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Posts Tagged ‘Rome’

During the past month I have travelled north very many miles.  I left Anzio on June 25 with the regiment and arrived at Civitavecchia 40 miles north of Rome on the same day.  Civitavecchia is a fair sized port and there was quite a large amount of shipping for us to defend.  We saw very little action however and most of my time was spent swimming and rowing out to the Yankee minesweepers which were anchored just offshore.

After about a week we moved north again to where I am at the moment I don’t know the name of this place but it is 15 miles south of Leghorn in Livorno, a very big port which has only just been taken.  It has been here, before  Leghorn l that the regiment had its first taste of field artillery. Our guns played a very big part in the capture of Leghorn shelling German strong points, gun positions and infantry and even Leghorn itself.  Casualties continue to be very light in the regiment it really is amazing.  When Leghorn fell our guns finished in their role of field artillery and now tomorrow we are going into Leghorn  as A.A. again.

Rome seems a very long way behind now and I am thankful I got one chance to see Rome.

The people here in North Italy are quite different from any we have yet met. Their houses are quite modern and they seem to live something like our people in England.  They are genuinely pleased that the Germans have been kicked out. One woman told us that when we arrived she fully expected  us to turn her family out of the house and occupy it ourselves.  At the time we were sleeping in the main road.  I have also heard much about the awful things the Germans have done here.  One man told us that his daughter had been raped by the Germans before they left, hundreds have been shot and their livestock stolen.

I have seen quite a few partisan troops around here and I believe that they have done some very useful work.

Well tomorrow I travel still nearer to my darling Evelyn and I don’t think it will be long now before we are together again for ever.

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Two weeks ago we left Foggia and arrived here (Anzio) two days later.  we travelled via Naples but as it was night time when we passed through the city I couldn’t see very much.  I said goodbye to Nino now and his family the night before we left . ‘Bona Fortuna’ was wished upon a many times as we sat and drank much wine. Phil Banks and I have got his address and intend to write to him after the war.  When we rose to leave them we parted in the typical Latin manner by handshakes and kissing each other on the cheeks.  Good look Nino and your family. Italy needs men like you after the war.

Since arriving here we have had one or two raids and one very narrow escape when a very heavy bomb burst a few yards away causing a few casualties and damage to vehicles.

Two days ago I spent a never to be forgotten day in Rome. Rome really and truly is a beautiful city and had it been destroyed by war it would have been a great loss. I visited quite a few famous places but one day isn’t much in which to see Rome. I am hoping to go again in the near future.  I entered Rome along the famous Appian Way along which Caesar must have travelled many times.  On each side of the road were ancient tombs and monuments all carved in figures and pictures. I entered Rome by one of the old gateways in the great wall surrounding the city.  I passed down lovely avenues of trees and ancient monuments and statues. First stop was the great Colloseum an ancient relic of pagan Rome of olden days.  The inside has partly crumbled but the great terracing and arena is still a there.  Right in the centre of the city is the modern buildings and monument to Victoria Emmanuel the second. This is magnificent very high and built of pure white stone with gold colours and bronze statues and carvings.  On the very top are mounted two imposing statues in bronze representing chariots drawn by horses.

Saint Peter’s church was the most inspiring of them all. The nave, which is the longest in the world,  is beautifully decorated.  The walls are of the finest marble and the pictures are all composed of fine pieces of mosaic.  The statues and carvings are too beautiful to describe. The high altar is superb and underneath is Saint Peter’s tomb  decorated in gold and bronze and continuously lit up.  A great high canopy mounted on four solid bronze pillars covers the tomb and altar.  Each of the pillars weighs five tons and the nave holds 35,000 people.  I went up into the great dome and after climbing endless steps reached the bronze bull on the pinnacle.  From here I could look down on the Vatican City and survey the wonderful panorama of Rome.  Perhaps I shall see more of it soon.

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