Italy, October 1944. The rains had been almost non-stop and we at the guns could not really know what our infantry friends were putting up with in the way of a downright miserable lousy time.
Somewhere in this area of mud we were visited by pilots of the City Of Windsor Spit bomb squadron. We could not imagine how they could fly through the thousands of shell thrown at them when they dived in to bomb and strafe the enemy. Their answer was we have our eye on the target and we are always trying to see which one of us can get almost to tree top level before releasing our bomb. After the bomb is gone we do a strafing run then it is home to base, shower, a glass or two of wine and into a clean bed and up, weather permitting, to do it again. Now the pilots turned to us and said we fly over you every day and see up to your hinders in mud and water. How can you live like that and still fight??
They thought highly of us ground troops as we did of their daring feats of courage .
In this area I tried to ride my bike on an advance party but the wheels clogged up with old prairie type gumbo so the bike was useless. Orme Payne came along in his jeep leaving the bike and I getting a ride in the jeep. We caught up with the rest of the advance party, did our thing, and came back towards my bike.Before getting to the bike Orme had to make a call at Tac HQ of the 27th Lancers. I said Orme just let me out and I will wait for you here on the road. Now this would seem funny but as I said to Orme, if I'm supposed to go to the 27th Lancers I will, but seeing I'm not to be there, I will stay away. Pretty superstitious but that is how I looked at it and Orme said okay and picked me up on his way out.
I had a trip to take Bill Mennie to the RHQ to see the doctor. There I had a couple of shots of rum from the adjutant Capt Lucky Fair. Chuck Watson said Gordie your confirmation as a WO 2 is almost due and it looks like Paul Shkwarek will be here before that date I said it does not seem fair to go through the last 55 or so days in action and miss the confirmation by a day.
Lucky Fair heard all this and said Gordie you have never had a leave here in Italy. We are going to issue you a two day pass to the rest center called the Albergo Grande in Riccione when that is up you will have a confirmed rank and will not be back down to Sergeant. I picked up the pass and proceeded to take Bill Mennie back to our gun position.