Major Robert Surridge 1st Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, 4th Indian Division Like many men of his time my Father spoke little about the war, but when he did, I wrote down a record of what he had told me. He said of his action at Monte Cassino, “We moved up Highway Number Six and my two batteries were stationed underneath Monte Cassino. Each battery had 4 guns and as each gun had a crew of 6 that meant each battery had 24 men. And as I had two batteries under my command, that was 48 men. Quite a responsibility I suppose.” And on another occasion, ‘We were advancing across dead bodies into a dangerous position and came under heavy shell fire from the Germans who were just 4,0000feet away. One shells landed so close that we dived for cover and when I suggested that it was safe to leave our cover and move on my two Gurkha soldiers had been killed.’ One of the Gurkhas was my father’s batman and today I have the kukhri that he brought home from the War. Obviously I would love to discover the names of the two Gurkhas who died, and who, in all probability, saved my Father's life. I wonder whether anyone can help me understand my Father’s service record : His Army Book says : He went overseas with BNAF on 17th January 1943 Presumably British North Africa Force ? From dates on letters he sent home I have deduced that he was on Convoy KMS 008G. out of the Clyde on the 21st January 1943, arriving Bone in Algeria on 8th February 1943 Father’s three years of artillery training in England - Llandudno, Aberstwyth, Catterick, Morpeth, etc was finally over and he was being posted overseas, as part of BNAF (British North African Forces) So would he have sailed with his 8 guns and 48 gunners ? Or would he have been given those batteries in North Africa ? He was with 365 Ind Coast Battery Royal Artillery, 17th January - 27th December 1943 What is the 365 Ind Coast Battery ? His pocket book says : R.A.T.D. x iv LIST 27/12/43 - 22/3/44 Any ideas what that means ? Then final entry : 1st Field Regt RA 22/3/'44 - 12/5/'46 Then in North Africa when did he see action ? In November 1943, he attended a ‘Conversion Course’, stated as ‘Coast to Field’, Presumably meaning no longer with coastal battery but being detailed to field artillery, ready for transfer to front line action in Italy. I can get nothing form the Army Book, and I have written for his War Record without any success When would he have been posted to the 4th Indian Division ? When would he have crossed to Sicily ? Or would have sailed directly to Southern Italy ? I notice that within 4th Indian Division 1st Field Regiment, Royal Artillery there are batteries but I have no idea which was my Father's battery ? (H.Q., 11th, 52nd & 80th/98th Field Batteries, Royal Artillery) And, presumably still with 4th Indian Division he remembered two moments in Greece : "As we advanced into Athens I asked my radio operator to see if he could tune into the BBC and suddenly there was this beautiful singing. It was the Christmas Eve carols being broadcast from Kings College Cambridge. But for that chance discovery we would never have known that it was Christmas.” “On another occasion I was advancing into Athens and we were ambushed and as we came under fired from the Communist rebels and but for the quick thinking of one of my men I would have been killed. They were shooting at us from behind but we returned fire and killed them. An American soldier laughed at me saying 'you'll get yourself and all of us killed if you're not more bloody careful, buddy' He also said, " As I was the most senior officer I had to go to the National Bank in Central Athens and cash the cheque to pay the troops.'