade at 0900hrs. I had my usual cup of tea at the YM at 1015hrs. Fine this morning. We are playing 29 Baty cricket tomorrow starting at 1000hrs At 1600hrs today I was on board the Ajax, we had been invited on board by the crew. The first thing we done was to go down below and have tea which was at 1630hrs. This consisted of buns, bread and real butter, it was very good too. A lovely cup of tea went with it. After we had finished this we had a look around the ship. The guns were our chief concern so into one of the 6 inch gun turrets we went. They are great, two guns side by side. The rest of the ship was full of gear mostly radio gear of which there was plenty altogether it was a very interesting afternoon although we got wet going out to the boat. We had to go out to it by launch and it was standing about three miles off shore. At 2000hrs we had to leave the ship and the trip back was a dry one because we came back on “Lighter” or “landing craft”. We arrived home at 2110hrs and after a cup of tea at the YM I went to bed