50. Naples in WarTime
Well even before we disembarked we could smell Naples and truly it was not a smell that you could grow fond of. We were given the time when we were to leave the ship and if memory is correct it was after six in the evening, when, loaded down with our packs, we started to march through the filthy streets, refuse everywhere, sullen civilians, a rat or two scurrying about. Nothing to make a good impression on us but a reminder of what a hell hole Naples was with bombed buildings, rubble on the streets open sewage draining down the gutters. Not much to welcome us to sunny Italy.
I probably did not march many miles when trucks that were coming and going to our new area arrived, and I along with the rest of E troop were taken by truck to a field. We soon learned the village of Afrigola was just a stone's throw away.
Now some of our regiment marched the whole 14 miles and others remember they did but they were with me. I guess even the few miles felt like 14 after being on board ship for a couple of weeks. The trucks dropped us off in a field where advance parties had built toilets -great ten holers, all without screening. We just curled up on the ground and tried to get sleep as best we could/
Welcome to Italy.
The next morning we found out we were in passion fruit orchard owned by a nunnery. The nuns were moving about talking to our fellows. Also we were descended upon by a group of civilians, men and children. The men offering barber services and the children shining shoes or all selling oranges and nuts.
Now the ten holers were really busy but there was not any screening so if you were a little reticent about doing your bathroom needs, you tried to wait until the nuns and other females had left the area. But while seated on the ten holer the saying was you did a shit got a shave and a shine and bought fruit and nuts for breakfast all on the one trip. Very eyeopening to Italy.
We did not have any tents until I think about the third day. On the second night bedded down under the stars and a hell of an air raid took place on Naples. I guess the German high commnd figured the ships and troops would be in harbour but I think the ships had left after we were unloaded. The anti aircraft barrage put up by the allied guns ringing the harbour put on great display. Tracers, exploding shells, the whole nine yards. The only trouble the pieces of steel from the anti aircraft shells landed in the fields and around us.
Here we were without any shelter, but our luck held and no one was hurt .