Godo Italy, December 1944. After our rest in Fossombrone, we returned to the front and I really do not recall too much that went on in the first couple of gun positions.
Some good news, like Ravenna had fallen and this was of great interest to Floyd Brooks as he had spent some time in his university days in and around Ravenna and knew the ancient history of this old city.
We had just set up around Godo when I had a call from the adjutant saying that the colonel was ordering me to take a patrol out to the rear of our area as there was a lot of the enemy had been bypassed. The reason for this was the 8th Fld Regt RCA had this day captured some Germans and this he saw as a challenge that we must bag some. As the message was relayed through our Battery, HQ the patrol I was to take out was the bren gunners and assorted personnel from BHQ, a total of about fifteen. Lt Ross, hearing this, said he would like to go along as an observer, which was okay by me. We set off meeting up with the assembled group. I knew all of these fellows and said now we will spread out a good distance apart and nobody to get too anxious to win the VC, just be disciplined and we would be okay. Right off the bat I realized we were in trouble. As we approached the railway line running along the rear of Godo, we came upon a whole company of the Lanark and Renfrew infantry from 12th Infantry Brigade. This whole company was laying down behind the rail way tracks with rifles, bren guns, and Tommy guns all pointing to the rear and in the direction we were going. These infantry chaps wondered what was up as they were laying low waiting to attack a house less then a half mile away. That should have told us to pack it up and go back to our guns but we had an order so on we went. The patrol kept bunching up and I could smell disaster. If a machine gun in the house ahead opened up we were dead gunners. How to get through to this group who were sure they could take on the world was something else. Just about a couple of hundred yards from a large stone house we saw a couple of very well dressed civilians coming down a road to our flank. We swung over and stopped this couple. One was a tall distinguished gentleman wearing a new black coat and wearing a black homburg hat, and the other was shorter and not quite as well dressed. On questioning this pair the taller one spoke good English and said there are no BOCHE around here. They have all gone. He had either a car dealership or something like that. Their papers seemed in order so we let them proceed to where we had just come from and that was Godo. I decided that in my mind that house that now was not far away was not a place for our patrol to have anything to do with. The large stone house seemed to be sending out vibes that were not welcoming us.
I said we are going to cancel this patrol right now and go back to our respective troop positions. As we came back towards the railway an officer of the Lanark and Renfrew blew his whistle. His company of about fifty rose up and in extended line started towards the house that I deemed too dangerous for a group that did not know squat what would happen if a machine gun did open up on them.
In an hour or so I was told that the infantry advancing on that house had a real sharp exchange of fire which lasted for some time and eventually took about a hundred prisoners. Why the Germans never opened up on us I will never know but maybe they thought we would not fire a shot and walk right into their arms and be their way out from the the spot they were in. The next day I saw the great bag of prisoners under guard in Godo. The two civilians were also under guard. The same two civilians that we had checked. Lt Ross and I talking about it later said we should have figured the civilians as phonies as no Italian ever called the Germans the Boche. This what the tall well dressed civilian always referred the Germans too.
The Italians and all of us called the Germans Tedeski .
Orme Payne told me later that the house they were in had some civilians staying there. Along came some Italian Partisans and asked if the Padrone was around [ owner ]. Orme or who ever they asked told them where the civilians were, not really thinking much about it. The partisans [ rough looking and tough acting beggars ] went into the house and came out with the civilians and walked out of sight from our fellows . Shots rang out, and when our chaps went to see what the shooting was all about as they came around the house the partisans were gone but the civilians were all dead. No explanation. They just came in, murdered some civilians, and disappeared. War is not a pleasant pastime with old scores being settled by different factions but itwas rather hard to understand too.