An extract from a letter by a B.S.M. in 76th HAA Regt, June 1944, about the retreating Germans: " One night we had to go out, and for some reason got talking to an Italian wheelwright, one by the name of Pasquale. He invited us into his house for a glass of wine. At first we were rather dubious, but the place was scrupulously clean, and the wine, though raw, was good. Pasquale told us some most unbelievable tales of the Tedeschi. One of them I had not believed in the past, but since he told it to us most voluntarily, I’m sure it was true. Under Musso (whom they all positively hate they tell us) all articles of gold had to be given up to the cause. Apparently parties of “collectors” would suddenly appear at the door demanding that you surrender all you had. It was no good saying you had none because they would search the house. They took their gold wedding rings, and when I asked why they had not removed them and hidden them, they said they could not, because their fingers had so swollen with all the hard work it was not possible. The “collectors” cut them off. Then when Jerry was there he went round taking all the articles of metal, including pots and pans so they had nothing left to cook with at all. He told us during the German retreat, when they were passing through the village, they were looking for able-bodied men, and especially those who had deserted. So his wife hid him in the roof under some straw, and told the Tedeschi that he was away somewhere, she knew not where, fighting. They searched the house but found no trace of him. Some of these women have a lot of courage, for they know that the penalty would be death for the whole lot of them. Apparently when the advanced Allied forces arrived in the village, he and his wife helped by showing where the mines were laid. This is not a remote case, I have heard of many such people. There was nothing boastful or heroic about the way they told us all these things. "