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The following information was obtained from the wartime journals of Private Paul Brown. The original journals were donated by the family to the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City, OK. Copies of the original journal were made available to Steve Cole by Pvt. Brown's son, Paul Brown.
"With God's help, we shall carry on the task which they began."
General Mark Clark, Memorial Day, Anzio, 1944
|Private Paul Brown was a member
of the Grave Registration Service of the 45th Division. The 45th Division arrived
early in Italy and was the reserve division for the landing at Salerno, on Septemeber
9, 1943. The 45th Division waited in landing craft off of the coast and landed
later in the day after the 36th Division. In January, they were moved up to the
Anzio beach head, where they were under intense combat for several months. Finally,
in May, the 5th Army advanced from Cassino and on into Rome. |
Private Paul Brown kept a journal of his account at the front lines. As a member of the Grave Registration Service, Private Brown had a task of locating the bodies of the soldiers on the field and removing them for burial. He performed this job in the cover of darkness and sometimes under gun fire and shell fire. They lived close to the front lines where their trenches were under constant shelling.
Paul had his younger brother, Nathan, in the same division. I don't have any details about his company and records. Nathan was in the hospital on one or maybe more occasions with a foot problem. The family doesn't remember if it was a combat wound or trench foot. Paul mentions his brother 18 times in his journals and went to visit him on several occasion. When Paul had accumulated enough time to go home, he requested they allow Nathan go in his place. His request was refused. Private Brown kept a journal about his life at the Anzio beach. He recorded his story in 4 journals, one of which was lost. He used his journal to jot down his thoughts about his girlfriend and on his mortality. He also recorded an itemized list of well over 200 names of GI's his unit buried. His journal also expressed his opinion of Army life along with memorials of some of his fellow soldiers he had to bury.
Interestingly, he recorded some of the everyday events such as the movies they were able to see there on Anzio beach and the USO entertainers he saw while on Rest & Relaxation breaks.
The Journal of Private Paul Brown
date book along with all other equip. A & B bags.
September 8, 1943
The Allies landed on beaches
of Salerno, the first foothold on the continent of Europe. The 45th Division was
held off the coast in reserve status until the September 10th.
Sept. 9, 1943 Thursday
laying off coast of Italy, few miles below Naples. Our Air Force is doing all
the good. Navy also. Our troops 36th Div. Beached at 4 AM meeting stiff resistance.
Were forced off beach at one point but took it later. Our 45 Div. Is floating
reserve. Enemy planes are coming, some fireworks starting. So long.
Sept. 10, 1943 Friday
air attacks, no damages, sure was hot each time. We are waiting to unload our
L.S.T.. Fighting on land is rough.
Sept. 11, 1943 Sat.
air attacks since yesterday noon. We finished unloading last night. Capt. Davis
and Capt. Kirby and myself came aboard this American L.S.T.. The English L.S.T.
was like a rats nest. Troops on shore are receiving much opposition, many casualties.
Here they come again [30 minute later Strafed our ships and troops. One Negro
killed out right, Army Dr. injured, 7 killed on unloading, platoons in front of
our ship, nasty mess. Capt. Putnum 3rd Bt. Hq. shot through cheek of buttocks,
English BB slightly damaged, American DD slightly damaged.
Sept. 12 Sunday
Only two air attacks last
night, damage unknown. Navy concentrated fire to land. Art. is busy all day on
land. Hope Nathan is still OK. We are beginning to eat swell. First hot meals
in two weeks. Still are sitting here off shore. Hope I have mail back at Sicily.
The wounded German officer died 4 AM this morning was taken to beach. Would have
gladly smothered him if given the chance. Damn those Germans here they come again.
Italy at 1830 yesterday for return trip to Terminus, Sicily. Heard Malta, where
Italian fleet turned in two days ago was boarded. Had first good nights sleep
in two weeks. Should arrive noon today. Am becoming well acquainted with most
of the sailors [swell fellows]. Shot bull about Boston for long time.
Sept. 14 Tuesday
Arrived in Terminus
11:45 AM yesterday. Sure is nice and quiet. Went to Palermo last night . Had big
spigg(spaghetti) meal. The officers had plenty to
drink. Visited the Hosp. No deals. Returned late to camp. Bought small watch.
Sept 15 Wed.
in camp all day yesterday too lazy to move. News on radio report our troops in
Italy being pushed back. Damn that's rough. Am wondering about Nathan and the
other fellows in Ser. Co.. Received swell pocket book from Irene. I love that
Sept 16 Thurs.
to Palermo yest. Afternoon visited the famous Montreal, was really something.
Visited Mondello Beach then went to a show. Returned to camp where we were notified
we were to start loading this morning. We are now waiting here at the beach at
Terminus to start loading. We should be loaded by tomorrow night.
Sept 17 Fri.
in Terminus 4:30 AM. Good work! Weighed anchor 1830 PM. On way to Italy.
Sept 18 Sat.
We are getting
ready to beach 1130 AM. Same location as first time. Things seem much quieter
than before. Meals were swell on board. May be last for some time. Weather is
Sept 19 Sun.
Beached 1630 yesterday,
located 3-4 stayed overnight. Saw all the boys. Nathan in Hosp. with very bad
foot. We are preparing to move on up to Regt. C.P..
Sept 20 Mon.
Regt. C.P. is located
near destroyed town Battegallia. Was going to stay all night but Lt. Richmond
came after me. I am now back burying the dead.
Sept 21 Tues.
Made recon on area
179th was caught. Several men and officers were killed in this area. Lt. Truit
a very good friend and Capt. Cardiff college friend are still missing. We had
two air attacks last evening. Good news on radio as to our advances as well as
Russians. We are starting to move up to Efelia this noon. Our work is really beginning
Sept 22 Wed.
next to a Cemetery. Very beautiful at one time. Several bodies of native killed
are still not buried. A four year old girl is in casket in front of altar. Looked
like a doll at first. They didn't have time to finish the ceremony. Germans used
the Temple for Hq. thought we wouldn't bomb the place. We did wonderful job of
bombing and shelling. We cannot catch the enemy. Their rear guard threw in two
shots close to Regt. C.P. last evening. Received beautiful letter from Irene last
night. Gosh she is wonderful. We are finally getting a short rest but hope to
keep going our dead are mounting every time we go looking.
Sept 23 Thurs.
Still here by
graveyard. Civilians are busy putting away their dead. It's no sight to see. If
there is a God let him do something about this slaughter. We are moving to new
area further inland. Naples is having awful time. Germans have taken everything.
Sept 24 Fri.
war has finally hit close to me by Killing of Bill Wair. After we moved up to
the forward C.P. We started to work and found many enemy and our fellows. Bill
and his driver never knew what hit them. I drove there(their) ¼ ton back.
Two or three of his other close friends sort of cried, but for myself I keep getting
madder, hope I continue that way. Capt. Goddard died also. We are still trying
to run them out of the valley up ahead. Should succeed tonight.
Sept 25 Sat.
["Big Toms" or "Long Toms" were the names of the large, Allied 240 mm cannons.]
Sept 26 Sun.
moved 10 miles down into the valley. Germans can't be found. Puter and I have
fox holes on top of one of these low ridges from which we can look out further
into the valley floor. The sight is beautiful but how can a fellow think of anything
peaceful and beautiful with so many fellows suffering. I think we have a few days
Sept 27 Mon.
We are in same area.
New recruits arrived. A Lt. From Puters home town was among them. We got all wet
last night. Finally got dried out. Damn it, will we ever know what a roof feels
like over our head feels like again. Ser. Co. got first casualty M. Humphries
wounded in leg. Nathan is back but foot still sore. He wouldn't go back to Africa.
There is one real soldier. I am proud to be his brother.
Sept 28 Tues.
but am sure we are moving tomorrow. News from all fronts are OK. Haven't received
any mail for two weeks. Am going down to see Nathan in half hour. If Irene could
read my mind all the time she would start planning on the marriage ceremony right
now. I feel sure about her now.
Sept 29 Wed.
Sure did get wet last night. But dry out today. This is hell. Had big bull session
with Nathan, Huff, Harrage and another fellow. All for today.
Sept 30 Thurs.
In same location,
but are moving this afternoon. It's pay day, guess I shall send Irene 200 for
safe keeping. Should have news to write about tomorrow
Oct 1 Fri.
We are in fine location.
Our troops have entered Naples. Won some money in poker game.
Oct 2 Sat.
It rained last night,
but our pup tent is excellent. Made bet 3 to 1 that war with Germany would not
be over by Xmas time. We are going to have more rain. Got a bunch more replacements.
Some think they know it all but it won't take them long to keep there(their) mouths
shut. There are 1,000 cases of malaria fever. Our fellows are certainly beginning
to show the strain on our enemy's. Four months is along time to keep on the alert
of battle. But never fear of the 45th gang dropping out. No mail for one month.
Oct 3 Sun.
mail this morning from Ruth and Irene. That sure is swell. SO, my ex-wife had
8 mo. Baby, shows I was partly right. We have moved up 28 miles today, and lie
in a very good area. Grapes and fruit, eggs, & chicken, also plenty of vino.
I shall write some letters now.
Oct 4 Mon.
Nothing doing of
importance. We are waiting to move up. The natives are rather glad to see us.
The condition of their welfare is as bad as our slums at home. Several of them
Oct 5 Tues.
Getting a good
nights sleep theses nights. Our pup tent sure fine, no rain has a chance, but
my feet still cold.
Oct 6 Wed.
Moved to new location,
yes some 18 miles. Major Patterson of 160 F.A. Art. a friend of mine was killed
by personnel mine. While moving into this area a truck ran over and killed a seven
year old child, was an awful mess. Hope I get mail today. Don't like the idea
of us moving in here, although Germans ran them out of there a few days ago. You
can guess what we done and thought as well as told them.
Oct 7 Thurs.
rained all night. AM still clear in spots. Makes it sort of rough. Got mail from
Irene, folk, and Harold a card damn that swell. Here I lay in tent, with rain
coming down like Hell!. Not much news of our advances, but not as fast. As we
Oct 8 Fri.
Still raining. This is
like La. maneuvers in 1940, not near as bad yet. News is not so good as to our
advances. Several of our men were killed the last few days. One was hit with a
dud. Awful mess. World Series is wonderful to hear, but oh! The after thought.
Irene and I would have been there seeing at least two of the games. There in N.Y.
Yanks 2 games Cards 1. Same area.
Oct 9 Sat.
We are moving up.
It is going rough. Were on move all night. Rained most of the time. Am not dry
yet. Fred Overstreet of Ser. Co. is still missing. His wife is a real person.
She will take it hard. Have not settled in new area yet. Art. of both sides is
still going out.
Oct. 10 Sun.
Moved up to front
3 Kil. = 2.5/8 mile. Enemy passed over us within rifle shot. I took 2 shots. They
were not more than 75 to 100 yds up. Couldn't have missed my first shot. There
shells are dropping between 2 & 3 hundred yards . Our nerves are jumpy, you
should see my fox hole! The Lord better be on our side tonight or you will never
see me. We buried a few more of our boys today. Are sure of many more tomorrow.
Oct 11 Mon.
Art. was busy all night.
We are lucky to be alive. Our troop are doing fine so far. Enemy planes have not
bothered yet today. Am staying close to fox hole. We should probably move up again
Oct 12 Tues.
Yes they can again, two
this times in force. Dropped bombs a few hundred yards away. A few killed. We
are now 100 miles S.E. of Rome not much progress as yet. Very heavy Art. on both
sides. Our boys are wonderful shots. We have strong resistance. This is what the
1918 boys called Hell. Here they come again. That was a close call that time.
Those dirty sons _ _ !
Oct 13 Wed.
Spent great deal
of time in fox hole last night. 180th Inf. are certainly catching hell. Sure was
cold last night. Received telegram from Irene last night. Sure was swell of her.
We are moving up again. What then?
Oct 14 Thurs.
Had several close
calls again by planes. Picked up a few more of our fellows. (God Damn this distruction
of manhood!) Art fire is continuous day and night. Damp and cold is settling in
every day. Had two beautiful letters from Irene. Can hardly wait to see her again.
Oct 15 Fri.
just can't go on forever. 6 more air attacks since yest. noon. A good friend Sgt.
Kirby was killed. He was on T.O.M. with me. That's two of our group of 12. No
good news anywhere.
Oct 16 Sat.
Can't say much
today and the work we had to do has made me feel sort of sick inside. We got 27
of our boys Sgt. West another friend. God knows this is 36 day on front for our
Div. That can not last, there minds will not allow . May heaven help us.
Oct 17 Sun.
Was busy all morning.
Got Sgt. Archer another T.O.M. which makes 3 of 12. Wonder when my time is coming.?
We are likely to get a little rest but am not sure. We had to carry the boys ½
mile down from Mt. side, very rough. God knows this is the most respected job,
if it wasn't for my conscious I would quite it.
Oct 18 Mon.
Cannot reach a
few of the boys. Are going to hunt a new way up there. The sun is bright today.
Puter and I are having our clothes cleaned at last. The natives in this village
are better than any we ran across before. Several spoke Amer. Was in the states
years ago. N.Y, Boston, Phil. We found a piano in a fine home. So with a jug of
vino, we shall endeavor to forget a few things for awhile. So long for now.
Oct 19 Tues.
very good friend of mine & Harold S. we found Sgt. Willard Ross (Red) one
swell fellow also 18 more of our boys. It seems every time I go out we must find
more of my friends. We are probably going into reserve. Hope so. Talked to two
English soldiers that were prisoners for two years up north of Rome. They were
sure pleased to be going home. Received wonderful letters from Irene. Which make
s this day end perfectly.
Oct 20 Wed.
Did not do anything
today which was a relief. We have a fine area to stay. Had a big jam session at
the big house with the piano. Our Quartet is a knockout. Hope I get mail tonight.
Oct 21 Thurs.
package from my Darling, Sweetee & Candy. God but is good. Sure she has got
that ring by now, as well as that night set. I must think of something else to
get her. Maerieo?? wife is a knock out for looks but what's underneath that counts.
Had plenty of good vino last night. We have 7 gals left. Our div. is certainly
making a name for themselves. Many of my friends make it possible with their lives.
Oct 22 Fri.
picked up 7 more fellows. They were in bad shape. 9 days old. God what a mess.
Received more letters from Irene. Sure is sweet of her to write so often. We are
starting movies in two towns tomorrow.
Oct 23 Sat.
Had two shows this
morning and are to have same this afternoon. V.Mc & E. L. in "Call out
the Marines". Old but sounded wonderful. Not much news from the front.
Oct 24 Sun.
There isn't nothing
to report for today. Have got time to write a letter. Then shall have a little
vino and sing songs.
Oct 25 Mon.
Had two movies
in San. Sav. today. Sure was good to hear a bunch of fellows laughing again. Our
band is breaking out their stuff. Hope they have time to play for the fellows.
No mail today.
Oct 26 Tues.
The Red Cross
Doe Nut Girls visited our 1st & 2nd Bn. It was some treat to hear girls talk
American. We are preparing to move up again. Our Col. is being relieved. God we
hate that. He is one good man.
Oct 27 Wed.
Rained like hell
last night. But Puter and I keep dry. Had a chance to read a few stories out of
America & Your Life Mag. The band id practicing now so will go sit in on them.
Sure wish I had kept up with my music lessons years ago.
Oct 28 Thurs.
Received 4 letters
from Irene. Sure is swell to love some one & in return. It rained most of
the night. We are moving this afternoon up to the front again. Hope we are luckier
than the last time we went up. More later.
Oct 29 Fri.
Are getting ready
to move up tonight. We had PX supplies to break down today. The fellows wee sure
glad we received them. It has started to rain again.
Oct 30 Sat.
today. I've been ready to move for 12 hours. Some thing went wrong up front. The
candy is sure good we got through the PX.
Oct 31 Sun.
We can see Mt.
Vesuvius near Naples from high up here north of Naples 30 miles. The front line
is 8 miles up. We should be leaving soon as we have been ready to leave for day
+1/2. Received three letters fron Irene last dated Oct 14, and she has not received
one from me for one month. Damn those British any way.
Nov 1 Mon.
are forward. German planes just finished dropping bombs on our field about two
miles away. Those dirty sons of ?. Might have reached them with a 50. Calib. Received
pay today shall send $25 to Irene. No American dead as yet, several Germans. They
burn their dead most times to keep from knowing how many, otherwise put 4 to 15
in grave. British theirs on spot. We must be soft hearted eh!
Nov 2 Tues.
We are near S.
Angeleo to west of Piedmonte. Are sleeping in house. Clean but old. The Germans
planes sure did raise hell last night. Yesterday afternoon low enough to hit with
rock. We are supposed to move up again tonight. No contact with enemy yet. Just
learned that 34th Div sit on their ? for 12 days and waited till we counterattacked.
Nov 3 Wed.
1 casualty, just injured, very lucky "G.Co". We are expecting cold weather.
We are still ready to move up. Have been sleeping on straw last three nights.
Have kinds of bites all over me. Yep Fleas !
Nov 4 Thurs.
Had a three Div.
push last night. Haven't heard how it survived as yet will this afternoon. Planes
came over this morning we didn't knock any out that I could see.
Nov 6 Sat.
We are located along
fringe of trees along side of Voturno R. at Venefro. Several dead. Just missing
getting an 88 in our hip pocket today. Life is in thin air around here. Went back
to S-4 and lost $17.50 in card game was sure to forget all this for a few hours.
Nov 7 Sun.
picked up 9 boy this morning, shells are dropping close. May your prayers help
Irene sure will need them. No mail in two days.
Nov 8 Mon.
Rained most of night.
Climbed to top of Mt. Two times to find bodies found 6 (our boys). Two of my boys
stepped on mines, Nicks and Caveratta, two legs were blown off, John Dombrouski
had pieces of stone blown all over his face. The hardest blow yet for the fellows
here in Band Co. Both will pull through I hope.
Nov 9 Tues.
Didn't go out tonight.
Drying my stuff. We are still having hell. Makes four days in one place. Our bunch
(Regt.) captured 70 or so germans, I was standing next to them (40) within 30
min. after capture. Life hangs in midair up there. - chipola.
Nov 10 Wed.
Did not go out
with boys today. Visited old Ser. Co. 1st time since Sicily. We are still at Venfero
going in too stiff.
Nov 11 Thurs.
We are still
at Venfero. More of our fellows are dying. We picked up 27 in four days &
we knew of 9 more. We cannot reach them due to shelling the area.
Nov 12 Fri.
Just came back from
spotting with no luck. Shells were falling in location we were to look. Just missed
being cut on arm by shrapnel (3 inches). We have advanced three miles and going
still rough. Germans are holding out. They have orders to hold out 8 weeks or
be killed. The question is who is going to hold out!
Nov 13 Sat.
Just returned from
Mts. hunting bodies again. As usual it was same old story. Shells started dropping
where we wanted to go. Hell could be no worse. Am so darn tired I could quit.
I want to go home !!!
Nov 14 Sun.
We were successful
in finding the L. Co. boys, we alone spotted 40 germans & 5 more of our 2nd
Bn. boys. We are going up tonight and remove three, which we cannot get in day
time. Germans have road under observation all the time. Received wonderful package
from Irene. I love you very much for them.
Nov 15 Mon.
Went up front at
6:00PM last night to remove bodies on front line. Stayed there three hours waiting
for guide. He did not show up. It rained all the time. Very touchy place. Small
arms were popping very close. They were expecting a counter attack. We did not
go out today and has rained all the day through. Are starting out early on very
dangerous job. We shall be under observation most of the time.
Nov 16 Tues.
did not get across Volturno R. to work. All bridges for miles still out. Was good
Nov 17 Wed.
Still raining. Things all
wet, have managed to keep dry. Bridges still out, but moving up by going around
several miles. We have plenty of work to do now. Art. is going all the time. Never
a let up. Shells drop a few 100 yds. but sound a few ft. Hope they don't raise
Nov 18 Thurs.
We moved up to town
of Pozzili early this morning. This town is being shelled every hour of the day.
We are located in a house at the edge of town. Shells go over us are short. Heaven
help us. Carried 3 dead 2 ½ miles, took 4 hours. Am very tired, are going
up tonight to remove 9 dead on front line.
Nov 19 Fri.
Guides got lost
again last night. Enemy heard us and started to shell. We returned without work
done. Shells landed all around us all night & are doing so today. Hope our
luck holds out. This house is rather thick. But very old. Received package from
Nov 20 Sat.
We now have our
house cleaned out. Shells will have to come to a high angle to get us. We picked
up Sonnie Wade, "M" Co. another of my good friends, we played Basketball
for three years together. A most pleasant fellow. Three of the boys were buried
alive in building. Shells have been dropping all around throughout 24 hours.
Nov 21 Sun.
(6) all got good and drunk and then drunk some more, then very sick last night.
Was still sick at noon but went out to pick up a fellow from E Co. Shell hit in
our kitchen, but it was a dud. The good Lord was with us then. Coming back with
body we stopped to cover it up, shell hit 35 yds in front of us. I shall be very
religious if this keeps up. There is a chance of going home due to my length of
service and % of Non-Coms chosen to go. I honestly do not care to leave until
it's all over, but all of us would be telling a big lie if we say we are not scared.
Nov 22 Mon.
sure is a hell hole. Our ¼ ton truck was blown to bits last night. Yes
shells have missed us so far. We are having many good bull sessions each night
here by the log fire. Hope they do not have it in for us. There rumors of all
Nov 23 Tues.
Still dodging shells and
managing to keep dry. Sure getting tired of eating K Rations. Received 7 letters
Nov. 24 Wed.
Was shelled all night.
Missed by several yards. Many more of our old boys are dieing. This make three
weeks in one spot. Expect to get relief from this hell hole soon.
Nov. 25 Thurs.
Day" with death so close we have to stay undercover. We did not have that
turkey that was promised us. Fellows going to Naples left last night. 5 days will
be a darn good rest.
Nov 26 Fri.
We sure have our
house fixed up. But sure hope we do not stay here too much longer. This makes
30 days on the front line for our troops. Had a big barrage last night. Shells
again came very close. This town of Pozzella is a hot spot. But we have work to
Nov 27 Sat.
up just a few yds short of no mans land to get four boys last night. Was so dark
had to feel our way. Could see flash of enemy small arms. One to big a noise would
have met our doom. Were gone 6 hours. This hell hole is sure getting on our nerves.
Nov 28 Sun.
changed in our situation. Nearly got it last night. Another old friend, Anderson
from Okla. The fellows are getting to go to Naples a few out of each Co. Guess
I will not be going.
Nov 29 Mon.
from Irene. Watch, sewing kit, socks. They were simply wonderful. God I love that
woman. A shell just hit 25 yds. Heaven help us now.
Nov 30 Tues.
The Lord was with
six of us again today. We were spotted on hill on front line, when after bodies.
Were missed by 15 yds. Shrapnel and rocks all around us. Our troops are trying
to move up. Shells are very close all night here in this house.
Dec 1 Wed.
At 11:15 PM we were
called to go up front and get three boys who were picked off by snipers. Lt. Thought
better not to. He was returning to Hq. to explain, and got hit in arm by shell
dropping very close. His Purple Heart is very good looking but I do not want any.
Damn but I do like this watch Irene gave me. I must write her a letter today although
any trend of thought is broken by shell sand I must be careful not to write things
to frightening to the girl I love most.
Dec 2 Thurs.
shell. Lt. Richmond is OK. We had all night job, got 5 bodies. Went back to Ser.
Co. Nathan is fine, was going to Naples. I hope to go next week.
Dec 3 Fri.
Did not get but
5 bodies today. Are going up again tonight. The Lord was with us three time again
today. But maybe tomorrow? The French are now relieving the 34th Div. Hope we
do the same. We are still here at Venafro. Now a very famous line. One that will
go down in the books.
Dec 4 Sat.
Still raining. We
were sniped at again so could not work today. Are going up tonight.
Dec 5 Sun.
Got four more boys
last night but left two. They were in dangerous places. Germans are very hard
to put out. Am going to Naples for five days. We got 280 new men. Still raining.
Dec 6 Mon.
all night in warehouse in Venafro. We are now in Naples in old Army barracks for
rest period. 119 men out of 179th got in at one time. Lt. Richmond is Capt. Now.
Another good friend, Allen Durnbeck killed when enemy hit him with hand grenade
while he was helping wounded men. The dirty rats.
Dec 7 Tues.
Walked my legs
off today. Ate spuds, spaghetti & stake 2 times, saw part of show. Heard all
star band at Red Cross. Got picture taken. Bought bedspread for Irene. Naples
is a large place. Going to show at Palsm Theater.
Dec 8 Wed.
Lucky Stars" at the Palsm Theater was very good. A young piano player also
very good. Last ?????. Just looking over town again, buying a few things. Heard
two top Army jazz bands.
Dec 9 Thurs.
We saw Ella Logan
and U.S.O. group a Blockhouse today. She is some stuff. Done more shopping. Last
night I saw a real Opera at Palsm Theater. SR. & troverta. Very good. Must
see another some time. Saw more of Naples, sure am tired walking around.
Dec 10 Fri.
Saw more of the city today. Anything goes in this place. The Red Cross is really wonderful stayed in blockhouse last night. Saw movie "Two Girls from Chicago" & "More The Marrier" again.
Saw another show
last night and another swell swing band. We are leaving today at noon. Back for
the front. I am greatful for these few days of peace.
Dec 12 Sun.
All the fellows
were fine upon return. They picked up 36 fellows in five days. We are to have
a new set up. Upon going in to rest. Went out again this morning for three fellows
& shall go repair graves upon hill above Pozzillo. Received plenty letters
Dec 13 Mon.
Did not go out tonight
for first time in days. The Band is to be part of Div. Band and are shall receive
new men for our work soon. We still are shelled everyday. Sure are lucky. So far.
Dec 14 Tues.
are sure moving up French, Italians, Canadians, Indians (India). We are still
in Pozzillo did not have but one boy to pick up today. Received several letters
Dec 15 Wed.
Picked up two boy
today. Sgt. Kelly, old National Guard from Okla. Another friend, and a new fellow.
Puter is going to Naples. Went out again this morning for three fellows &
shall go repair graves upon hill above Pozzillo. Received plenty letters from
Dec 16 Thurs.
Went out last night, but
could not get in to area, shells were covering the area. We now have five more
to remove today. Our 1st Bn. reached their objective. If 3rd does same we might
go into rest soon.
Dec 17 Fri.
Removed three from
up front last night. 180th is going through us tonight. We are all the good I
guess. Got swell letters from Irene.
Dec 18 Sat.
Got five more boys.
Sgt. Albany a very good friend, a very good athlete, was one. We also went out
last night and removed 3 more. Several more are reported. This country is up and
down. Our troops are becoming very weary, but still all the fight left in them.
Dec 19 Sun.
been shelled as hell all last night 7 today. We got eight more fellows yest. afternoon
& this morning we got 6 more of our boys. We buried 17 germans and there are
many more. 180th have gone through us. A good deal. We were shelled again. What
a Sunday. R. Bickershtaff is with us.
Dec 20 Mon.
Shells are still
coming in. We buried 11 more germans. None of our own.
Dec 21 Tues.
21 shells came
close, enough to jar the ground. There were 17 duds out of those 21. Our luck
is not going to hold out forever. Buried 5 more germans. They sure did have wonderful
pill boxes. Over looking each move we made.
Dec 22 Wed.
Did not work last
night are today. We must bury more enemy tomorrow. It's raining again. No shells
dropped in last night, the first time in over a month. We must be doing all the
Dec 23 Thurs.
There are many
tanks ready to move up by the left fork above Pozzelli, toward Cassino and the
road to Rome. We are still in this house, which we have fixed up very well. No
shell last night. Received four wonderful letters from Irene.
Dec 24 Fri.
Are having quiet
time now. Celebrate Xmas Eve. Making fudge !!! No news today. Still here in Pozzelli.
Dec 25 Sat.
up till 2:30 this morning just sitting around talking. We just missed celebrating
Xmas Eve with some of dying. A shell dropped three yds from corner of our house,
which made it 6 yds all told from us. God was sure with us this time. Shall long
remember this date.
Dec 26 Sun.
A few more shells dropped in last night, about 200 yds away. Went back to Ser. Co. yest. afternoon. Sgt. Gernard and Capt. Wilson were busted. Nathan is OK.
Dec 27 Mon.
Not much going
on last night. Weather is mostly cold. Snow all on top of mountain, rather beautiful
sight. Played cards till midnight.
Dec 28 Tues.
Helped find graves
of five of our fellows. We have natives doing the dogging, I can hardly stand
the stench. Shall never forget the stench. Much movement of troops up this way.
Hope we are relieved soon.
Dec 29 Wed.
Uncovered and brought
home 3 more fellows yest. afternoon. 34th Div. is relieving the 36th. Wonder when
our turn is. We have far more front line credit than those two. We will be in
England in two more months for the spring drive into France.
Dec 30 Thurs.
Did not do anything
but keep dry. Sleep till noon today. Cut wood and wrote letter to Irene. 180th
caught hell in 1st Btl(Btn). We still think we are to be relieved within a few
days. No shells here in town for three nights.
Dec 31. Fri 1943
This is the
last day in our all year. God help us to change things for the world before another
year rolls around. We worked this morning, found one of our boys, and buried 4
germans. 180th sure caught hell.
|"Keeper of the Flame" Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn, 1942|
Had movie here
last night in front of Cemetery ("Keeper of the flame"). Fine weather.
The div. Band is wonderful/ Was sure glad to see our 179th band relieved from
G.R.S. work. They will play this afternoon for our third Blt. Sure made a swell
stove from an oil can. Received 8 letters from my future wife.
Had show last
night. Very good turnout. Sure have our graveyard home fixed up. We are all there
(Richmond & Puter) plenty busy. A rest does not mean rest for Spec. Ser. Department.
movie last night. Joe E. Brown is to be here Sunday. Will have Army show afternoon.
36th Div. Is moving back up. Which means we will follow soon. Hope so. So we can
get this job done. So I can go home to Irene.
Had show last night.
(Movie) (Red Skelton). Got more recruits in this morning. Are having mountain
ski training for a few men. Counter Intelligence Received more letters from darling
have 156 days on front line some record)
in another note book.]
Joe E, Brown Italy 1944
movie last night. This will not keep up for long. Joe E. Brown was really swell.
I got his autograph and am proud to have it. 6000 attended. The weather is getting
colder. Received official word that Capt. Cardiff and Overstreet are captured
not dead, that's good news.
The wind was
too strong for a movie last night, it was too cold anyway. We are getting ready
to leave. Lord knows where this time. 179th is the first to pull out. Are ready
to get going again.
Shook hands with
Joe E. Brown, a fine fellow. His show was next to the fellows. We are getting
ready to move. Within three days I think. We had another movie last night.
|"The Sky's the Limit" - Fred Astaire plays a war hero who wants to spend a quiet furlough in New York. Joan Leslie as his partner Released 1943.|
The damned operator
went haywire so didn't have movie last night. But Humphrey Bogart his wife and
Don Commings were here. They are certainly swell people. I talked awhile with
Humphrey, he liked my Lugar. Got his home address, told him I would like to see
his gun collection. We are ready to move. We will have one more movie tonight
[Sky The Limit].
with the Anzio landings, the 5th Army launches attacks at the Cassino front. The
36th Texas Division has heavy loses at the Rapido River crossing.
Show was fine
last night. We are parked to move at 5:00 PM. To staging area just north of Naples.
at staging area at 9:30. It is down in crater thousands of years old. High walls
as well as cliffs, only one way out. Am on T.Q.M. again. We will load up in two
days. Sure is cold and damp down here.
Worked till 3:30
A.M. loading LST. Ready to go now. We now have 36 new men in G.R.S. all a bunch
of no goods, mbar. This is sure a hell hole down here. Fog so thick you could
cut with a knife.
[LST = Landing Ship Tank used to land heavy equipment onto shore.]
Went to Caserta, to 5th Army Hq. to get supply of G.R.S. equipment. Saw several big shots but got nothing. We are going to load this afternoon or tonight. Guess they need Inf. Up near Rome. Received 4 letters from Irene. I sure love that woman.
Used by permission of The Italian
Steve Cole Collierville, TN Web Master of "The Italian Campaign"