Italy, 29th September, 1944. It was verified that Ernie Madden had been captured .
The Germans certainly gave all our gun areas a shelling. They seemed to know more about our positions because all maps and codes had been captured along with Capt Madden. While this terrific shelling was happening, Sgt Robertson was bailing water out of his gun pit and putting out the blazing camoulflage netting with the bailed water Between bursting shells he saw a person running through this shell fire and when a group of shells all landed at once he thought this running figure had been killed, but no, again the runner was still going and eventually came past Sid's gun.The running figure was Billy Briant a signaler who was out in front running with the signal wire going through his hand as he located and fixed shell torn breaks in the line. Now nobody ever thought to see Billy received a medal, as he kept the needed communications open. Billy’s claim to fame in the segment where we landed in Liverpool was as the fellow that the seagull crapped in his mouth.
Billy survived the war and passed away about five years or more ago, a very brave and dedicated signaler and man. RIP BILLY old friend.
In this position I passed out the rum ration or rum. I had given everyone in the shed their drink of rum then went out to the guns taking Hutchinson WK with me. Hutchie loved a drink, so before we arrived at a gun and in between guns I would say Hutchie have you had your drink yet? and the answer was always no, so by the time we returned to the shed and command post Hutchie had quite a number of drinks. Hutchie started to talk a mile a minute. The duty officer said Sergeant major, is Hutchinson drunk? I said no sir, it is the cold night air and he was quite chilled and the shot of rum seems to have taken a hold of him.
When I went to the rear of the shed to say keep a low tone to Hutchie, he was trying to organize a raid on the German lines to get Captain Madden back. But that went for nothing as Hutchie was soon asleep with no harm done. WK Hutchinson drowned in Harrison Lake when a logging boat went down in a storm. RIP my good friend. A true Bay Boy.