On February the 13th after a long period of fighting we moved back to Le Vaglie for a rest; B Echelon joined us from Roccomonfina and S Coy took over the B Echelon area. Strange rumours began to circulate as G1098 stores were centralised: 'England?-- Leave?-- ????' And then, on the 21st, the Battalion embarked aboard the MV Sobieski bound for the Middle East. We arrived at Port Said on the 27th and were taken by train to Quassasin Camp where we tried to forget some of the horrors of war. The time spent in the Middle East was thoroughly enjoyed by all and it was with heavy hearts that we returned to Italy on July 3rd.

Docking at Naples we moved to San Secondino and settled down to further training. Whilst we were here Lt Col J. G. Preston DSO paid us a visit. Commencing on the 16th we started for our new area, Osta Del Bestardo, staging at Torre Nova for one night. In these surroundings sports were well to the fore and many good games of football were played and basketball also became popular. On August 7/8th we held a Grand Fete and there were side shows of every description, from the 'Redcar Races' presided over by Lord and Lady Castel Volturno, to the Treasure Hunt. A knock out football competition was won by A Coy and the whole proceedings were suitably rounded off by a performance of the Divisional Dance Band and, later in the evening, the Mobile cinema gave a good show. We left this area on the 22nd and eventually arrived at Isola Di Pano on the 26th. During the morning of the 27th the Battalion moved in to battle and on the same day security was relaxed to the extent that Divisional signs could be displayed.

The first real attack on the Gothic Line was made on Petriano, a successful one and without casualties, although eight men were later wounded in the shelling.The advance continued and the Apsa River was crossed without loss of life. A short rest ensued until the 30th Aug. when we took over from the Leicesters. Whilst the C.O. was at the latter HQ he was ordered to switch to the Foresters front and, in doing this, five men were wounded with mines and one killed and four wounded in the actual advance to the Foresters feature.

Montevecchio on the 31st and on to Saleducia which was captured on September 1st after some tough fighting and a number of casualties. Later, forward of the town, B Coy and the Carriers were involved in a battle during which they captured a 75mm gun and a Mark IV tank. We crossed the River Conca and entered Morciano, pushed on and took up positions just South of Cevelbatte whilst the 1st Armoured Division pushed up the main road. From here to Saleducia area for a rest and reorganisation on a three company basis.

Relief of the 2nd Hampshires took place on the 9th and from this position La Crocetta was occupied, although attempts to push forward to Balignano met heavy resistance. A patrol probed this village next day and found it deserted by the enemy and in consequence B Coy took possession at first light. A few days rest followed until the 16th when the Battalion moved into the Leicesters area and went on to attack the Monastery at Cesena. The advance caught the German defenders by surprise, although considerable shelling followed our occupation. Night patrols were sent forward to Cesena and at 0400 hrs on the 20th the latter was occupied by the 16th Bn DLI, B and C Coy passing through, after some fierce skirmishes, to the west end of the town. The civilian population gave us a great welcome and it was with reluctance that we were pulled out to Montefiore for rest.


German Propaganda Leaflet 1944 Calendar
German Propaganda Leaflet, Write that Letter!

German propaganda made much of the Allies difficult progress in Italy. This propaganda leaflet was picked up on the battlefield by Cpl G Coombs of the 2/5th Foresters in 1944. Quite subtle in its technique, the purpose of the leaflet was obviously to encourage a feeling of gloom and despondency about the progress of the Italian Campaign---and to hope that this would be reflected in servicemenís letters back home. However, Allied soldiers picking up the leaflet would be more likely simply to appreciate the useful calendar. Courtesy G Coombs.