Friday, February 24, 2006
New Year's Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli
Photo shows: The Aerogram I sent home to Mick, who was serving in England at the time.
Can it really be 62 years ago ?
It was, according to my diary.
Saturday 1st. January 1944
Spent in Carovilli in the Central sector. Snow, cold, damp but still had a very good Xmas.
Sunday 2nd. January 1944
Spent most evenings with Fioccas, very nice people. Troops are getting it rough at Vastgirade due to the cold
The format for most of the troops in Italy on entering a village for the first time was to establish themselves with an Italian household. Instead of spending off-duty evenings in our un-comfortable billets, one could then relax in front of a roaring wood fire. Inevitably one brought spare rations for the mother of the family, which were thrown into the communal cooking pot.
We then ate an evening meal with the rest of the family.
In Carovilli I found myself in the household of the village priest, Signor Fiocca, and we spent many evenings discussing theological matters including how could a nice boy like me be Jewish!
In my Album I still have a photograph of the Priest’s two younger sisters, Delya and Iola.
One interesting aspect of the month or so we spent there was the time that one of the lads went down with pneumonia. We were completely cut off from other units by snowdrifts some 2O feet high and when we radioed for help were told to enlist the help of the local convent.
We moved Peter, I have forgotten his second name, to the convent, and they took over completely and probably saved his life. We used to visit him occasionally to see how he was getting on and on the last occasion found him sleeping in a huge chapel with altar candles placed near his head and feet for all the world like a monarch lying in state. When he saw us he said: "For Christ's sake get me out of here!" Apparently he had woken out of his fever to find himself lying in that manner and thought that he must be dead!
Another clear memory was coming out of our billets one morning to see ski tracks of a German Patrol who had calmly come through the village and made their escape without bothering us.