Italy ,Near the Salto River, Late September 1944. The guns were not due until tomorrow so we made some supper of bully hard tack and melted cheese and tea.
George Green the other Sgt Major on this advance party had a large boil on the back of his neck giving him a lot of pain. But nothing like the pain [Payne ] he was about to endure. He asked Orme Payne to have a look at this boil and see if the core would pop out?
Orme said he would give it a try. Green was a big man 6 foot four and a good 230 pounds. Orme said he would have Green kneel as he was too tall for Orme to reach this boil. With Green on his knees Orme proceeded to give this boil the works. With a thumb on each side of the boil Orme exerted extreme pressure on the offending boil .We were all keeping an eye on this operation, the more pressure Orme placed on the boil the more sweat ran down Green's face. Green was getting purple and Orme was carrying on a good bit where Green could not see him. I do not remember if the boil released the core or not but this diversion caused us a brief moment of something that of course was at Green's expense.
Now it was time to hit the fart sacks and go to sleep. Orme had it in his mind to sleep upstairs in a large spacious room rather then with all of us on the floor. Here is where he and I had the argument whose mother said to look after who and I won out as Orme gave up on listening to me rant about him sleeping upstairs and threw his fart sack down beside mine.
Just then the Perth Battalion came trudging up and settled in around our house. So we were well protected. Likely Stan Scislowski was there with his trusty rifle and bayonet. We went to sleep then rudely awakened with some large caliber shells pounding around the immediate area. In next moment we were almost sucked up out of our sacks as a shell made a direct hit on the roof . The room was full of dust and bricks were flying down the stair case . We all checked to see if we were all okay and found we were. I said if ‘I can get my pipe and matches I will be okay. Orme said that his mosquito netting saved him. A sergeant from the Perth 's came to the door with a Perth private who had been hit with a brick that came flying down the staircase.This brick came down the staircase and out into the yard hitting the Perth soldier in the ankle.
Next morning Orme and I went up to the room where he was making an argument to sleep up there. Directly above where he was going to sleep was a ten foot diameter hole in the roof with the tiles and timber shattered by the force of the explosion. Orme knew then it was his mother that told me to look after him as he only slept down on the floor with the rest of us to shut me up. This gun had fired quite a few more times and all mighty close to the house sending some pieces rattling off the wall . We were fortunate not to have been all killed or wounded. Those old Italian houses were lifesavers .