Sept. 10-18, 1943

Sept. 10: Moved north at 6 a.m. Moving forward RAP (Regimental Aid Post) forwards and ADS (Advanced Dressing Station) to Badolato. We go with flying column. Stoney with 3 tanks, a Co. Of recce and my jeep will drive straight through to Constantza. Prisoners are still coming in. Big bridge ahead badly blown. All bridges from here up are blown. Several detours due to blown bridges – all mine fields have to be swept. We climb the Appenine Mts to go through a Town on a very top known as Montara (?), the streets are so narrow, we have to knock houses down with the Tanks. The scenery is beautiful. The people are in thousands lining the streets, with flags of welcome out to American and British. They clap and cry – but still I don’t trust them. Everything here is much superior to Sicily. We enter Catanzaro at 5 p.m., a big Italian Military Center. I contact the head for southern Italy and search the hospital for English and American prisoners. Steal a car but tires blow out on me so give it back to its owner. Honesty always pays.

Sept. 11 – Proceed back to Locri to check up on my posts – have a grand trip, but the entire 1st Div is in Convoy on the road. We have moved our harbour to Catanzaro Di Marina.

A Sherman tank passes through Nicastro, 11 September 1943. © IWM (NA 6902)

A Sherman tank passes through Nicastro, 11 September 1943.
© IWM (NA 6902)

Sept. 12 – Inspection by GIC 1st Div, Gen. Simmons. Bathing in the Mediterranean right at our door. Have picked up a grand bunch of medical supplies.

Sept. 13 – “A” Squadron joins us.

Sept. 14 – Still bright and clear, are packed up for move up the coast of 150 miles tomorrow. We have joined up cross country with the 5th British Div, thus completely cutting off the toe of Italy. When we again reach our objective and join up with the 5th, the instep will be cut across – the heel and Taranto are already taken by the 5th Corps – we will then have the foot cut off and I imagine all will concentrate on the Naples Foggia line, in preparation for the Rome line. The best part of the Mediterranean where we are harboured and are bathing daily is the Gulf of Squillace. Still no mail in and cannot send any mail out. Will be glad to be on the move again tomorrow.

Sept. 15 – Moved off in “A” Echelon, passed north east along the coast through Passo di Trocellio then passed inland to Cutro, then north Strongoli, then still north along the coast road to Cariati on the shore of the Gulf of Taranto. There were several demolitions along the road, making detours necessary. Part of the country is very barren and mountainous with huge herds of gray oxen. More transport by here by oxen than by donkey. The last 20 miles have been olive groves – we are harboured in one. Thousands of Italian soldiers around. People are a very poor class. Pulling north now, covered 92 miles today.

Sept. 16 – Moved north at 900 hours through Corigliano, a dirty little Town, then north to the cross road leading to Castrovillari, harboured in a pine grove on the shores of the Gulf of Taranto – wonderful swimming, 45 miles today. We have now travelled up the coast from Reggio, 272 miles. Expect to go farther soon.

Sept. 17 – Moved with “A” Squadron Tanks in advance guard to 3rd Brigade, jeep ambulance and motorcycle only.

Sept. 18 – Started at 5:15 a.m. – Each Tank loaded with infantry from West Nova Scotia passed through St. Arcangelo, Missanello, and are now harboured in a grove while the artillery have taken up positions covering a detour past a blown bridge. We are hitting for Corleto today and hope to reach Potenza tomorrow. The rest of the Regiment have moved up along the coast. Only moved 28 miles today. This afternoon we were called to Corleto to remove a wounded German officer.

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About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.

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