35.  There the pro­spects were any­thing but bright.  Ac­como­da­tion, es­pe­cially in the town jail, looked pretty grim and the ci­vil­ians were not friendly.  How­ever the Regi­ment took over the town and soon became an ac­cep­ted part of the com­mu­nity.  So much so, in fact, there were many re­quests for leave pas­ses there long after we left.  It was here that the first en­cour­aging word on new vehi­cles was an­noun­ced.  This plan, EX­ER­CISE “SWAP”, did­n't how­ever ac­tu­ally get go­ing un­til a month or so la­ter.  The usual smar­ten­ing-​up pro­gram was car­ried out and really in­ten­sive train­ing laid on.  A Me­mor­ial Ser­vice was held on the 12th No­vem­ber.
36.  The Mayor of the town held an offi­cial re­cep­tion for the Of­fi­cers which was a de­ci­ded suc­cess des­pite lan­guage dif­fi­cul­ties lar­gely ow­ing to some very fine pre-​war li­quors.  All ranks were in good spir­its al­tho­ugh the train­ing pro­gram did not al­low them to get aro­und town as much as they would have li­ked.  A mu­si­cal con­cert in the Of­fi­cers' Mess was en­joyed by the of­fi­cers and many beau­ti­ful sig­nor­inas (ade­quat­ely chap­er­oned) end­ing with the beau­ti­ful sig­nor­inas wen­ding their home­ward way still ade­quat­ely chap­er­oned.  On the 23rd No­vem­ber the C.R.A., Bri­ga­dier H.A. Spar­ling in­spec­ted the men, vehi­cles, equip­ment and of­fi­cers bar ex­pres­sing sa­tis­fac­tion with ev­ery­thing he saw.  Leaves to ROME and FLOR­ENCE had star­ted again and were very popu­lar.


37.  On the 27th Novem­ber the Regi­ment left for the front again amidst much weep­ing and wail­ing from the lo­cal in­ha­bi­tants who had be­come ra­ther fond of the unit.  The first pos­i­tion was just ac­ross the RON­CO about five miles S.E. of RUS­SI.  The roads were good but the fields were very soft and it was im­pos­si­ble to dig pits.  Li­ving quar­ters were now much ea­sier to ob­tain firstly be­cause there were more houses but mainly thanks to the ef­forts of our Ital­ian Lia­son Offi­cer Capt. Phi­lip Spin­elli.  He al­ways star­ted very gently but if not suc­cess­ful en­ded with his fa­mous “But it is ne­ces­sary to ob­lige”.