Italy, Cattolica. January 1945. We had just been a couple of days in Cattolica when one evening Sid Robertson said come along and said bring your cup. I answered where and why the cup? Sid replied you ask too many questions so I gathered up my cup and walked along with Sid to our battery headquarters house. When we entered this house here was Bombadier Mickey Lalonde and a couple of cronies with flushed faces and guilty looks and were trying to hide something. So Sid said where is it? The reply where is what? Sid said the rum you dummy, the same as you have been drinking. The rum was brought forward, a whole gallon in the stone crock. Our cups were put forward and we were into the rum.
On a cold night a few gulps of this fine beverage did warm one, so after downing quite a bit. Sid without saying anything pushed me out the door. I wondered why? He pushed a gallon of rum in my arms. So here I am standing out side with a gallon of rum. Within moments Sid is out the door with another gallon. Down the road we go towards our house.
We stop to pour a cup of rum each. The old thresher type of handling this type of crock is to hook your finger in the stone ring at the top and swing the gallon jug up on your shoulder and pour from that level. This was an extremely icy road that Sid and I were standing on. Sid with the crock posed to pour and I holding out my cup. Result was as I reeled backwards and Sid came forward and vise versus all the time pouring a good amount of rum which hit the frozen road. Sid said Gordie, really serious like, do you think we have enough rum? I said of course there is only about fourteen of us in our house . Sid again said no there is not enough rum and I'm going back to get another gallon. I think I objected but his mind was made up so I carried the two gallons back to our house, gave the fellows a drink and I went to bed.
Sid returned with another gallon and the rest of the sergeants hit the rum full blast. Next morning there was some sorry looking fellows on parade. Sid and another sergeant, Lorne Gillespie, just could not make the morning roll call due to a so called sudden touch of something. Sid was quite a characte, scrounger, a liberator of things whether tied down or not, older, wiser, and had nerves of steel. But he had one crack in this facet. He had heard his youngest brother had been listed as missing in the air force. Sid had a few drinks and proceeded to tell me this. He went on to say he should never been so hard on his kid brother making him work in the mines during his summer holiday to help cover school tuition. Sid went on blaming himself for all that had happened to this young brother. Then Sid cried and cried all the time hanging on to me, his body was racked with sobs. His tears ran down my battle dress and dripped off the trouser legs onto my boots. I tried to console him to no avail. Sid just had to let it all go. In one sense I guess I was the one chosen by Sid to listen to this and in a way I suppose in some way was made a special friend of this man. I do not think other than Orme Payne that I have never told this part of Sid that no one else knew.
Incidentally Sid's young brother survived the war, and I'm sure we celebrated that news . Sid passed away at 58 in 1965 May the angels guard the rum old friend. More on Sid before the war was over. I may get one more memory of Italy before we went to Belgium.