It happened on this day.....

Discussion in 'Veteran Accounts' started by Ron Goldstein, Oct 1, 2017.

  1. Shiny 9th

    Shiny 9th Member

    My father always said that soldiers were not allowed to keep diaries, in case of capture by the enemy. He served in Burma.He emphasised this when talking about his fellow Sgt, Cyril Grimes who did keep one for at least two yesrs when on active service.Dad only discovered this when they both became ill with infective hepatitis and spent weeks convalescing together.The strange thing is that the diaries Cyril wrote in were ones get bought from some official source but unlike normal ones they had no page for personal details.They had blue covers and were of a size to fit into a battledress pocket.So the authorities must have accepted that men needed to keep a note of family birthdays etc somewhere and had special editions printed.
  2. Chris C

    Chris C Canadian researcher

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  3. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    It happened on this day, seventy-nine years ago and then, seventy-five years ago.

    The first tale comes from my family's book “And then there were Eleven”, the second comes from the BBC's Peoples war. BBC - WW2 People's War - A postcard from Sicily, 3rd September 1943

    3rd September 1939

    The following morning, a Sunday, I started exploring the novelty of living by the sea and I was
    actually swimming in the sea when the first warning siren sounded, (a false alarm as it

    I hurriedly dried myself and hastened back to the flat, passing on the way two women standing
    in the doorway of their house. The pair, probably mother and daughter, were both crying and

    With the sublime arrogance of a sixteen year old I called out to them "Don't worry .....
    everything's gonna be all right!"

    They paused in their grief and turned to give me a withering look that left me in no doubt that I
    knew nothing of the sort of troubles that the world could offer on that day and so I
    shamefacedly continued homeward where I arrived just in time to listen to the radio and the
    recorded voice of Chamberlain telling us that war had been declared.

    September 3rd 1943

    On September the 3rd 1943 the British 8th Army, under General Montgomery, landed on the toe of Italy.

    I had a first class view of operations, as my unit, the 49th Light Ack-Ack Rgt.,was one the many artillery units that laid down the original barrage to prepare the mainland for the British assault.

    I had previously bought a postcard of Messina and I used this to send a reassuring message home.

    On the reverse side of the card is a view of an unnamed building in "........" unnamed simply because the censor had very effectively scratched it out.

    I see also, that although I wrote the card on the 3rd of September, it was only passed by the Field Post Office unit on the 11th.

    The card reads:
    Dear Mum,Dad and all
    Quite well and happy and receiving your mail regularly.
    Love to all of you

    Considering what I was doing and witnessing on the day in question I think the card was a masterpiece of understatement.

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    On this day,in September 1939,a watershed for Europe and later the world,Great Britain,France and Australia declared war on Germany.In declaring war against German aggression in Poland and fulfilling their treaty assurances to Poland.both Great Britain and France had little opportunity if any to intervene in the Polish invasion..

    My mother always said that war was coming as from 1938, the West Riding Heavy Woolen District mills had full order books.

    Ron can you remember the maker and year of manufacture of your uniform/gear?
  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    My memory, unfortunately, is not what it was (I put it down to the side effects of Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer :( )

    The short term effect is that unless I've already mentioned a subject in print I am hard pushed to be able to say "I remember "

    Best regards

    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
  6. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Ron...... not to keep a good memory as yours is, is something to value.There are some who have never been interested in events which become history the next day.

    Unfortunately I never kept a diary during my relatively short military service.I wish I had but I have remembered the key events.

    Getting back to the declaration of war on 3 September 1939.Hitler was assured by Ribbentrop,who mingled in diplomatic circles as a former German Ambassador to London that the British would not go to war over events in Europe....of course, as a member of Hitlers inner circle and thought he had influence, he was completely wrong as Hitler's eye on London.
  7. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I have this love/hate relationship with the Times newspaper.

    Every so often,.I write to the editor to complain about something they have published or,even in some cases, something they have NOT published and when I am lucky they print my offerings and I childishly add it to my list of successes.

    On occasion, I write knowing full well I that my complaint will fall on deaf ears, as in the following case.:


    I write as a 95 year old WW2 Veteran, one of five brothers who served in the Forces during that time and one who still mourns his late brother Jack.

    Jack, as a Mid Upper Gunner in Lancasters, was to gave his life in the skies over Nuremberg in the closing stages of the war.

    Today, I would have you remember, is September the 3rd 2018 and on this day in 1939 the war to save humanity began.

    I combed today's issue of the Times, in vain, for some mention of this earth shattering event and found nothing whatsoever to remind readers that it indeed ever happened at all.


    Ron Goldstein
    ex 49th LAA & 4th Queen's Own Hussars

    Dare I ask that when I am no longer here to voice my complaint some kind soul on this Forum will, on the day itself, remind the Times of their duty to their readership ?

  8. Lindele

    Lindele formerly HA96

    Happy anniversary Ron!
    and it seems, you are still toooo young, if you can stillsay/write b...... h !
    Mach weiter so.

  9. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  10. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Sunday 22nd. October 1944

    Through Firenzolia, roads murder as it had rained all night & was still raining.
    Had to evict eyeties out of house for Major Mouland. Carried set up mountain to try & contact Batteries. Near Div cemetery.

    Explanatory note:

    I was still being called upon to act as an unpaid interpreter. When we arrived at this small farmhouse complex Major Mouland decided it would do nicely as B.H.Q and sleeping
    accommodation for himself & 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 the premises.

    I tried to sugar the pill as nicely as I could by explaining to the Italian that he would be recompensed in due course but that leave he must. The Italian wasn’t having any of this and said
    vehemently “Sparo!” or “Shoot me!” -- “Non posso fare piu!” he went on, “You can’t do any more to me!” and he demonstrated this by tearing open the front of his shirt and offering his chest to Major Mouland.

    The O.C. turned peevishly to me and said “What’s he bloody talking about, Goldstein!”. I explained what had been said and 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 line reason must have prevailed and I vaguely remember that the house owner was able to keep two rooms upstairs from where he was able to guard his property while we stayed on his land.

    Note my use of the word “Eyeties”......

    In this day & age I would never use this derogatory term but it is in my diary and in war-time Italy was common parlance so I have left it in place.

    There is a final postscript ,,,,,,,,,,,,.

    As a result of posting this story on the BBC WW2 Archives I was contacted by the late Major Mouland's son who had seen the relevant article.

    I was immediately concerned that I might have painted his father as being too brusque and offered to add an addendum or tone down my description.

    "Not at all" was the reply, "that's just how he was" and so my description stays as I originally recorded it !

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  11. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Every so often I go to one of my pdf files that lists all my ww2 diary entries and look to see if I have a "matching" item that might be of interest.

    Couldn't find anything for today's date but found this in one of my bios:

    January 1945
    Time went quickly at Rieti. There was so much to do so much to learn and I loved the glamour attached to riding around on tanks (as opposed to my old Bedford 15 cwt. truck in former times).
    One drawback, however, was the weather. The time of the year and Rieti’s location in the centre of Italy meant that the barracks were freezing, particularly at night.
    After a hard day’s work we would go into town as a group. We would usually try and get some food in the N.A.A.F.I and then see a film. On the way home from the Cinema we would call into one particular bar. We would have a cognac or some such spirit and this would be placed in a tumbler together with a twist of lemon. They would put this under the spout of a cappuccino machine and produce a scalding hot toddy. We would drink this up and then literally run back to barracks before the effect it produced had worn off. A quick dive into our bunks and we were asleep before we could get cold again.

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  12. Sandra Doran

    Sandra Doran Active Member

    Ron, if you have any thoughts on this day I would appreciate knowing more about it in detail.

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