Italy, End December, 1944 - January 1945. The last days of 1944 were spent in a couple of moves. The last move over to our right flank to support the drive to clean out the enemy around the large body of water called Lake Commacchio. This being accomplished, we moved again in the area of Mezzano. This is best remembered by the large sugar refinery along side the road.
Here, like a member of the Westminster regiment, one of our gunners entered a captured self propelled gun and started to pull levers and switches resulting in firing the gun, sending a shell screaming into the distance. Our gunner like the Westminster private crawled out of the vehicle with ears ringing and really lucky not to have been hit with the recoil. Where the shell hit is anybody's guess.
On New Year's Day I went to Ravenna to have a tooth filled as the tooth had fallen apart. I travelled down a road near Piangepane where I was going to stop and see some of the civilian families that had fed us the spaghetti. I rode along thinking here in the rear area what a beautiful day it was for the start of 1945. Well all of a sudden I hit a lot of mortar bomb holes in the road causing the motor bike to really jump and buck and the next thing I knew I was flying through the air landing on my back, twisting my left arm, which I thought was dislocated. [ I get 5% pension for it ] I ripped the knee out of my battle dress pants and a big hunk of hide from my knee. There was no one around so I shakily picked myself up checked for broken bones and whether the motor bike was okay. The bike had a bent fender and twisted headlight which I pulled back in place. I checked my knee and applied a small shell dressing to the bloody knee, then started the bike and proceeded to, I think, Piangepane, but It could have been Pisignano. I stopped at the civilian house and had the knee cleaned and the asphalt pieces washed out of it. The Momma of the household mended my battle dress trousers and with the motor bike checked over and I was off to Ravenna to our dentist.
Arriving at the dentist's truck I could see him sleeping on his cot so I hammered on the door and after some hollering and hammering the dentist said F-- Off. He had been out into the vino on New Year's eve and was in no mood to do any work. I went out and saw there was a dentist I think from the PLDG"S so went in to see if he could fix my tooth. This chap had six or seven men waiting. He said did you come down from the front Sergeant major? I said yes. Okay you're next in the chair. My reply was what about all these fellows waiting? Oh, he replied they are here and I can do them any day.
Right there I had a filling of one tooth, the first in my 23 years. I stayed with a civilian family that night before going back to Mezzano. Some of 2nd Medium RCA were in the same house and they certainly wondered what I was doing there. I was there because they were one of the families we knew at Piangepane and had moved into Ravenna.