Italy, January 1945. The only time our guns ever moved towards the rear was in this position. It looked like the Cremona Group may have some trouble with the Germans, especially when the Germans found out that they were being opposed by Italians.
We would be in a better position near a good supply road and better able to resist a counter attack. The day we moved it was snowing. Flakes as big as feathers were coming down, whipped along with a slight breeze. Digging gun pits and slit trenches was not any fun at the best of times but under wet snow, and digging half frozen earth made matters far worse.
I have often mentioned Sgt Sid Robertson as a scrounger supreme. During this snow storm Sid thought it would be a good idea to get some rum for his crew and the rest of the troop. About this time a British unit was moving up past our area. I suppose the slippery road or something caused the convoy to stop on the road near E troop. Sid seeing the opportunity went over to the convoy and asked the nearest officer where their Colonel was. Here was a Canadian sergeant coming out of a snow storm enquiring where the Colonel was, from the first officer he ran into. This first officer was likely so taken aback at the sheer gall of this Canadian he replied that the Colonel was at the head of the column. Sid saluted the officer and thanked him for this information. Sid marched down to the head of the convoy, found the British Colonel, saluted him and immediately shook hands with him. Here is what happened! Within moments the Colonel was calling Sid by his name [SID] and Sid was calling the Colonel by his first name. All this to the awe and utter disbelief of the rest of the British officers standing around. One of these officers standing was a major and he had the rest of the officers calling him Lord so and so. Apparently he was a titled gent with beautiful breeches and high knee boots polished to a fare thee well. A bit out of place during a snowstorm and standing on a muddy road. I just described this one officer for what was to happen next. The colonel said to Sid is there anything I can do for you? Sid replied yes there is. If you look out into that field you will see a troop of gunners digging their gun pits and they are soaked to the ass. I was wondering if I could get a drop of rum for them. The colonel answered absolutely, Sid. Have you anything to put this rum into? Sid replied just by chance I have two water bottles inside my tunic. The colonel then directed the Lord so and so [the major ] to go with his friend Sid to the supply truck and fill the water bottles with rum. This was carried out and Sid came back with the rum. Now here is where I'm not too sure but that convoy was stopped overnight on the road and Sid went back and stole a gallon of rum right under their noses in the dead of night. The first part of the story is absolutely true but the last sentence I'm not sure, but knowing Sid he probably did. Bless his heart of a scrounger.
RIP old fellow gunner. May you be a number one whereever you are.