61. The MAD MILE
The regiment moved into this area and came under the command of the Fourth Indian Division. The gun positions had been last used by the 2nd New Zealand Division and they had left some good dugouts and the gun pits were pretty good. But we were good diggers and improved on the dugouts and gun pits. Now the New Zealand Regiment had moved out when the ground was very soft. Here they did something that I'm sure we were appalled at. The New Zealanders had filled the ruts in the road with boxes of ammunition and drove over these to get out of the position. Well we had to pick all these boxes out of the ruts remove the shells clean and linseed oil them all and store them ready to fire with our guns. We said a few well chosen words about all this extra work.
This area is long remembered by Orme Payne who had to traverse a road from Orsogna to Lanciano daily. This road was called the mad mile as it was under German observation, and anyone, motorcycle, jeep, or whatever the Germans fired at. So it was a life or death run each trip! Orme was astounded to hear years later that we used to make bets whether the vehicle and occupants would make it and not get hit. Orme is living testimony, as he is still here surviving many trips along the MAD MILE.
My answer," No patrol but a bloody rat and it is here in the gunpit!"
The result was the rat was gone, and seeing it was time to wake the other three members of the crew, we three went to our off shift dugout to get some sleep .