Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Welcome to the Blog !
If you wish to leave a comment on any particular Page of my Album please click on the 'comment' link of that page. If you wish to just leave a comment concerning the Album itself use the 'comment' link after this article.
If you wish to contact me by e-mail please write to ron_goldsteinATbtopenworld.com (replacing the AT characters with the @ symbol)
On the 18th of February 2010 the album was donated to the Imperial War Museum and on 5/7/12 was catalogued and made available for viewing by the general public. The photos (taken by Nita) show me holding the Album in front of a Sherman tank and Archivist Anthony Richards receiving the Album on behalf of the IWM
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
The actual album measures 9.75"x 12.25" equivalent to 25cm x 31cm.
My scanner (and foolscap paper) measures 8.25" x 11.75", 21cm x 30 cm.
Wherever a diary entry or some text has been lost in the process of copying the album I have shown the text below the image.
Saturday 17th. June 1944 *
Jerry about 5 miles away. Local eyties first sight of Britishers. Bags of vino
Friday 29th. September 1944
Reveille at 0330. (major) flap.Pouring rain all the time. Through Vasto,
Termoli, the Sangro, Pescara. Staged for night at Giulianova.
Saturday 30th. September 1944
Baily bridge washed away and stopped move. Stayed in billets most of the
day. Most of the boys went vino hunting. Some maintenence on the truck. The eyeties are trying to buy anything and everything.
This new blank page, inserted into the Album due to it's re-bind, contains two images.
The first is the Air-Mail I sent home to Mick on Xmas 1944 and the second is me at the Imperial War Museum being filmed by the BBC in 1995 during the commemoration celebrations.
Hidden diary page:
Saturday 7th. October 1944
Our present location skin factory, slightly lousy. Mail came in the evening.
Information concerning move in morning. Enjoyable evening.
Sunday 8th. October 1944
Moved off at 10 am. Rain all the way. Through Scarperia 30 miles from front. Ditched at location entrance, billets cramped.
Monday 9th. October 1944
Building road in morning, all my clothes still soaking from two days ago. Rain almost all the time. "In " at the casa after drawing NAAFI rations.
Tuesday 10th. October 1944
Wireless in "ops" again. Cleared truck, ran remote control to Adjutant. Truck in new position nearer cookhouse. Evening downstairs on stag from 12 am to 2 am.
Sunday 6th. May 1945
Moved off at 8 am with Lt.Harris in my Honey. Was held up at the bridge till after 11 am. Trucks were getting ditched all night but not ours T.W.
Monday 7th. May 1945
No sleep but straight on to leave in Venice. Tour of the Grand Canal on gondola. St.Marco, Ponte Rialto & the whole works. With Derek & Pat (Eddie Patman)
Tuesday 8th. May 1945
Filling up with petrol while Hewie has day in Venice. Packed most of the tanks. Dinner was just for Bill & I. Boys came back from leave 'dry'.
Wednesday 9th. May 1945
All packed ready for move to Austria of all places but cancelled when S.S. Division packed in. Parcel from home with Kummel.
Friday 9th. June 1944
Drove 75 miles to outside Rome. Div Police led us through city. Really wonderful trip.
Saturday 17th. June 1944 *
Jerry about 5 miles away. Local eyties first sight of Britishers. Bags of vino
Wednesday 21st. June 1944 *
Travelled 150 miles in 3 Tonner for 10 hours in Rome. Got back the next day tofind Div had moved up (North). Took hours to find them
I am a regular suscriber to a ww2 forum called ww2talk.com
On one of the threads, someone wrote about time travel and I was driven to respond as below.
Here you all are writing as though Time Travel was just a fantasy.
How wrong you are !
Consider my trip to Trieste in 2007.
My wife and I were on our way to a week's stay in Venice when I twisted her arm and we arranged to spend three nights in Trieste on the way out, a city to which I had never returned since 1946.
At 0600hrs, leaving she who must be obeyed sleeping in the hotel, I made my way to Piazza Goldoni armed only with a map, my camera and a snap from my Army Album showing me sitting on a balustrade with the square behind me.
The map indicated that I must now turn right, so I did, and then the time machine told me I had reached my destination. I was back in 1946.............. no mistake and no possible argument.
I was aged 23 again, feeling much fitter and certainly stones lighter.......... I was a young man with the war over and my life before me.
The square was just as I knew it and I wandered round and marveled at my ability to cast myself back into a long gone era. I took photos to prove to myself that I had returned and that all was as I'd left it.
How dare you suggest that Time Travel is a fantasy !
I've used Time Travel and it works.
So there !
On one occasion the Navy decided it would be a good idea if they were to send some of the matelots stationed in Trieste to our barracks for a day's leave. We showed them around, let them drive our tanks etc., and in short they had a good day's fun. In turn the Navy invited some of us back to their own units and I was chosen to spend a day on a mine sweeper in Trieste harbour.
It was a lovely day and all was going fine until it was pointed out to us that the Degaussing equipment aboard (that neutralised the magnet mines in the harbour) had developed a fault. For the balance of the day consequently the boat was surrounded by floating and very lethal German mines and we found ourselves fending them off and taking potshots at them!
Of my week's leave in Cairo I most vividly remember a day trip to the Pyramids and the Sphinx and the pleasant days we spent swimming at the pool at Heliopolis.
On l6th August l944 I celebrated my 2lst birthday by having a drink with an American seaman in a bar in Cairo. I had just dropped the C.O. off in the city and was killing time before picking him up for the trip back to camp at Ishmalia. By one of those remarkable coincidences that used to occur in wartime, the seaman at the bar, a Mr. John Merry of 383O North Carmac St Philadelphia, U.S.A., happened to be a crew member of a Liberty ship called the SS Homer Lee. When at the end of our stay in Egypt we boarded ship for our return to Italy the ship turned out to be, yes, you have guessed it, the afore-mentioned Homer Lee and as a result I had the pleasure of access to the crews' quarters and some smashing food.
Yes....that's me.......second camel from the right !
Sunday 1st. July 1945
Spent the greater part of the day in bed & didn't even bother to go to the canteen. Received parcel from home with usual cherry brandy.
Monday 2nd. July 1945
On stag & didn't it pour. I was on first relief & my 10 to 12 shift seemed to collect all the mist in the valley. Half the P.O.W. cage is under water. Snow on the nearby mountain peaks.
Tuesday 3rd. July 1945
Feeling the effects of last night's do. Corp' from N.Demob Unit is getting my films developed at Villach for me. "Sorcerers Apprentice" at canteen.
Wednesday 4th. July 1945
On stag for the umpteenth time. 2nd Relief and arranged my own beat. Quite a lot of fun watching 'Teds' ( Tedeschis, therefore Germans) negotiate 'bridge'.
Sunday 17th. June 1945 *
Have applied for leave to see Mick who is at Udine.
June 18th - Major RR Archer returned from hospital and took over command of HQ Sqn.
Monday 18th. June 1945 *
On last relief in P.O.W. cage. Loudspeakers have been fixed up in the camp. False alarm about Jack being safe.
June 19-20th - Nothing to report.
Tuesday 19th. June 1945 *
Came off stag at 10 am. Into Spittal in the jeep to arange 'beer job' with the director.Loaded the 7 tonner with empty barrels. Warned for a 'buckshee' guard.
Wednesday 20th. June 1945 *
Took two Austrians to Paternion prison & two girls to be punished by the
Squadron Leader. Also 48 S.S. men to a camp at Spittal after finding them in our cage.
Thursday 21st. June 1945 *
Did a bit more swapping- this time I swapped a Jerry dagger for a Yankee mini- camera, loaded with film. Housey in the canteen after a day in the billet.
June 21th - Major JLE Ogier MC returned from hospital and took over command of B Sqn.
Friday 22nd. June 1945 *
Took some snaps of the guard which should turn out O.K. New unit is practically ready to take over P.O.W. camp administration. Carstairs, Hussey & James for leave (L.I.A.P or Leave in addition to Python)
June 22nd - Nothing to report.
Saturday 23rd. June 1945 *
Normal day off. Scrubbed my K.D. (Khaki Drill). Latest billet mascot is a blonde kid, very sharp, named Hervick. He is teaching Vic Hatch German!
Sunday 29th July 1945
Before dinner did a bit of “gardening” in front of billets. In the afternoon went up the mountainside with Abbino (?) and his sister. Quite good fun
Monday 30th July 1945
Taken off fatigues to do interpreter for Lt.”Dutch” Holland. Out in the dingo to the end of the boundary area. Crashed plane on hillside. Beer at roadside Gasthos at dinner time.
July 31st Rgt ceasing to be under command of 78th Div (Now under 6th Armd Div)
Tuesday 31st July 1945
Out with “Dutch” again, this time to the Burgomaster at Hohentaun. Collected three crates of booksfrom ex-Stalaag XVIII. Back early for Road Block guard.Truck broke down.
Acting in my role as un-official interpreter I went with Lt. Holland to inspect a deserted POW camp that had been used to hold a hundred or so British prisoners of war. Although it was now empty, there was something quite eerie about the atmosphere of the place; it was as though all the memories were somehow trapped inside the wooden huts, and I was glad to get out into the open air.
Wednesday 1st August 1945
Guard room is in ex-Gasthos. Cooked our own meals. Young orphan has French
father, Russian mother
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The site for the camp was almost ideal. Situated in a valley it must originally have been a field for grazing and had the river on one side and railway embankment on the other. We quickly put up some barbed wire around the perimeter and bingo, we had a cage. Within a few days the first 2OOO prisoners arrived by train and eventually this number was to swell to 4OOO.
Timber was requisitioned from far and wide, and after it was dumped in the cage, the Germans were told to get on with it and build their own accommodation, which they soon did in a most professional manner. One of the first buildings put up was a guard room for our own benefit and I, in company with the rest of "A" squadron, was to spend the next month doing 24 hours on, and 24 hours off guard without a break.
At any one time there were only four men on actual guard around the perimeter, one patrolling the railway embankment, one the river bank, and the other two each other side of the cage. The Germans had their own internal guard to keep things in order within the cage itself and it was quite common for the British and German guards to patrol together, each on his own side of the wire.
On one occasion, in the early hours of the morning, I was chatting in German to my counterpart on the other side. I told him I was Jewish, to which I got the almost automatic response: "Ich habe so viel Freunden Juden!", and I asked him as a matter of academic interest what would have happened if some weeks earlier I had the misfortune to be captured by his own unit and they discovered I was Jewish.
He considered the matter for a moment and then told me that if I had been one of a large group of prisoners, then no attempt would have been made to segregate me, and I would have just been sent to the rear with the others. If, however, I had been captured separately and if his own officer said to him "shoot him" then he would simply have shot me, for as he quite cheerfully pointed out to me: "If I don't shoot you, then he shoots me!"
At the time, it all seemed perfectly logical to both of us and I have often been glad that events had never put the matter to the test.
On another occasion I was on the river bank duty and was being observed by a bunch of young Jerries. It was fairly obvious that they were amused by something and I asked them what they were laughing at. The ringleader said: "It's because you are only armed with a pistol!" as tank crew this was standard issue and worn in a belt holster. I pointed out to him that if he personally attempted to slip through the wire and swim the river, the pistol was more than sufficient to stop him, if on the other hand the whole 4OOO of them were to decide to make a run for it, then all the armoured cars in the village would probably have difficulty in stopping them. He saw the logic of it and shared it with his friends.
Occasionally we would lose some prisoners who would scoot up the railway embankment and make for the hills, and we used to send out patrols in the early hours to see if they were hiding in the local farms. To everyone's embarrassment we sometimes found our own troops having a liaison with the local "talent."
The snap lower left is titled "Off stag (stag being army slang for "guard")
Thursday 16th August 1945
My (22nd.)birthday was celebrated in the Squadron canteen. Aided by Vic, Hewie,Wyatt, 29 tins of beer and 6 bottles of beer I got very happy and so to bed
19th Aug Advance party of A Sqn moved to TUNIS camp, ULM on overland leave route
22nd Aug A Sqn main party left to relieve 17/21st Lancers at ULM. Rear party commanded by Lt.Balfour remained at TRIEBEN to guard Armd Cars
Sunday 19th. August 1945
Moved off at 7.15 am through Salzburg, Munich, Dachau, Augsberg and arrived in Ulm about 6'ish. Had dinner, shower and went to canteen where I met Dizzy.
Running a Staging Camp in Ulm in Germany
In September we (that's A Sdrn. 4th Queen's Own Hussars) landed another interesting job, that of running a staging camp in Germany. At that time there was an Army scheme in operation called L.I.A.P., which stood for Leave in Addition to Python. Python was the code name for leave that was given to troops that had done four years or more abroad and were due for home posting, whereas LIAP was now being given to those who had "only" (my inverted commas) done two years and nine months overseas service.
To get the returning warriors home, a series of staging camps were set up, starting in Italy, extending across Germany and France and finishing up at Dover. "A" squadron had been chosen to run the camp at Ulm, about l5O miles north of Munich and so off we went again, for the first time in Germany itself. On the way through Munich we passed the famous Beer Cellar where Hitler had made speeches in his early days. Lt.Walmsly and Major Paddy O'Brien stopped the truck they were travelling in and posed for me. The snap is still in my album.
We settled in very quickly.
Every evening about seven o'clock the convoy of lorries used to arrive and then facilities were laid on for the two or three hundred men to be fed, refreshed and all their needs attended to before they left the following morning at O7OO hours.
My own particular job was the cushy one of camp librarian and my duties were simple, to say the least. At the beginning of the "run" in Italy all troops were given opportunities to purchase paperback books from the NAAFI canteen. As they arrived at each staging camp in turn, they could swap on a one-for-one basis and so they had plenty to read en route. As librarian I was only on duty from seven in the evening until 9pm and then the rest of the day was my own. One other small duty was taking down the news from the BBC broadcasts and posting it on the canteen notice board.
The giggle was the fact that on some occasions reception was bad and the announcer spoke too fast. When this happened I used to fill in my own version of the news, regardless of the accuracy of the statements, but I don't think that anyone was ever the wiser and the next bulletin was always updated.
As we were now a British outpost in the heart of Germany we often had visitors turning up looking for repatriation to England, and I was often called in to interpret. On one occasion a strange young man turned up claiming to be of British origin and I was told to translate. When I found my German was not enough to cope with the situation I switched to French and Italian whereupon the young man said to me: "You must be Jewish," going on to say that the only British he knew who could speak so many languages were Jewish.
The canteen at the camp had a film projector and nightly shows were given for those in transit. Because we had a different audience every night, it must have occurred to someone that it was not necessary to change the film, and therefore the whole month that we were in Ulm the film was always "Cover Girl" with Betty Grable. As the town itself was off-limits to the camp staff, we would invariably find ourselves watching the film and consequently we knew all the script and the dance routines backwards! For months afterwards some of the lads would break into one of the complicated song and dance routines. One favourite lyric was "Who's complaining, I'm not complaining, together we'll see this thing through, Because of Axis trickery my coffee's now chicory, and I can hardly purloin a sirloin."
Through the wonders of modern day internet I have been able to trace and play both of these songs as sung by the original artists, Mario da Vinci singing "Io T'ho incontrata a Napoli" and Carlo Butti on Youtube singing "Angiolina": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7a-qz1Wru0
In addition, with the help of an Italian WW2 forum I was delighted to obtain a recording of Gino Bechi singing "Strada del Bosco"
My good friend Peter Ghiringhelli supplied me with this English translation of Angiolina:
Just to stay here all the time
I eat and drink all day long, Angiolina
I adore your restaurant!
I consume in great profusion
spaghetti and meatloaf, Angiolina
Just to stay in your company.
I love you,
Angiolina, my darling,
but between lunches and dinners
I'm spending alomost a fortune.
For you a week's wage
vanishes in a day
Angiolina I love you!
With all the food I'm shoving down
I already weigh almost a ton, Angiolina.
I'm going to drive myself insane!
I'm so attracted to you,
but, my dear,
I see that for your love
I'll do something really stupid, Angiolina.
I love you,
Angiolina, my darling,
but between lunches and dinners
I spend alomost a fortune.
For you a week's wage
vanishes in a day
Angiolina, I love you!
There has recently been some controversy on this site (The BBC WW2 People's War Archives) regarding the date of the Victory Celebrations in Europe and whether or not there was actually a Victory Parade held in London on VJ Day itself.
Other articles have also suggested that Her Majesty the late Queen Salote of Tonga and various other foreign Royals also took part in the 1946 Victory Parade
Before adding my own views on the subject I would remind myself that Peter Ghiringhelli once unknowingly paid me a compliment by telling me I was a ‘Prime Source’ as far as research on WW2.
Peter, of course, was merely acknowledging the fact that because of my date of birth, 16th August 1923, my many photographs and my Army Records, all of which are easily verifiable, it was evident that I had actually taken part in the events about which I had written on this site. I therefore consider, if only for the purpose of credibility, that I am a fairly safe bet when it comes to giving accurate dates.
On the 15th of August 1945 VJ Day was proclaimed.
At the time I was still serving in Austria and heard on the radio, as I did on VE Day, the celebrations that were taking place back in England. I am more than certain that there was no Parade or March in London on the day, there was certainly no time to organise such an event.
It was a different matter with the Victory Parade.
On the 8th of June 1946 I was on leave from Trieste.
On the day , I got myself up silly early in order to obtain a prime position in Whitehall where I had the pleasure of seeing a fantastic parade of arms which included representatives from my own regiment, the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars.
I have no recollection or any written evidence to suggest that her Majesty Queen Salote of Tonga or indeed any other foreign Royals, took part in the Victory Parade and can only suppose that some folk are confusing this with her attendance at the coronation of HM The Queen on the 2nd June 1953
When I returned to Trieste after my leave I wrote up a page in my Army Album and a photo of that page is now shown above.
Since first writing the above I thought that in the interests of factual accuracy I should ask another party to confirm my memory of the event and I therefore wrote to the Tonga High Commission in London.
My letter, followed by their reply, should put the controversy finally to rest.
17th October 2005
Tonga High Commission
36 Molyneux Street
London W1H 5BQ
May I firstly apologise if this letter is not addressed to the right department and ask you to kindly pass it on to anyone who can be of assistance to the writer.
I am a British WW2 veteran who has written many articles on the BBC WW2 Peoples War Website. This website is shortly to become a very important archive of WW2 history and I, and others, are concerned that items included should be factually correct.
One of the articles concerns her late Majesty, the Queen of Tonga and claims that Her Majesty took part in the 1946 Victory Parade in London.
As someone who actually witnessed the 1946 parade, I have pointed out that this information is incorrect and that the writer is confusing her Majesty’s later and famous participation in the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the 2nd of June 1953..
(Please see my article on: A4768040)
It would be most appreciated if you could confirm that my memory is not at fault and that Her Majesty Queen Salote did NOT attend the Victory Celebration Parade on 8th June 1946.
With many thanks for your trouble
Reply received by e-mail:
19th October 2005-10-19
Subject: Re-1946 Victory Parade in London
From: (writers name withheld by Ron)
Dear Mr Goldstein,
Thank you for drawing our attention to the article on BBC and we wish to confirm that Her late, Majesty the Queen of Tonga did not attend the Victory Celebration Parade on 8th June 1946.
With best wishes,
Tonga High Commission
Regards to all
I was also looking out of the carriage window when the train rumbled into Austria, homeward bound, in June '46. The trip from Italy, which takes about three and a half days,is interesting the first time, boring the second time and a severe strain on the nerves the third time .
In November '45 I finally got my first leave home after being abroad since April 1943. I came back to London and Manor Road over the LIAP (Leave In Addition to PYTHON) route that I had previously helped to run.
I travelled for three days via lorry, train and ferry and finally reached Stoke Newington where my parents were now living.
As I got off the bus in Manor Road I could see the front door some 200 yards away. Over the doorway I could also see that decorations had been placed in position in patriotic red, white and blue. It was obviously one of those many 'welcome home' signs that I had been seeing all the way from Dover and I have to confess to feeling quite touched.
It was only when I got right outside the door that I could read the sign itself. It said: 'WELCOME HOME JACK'. My name is Ron! My brother-in law had beaten me to it and his name over the door had taken all the wind out of my sails!
Despite the sign, however, Mum, Dad and all at home seemed pleased to see me and I had a fantastic 28-day leave.
Peter Ghiringhelli was good enough to translate the Italian text on the Piccolo Italiana membership card and part of his e-mail now follows:
Thank you Ron for letting me have a scan of this most interesting document. It is the membership card of a 'Piccola Italiana' (Little Italian Girl), part of the
Ballila movement, for girls aged between 8 and 12.
They then went on to the 'Giovane Italiane' (Young Italian Girls) from 13 to 18.
The left sets out the duties of the 'Piccolo Italiane':
"A Piccola Italiana must prepare herself to be the Fascist woman of tomorrow.
Here are her tasks:
1. To fulfill her obligations as daughter, as sister, as schoolgirl, and as a friend, with kindness and joy even when such duties are sometimes tedious.
2. To serve the motherland as a greater mother, the mother of all Italians.
3. To love 'il Duce' who has made the motherland stronger and greater still.
4. To cheerfully obey all superiors.
5. To have the courage to oppose those who council evil and who mock honesty.
6. To train her body to overcome physical strain and her mind not to fear pain.
7. To shun stupid vanity and to love things of beauty.
8. To love work, which is life and harmony.
Sunday 15th. April 1945
Couple of miles back, cleaning guns, airing blankets & tidying up in general.
Put the old camp bed up & spent a very good night.
Monday 16th. April 1945
Early morning move. Watched eytie squad burying some tedeschi dead. Found
Jerry rifle & ammo in the wood. Cpl.Boreman fixing the charging engine.
The charging engines also known as chore horses played an important part in our lives in Italy. They were small engines, run on petrol, that were used to re-charge batteries . As wireless ops. they were strictly our responsibility and everyone in the unit used to have to come to us to get their own personal batteries charged. I say ‘personal’ batteries because if you wanted a light in your tent at night you needed a battery and by inference you would need to know some one with a chore horse!
Tuesday 17th. April 1945
Reveille at 4'ish & then hung around all day doing nothing. Our new Colemans
Cooker arrived. S.Ps (self propelled guns) in next field pretty noisy but moved
Wednesday 18th. April 1945 (see Regimental Diary of same day)
Stonked near wood for solid hour. Corporal Todd wounded badly in head
when air-burst caught their Honey. Farmhouses burning, stuck in ditch.
Wednesday the 18th had started with Busty going sick, I believe with an old wound, and he had been replaced for the day by Sgt. Broderick. Shortly after moving off at dawn we came under mortar fire from dead ahead, and Broderick rather craftily directed Hewie to place us under a knoll, or hillock, that was directly in front of the wood from which the fire appeared to be coming.
It soon became apparent that we were safe, or relatively safe, as long as we stayed where we were. Every time we tried to move, however, the mortars landed within yards of us and we saw other tanks getting hit only yards away.
They say that when you are about to drown all your previous life flashes in front of you. Well, that is how I felt that day and I could almost read the article that would appear in the Hackney and Kingsland Gazette. "We regret to announce the death of trooper Ron Goldstein on active service in Italy. It is ironic that whilst on leave in Egypt some six months earlier he had tried to see his brother-in-law Jack, without success. Only a few days before his death he had also tried to see his brother Mick, but again with no joy."
By the time the long day had finished and it was dark enough for us to slip away I gradually realised that I had survived and that I was not due to be killed that day after all.
Since I first wrote the article above I have had the odd contact from relatives who had seen the photo on this and other sites. For their benefit I now give the surnames of all those depicted, which, in a moment of brilliance, I had written on the back of the photo before I put it in the Album.
Starting with the back row and reading from left to right.
House,Westlake,Burroughs,Carstairs,Holmes,Lees,Haines,Vic Hatch,Ron (that's me), Hunt,Ball,Hewitt,Jefford,Richardson,Dash,Howell,Harwood,Hewitt, (No relation) Rayston,Shave,Bellinger
‘Dicky Hole’,Wilson,Wallis, Gorton, Elliot,Brennan,Ayre,Haines,Waite,Gerahty,Mollard,Jarvis,Porter,Stillwell,Crighton
Hills,Wakes,Tom Metcalfe,Haywood,Hasted,Boult,Chiltern,Broderick,Ellis,Stone,Buckley,’Busty’ Thomas,
Please contact me by e-mail if you have any queries about someone in the photo