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Have you looked at the BBC Peoples War Archives lately ?


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#1 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:10 AM

Back in 2004 The BBC started collecting WW2 stories and I found myself involved as a researcher/helper in the everyday running of the site.

Late in 2006, having notched up a very respectable 47,000 odd stories and 15,000 photographs it shut up shop, stopped accepting stories and became a "sealed" archive.

Initially the search facilities were laughable and I found myself campaigning to get matters put to right. Eventually they sorted it out and it is now a pleasure to use.
If you do use it, you need to scroll down to the bottom of the screen for the search box marked SEARCH THE ARCHIVES.
BBC - WW2 People's War

To remind forum members of this super depository of wartime stories I'm going to re-print some of my own offerings here virtually every day for the forseeable future just to remind you of this splendid site.
Inevitably most of the stories have been already aired on this forum so apologies for that, but I thought it might be a good idea to put them all in one spot.

For a full list of my postings see here:
BBC - WW2 People's War - Ron Goldstein's War
Scroll down to "Stories contributed by Ron Goldstein" for links to the original story headed by an image.

In no particular order, this is a tale of why we didn't get any chips !

Trieste had it's funny moments. (1)

During the period October 1945 to January 1947 I was stationed in the Trieste area.
The end of the war had seen my unit, the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, change from its wartime footing to its original pre-war role of a prestigious cavalry regiment.
Fortunately for me I had achieved the lofty rank of Corporal and as Tech Corporal to A Squadron was allowed to get on and do my job without too much parade bashing and bull-s***t. Part of the price I paid for this dispensation was being on several committees connected with the welfare of the regiment, one of which was the subtly named ‘Canteen and Cookhouse Committee’ and which included in its ranks the O/Rs Messing Officer.
We used to meet once a week and had a chance to air our views and make recommendations about future menus.
One day someone asked “What about chips for a change?’
The Messing officer said, “The only problem is the shortage of frying oil, unless you don’t mind the cook using horse fat”
This immediately produced shrieks of disgust from the committee until the Messing Officer said, “ I don’t know why you’re protesting so much. You’ve been eating horse for weeks now!”
After a shocked silence he went on to explain that at a recent Gymkhana, organised by the regiment, one of the horses being entered had broken its neck and a decision had been made not to waste the meat.
Thinking back, we never got our chips after all!
As part of the Regiment’s ‘peacetime’ procedure we used to have morning parades in which the whole regiment took part and the CO took this as an opportunity to address us on matters of importance.
On one occasion he told us that he had been annoyed to hear of his troops complaining about the size of their portions at mealtimes.
He went on to say that civilians back in England were still having to live on very restricted rations and to shame us all he was having set up at the entrance to the dining hall a table on which would be the civilian’s rations for a week.
Having delivered his sermon for the week we were then dismissed to our duties.
The very next day the whole regiment was abruptly summoned on an unscheduled parade to be faced by an apoplectic CO.
Some had stolen the ‘civilians rations for the week’!!!!!!
I can’t remember what terrible punishment he meted out to us for this heinous behaviour but I still remember the colour of his face when he made his announcement.


Edited by Ron Goldstein, 20 November 2010 - 10:15 AM.

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If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#2 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:24 AM

Day leave in Rome (2)

The tailboard of the Bedford three-ton truck slammed down with a resounding crash, someone yelled, 'Everybody out!', and we all clambered out stiffly on to the baking pavements of wartime Rome.
There were some 15 of us, all from the same Regiment, the 49th Light Anti-Aircraft Rgt. The time was 10am and we had just arrived after a bone-shaking three-hour journey from 75 miles north of the city.

The date was Wednesday, 21 June 1944. Rome had fallen to Allied troops 18 days earlier when the American General Mark Clark of the 5th Army had been given the honour of formally accepting the city's surrender. Six days later, on 9 June, my unit had driven through Rome on its way North and we had been there ever since, figuratively catching our breath while the powers that were decided what our next move was to be. Someone up top must have said, 'Give the troops a chance to see what they've been fighting for,' and I was one of those who had drawn a short straw.
I was not quite twenty-one at the time, had been in the Army since October '42 and abroad since April '43. I had arrived in North Africa just in time for the end of the First Army campaign, had been through the whole of the Sicily campaign and (in company with most of my comrades there that day) had been on the long slog north since the invasion of the Italian main land in September '43.

In my wartime album I still have some snaps taken on the day so I don't have to think too hard to remember what I must have looked like on this scorching day some fifty odd years ago. I was slim in build, dark from successive summers in the Mediterranean and wore khaki drill, as it was officially referred to. My shirt was open necked, sleeves rolled up to the regulation length and I wore blankoed gaiters over my boots.
On my right sleeve I wore a forked lightning badge to show that I was a wireless operator, and on my shoulders I wore the distinctive yellow battle-axe on a black background, which signified that I was part of the 78th British Infantry Division. My chest showed only one medal ribbon, that of the Africa Star and my pipe, a hangover from my civilian life, was clenched at what I obviously imagined was a jaunty angle.

As I've said, the time was 10.00 hours, we had to be back at the pick-up point at 18.00 hours and the Sergeant in charge left us in no doubt as to the likely trouble we would be in if we missed the bus. Back at the camp we'd been given a leaflet that told us of some of the glories we were about to see and printed on the back of the leaflet was a reasonably accurate, if not detailed, map.
I had no particular friends with me on that day, just the way the draw had worked out. This suited me fine however because even a cursory glance at the map had shown that I would have to go like the proverbial clappers to see even a tenth of what the city had to offer and what I had in mind for the day.

We had been dropped off at a lorry park near the Colosseum and so this was an obvious starting point. I followed the early crowds into the amphitheatre and tagged on to a group that had managed to secure the services of an Italian guide. After a short while I slipped away to visit the cells underneath the arena where the slaves and early Christians were held prior to the games and their subsequent death. I have never considered myself to be significantly claustrophobic but the atmosphere in the dank, shaded quarters felt unbearably evil, and I was glad to get back out into the sun and the heat.
Next stop was the nearby Forum where I wandered for a while before heading northward to the Victor Emanuel monument, known to the locals as the 'Wedding Cake' because of its garish architecture. Still heading north, I stopped for a while at the Pantheon and then the Trevi Fountain finally finishing up at the monumental steps of the Piazza di Spagna, where I rested in the shade and ate my haversack rations augmented by fruit and drink I bought on the spot.

It was now time to head west, crossing the Tiber for the first time over the Ponte San Angelo to the castle itself, no time to hang around here because the nearby Vatican beckoned and I pushed on relentlessly.
The Vatican was fantastic, all that I had expected, and I spent a few hours there armed with a guide book. It was almost 17.00 hours before I could tear myself away.

The last item on my mental itinerary for the day was to find the Great Synagogue and, if I could, some fellow Jews. In anticipation of such a meeting I withdrew from my wallet a small brass Magen David, which I had acquired somewhere along the way and I let it hang from the buttonhole of my breast pocket.
The map I had been using made no mention of the Synagogue but I had heard from a Jewish friend back at the unit that it was near the Isola Tiberina, the island that sits in the centre of the Tiber near the Campidoglio.
After leaving the Vatican I re-crossed the river at Ponte Vittorio Emanuel, and then turned right to follow the embankment south until, almost wilting in the heat, I saw the synagogue on my left. It was huge, Moorish in design, with a large domed roof. I walked completely round the outside until I found a small side door that looked as if it was in use. After knocking a few times an elderly man, obviously a caretaker, let me in, and when I explained I was Jewish he let me wander around un-escorted to study the interior. There were no worshippers present and the stained-glass windows and marble pillars were all too much reminiscent of the Vatican that I had just visited. It was certainly a far cry from the Bethnal Green Synagogue where I had been bar-mitzva'd less than eight years earlier!

After about twenty minutes I quit the cool interior to face the baking streets again after first asking the caretaker where I was likely to find other Jews. He told me to cross over the other side of the Tiber and ask any passers-by for the Jewish Quarter.
In the event it proved unnecessary because immediately I had crossed the Ponte Cestio I saw a small whitewashed garage facing the Synagogue. What drew my attention to it was a large Magen David that someone had painted on its walls in black paint.
More than 50 years later I can still feel the mental blow to the pit of my stomach on seeing this crudely painted sign with all its obvious connotations and its reminder of the photographs I had seen of Jewish shops in Berlin in the late thirties.

I made my way into its dark interior and once my eyes had adjusted to the dark I saw a young man working on a car engine. 'Sono ebrei qui?' ('Are there any Jews here?'), I called into the darkness.

There was a pause and then back in Italian came, 'Why do you want to know?' This, in the most unfriendly of tones.

'Because I’m a Jew,' I replied, and gestured, as if for confirmation, to the Magen David that was now dangling from my breast pocket.

He came close, studied my face carefully, then the Magen David and then, all restraint aside, bear-hugged me as though we were brothers. He, I never knew his name, called out to someone deeper in the darkness who was old enough to be his father or his uncle and introduced me as 'Un soldato Inglese, ma Ebreo!' - an English soldier, but a Jew!
Soon others joined us and each newcomer was solemnly introduced.
'Are there any more Jews around here?" I asked.

My new friend laughed and said, 'Come, I'll show you!'

He wheeled out an ancient motor bike. I was invited to take the pillion seat, and we roared off along the banks of the Tiber.

We didn't have far to go because I soon realised I was back at the Vatican. He parked his bike and pushed me forward towards the stalls that were selling religious objects. He called out to one of the stallholders and within seconds I found myself in the centre of a swarming, back-slapping crowd of men women and children, who proceeded to treat me as if I had just personally liberated Rome.
The kids in particular were particularly interested in my presence and kept touching me as if to convince themselves that I was real. Their parents were content to fire non-stop questions at me, always ending with, 'Do you think the war will be over soon?'
I spoke to my guide and tapped my watch face. I had already told him on the way that I had to be back at the pick-up point for 18.00 hours and the time was flashing by.

He explained to the stallholders and then said to me, 'They want to give you a present (un ricordo),' and I could see that they wanted me to choose something from one of the stalls. The joke was that all of their merchandise was aimed to please good Catholics, and the numerous icons and crucifixes were hardly suitable gifts for this British Jew who was just about to leave them. The matter was soon resolved - one of the men pointed to my own Magen David still hanging from my shirt pocket. I took it off and handed it to him whereupon he promptly took a gold chain off one of the crucifixes and re-fixed it to my own charm.
A roar went up from the crowd - honour had been saved all round and as I hung my ‘ricordo’ around my neck and waved my good-byes I was choked with emotion.
My final call that evening was to another relative of my new found friend and as I drunk the obligatory glass of wine I listened to harrowing tales of what it was like to be a Jewish civilian in wartime Italy. I remember in particular their comments that life under Mussolini had been good even during the early days of the war, but that the horrors had started once the Germans had taken control in September '43.
It was 17.30. I apologised to my hosts that I really must be on my way and we solemnly shook hands. My guide and I roared away into the gloom and with about ten minutes to spare I was back at the lorry park and looking for my transport.

Later, as our ‘passion-wagon’ drove off into the darkening night, in the back of the truck it was noisy as everyone compared notes of how they had spent the day.
There were of course the inevitable tales of booze-ups and female conquests although to be fair to my comrades of fifty years ago there were many there that evening who had obviously also enjoyed sights and experiences that they too would cherish for a lifetime.
For whatever reason, I didn't tell the others about my own day, at least I said nothing about my meeting with fellow Jews and as the truck roared noisily northward, taking me back into the cocoon of life within a British army unit, I consoled myself with the thought that one day I would write it all down.


Edited by Ron Goldstein, 20 November 2010 - 10:15 AM.

  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#3 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:38 AM

Monte Cassino, March to May 1944 (3)

Larry Fox figures very much in this period of my life. He was, and 60 years later, still is, a very good friend of mine. He kept copious diaries, for which I have always been grateful, and still has a good memory of our days together in the 49th LAA.
Feb 17: My diary entry is very sketchy, reading: Left Bagnolia, very bad road, still driving when night fell. Slept alongside road.
Feb 22: 11 men from the Regiment, Larry and I included, were sent to Div. Signals on a cable-laying course. This was to be of much help to us in the months ahead.
March: By early March we had arrived at Monte Cassino. Like most of our moves, we travelled after dark and so we did not get our first sight of the Monastery until the next morning.
Our camp was just below the ridge of a small hill that faced the Monastery so that if you wanted to see what was going on you had to first walk up the hill and then peer over the crest.
In front of us was the Liri valley, then the Monastery Hill with the actual Monastery right on the crest itself. It was very menacing, right from the word go, and it was fairly obvious that every move that was made below could be seen, plotted and shelled with relative impunity.
Larry drew a few sketches while we were there and very much caught the menace of the Monastery to those of us who had to live below it. We dug in, literally, each man responsible for his own 6ftx3ftx3ft of Italian mud, and perched on top of each slit trench we put up our bivvies in a vain attempt to keep the rain out. Some of us tried to give our trenches a bit of individuality by making the top of the trench slightly wider thus making a ledge on which we could stand a lamp or our personal belongings.
Part of the Regiment was engaged on smoke laying whilst others were defending the New Zealanders from attack by the Luftwaffe.
The weather was atrocious, mud was the name of the game and my main memory of Cassino was always being wet.
March 15: The New Zealand Corps, which our Bofors were defending against air attack, launched a full attack on the Monastery which was preceded by a tremendous bombing. I remember vividly seeing this bombing mission take place and it really lifted our spirits.
March 17: Bad living conditions finally caught up with me and I was passed back to the 93rd General Hospital at Naples (see my story Two weeks in Dock at Naples)
Mar 22 : Larry's diary says he was at Mignano and two Messerschmits were shot down.
Mar 27 : Larry says we finally left the Div concentration area, were no longer operational but still in sight of the Monastry.
Mar 30 : I returned to the unit after my stay in hospital.
April 7 : Larry and I attended a Jewish Passover service organised by the South African Forces at the Junction of the Vanairo/Venafro roads.
April 8 : Larry's diary says worst night for shelling since Bronte (in Sicily).
April 14: Geoff Burnard was killed by a mortar blast today. When the news filtered back to us we were all shocked. He was the first and I believe the only driver/op from our Regiment to be killed and being only human, it worried us deeply with its implication that if Geoff could be killed, then so could we.
April 23: Larry's diary says '8000 yards from the Jerry lines'. Our Div, the 78th Div, was relieved and went into reserve in XIII Corps.
May 11: The big attack went in at 2300 hours. Larry's diary reads:'1500 guns firing, I really enjoyed watching it.'
May 18: The Germans finally surrendered to the Polish Division.


Edited by Ron Goldstein, 20 November 2010 - 10:16 AM.

  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#4 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:45 AM

Danke Herr Mix ! (4)

In June 1945, my Regiment, the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, was running a POW camp for Germans that had surrendered to us at the war's end.
The entertainment officer had decided that it would be a good idea to open the local gasthaus or pub for our troops but the proprietor of the said pub had no beer. I went with the entertainments officer to the pub to act as interpreter and explained that the publican was suggesting that if the pub was in effect 'taken over' by our Regiment then he could get the beer from the local distillery which was now under the control of AMGOT or the Allied Military Government.
Arrangements were made for us to turn up at the pub with a 7 tonner and the pub owner loaned us loads of barrels.
We were then taken to the right place near Spittal and the manager of the distillery had fresh barrels of beer loaded for us on to our truck. We had just finished loading and the distillery manager was keen to get a signature from us to keep things in order.
My officer casually said to me 'sign for it will you while I get my things together'.
I was not completely convinced that what we were doing was completely legal so when a place in a ledger was presented for my signature I signed it as TOM MIX (a cowboy hero of my younger days).
The distillery manager looked over my shoulder and said 'Danke Herr Mix'. We beat a hasty retreat and the signature is probably still there today.


Edited by Ron Goldstein, 20 November 2010 - 10:16 AM.

  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#5 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 03:43 PM

Victory Celebrations June 1946 (5)

There has recently been some controversy on this site regarding the date of the Victory Celebrations in Europe and whether or not there was actually a Victory Parade held in London on VJ Day itself.
Other articles have also suggested that Her Majesty the late Queen Salote of Tonga and various other foreign Royals also took part in the 1946 Victory Parade
Before adding my own views on the subject I would remind myself that Peter Ghiringhelli once unknowingly paid me a compliment by telling me I was a ‘Prime Source’ as far as research on WW2.
Peter, of course, was merely acknowledging the fact that because of my date of birth, 16th August 1923, my many photographs and my Army Records, all of which are easily verifiable, it was evident that I had actually taken part in the events about which I had written on this site. I therefore consider, if only for the purpose of credibility, that I am a fairly safe bet when it comes to giving accurate dates.
On the 15th of August 1945 VJ Day was proclaimed.
At the time I was still serving in Austria and heard on the radio, as I did on VE Day, the celebrations that were taking place back in England. I am more than certain that there was no Parade or March in London on the day, there was certainly no time to organise such an event.
It was a different matter with the Victory Parade.
On the 8th of June 1946 I was on leave from Trieste.
On the day , I got myself up silly early in order to obtain a prime position in Whitehall where I had the pleasure of seeing a fantastic parade of arms which included representatives from my own regiment, the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars.
I have no recollection or any written evidence to suggest that her Majesty Queen Salote of Tonga or indeed any other foreign Royals, took part in the Victory Parade and can only suppose that some folk are confusing this with her attendance at the coronation of HM The Queen on the 2nd June 1953
When I returned to Trieste after my leave I wrote up a page in my Army Album and a photo of that page is now shown above.
Since first writing the above I thought that in the interests of factual accuracy I should ask another party to confirm my memory of the event and I therefore wrote to the Tonga High Commission in London.
My letter, followed by their reply, should put the controversy finally to rest.
17th October 2005
Tonga High Commission
36 Molyneux Street
London W1H 5BQ
Dear Sirs
May I firstly apologise if this letter is not addressed to the right department and ask you to kindly pass it on to anyone who can be of assistance to the writer.
I am a British WW2 veteran who has written many articles on the BBC WW2 Peoples War Website. This website is shortly to become a very important archive of WW2 history and I, and others, are concerned that items included should be factually correct.
One of the articles concerns her late Majesty, the Queen of Tonga and claims that Her Majesty took part in the 1946 Victory Parade in London.
As someone who actually witnessed the 1946 parade, I have pointed out that this information is incorrect and that the writer is confusing her Majesty’s later and famous participation in the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the 2nd of June 1953..
(Please see my article on: A4768040)
It would be most appreciated if you could confirm that my memory is not at fault and that Her Majesty Queen Salote did NOT attend the Victory Celebration Parade on 8th June 1946.
With many thanks for your trouble
Yours sincerely
Ron Goldstein
Reply received by e-mail:
19th October 2005-10-19
Subject: Re-1946 Victory Parade in London
From: (writers name withheld by Ron)
Dear Mr Goldstein,

Thank you for drawing our attention to the article on BBC and we wish to confirm that Her late, Majesty the Queen of Tonga did not attend the Victory Celebration Parade on 8th June 1946.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,
Tonga High Commission
LONDON


Edited by Ron Goldstein, 20 November 2010 - 10:17 AM.

  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#6 Ron Goldstein

Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 04:32 PM

Gunner Burnard & the Brigadier (6)

I first met Geoff in March 1943 at Congleton in Cheshire.
I had been posted to his unit, the 228 Signal Training Rgt, to join a draft of Driver/Wireless Operators about to be sent to North Africa as re-inforcements to the British First Army.
Geoff stood out like a sore thumb, not because he was noisy or flashy, the reverse in fact, he was overly quiet and perhaps too well spoken for your average ‘squaddie’.
He also seemed much older than the rest of us, I would have guessed in his 30’ s as opposed to the early 20’s of his peers, it should have occurred to me then that he was probably a volunteer.

Sixty years later and trying to remember his accent, the nearest I can get to it is that it was like Brian Sewell’s, the renowned art critic. The beautifully enunciated vowel tones were certainly there and as an ex Londoner with a slight cockney accent myself, I was suitably impressed. Rumour had it that Geoff was a former bank manager and, somehow he never seemed at home in his uniform which, I noticed, he always kept immaculately pressed.
After our spell in North Africa and Sicily I next remember meeting up with Geoff again as our unit assembled for the forthcoming battle of Cassino. We were in this nameless field and had been watching with some interest a procession of French North African Gouams in their colourful uniforms, trudging along the nearby road with their heavily laden mules.
Suddenly , with a shriek of brakes, a Jeep pulled up and out popped a red-tabbed Brigadier. After checking our Div and ‘Tac’ sign by the roadside to make sure he had come to the right place he strode into our camp.
There was much saluting from all ranks, a flurry of activity from the BSM and an abortive attempt to call out the guard but the Brigadier insisted that he wanted no fuss.
He was, he said, only there on a personal matter and could someone find him Gunner Burnard ?
In the meantime our O/C, Major Mouland was peeping furtively from his tent-flap, obviously not wanting to be involved if it wasn’t an official visit and yet presumably slightly peed off that the Brigadier hadn’t actually asked to meet with him.
With much interest and amusement from all the onlookers, Geoff was warmly greeted and back-slapped by the Brigadier who, we later learned, was his brother-in-law !
I can’t remember any further sightings of Geoff and was to hear no more of him until April the 14th when we received the shocking news that whilst carrying out his normal duties as a wireless op he had been killed by a blast from a German mortar.
There is a footnote to this little story.
In 2005 the Heroes Return scheme reminded me that I had never been back to Cassino and I so I decided to visit the Commonwealth cemetery and pay my respects to the fallen.
I looked up the details of Geoff’s burial site on the CWGC website and discovered for the first time that his name was Reginald Geoffrey Burnard, he was aged 42, married and came from Somerset.
I’ve no doubt that when I visit the Cemetery I will find other men of the 49th LAA Rgt who fell at Cassino but it is Geoff that I will remember the most because he was the first and I believe the only Driver/Op of our group to be killed at Cassino and his death reminded us only too well that we all lived on borrowed time.


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#7 jainso31

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:05 PM

I agree entirely with what you have said about this remarkable magnum opus-I've found information that I truly believed I would never see, about odd units to troop movements ;to what my father did in the war The only downside is that it is either all over the place or if you ask for a synopsis- you have to know from the caption -it is what you want?
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#8 aldersdale

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 07:17 PM

Ron its great to read these, keep posting, they make us realise what it was really like, have copied them for some friends kids, get them interested

Regards Tony
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#9 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:06 PM

Jainso31

The only downside is that it is either all over the place or if you ask for a synopsis- you have to know from the caption -it is what you want?

It's well worth exploring, Have you tried some of it's I has it's other goodies such as the timeline ?
BBC - History - British History in depth: British History Timeline

Tony

copied them for some friends kids, get them interested

I'll have to find some fun stories for them :)

More tales coming up very shortly !

Ron
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If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#10 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:10 PM

New Years Day 1944- Snowed in at Carovilli (7)

Can it really be 60 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.


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#11 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:13 PM

Comandeering billets in Italy (8)

Sunday 22nd. October 1944
Through Firenzolia, roads murder as it had rained all night and was still raining. Had to evict eyeties out of house for Major Mouland. Carried set up mountain to try and contact Batteries. Near Div cemetery.
The entry in my diary brings the scene back immediately to mind.
At the time I was still being called upon to act as an unpaid interpreter.
We had arrived at this small farmhouse complex and Major Mouland decided it would do nicely as B.H.Q and sleeping accommodation for himself and the other officers. He told me to explain to the very belligerent looking owner of the property that it was being commandeered by the British Army and that he, the owner, would have to leave forthwith.
I tried to sugar the pill as nicely as I could by explaining to the farmer that he would be re-compensed in due course but that leave he must. The Italian wasn’t having any of this.
“Spara!” he said vehemently, “Shoot me!” ..."Spara! Non posso far'
piĆ¹!" or, in other words “You can’t do any worse to me!” and he demonstrated this by tearing open the front of his shirt and offering his broad chest to Major Mouland.
The O.C. turned peevishly to me and said “What’s he bloody talking about Goldstein!” I explained what the farmer had said to which Mouland replied, equally vehemently “ I don’t want to shoot the bloody man! ....tell him not to be such a stupid bloody idiot!”.
Somewhere along the way reason must have prevailed and I vaguely remember that the house owner was allowed to stay in his house by keeping two rooms upstairs, from where he was able to keep an eye on his property, while BHQ remained down below.
With reference to my use of the word 'eyeties', this was common parlance in the days in which it was written, were I writing it today I would have used a less offensive word.


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If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#12 Mike L

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 12:20 AM

Ron, 'Eyeties' works fine for me mate as an abreviation, doubt many would take any offence at that. It's not disrespectful at all in my opinion.
Keep 'em coming Ron, love these first hand recollections.

Mike
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#13 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 05:37 AM

Hi Mike !

With ref to
:

Ron, 'Eyeties' works fine for me mate as an abreviation


On the same subject, you might be interested to see the discussion that this thread threw up.
http://www.ww2talk.c...ames-enemy.html

Some more stories coming up shortly :)

Best regards

Ron
  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#14 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 05:40 AM

Waiting to be called up (9)

Looking at 'Ron's Grand Tour' I realised that I needed an intro to my Army Service, I hope the following meets this requirement.
I was born on the 16th of August 1923 in to what was a large family, even by London, East End standards.
Their were eleven children in the family and I was number 10.
Our family has written a book about those early years, purely for our own pleasure, entitled ‘And Then There Were Eleven’ but as this is a WW2 site I will confine myself only to excerpts from the book relating to the war years.
With war imminent, on September the 2nd l939 Dad managed to hire an open fish lorry to take Mum, my sister Debby and myself down to Hove to take over a flat vacated by older sister Esther, now married to Jack and living in Nottingham. With us on the lorry came another family, friends of Debby's. I remember vividly being actually in the sea when the first warning siren sounded, (a false alarm as it happened) and hurrying home to listen to the radio and the voice of Chamberlain telling us that war had been declared.
Within days of arriving in Brighton I was looking out for a job and decided that it was a good time to break away from the rag trade. I walked the length of the promenade and seeing no obvious signs of job vacancies, went instead to the local Labour Exchange and took the first job that was going for a sixteen-year-old. This turned out to be as a Junior Porter at the Queen's Hotel, live-in, and for about three months I saw another side of life that the East End had not prepared me for.
For seven and six pence per week (37p in today's money) plus all the tips I could make, I was on call from six in the morning until ten at night, six days per week. As a junior porter, or, as I was often referred to, as a page boy, I was at everyone's beck and call starting with the guests and continuing down until to the lowliest kitchen hand.
In the evening, when most of the waiters had finished their day's work, one of my jobs was to serve food to the management staff in their quarters. This was exactly the same as eaten by the guests and was collected by me from the kitchens according to their particular order.
I soon discovered from the other junior porters that one of their own particular perks was to "order" any course not requested by the management staff at the time of the meal and ferret the food away in their rooms. The food served to the "lower" staff was from a separate kitchen and was terrible, so the extra grub we could obtain in this manner kept us going during the long day, despite the fact that our dormitory feasts usually consisted of two cold soups, three compotes and cheese and biscuits!
Among the treasured recollections of my stay at the Queens was one day when I was taking a middle-aged and obviously Jewish couple in the lift to their room. They could have had no idea that I was Jewish and as we were approaching their room the husband fished around in his pocket for small change and found a shilling. The wife immediately said to him: "Yossell, darf me nisht geben zo fill!" which for the benefit of non-yiddish speaking readers translates as "Joe, you don't have to give him so much!" I was sorely tempted to butt in with: "Darf me Yor geben zo fill," or "indeed you do!" but I left them in their ignorance and forty seven years later still get joy from the memory.
When I had had enough of the hotel industry I took various other jobs in quick succession, including that of messenger boy for an off licence. This involved delivering beer and spirits all over the Hove area, and I would sometimes find myself riding a heavily loaded bike up as far as the Devil's Dyke, way up on the Sussex Downs. Alright when the weather was fine and the day was young, but when the weather was rough and the time was late it was certainly not a job for a this sensitive little East End boy, and therefore when Dad suggested I commute to London and get back to the "shmutter trade", I jumped at the chance.
After about six months or so in Hove, the bombing eased temporarily and Dad decided to move us back to London, to a house in Sandringham Road in the Dalston area. We stayed here until the blitz really hotted up again when prudence demanded another change of address; we moved first to Dunstable in Bedfordshire and then finally to the nearby village of Houghton Regis
For about a year we lived in a small house bang opposite the village pub and Dad and I commuted every day to the factory in Great Eastern Street in Shoreditch. If my memory serves me rightly, the routine to get to work and back was pretty horrendous by any standard.
We would rise about 5am, get the 6.l5 bus into Luton, a journey of six miles, then catch the 6.45 train to Kings Cross, changing at St Albans and arrive in London at about 7.45. From there it was a tube ride to Old Street station and finally a trolley bus ride to Great Eastern Street where we would arrive ready to start work at 8.l5 the latest.
Repeat this process to get home at night and you will get the message that travel in wartime was not much fun.
Dad would normally get in a carriage with his cronies and they would soon have a card school going, while I would equally try to get in a carriage with young people of my own age group.
We were all waiting to be called up into the Forces, and although I managed to keep pretty busy work-wise, apart from being an Air Raid Warden in the evenings, I eagerly awaited call-up to get out of the rat-race in which I found myself. Deliverance came on Thursday October lst, l942, when I received a summons to report to the Beds and Herts Infantry Training Regiment at Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#15 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 05:46 AM

The day my brother Mick nearly killed me (10)

First of all, some background to the day itself. Mick, who is three years older than I, was called up in 1939 (whereas I was not called up until 1942). He was originally an Infantryman, serving in the 22nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, and spent the next three years serving all over Britain, most of this time as a Sergeant Instructor. When the War Office needed more anti-tank units, he took courses on the 2-pounder, 6-pounder and eventually l7-pounder guns.

In 1945 he heard of the formation of the Jewish Brigade and, eager to join in the fighting, volunteered to join the unit. He arrived in Naples on 13 January l945, and after eight days in Eboli joined the Jewish Field Regiment at St Bartolemeo, leaving there on his birthday, l5 March, for a regimental hide about lO kilometres from the front.

The Regiment, consisting of three battalions of excellent infantry, had already been in action and had fought superbly. Mick found himself in bivouacs near a dirty Italian farmhouse, close by some Polish troops near Forli and by March l945 his unit was an established part of the Eighth Army.

Anyway, as the war in Italy was coming to its close, I had this letter from Mick to say that he had arrived in Italy and was a battery sergeant major with the Jewish Brigade.

Once I knew this, I started looking out for regimental or brigade signs that would give me a clue as to where he was and so give us a chance to meet. The fates conspired against us, however, and as the action was so fluid at the time I had no chance to get away from my unit to find him.

What did happen however, was that on the last big push over the Senio I discovered that the guns giving our own unit covering fire were actually the Jewish Brigade's. The inevitable happened, and when some shells fell short, SSM Busty Thomas, my tank commander, said to me in his lovely Welsh accent: "Your blooty brotter will bl****n' kill us yet!"

Two diary entries of around that time, compared after the war, make interesting reading:
Mick - 10 April: 'We commenced firing again at 4.2Oam. Zero hour 04.3O. Worried about my brother Ron who's also in the region with the Eighth Army. All five boys of our family in the services.'
Ron - 9 April: 'Moved to other side of Traversare. Dug in and have bivvie to myself. D-day and H-hour have started. One rocket landed fairly near. Leaflets dropped.'


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#16 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 10:05 AM

Life in wartime Austria: 4th Queen's Own Hussars, July to August 1945 (11)

My diaries still remind me of what it was like in Austria.

Sunday 1st. July 1945
Spent the greater part of the day in bed and didn't even bother to go to the canteen. Received parcel from home with usual cherry brandy.
Monday 2nd. July 1945
On stag and didn't it pour. I was on first relief and my 10 to 12 shift seemed to collect all the mist in the valley. Half the P.O.W. cage is under water. Snow on the nearby mountain peaks.
Tuesday 3rd. July 1945
Feeling the effects of last night's do. Corp' from N.Demob Unit is getting my films developed at Villach for me. "Sorcerers Apprentice" at canteen.
Wednesday 4th. July 1945
On stag for the umpteenth time. 2nd Relief and arranged my own beat. Quite a lot of fun watching 'Teds' ( Tedeschis, therefore Germans)negotiate 'bridge'.
Regimental Diaries:
July 8th Regiment moved to area GRAFENSTEIN coming under command 26th Armd Bde in the 6th Armd. Div. A and C Sqns now re-equipped with Staghound Armoured Cars and the Recce Tp with Greyhound Acs.
Monday 9th. July 1945
Arrived at Velden rest area on the Worthersee. Hotel Mosslacher is my billet and the food is first class. Had my first swim of the year.
Leave at Velden
After our spell of POW work finished I was sent on leave to Velden on Lake Worthersee, and this was a really first class holiday in beautiful surroundings. Apparently it had always been a well-known holiday resort and the large hotels were commandeered by the military authorities and turned into rest camps. The food was out of this world, or at least so it appeared to us at the time.
At the other end of the lake was Klagenfurt, and I can remember going by steamer to see a dazzling performance of" Die Fledermaus". On the way there and back we were entertained by an accordion band and there were coloured lights hanging from the rigging to complete the scene. The water was, as I remember, very cold, but the sun was hot and one could lay on the wooden planking that ran down to the lake's edge and up to the hotel terrace.

Thursday 19th. July 1945
After a good day's work on the Staghound went with George to hear a Beethoven recital by Klagenfurt Symphony Orchestra. Hewitt, Lt.Richey and Porter left for Burma.
Friday 20th. July 1945
Painting has started on the Staghounds. Sgt.E.... slightly stinko all this morning.
Inoculation parade but I was not due, Touch Wood.
Saturday 21st. July 1945
My Staghound has gone to H.Q. for wireless installation and so I did no work this morning. Warned by Sgt.Metcalfe for advance party tomorrow morning.
Regimental Diaries:
21st July Major JG Vauhn assumed command of Rgt. The CO went on leave to the UK
Sunday 22nd. July 1945
Left Grafenstein about one'ish and proceeded in Regimental convoy to Trieben where we were treated more as liberators than conquerors. Billet in Gasthos.
Trieben
On returning back to Ferndorf we pulled up stakes and moved on to Trieben. Here by comparison with the POW cage, we had a cushy job and were able to take it easy. The village was positioned at the bottom of a mountain pass and the squadron's task was to set up road blocks to catch escaping vehicles, and at the same time to set up a traffic system that allowed vehicles to travel only one way at a time through the narrow road.
Tuesday 24th. July 1945
Have been put in charge of a large billet which is for 3,4,5 and H.Q. troops. Was shown Hager and his son, the local Hitler Youth Fuhrer!
Amongst our duties in this area were going out various patrols to pick up known war criminals or senior state officials who were wanted for questioning. I remember going one day with Busty Thomas to pick up the local Hitler Youth leader, a certain Herr Hager. When we got to his house and he answered the door Busty said to me: "Tell him he's under arrest and has got to come with us." Hager then showed us a document from another field security unit that in effect gave him a week to put his affairs in order and then to report to the local town hall.
A very disgruntled Busty said to me: "I wish they'd bloody tell somebody what they're doing before they send us on a bloody wild goose chase!" and Herr Hager was left to get on with whatever he was doing at the time.
Thursday 26th. July 1945
Out with Yates in Dingo for more eggs. Lt.Balfour is approaching flapping climax. Tried piano in 1st. Troop's billets. Helped Red Cross woman to get petrol.
This item in my diary about a ” Red Cross women” was like something out of a film.
I was on guard outside our billets when an ambulance type vehicle pulled up and an English speaking women got out and asked me if we could help her. The ambulance was full of young kids, orphans or ‘lost’ children and she was driving them South to, as she put it, “get them away from the Russians”.
All she wanted from us was petrol and I roused the duty officer to see what could be done. We must have given her some fuel because by daybreak she was gone.

Regimental Diaries:
27th July A Sqn established in TRIEBEN
Friday 27th July 1945
After waiting nearly all day the Squadron arrived at 5 pm. Busty leading complete with Union Jack! Straight on guard after showing the troops their billets.
Saturday 28th. July 1945
On tank park picket until 4.30 p.m. "Thomo", Vic and Roy have got in the same room as me and I think we will be quite comfortable. Canteen is open in the nearby pub.
Sunday 29th July 1945
Before dinner did a bit of “gardening” in front of billets
Monday 30th July 1945
Taken off fatigues to do interpreter for Lt.”Dutch” Holland. Out in the dingo to the end of the boundary area. Crashed plane on hillside. Beer at roadside Gasthos at dinner time
Regimental Diaries:
July 31st Rgt ceasing to be under command of 78th Div (Now under 6th Armd Div)
Tuesday 31st July 1945
Out with “Dutch” again, this time to the Burgomaster at Hohentaun. Collected three crates of books from ex-Stalaag XVIII. Back early for Road Block guard. Truck broke down.

Acting in my role as un-official interpreter I went with Lt. Holland to inspect a deserted POW camp that had been used to hold a hundred or so British prisoners of war. Although it was now empty, there was something quite eerie about the atmosphere of the place; it was as though all the memories were somehow trapped inside the wooden huts, and I was glad to get out into the open air.
August 1945
Wednesday 1st August 1945
Guard room is in ex-Gasthos. Cooked our own meals. Young orphan has French father and Russian mother
Thursday 2nd. August 1945
Rain nearly every day is holding up work on the Staghounds. Clicked for a petrol un-loading fatigue. Mail situation practically non existent.
Friday 3rd. August 1945
On guard in the evening. Have managed to swap for lower road block guard as it means I can get away earlier tomorrow evening. On with “Horsey” Davies.
Saturday 4th August 1945
Lt. “Crunch” Jackson asked me to come with him to Vald where we asked the usual questions of the Burgomaster. Lofty Elliot’s Dingo still breaks down !
Monday 6th. August 1945
Uneventful day on guard. Civvie truck with one doubtful passenger who I sent down to Squadron office
Immediately by the lower road block was a farm house, and we were supplied with fresh milk and cheese by the inhabitants, a family by the name of P… The youngster of the family, Herbert, was a very bright young kid and keen to learn English. I took the opportunity to improve my German in exchange for English lessons and this in turn meant that I was called upon to act as interpreter whenever it was needed.
On one occasion I was giving Herbert an English lesson in English . His grandfather was also present and expressed a desire to show that he, too, understood some English. We said a few words to each other and then I said to him, very slowly: "Have you a brother?" to which he replied: "Yes I hab a brudder."...."Is he married?" I then asked, "No...he is dead!" came the reply. (I rather think that the old man confused the German word "habe" with the English word "had" but anyway it amused me at the time

Tuesday 7th. August 1945
Working on Staghounds but was taken off it for very important job of fixing a flagpole!
Wednesday 8th. August 1945
Working on the Staghounds. Letter and Parcel from home. Blighty leave party back.
VJ DAY
Tuesday 14th August 1945
I remember the day well even though I’ve long since lost the original diary entry. Our Squadron was in Trieben in Austria at the time, ,controlling the roads leading into Germany and I had just come off the road-block guard in the early afternoon.
I was changing from my guard uniform into more comfortable gear when I heard the wireless in the next room creating quite a racket.
I went next door to see what was going on and found myself the only one there.
I realised that my mates were probably eating dinner in the mess-hall and that they must have been listening earlier and had then left the set on.
It was VE Day all over again. The announcer back in London was describing the noisy scene as tens of thousands of jubilant servicemen and civilians swarmed the streets. As on VE Day I felt no emotion at all, if anything, I probably felt like a kid who had not been invited to a party and who was now watching the lucky ones coming home with their party bags.

The short explanation was that the end of the war had come too late for my older brother Jack, G-d rest his soul. On the 11th of May, just three days after VE Day, I had received a letter from home telling me that Jack, who was an Air-Gunner, had been shot down over Nuremberg on the last such raid of the war.
The loss to his widow, his two young children and to all of our family was as incalculable then as it is today some fifty odd years later and our family was never to be the same again.


Edited by Ron Goldstein, 20 November 2010 - 10:13 AM.

  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#17 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 10:09 AM

The correct height of tank drivers and the use of KRRS (12)

In October 1942, when I was first called up, I was asked if there was any particular branch of the Army that I would like to join.

In those heady days of patriotic zeal I rather fancied myself as a dashing young Tank driver so I put down the Armoured Corps as my first choice.

It was politely put to me that at my then height of 5'6" I simply wasn't tall enough to operate the foot controls. With bad grace I settled for the Royal Artillery.

In December 1944 when my Light Ack Ack Regiment was being 'broken up for spares', as someone so neatly put it, my legs had miraculously become long enough to do anything that the Army required of me and I soon found myself at Rieti learning to drive Sherman Tanks!

This bears out the lovely story told about the use of KRRs (Kings Rules and Regulations).

The story goes that, using KRRs, the Army can do ANYTHING it likes to you, except give you a baby.
This was later ammended to say that, using KRR's the Army CAN give you a baby, but it can't make you love it!


  • 1

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#18 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 10:28 AM

Just a liitle about the ethos of the BBC's project.

One of the pages on the site, written by the BBC, tells it best:

The BBC's WW2 People's War project ran from June 2003 to January 2006. The aim of the project was to collect the memories of people who had lived and fought during World War Two on a website; these would form the basis of a digital archive which would provide a learning resource for future generations.
The target audience, people who could remember the war, was at least 60 years old. Anyone who had served in the armed forces during the war was, at the start of the project, at least 75. Most of them had no experience of the internet. Yet over the course of the project, over 47,000 stories and 14,000 images were gathered. A national story gathering campaign was launched, where 'associate centres' such as libraries, museums and learning centres, ran events to helped gather stories. Many hundereds of volunteers, many attached to local BBC radio stations, assisted in this. Read more about how the stories were gathered.
The resulting archive houses all of these memories. These stories don't give a precise overview of the war, or an accurate list of dates and events; they are a record of how a generation remembered the war, 60 years of more after the events, and remain in the Archive as they were contributed. The Archive is not a historical record of events, a collection of government or BBC information, recordings or documents relating to the war..


You notice their is no claim to the accuracy of the stories submitted and indeed amongst the articles that were posted there are some really "dubious" ones that gave a mixture of annoyance and perhaps some humour to other veterans who had made postings.

At times some of these stories went a little beyond belief and drew complaints.

We were promply told that the BBC was only printing "memories" and that sometimes a memory could play one false.

Edited by Ron Goldstein, 20 November 2010 - 10:53 AM.
Typos

  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#19 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:07 AM

Sweating on being released (13)

The time was late 1946.
My current position was that of Tech Corporal for A Squadron, 4th Queen’s Own Hussars. As such, I was responsible for all the ‘Technical’ stores in the Squadron which included, Tanks, Armoured Cars, Motor Vehicles of all description and the spares included thereof.
I knew that I was shortly due to be released from the Army under the current Python scheme that enabled men who had served more than 3 years 9 months abroad to be sent home and released from the forces. Understandably, I was concerned that nothing should hinder my release and ‘nothing’ included any shortfalls in the equipment that I had previously signed for.
For some time now I had been training a young Lance Corporal to take over my place and I’d given him the task of checking the quantities of all the spares held on our Store Truck against the inventory for the same holdings.
One day he reported to me that we were one verey light pistol short of the six that we were supposed to be holding according to the manifest. The verey light pistols were held as part of a tank’s small arms store and were used, in emergencies, to either send a pre-arranged message or identify the tank’s position to other squadron members. I had even used one myself in front line action some months earlier.
The short story is that I was one pistol short and I had to do something about it.
Amongst my ‘un-official’ spares was a German very light pistol, very much the same size as it’s British counterpart but un-mistakeably different to the eye. Some hard and quick thinking was called for.
I solved the problem by covering all the pistols in axle grease then wrapping them up with strips of oilskin so that only the registration number was visible. The German pistol soon had it’s own number erased and replaced by the ‘correct’ British number and the six pistols were left hanging up on adjacent hooks.
Not long after this event we had an un-scheduled inspection by a top-brass Brigadier who inspected all of the Regimental stores, including my own stores truck.
He clambered up the wooden stairs of the truck and with his aide-de-camp sniffed around the stores that were on display. His eyes caught the very light pistols and he demanded to know what these mystery parcels were.
I explained that experience had taught me that the pistols were soon affected by corrosion and so I had covered them in heavy grease but left the numbers visible for quick inspection.
“Bloody good idea Corporal !” he said and telling his sidekick to ”make a note of that will you” he soon, to my great relief, clambered back down the stairs.
Almost sixty years after the event I still wonder whatever happened when the pistols were eventually un-wrapped and the cuckoo in the nest was revealed !
I also wonder if the rest of the units in the Division ever had to wrap all their Verey light pistols in grease !!


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#20 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:10 AM

The infamous demob suit (14)

In an earlier article on this site I mentioned going through the 'Demob' process at York. To save you looking it up I repeat the relevant para below.
"The long awaited day eventually arrived.
From Barnard Castle I travelled to by train to York where my official de-mob took place.
The large hall where I made my good-byes was packed with hundreds of men trying on the latest that Montague Burton had to offer although, if I remember rightly, you could have any colour suit providing it was navy or brown and any style providing it was single breasted or double breasted!"
A more recent article by another veteran also spoke about "getting one's Demob Suit".
I went back to my oft-quoted Army Album and it confirmed that in 1947, a family wedding reception gave me a chance to give my own demob suit an outing.
The snap above, actually the last photo in my Army Album, shows yours truly and two of my brother Mossy's in-laws striding along Picadilly on the way to the reception.
Note the absence of heavy traffic !


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#21 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 07:26 AM

Lt.Whitfield and the butterfly spring (15)

In my story “Lt.Whitfield’s directing debut" (A4268658) I had the pleasure of introducing you to Lt.Whitfield. I’d like to tell you about another episode in which he played a leading role.
We were parked in this nameless field in Sicily, just outside a similarly nameless village.
Ted Dudley and I had just stripped down our Johnson Chore Horse preparatory to carrying out maintenance , and that otherwise excellent two stroke battery charger was now laying in pieces on the tailboard of our 15cwt wireless truck.
Suddenly Ted exclaimed 'S*d it !' and I knew what had happened even before he had a chance to explain.
The tiny butterfly spring that normally sat in the carburettor had jumped off the tail-board, was now somewhere in the grass below and Ted and I we were now in deep s**t. The engine could not function without the spring.
You need to understand that the afore-mentioned butterfly spring was only about 3/8th of an inch in diameter (sorry, I can't measure in metric ) and we did not have a spare having already lost it on a similar operation. The spring was now off the tailboard, in the surrounding scrub and as far as we were concerned anyway, gone forever.
Just at that moment Lt.Whitfield came ambling by (did I mention that he was rather portly) and spotting that something was amiss demanded to know what was up.
One of us said ‘We’ve lost the butterfly spring Sir’.
“Nonsense” he said , “you havn’t lost it, you just don’t know where it is”
He then took charge.
“Where was the spring when you last saw it ?”
“ How far do you think it could have jumped ?”
“What does it look like, what colour is it ?
Having been given the necessary data he then made us mark a three foot circle with minefield tape, shift the truck forward and then BURN the grass within the inner circle.
He then made us sift the remaining sand through cheese-cloth obtained from the cook house and empty the examined waste OUTSIDE the magic circle.
I can’t remember how long the operation took but to our utter amazement we ‘found’ the missing spring !.
Our emotions on making the discovery were mixed.
Gratitude ? certainly, he had virtually saved our bacon. Chagrin ? that's for sure, nobody likes to be made to look like a fool, but, to his everlasting credit , Lt.Whitfield only said ‘I told you it wasn’t lost’ and then ambled away again , no doubt to tell the rest of the officer’s mess how he had just solved another problem.
Please Lt.Whitfield, tell me you are still around and I will buy you a much deserved drink.
Ex-Driver/Op Goldstein.R, 14300260, 84 Bty, 49th Light AAA Rgt. RA


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#22 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 07:29 AM

Lt.Whitfield's directing debut (16)

The campaign in Sicily had been sucessfully concluded and we were waiting for our next move, the invasion of Italy.
Someone at Regimental level had decided that the Batteries should put on their own concert parties to 'entertain the troops' and young Lt.Whitfield had drawn the short straw, he was now 84 Battery Entertainments Officer.
In a moment of madness I had volunteered to play on a battered 'joanna' and other fools had likewise offered to sing, tell jokes or tell monologues but all this was not enough for Lt.Whitfield who obviously considered that this was his moment for show business glory.
“What we are going to do” he proudly told us ('us' being his not over-enthusiastic band of volunteers and pressed men) “is to finish the first half of the show with every one on stage singing “Come landlord fill the flowing bowl until it doth run over”.
“The clever part” he confidently continued “is that whilst this is all going on, we will have other chaps coming down the aisles dishing out mugs of vino, which I will organise”.
Came the night, the show went like a dream and we duly sang ‘Come landlord fill the flowing bowl’ as though we meant it.
Bang on cue, the mugs of vino were brought down the aisles to rapturous applause.
One slight hitch… the vino was in such quantities that we never got to start the second half of the show but dear Lt.Whitfield has gone down into Army folk lore history,mine anyway!


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#23 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:42 AM

A simple entry of "D-Day " in the Archives search box offered the following links. I've only listed 10 here but, as you can see, they are fairly representative.

Have a look at the "What does the D in D-Day mean" thread and see the lengthy response it got :)

Your 4783 search results for "D-day":
BBC - WW2 People's War - Being Conscripted in WW2 - by Doug Cochrane

That was on D-day, D+1 we That was on D-day, D+1 we assembled for the move in land to clear up some stragglers, of which we picked up two and handed to the intelligence corp.
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/58/a6485358.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - The Land Army, D-Day and Double Summer Time

The date was 6 June 1944, known subsequently as D-Day, the day on which British and American forces invaded northern France. The flying bombs came over from June till September, night and day.
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/99/a2219799.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - My war service.It was six years, just!

Then, I was on the move again to Wanstead Flats to a wait D-Day. A previous contributor informed that the initial date for D-Day was supposedly 5th June 1944.).
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/29/a4277829.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - D-Day: The Very First to Arrive

Remembering the little things I have often been asked for my impressions and experiences of D-Day and the days that followed. I was looking over the side one day when I saw a pipe floating past.
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/02/a2372302.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - Excerpts from a 'Memoir'

MY MEMORIES OF D-DAY The 5th of June 1944 was the day my third child was expected. At one o' clock there was a very moving broadcast called "D-Day, The Day."
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/62/a3818162.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - My Wartime Wedding

The 3rd June was a warm sunny day. I stayed on with Ted until the Tuesday, which was indeed D-Day, a day we all remember.
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/27/a3129527.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - Foundry, Fire-watching and Fireworks

My mother said she knew when D-day day was about to take place, because a few days beforehand the whole place became a beehive of activity.
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/45/a7718745.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - 'What does the D in D-Day mean?' - the Answer

D - [minus] 1 would be the day before an operation commenced. D + 1 would be the day after D-Day, or the second day of the operation.
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/45/a2714645.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - Strawberries

My father was in the Royal Navy and during D-Day he was involved in the landing of a contingent of Scottish
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/72/a2735372.shtml
BBC - WW2 People's War - Don Jennings Experiences of the War

Getting nearer to D-Day (about a month) we had moved our workshops. The ship moved 15 days after D-day and we landed on the beach through the water and up onto the sand.
www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/14/a2700514.shtml

Edited by Ron Goldstein, 22 November 2010 - 11:51 AM.

  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#24 aldersdale

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 06:03 PM

Ron Hi

Your tales of Italy and Sicily fit in well as I am currently reading the diary of a gunnery officer in the 51st Highland Div in Sicily and Italy, have also been in N Africa.


Tony
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#25 colinhotham

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:45 PM

Tony,

For 51st Highland Div in Sicily read Bitter Victory by Carlo D'Este, indexed on page 646.

Colin.
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#26 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:35 PM

Colin

For 51st Highland Div in Sicily read Bitter Victory by Carlo D'Este, indexed on page 646.



&, on the same page, lots about the 78th Div :)

Ron

Attached Files


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#27 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 07:01 AM

Not strictly the BBC People's War Archives but definitely the BBC -History is the following:


Whilst writing, if you like animated maps, have a look at this one in the BBC WW2 Archives:
BBC - History - Animated Map: The Italian Campaign

I always refer youngsters to this particular map because although it is very simplified it does show very graphically the flow of the war in Italy.

The other animated maps are also well worth a look.

Ron
  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#28 Ron Goldstein

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 07:18 AM

Return to Cassino (17)

I was last here between February and May in 1944.

I was then a humble wireless operator in the 49th Light Ack Ack Rgt, which at the time was attached to the New Zealand Div.

My Battery, the 84th, was busy with three roles. Laying a smoke screen at Speedy Express Highway, providing air cover for the New Zealanders and, when it had nothing else better to do, being loaned out to the Infantry as stretcher-bearers.

To get back however to today, the 9th of May 2005.

It was 10:34 am, I had just arrived by train from Rome, this time with Nita, my wife and partner of fifty-five years and we had come here to do a job.

Back home in London I had volunteered to take photos of headstones for any relatives or friends of the fallen and about half a dozen people on the BBC website had taken me up on the offer.
In addition, I had been approached by AJEX (Association of Jewish Ex-Service Men and Women) to perform a similar service for them and in particular to bring their own records up to date.
Shortly after arriving at Cassino station I had negotiated with a local cabbie to take us first to the Abbey, perched high above us, wait for us there and then take us to the British Cemetery which was about a half mile outside of town.

The road to the Abbey snaked furiously ever upwards and what with the rather ancient taxi we were glad to arrive at the top. The Abbey itself was very imposing, stark, white and almost prison-like in appearance. There was however a huge PAX sign over its portals and who could argue with that sentiment?

Fifteen minutes was enough for us, we had work to do down below.

At the cemetery below visitors were arriving by coach and car.
In deference to the fact that I was visiting hallowed ground and conscious of the respect that was due to the fallen I was suitably attired with a black beret, regimental tie and a full set of medals. As a direct result of this, when Nita and I started our research, groups of people were coming over to us, asking us what we were doing and whether or not I personally had been involved in the battle for Cassino some sixty one years ago.
They also spoke of their own losses and told of relatives they had come to visit. Several people said, “Can I shake your hand?”. At first this shook and worried me but then I realised that I was acting as a representative, albeit a poor one, of those 4000 men who lay around me and I was pleased to be of some small service

It was starting to get very hot and the Cemetery is huge, Helped by Nita I took photos of some 25 headstones and was able to make detailed notes for use by AJEX.

Despite the research I had done back in London it was not the easiest of tasks to make sure that we were not missing specific grave sites. The Cemetery is very functional and there are no seats to be found or watering points for elderly visitors.

By 1.45 pm, the time I had arranged for our cab to pick us up, we were both mentally and physically shattered and my earlier plans to visit a small town called Carovilla (where I had been stationed in 1944) were sensibly abandoned. We trudged back to the Cemetery gates and were glad to soon see our returning taxi.

On the train back to Rome I had a chance to discuss with Nita what my feelings had been on returning to Cassino and what it was like to have lived under the shadow of the Monastery.

Sixty-one years after the event there is still talk as to whether it was right or not to have bombed the Monastery and whether or not the Germans had used its position as an observation tower.
Speaking purely for myself and not owning to any military research expertise, I have but one comment to make based on personal experience.
We were down below, the Monastery was up there above us.
If we moved during daylight hours we were promptly shelled and a large number of those who’s graves we had seen today had been killed in that manner.
I saw the Americans bomb the Monastery and along with many of my comrades had mentally cheered their efforts.
I was glad to be able to go back to Cassino.
I will not be returning again.


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#29 Ron Goldstein

Ron Goldstein

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 04:24 PM

Charlie 4 is not answering my signals (18)

Every time I say to myself ‘This really has to be the last story you’re going to submit’ up pops another vivid memory of my time with the 4th QOH and I hurry to my computer to get it down on file.

This particular memory was not recorded in my personal wartime diary but subsequent reference to the Regimental Diaries of the period in question point to April 13th 1945 as being the most likely day on which the events took place.

As I have pointed out elsewhere in "Joining the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars" (A2310003) one of the Squadron Sergeant Major’s jobs in the armoured column was to find and shepherd any 'lost sheep' back to the Sqdrn’s lines. At daybreak on every morning that the 1st Armoured Brigade column moved off, Control Station at RHQ would ask everyone on the net to ‘Report my signals’. This would be followed immediately by each station on the net in turn reporting the signal strength at which they were receiving Control, usually strength 4 to 5 out of a possible 5. During the day, as things hotted up, Control would not bother to ask for signal strengths unless they were having problems in calling up a station.

On this particular day, after about an hour of action, one of our Sherman Kangaroos (Infantry carrying tanks) had failed to respond to Control’s signals and Busty Thomas (on who’s Stuart tank I was wireless operator) was ordered to find out what had happened.

The Stuart M3 tank, unofficially and affectionately known as a ‘Honey’, had been my first surprise when I joined the 4th QOH.

During its glory days in the 8th Army desert campaign it had possessed a turret and a 37 mm gun. Now it had been ignominiously stripped of its ‘heavy’ armament and by removing its turret had been made into a glorified recce vehicle, not unlike its counterpart, the Bren Gun Carrier.

Anyway, our Kangaroos were carrying infantry of the London Irish Rifles who would be dropped off nearer the Santerno bridgehead where they would then be called upon to perform whatever the PBI (Poor Bloody Infantry) had been lumbered with.

The tank that was not responding, lets call him Charlie 4, as I can’t remember his actual call sign, would have been carrying at least a troop of the LIRs and we started scanning our surroundings to see if we could spot the culprit. It seemed like only minutes before we saw this lone tank in the middle of a field to our left.
Busty told Hewie to pull up alongside the stranded vehicle, which was soon accomplished. Because of the difference in size of our Stuart and the Kangaroo I was reminded of a tender pulling alongside a destroyer but was soon pulled out of my daydream when Busty said to me ‘Have a shufti and see what’s happened to them’.

I clambered up one of the series of metal rungs, placed there for the benefit of the infantry and then, steeling myself for what was to come, looked down into the well of the tank.

The interior was thankfully empty of troops or corpses but was awash with the evidence of being hit by an air-burst. The worst sight was the 19 set that was smeared with unmentionable pieces of flesh and I offered up an unsaid prayer for whichever operator had been standing there at the time.

I slid back down to our own tank and reported what I’d seen. I remember Busty saying rather mischievously to Hewie ‘Do you want to take a look?‘ and was pleased to hear a vehement ‘No thanks!’ in reply.

We quickly rejoined the Squadron and Busty reported back to Control to say that the Charlie 4 was now permanently off the air.

I don’t remember ever learning at the time what had happened to unlucky Charlie 4, but last week, fifty-nine years after the event, I had another look at the Regimental Diaries for that day and noted the following item:
“At first the advance was rapid but later Kangaroos met many ditches which slowed them down considerably. A number of POW were taken. Own casualties one NCO killed and two wounded. The Sqn was subjected to very heavy shell and mortar fire during the whole day.”

The day before, on April 12th, Roosevelt had died and the Jerries lost no time in shelling over propaganda leaflets that made capital of this point.


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503


#30 Ron Goldstein

Ron Goldstein

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 06:58 AM

Cambridge & Bethnal Greeb Boys Club- The club that produced heroes (19)

As a young teenager in the pre-war years I was a member of the C and B.G Boy's Club.
Every year we hold a re-union and tales are re-told of lads who did more than their share of war-time service.
I have already told the tale of Jack Nissenthal (A2665271) I would now like to tell the story of Donnie Carlton.
Because he is such a reticent character I will have to let the official story speak for itself.
RIFLE BRIGADE, 1939-45
A./CPL. D. CARLTON (10th Battalion), 7th December, 1944: M.M.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Monte Rentella. On 21st/22nd June, 1944, Cpl. Carlton was signal corporal of a company which was ordered to seize the feature to the north of Monte Rentella.
On approaching the objective, the company came under heavy machine-gun fire. Cpl. Carlton, however, carrying a heavy load of vital signal equipment, followed his company commander into the assault, and on reaching the position calmly set about establishing communications.
Small-arms, mortar and shell fire was intense and any movement in the open was almost suicidal. Cpl. Carlton, however, volunteered to carry a message down 800 yards of exposed hillside to the reserve company, with whom it had been found impossible to make contact by any other means.
This task accomplished, he immediately set out up the hill again, still under intense fire, and showing an example of personal courage and devotion to duty which was an inspiration to all who witnessed it.
By the time he approached it, however, the company position had been overrun. Cpl. Carlton, however, although a signaller by trade, gathered together the men in the vicinity, organized them as a section and, still under heavy fire, successfully conducted a fighting withdrawal to the reserve company area.
Cpl. Carlton's complete disregard of his own safety and fine qualities of leadership and initiative in a crisis are worthy of the highest commendation and have set a magnificent example to all ranks of the Battalion.


  • 0

If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if I am only for myself, what am I?
And if not now, when?
Rabbi Hillel circa 30 BCE


:peepwalla:

 

I was "called-up", as a 19 year old, on the 1st of Oct 1942 and was one of 5 serving brothers, one of whom, Jack, was in RAF Bomber Command and was killed on March 16th 1945.

I served as a Driver/Op (Wireless Operator) with the 49th Light Anti Aircraft Rgt. (78 Div) from Apr 1943 to Dec 1944 (North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Egypt). The Regiment was disbanded in Dec 1944 and I was retrained (in Italy) by the Royal Armoured Corps. Finally, I served as Loader/Op with the 4th Queen's Own Hussars (6th Armd.,78th & 56 Div) from Mar 1945 to Dec 1946 (Italy, Austria, Germany) finishing up as Tech Cpl. for "A" Sqdrn.  I was "De-mobbed" in Apr 1947

http://www.blogger.c...947129038825503





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