58. Bravery at San Leonardo
The past two days the 15th and 16th ofJanuary 1944 we spent as a regiment was getting ammunition at the ready, improving communications, and all guns in the regiment were able to fire a few shots in anger. Mostly registering targets for the up coming attack by our Infantry Brigade.
I remember the weather on Sunday the 16th was mild for January, and we were all in a high state of anticipation, ready getting ready to support our Infantry friends who in this attack were the Perth Regiment and the Cape Breton Highlanders with the Irish Regiment of Canada in reserve.
All of you should read A book called, "Not All Of Us Were Brave", written by Stanley Scislowski. Stan was a private in the Perth regiment and his account of the attack from the sharp end was a great write. Buy the book! Stan calls the area the battle for the Riccio River where, as we have always said the Arelli, regardless we are both correct.
The artillery barrage to kick off this attack started at 0530 hours, and we certainly were pouring the shells into the German held positions. As the morning progressed we were told that almost all our observation officers had been wounded. Capt. Madden and gnr McNair were both wounded while waiting to go forward with Dog company of the Perths, Capt Mitchell & Capt Steer. Capt Steer had been with Charlie company of the Perths but communication was knocked out and the company commander killed. This left Capt Floyd Brooks on his own bringing down hundreds of rounds per gun on enemy positions. Some time during this intense action there was a shifting where the infantry were going and Floyd Brooks found himself alone on one of the objectives. Talking to Floyd years after about how he felt at that time, he of course said you have intense fear but he had a firm belief that there was a higher power and one had to conquer his own fear with that thought in mind.
Floyd did all that could be asked by any one and did it with sheer bravery .