Mezzano Italy, January 1945. Yes here we are still at war, and in Italy. While I was on my jaunt to the dentist on New Year's day our troops were astonished to see a flight of fighter bombers with US insignia roar down on a bridge in our area and attempt to strafe and bomb this bridge. Somehow they were supposed to bomb a road and bridge further north. Poor map reading or something. From what I was told the planes were so low as they flew over the guns that the pilots face could be clearly seen. After all the diving and shooting, no one was hurt and the bridge left intact.
The Italian civilians said the reason that the planes missed the bridge was the pilots were ZIG A ZAG from New Year's celebrating, so be it. On the fourth of January we were told the tragic news that L/sgt Floyd Burton and Gnr Cowan had been killed at a crossroad near Mezzano, and Gnr Spink was badly injured. We were told it was a vehicle accident but no further word. Floyd had been with Fox troop as a bombadier, received his promotion and was posted to 60 Battery. We were not given any particulars about the accident. In this area we had supported the clearing of the ground south of the Senio River and it looked like that was going to be our winter line.
While in this position the fox troop drivers were stationed at a house on Hwy#16 south of Mezzano just less than a half mile from fox troop gun position. This gave the drivers a short walk for meals at Fox troop house. I noticed that the drivers were getting a bit late in getting to meals and some started missing meals, also their general appearance was not up to Fox troop standard so I did a little leg work and found that they were operating a very good still converting the pretty powerful wine into pure alcohol, so white it almost gave off a blue aura.
Here was my plan. I phoned Orme who was in the command post just close to Mezzano. I said we are about to teach the drivers a lesson and put the still out of business so how about it? Great, when do I meet you? I said after supper around six PM at the drivers' house. Count me in he said .....