Montemaggoire Italy, 25August 1944. This morning started out with the sun shining and all the gun crews getting fed and shaved to begin a new day as last night was one of hard work, digging slit trenches and expanding their gun pits.
If memory is correct, we had an immense dump of ammunition. This ammunition was brought in by our lorries plus some extra lorries from the Army Service Corps. I believe in the amount of four hundred rounds per gun. A lot of this had to be hand carried as the lorries could not get near some of the guns as the hillside was too steep . Looking back the amount of work these young men put in during the night and in a hurry was almost superhuman. The lorries had to get out of the area and back up the road before daylight and get loaded ready to supply more shells when called for.
I had to go to Regimental Head quarters and put in our ammunition report and a couple of other items. Walking through E troop area I was told my good friend Bill Stickney had been wounded and had been evacuated to hospital. A shell fragment had removed part of his heel. The war was over for Sgt Bill Stickney. Bill passed away 11 Nov 2002 at the age of 90. RIP old friend. On arriving at RHQ I did what I had to do and was about to leave when Major Powis came in and addressed me.
"Sgt Major Bannerman I do not know whether to award you a medal or court-martial you."
I answered, "What is this about, sir?"
He said, "Last night when I was at the crossroad to meet the guns I checked all the troop guides and you were not there." Knowing this along came Colonel McIntosh and said, "Jump in with me Alf [ Alf was Major Powis's name ] and direct me to the gun positions".
My answer to the Colonel was, "I cannot as one of the guides is not here so I will bring in Fox troop guns." Now Bannerman if you had been there I would have jumped in with the Colonel and would have been killed along with the Colonel last night."
So Gordie Bannerman was off the hook mind you I did not get the medal either. I do not remember if I told him Geunner Kirby was there to bring fox troop in. I checked with Kirby and he said he did not speak to Major Powis at the crossroad so that is why Major Powis brought our guns in and had his life saved. Someone looked after him.
I must say I was relieved that Major Powis did not take a strip off me. Major Powis and ,I along with other regimental advance parties were to go on many more advance parties together. I never let any one else go back as a guide for our troop. Major Powis was a fine officer and we retained a good friendship during the rest of his stay with the regiment.