We had a time limit also. We had to pass in the dark certain check points, I think, without being too pompous, that Sgt Stickney and I made as good a time as any with E troop and found all the check point. Soon it was our second Christmas away from home. Christmas 1942 was to be spent at Chapel wood Manor here in Sussex. I do not remember what we had for our dinner but what will always stay in my mind was going for a walk accompanied by Bill Stickney into the village of Nutley, a distance of a mile. It wasa terrific beautiful sunny day. Bill and I strode along wondering how our folks were back home, and just full of being alive. Also we wondered where we would be if the war still went on, and how we would come out of the conflict. Our thoughts were broken with the ringing of church bells from the village. What a great sound and feeling came over us. I still in my memory relive that moment.
Stickney bless his soul passed away at 90 this past 11 November. If at Christmas 1942 we could have looked in the future it would have told us that we were going to Italy in 1943 and Stickney would be wounded and the war over for him in August 1944.
Our stay at Chapelwood Manor was in my mind. It was a great place where we sergeants of 76th Battery really bonded. It was a comradeship that has lasted since then and still gives an indescribable feeling for each other.
We had great humour, no jealousy, a tight knit band of friends closer than brothers ,