46. Some Good Times
At this site we found some edible mushrooms and I remember cooking up a great batch of these with Bill Stickney, Orme Payne, and a few more. Of course we had a few drinks to wash the mushrooms down. Now Capt. Laddie Wolfe had a nose for a few drinks and a feed, so he arrived on the scene. The stories were being told and a good time was had.
Well I used to tell a fair amount of corny stories and Orme and I had been taking turns telling the old Bob Murphy stories. After one of these yarns, Wolfe said enough of the corn ball humour and picked up a heavy sack of 303 rounds and flung them at me. Thank goodness he missed.
Jumping ahead in time, Laddie Wolfe was promoted to Major in Italy, This promotion came through while he was at the OP. Not one to get a promotion without wetting it down with many glasses of vino, he and Capt Madden in a good state, so we are told, being full of the grape, proceeded to drive back to battery HQ. Losing control of the jeep and in the accident Major Wolfe broke his leg. War over for Laddie Wolfe 11 Sept ,1944.
While in Winchester, we the 17th Field Regt, staged an all ranks dance. This was quite an affair with only our regiment chaps that could attend. Now in this area there were a lot of other troops who were well established with the local girls. This was a problem to keep them out of the dance and I think a few scuffles at the door during the dance and a few while our chaps were trying to escort any of the girls home. This time in my memory does not rate too high.
August past and in September we went on a unit censorship exercise called Harlequin. Our vehicles were water proofed, so you can imagine the wild rumours that were going around. The end of it was we were marched to the dock, I believe at Southampton, saw a boat and that was it. No trip just an exercise. We had a few hours to relax and wait for transport back. When the sirens wailed and the coastal Anti-aircraft guns started to fire, we could only see about two or three contrails seemingly miles in the air. After a jolly good amount of shots, we saw a small blaze away up in the sky and this looked just like someone had struck a match it was so far away. Pretty soon this faint object started to fall earthward. The guns stopped firing and around us we heard the AA gunners cheering. It took for ages for the stricken plane to fall. The next day the papers came out that a German Observation plane had been shot down from a record height of some 37800 feet - over seven miles overhead. Never before had the Brits ever hit a plane at that height.
From Windy Ridge, we went on many firing exercises back to Sennybridge in Wales, Alfriston, and Larkhill, all firing ranges . Mainly we did a lot of digging gun pits and slit trenches. Of course we had to fill them in too. Colonel Armstrong seemed to enjoy our digging, as he ordered it.
In October we moved to Heathfield, and were told we would be going to Ireland to train with the Yanks and use their equipment. Turn in our guns that we had grown to love? Oh yes a gunner loved the 25 pounder. It was a great gun. We were issued with tommy guns instead of sten guns, and with this we were sure that we would soon hit all American equipment.
On the 25 October we began exercise Timberwolf, entraining for Liverpool. Here we were to take off for Ireland through the same port that we had landed almost two years before.
Well the next chapter will explain where we really went..........