One afternoons freedom in AFRAGOLA soon developed a stay-at-home complex.
The amount of rain soon belied the travel posters and most of the men had their own
version of “Sunny Italy”.
At one time the water reached the historic level of 15½ inches in the
The issue of mepacrine pills was stepped up to one a day.
Mosquito nets were issued and inspections were carried out to ensure
they were being properly used.
Anti-malaria squads were formed in each sub-unit and their “excused all other duties”
became a feature of the remainder of our stay in Italy.
On the 11th November the Divisional Artillery was inspected by the new
Major General G.G. Simonds,
The Padre H/Capt.
C.E. Martin organized sight-seeing tours to POMPEII, which proved
The days were spent in visiting 5
7th Armoured Division, the famous “Desert Rats” of Africa.
Here Officers and men contacted their opposite numbers and
attempted to derive as much
as possible from their battle experience.
It was on one such visit that we suffered our first “battle casualty”.
The convoy was attacked by enemy aircraft and in the ensuing scramble for the ditch
Lieut. G.M. Forbes lost an argument with someone's heel.
The true significance of leaving the equipment in England was realized and
morale hit a new all-time low as the Regiment began to take over equipment from
7th British Armoured Division.
Whatever their capabilities as a fighting division the state of their guns and
vehicles was unbelievable.
On the basis of one runner and one on tow all the vehicles were moved to AFRAGOLA
where after a great deal of hard work those that it was possible to do anything with
were made more or less battle-worthy.
On the 23rd November the Regiment began the historic trek across the backbone of
Italy to Gravina.
The weather was miserable and the trip took anywhere from 3 days to two
weeks depending on the vehicle.