Tuesday, April 18, 2006
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