51. Afrigola Italy
The end of something and not too pleasant one,
But like all things, this was a strange country and there were many things that were different but somewhat memorable. No one ever at Afrigola will forget the farmers in their great two wheeled carts going to work at about four AM. The father in front driving, usually a skinny horse flanked by an ox, another horse, or in some cases a small donkey. This in itself was quite a sight. In the rear of the cart sat the mother, a well built lady with two or three small children riding along with her. She probably was breast feeding the youngest,. Now this lady had a wonderful voice and she and the children would be singing, Figaro Figaro, and the rest of the opera. What colour! What a performance! Added to this was the father cracking his whip at his ill matched draft animals accompanied by his rendition of a drawn out drrrrrand whack would go the whip. At four in the morning, colour local flavor, what ever you call it, we were in Italy. These farmers returned late at night. The reason for such a long day was land was scarce and these families travelled miles to grow on a terraced hillside, the little plot of land that they had permission to use or had been granted by the state.
On the third day in Afrigola we had tents brought in. These tents were manufactured in Italy. Well a great group was to put up. Kitchen and dining area tents, along with Officer Mess tents. No one had ever put up a tents like these. Maybe it was Floyd Brooks or Mel Ross had both been in Africa with the First Army and it could have been them. After a few tries the tents were all put up.
Pup tens were issued to all ranks, and seeing that General Simonds was coming to inspect us, these tents were properly aligned to suit the most fastidious a person. General Simonds was to take immediate command of 5th Cdn Armoured Division, our regiment part of the division.
Some one remembered that we had one H--- of a rain and tents were well flooded and the only really dry spot was the mess tents which soon became pretty crowded and smelly. The smell of wet uniforms along with the local smell soon had all wishing for sunshine. Those of us that had been at a camp in our teens had dug drains around our tents, but the rain was so heavy this was not much help. Soon the sun came out to dry bedding and clothes.
We being young survived. This was only a sample what would happen in the not too distant future ..