The Italy Star was awarded for one day operational service in Sicily or Italy between 11 June 1943 and 08 May 1945.
By G.K. Wright.
The Connecting File; April 1947
CAMPOBASSO, "the wedding cake" of Central Italy," was the First Canadian Infantry Divisional objective. Rumoured to be the headquarters of General Kesselring, and being the main crossroads in the Daunia mountains, its capture was of considerable urgency. With it in our hands the Allied Force in Italy would no longer have to use the roads of the Foggia plains, some fifty miles to the south, as transverse routes, and we would have the mobility required for the forthcoming fight for the German winter line. On the east coast of Italy, British and Canadians were fighting their bloody battle for Termoli, while on the west the American Fifth Army, having broken out of Salerno, were driving through Naples and across the Volturno River towards their historic battle ground at Cassino. To the immediate left of the Canadians the British Yorkshire Division and the Americans were racing for Isernia, another important prospective Road Head.
It was about October eighth, nineteen forty-three.
First Brigade had met the enemy at Motta, and had driven him, by the snail-like method of patrol and occupy, from feature to feature west-wards until it stood on the east slope of a large valley six or seven miles west of Motta - Third Brigade had passed through, and, by similar tactics, was moving forward in the general area of Gildone - another six or seven miles to the westward. Second Brigade was on the next road to the south and was continuing to advance approximately parallel with Third.
The Hill on which the Royal Canadian. Regiment found itself was described on the map as one of those peculiar wiggly lines known as a contour in which the number "400" appeared. It was therefore known to some as "Hill 400," while in the War Diary, it is given the title "Bridge Hill." All the rifle companies were in various areas on the top of the hill, and Battalion headquarters was not too far down. If the routes which the companies had followed from Motta, through Motta Ridge, San Marco, "shoulder," "elbow," "knees," to Bridge Hill had been drawn on "a plain piece of paper in various colors, they would have looked like the enterprising doodling of a maniac. It was, by no means, a straight advance, since the enemy appeared with harassing fire at every stage to cause us to deploy - and thus lose time. Consequently, though the direct distance was only seven miles, or so, the troops had marched a good deal more. They were tired. Normal duties such as guards, ration fatigues, stand to, weapon inspections, were quite enough. The suggestion that anyone "go for a little walk" would have been met with the derision it deserved. And yet morale was good. "Our tail is high," as Col. Spry put it. We knew we had done a good job, and that, with a little rest, we could do an even better.
This was the condition of the Bn., then,—tired, but not unhappy—when we were told that our next task would be the actual assault and capture of Campobasso, the divisional objective some twenty miles to the west. Following that, of course, we would have a long rest in Campobasso itself welcome news. We were to move off in Troop carrying vehicles (TCV s) and would go as far as we could in them before debussing and starting to march. Our first destination; of course, was an Assembly area, in which we could prepare for battle, and then an FUP (forming-up place) in which we would get our final tactical orders for the actual assault.
The TCV s arrived shortly after dark on October 11th and we packed everything away ready to move. The weather, having us in precisely the condition it wanted us, then broke, and rain poured down on us for six to seven solid hours. We stood around miserably for about three hours, then got into the vehicles to try to get. some sleep. By that time our lower extremities were thoroughly wet, and only portions of the rest of us were dry. Sleep, though possible, was difficult in the cramped space allowed. When we awoke in the morning we felt miserable. A shave, a shot of rum, a cup of tea and a piece of hard-tack revived us somewhat, and by noon, when we had a proper dinner, we felt somewhat more like soldiers and less like dishrags.
Finally, at about 1245 hours, we embussed and. moved off. The downpour had not improved the roads, of course, and the temporary bridges which had been constructed were only fit for light vehicles. Consequently we could only go about five miles on wheels and then had to debuss. We stopped for eight hours or so at our debussal point, ate, tried a little sleep and started off again at about eleven o'clock that night (Oct. 12). We marched to Jelsi and got there about four-thirty the next morning. The order of march was "A," "B," Bn. HQ., "C," "D."
Footsore and weary, we lay and sat on the side of the road, dozing until we should be given the order to move on. Company vehicles, those welcome purveyors of hot food, appeared not long afterwards, and out came mess tins and spoons. The odd little fire was built along the line, where troops had been the object of "[hobo]" hospitality to the extent of a couple of eggs. Together with the breakfast issue of bacon and porridge this made a very welcome meal—comparable, in our minds, with breakfast in bed at the Savoy.
At eight-thirty we were off again, passing through the forward elements of 3rd Brigade, and we came in sight of our goal. Due east of Campobasso there is a large plain, lower than its surroundings, rather in the nature of an elongated bowl. It was through this bowl that our attack was to be launched, and it was to the eastern rim that we arrived shortly before noon on the thirteenth. Here the Battalion deployed to wait for the Forty-eighth to clear the ground to beyond our scheduled FUP (which was half way through the bowl). The thirteenth was a lovely clear day, and through 'the clean miles (they always look clean until you have to march across them) we had a panorama view of Campobasso, sitting on its hill, for all the world like a wedding cake. Even tired as we were, we were struck by the beauty of the scene and almost everyone paused in admiration - until we heard the ominous "cra-a-ck" of a German airburst ranging shell almost directly overhead. After a short delay we set out into the bowl, and, in crossing a "blow" ran into some very insistent harassing fire. By this time very few were concerned with the beauty of the Italian countryside, but rather with getting through as quickly as possible. Sgt. Jimmie McHugh of the Pioneer Platoon was killed and various casualties were suffered in the rifle companies - particularly "C" Company. Apart from this incident, the arrival at the FUP occurred without any further trouble, and we settled down to a defensive position until the time for our attack, which was to be before first light on the fourteenth.
The First Brigade plan for the fall of Campobasso called for the advance of the 48th Highlanders to a point within two miles of the city, and then an attack by the H & PER on the village of Notnowna, which was south and east of Campobasso, was to precede the RCR assault on Campobasso itself. At the time we had reached the FUP the 48th had accomplished their task after repelling a Jerry attack by 30 men and a tank and the "Hasty Pees" were teeing up theirs. Just forward of the RCR FUP was a very satisfactory OP from which Lt.-Col. Spry gave detailed, concise and clear orders to his Company commanders (Dillon "A,'" Hunt "B," Carling "C," Schliehauff' "D"). From this same OP could be seen the HPER's effort to the south.
The night was spent in getting some sleep - which effort was continually interrupted by guard duties and enemy shelling -until reveille at 4.30 (no bugles). At 5.30 "A" Coy., whose task was to make the first bound, set off, and were reported in position at seven. They had a little incident with some tracked vehicles, which changed their plans somewhat, but did not overly delay their progress. "C" Coy., who were to move through "A," moved off shortly after "A," and passed through them on their objective. "C" 's objective was the near edge of the town, which they reached without any incident. "B" had moved off at about the same time as "C," following a route parallel and to the right. They proceeded by bounds to a point on the northern outskirts without incident. As soon as it became obvious that there would be no resistance "D" was rushed through "C", and proceeded to the Castle at the western edge. The Germans had left a few hours before - their vehicles could still be seen in the distance when "D" got to a good observation point, but they were out of range of our artillery -and the Italians streamed out to welcome us. Their elation at the "liberation" was expressed in the normal style-much waving of the hands and throwing of flowers, together with a tremendous hubbub, the odd word of which such as "Mangare," "Cigarette," "buona Inglese," made sense to ears now getting trained to the Italian enunciation.
As soon as "D" Coy. reported themselves established "A" Company was moved into the town, and "B" was loaded into carriers and moved to the south-western edge. As soon as the [locals] saw infantry in what must have looked to them like monsters of war, their enthusiasm knew no bounds. The odd dog-tired man in "B" Coy. was even inspired to raise his freehand in response, so noisy was the crowd. The Italian enthusiasm waned slightly, however, when it became obvious that we were not passing through, but intended to stay for a few days. When we began to look for billets it practically disappeared, to have its place taken by a sort of questioning gratitude. Everything disappeared - jubilation, enthusiasm, gratitude, even the Italians, - when the first enemy shell reminded us—as if we had forgotten—that there was still a war on.
Tactically we were soon at home in our new city. Patrols were sent out in all directions - even the rear, and all sorts of information began to be gathered about the recent activities of our enemies, and even some information was culled about their plans. It was not long before we were besieged with Italians with all sorts and types of inquiries which were eventually dealt with by AMGOT personnel.
We dug ourselves in securely against that ever present threat of counter-attack, and then, thankfully, took off our boots.
Our objective had been reached. The ancient Roman camp, now a modern city, had fallen into the hands of "Canadians of the Eighth Army." There had been very little bloodshed, though there had been a good deal of "sweatshed," if there is such a word. On October 14th, 1943, just two weeks after the advance guard of the Canadian Force had first made bloody contact with the enemy, we had taken his kingpin. In that two weeks we had travelled some 27 miles, measured as the crow flies, of which only five or six had been by vehicle. Our route, of course, had been up and down, right to left, down and up, left to right, in the heat, in the rain, sometimes without food for longish periods, always without a warm bed by night. At last we had arrived. Now for our ten day rest.
All the common features of a rest period in the Royal Canadian Regiment began to appear: drill parades, polishing of brass and the scrubbing of web, kit inspections, sick parades, Coy. Comd's and CO's inspections, training—even ABCA—of all types. That the enemy knew who we were is illustrated by a little incident which occurred during the approach. An enterprising Jerry patrol, which had infiltrated to the rear of our forward troops came across three peaceful soldiers of First Brigade and took them PW. One was the second in command of the HPER, one was a SB from the 48th, and the third was an R.C.R. private soldier, all complete with flashes. (Major Kennedy was back with his battalion some three weeks later, after a very interesting career in German custody, and a dashing escape from a moving truck.) Yes, that the enemy knew who we were is fairly certain, but there is no reason to know that we knew what we were doing. However, he made every effort to make sure we did not continue whatever we were trying to do. He methodically and thoroughly shelled Campobasso with every kind of weapon which he could bring to bear, even with a railway gun. During our stay there he inflicted quite a few casualties on both the Regt. and on visiting and attached troops.
Nevertheless the RC Church Parade was held on the following Sunday, Oct. 17, followed by a ceremonial guard. The Brigadier attended the Church Parade, and took the salute, while the CO, together with two visiting RAF officers, attended the ceremonial guard mounting. An NCO's course was begun, and various officers started to attend a course in signals procedure. Passes were being issued, and, apart from the annoying fact that we were still the forward troops, everything pointed to a good long rest.
However patrols continued (notably those of Quayle and Bagg) and came against the enemy in positions not very far from ours. Artillery found that their fire was not properly effective against enemy guns because of their mobility and their use of reverse slope positions, and, in the case of heavier guns, because of the fact that they were out of range. In a situation report dated Oct. 11 which reads more like an appreciation - Lt.-Col Spry concludes: high ground West of Campobasso must be occupied in strength if the enemy shelling of the to is to be prevented. The occupation of such a position would (i) make possible the occupation of gun areas West of Campobasso, and (ii) thereby force enemy long range guns to withdraw far enough west to be out of range of Campobasso." He also comments, "Until such action is taken, the corps and Div. Adm. units and establishments now occupying Campobasso will continue to be subjected to enemy Arty Fire."
Such reasoning, seeming reasonable to those in authority, resulted in our preparing to edge forward—by the same patrol and occupy tactics that we had used from MOTTA—to BUSSO and ORATINO (both of which were about five miles west of Campobasso, and were about three miles apart - Oratino being the most Northerly.) 12 Platoon, of "B" Company, under the command of Lt. D. G. Bagg (later M.C.)—who had already patrolled to a feature en route to Busso, met heavy resistance and lost a man (Pte. Huges, P. W.) set out at 0330 hrs. on October 19th with two six-pounder Anti-Tank guns and two three-inch mortars under command. Also in support were two Regiments of Field Artillery and one Regiment Medium Artillery. (To call this attack a patrol would be understatement - it was a platoon attack one of the few independently carried out during the campaign.)
At six-thirty Bagg brought what fire he had available right with him to bear on his objective, (which was a house nestling into the shoulder of a large and lengthy hill and overlooking a blow in the road,) and then occupied the house and moved somewhat forward thereof. The enemy had moved out sometime during the night, and the attack was bloodless, (beyond the sad death of one chicken).
At eight the remainder of "B" Company left CAMPOBASSO, and joined 12 platoon. In the meantime "D" was beginning to eye Oratino with that seductive eye which eventually means capture. In the process of advancing from Bagg's house to a position from which a proper recce of Busso - which lay on the other side of the big hill into which Bagg's house nestled-could be made, The Company commander and his "O" group were fired on. (Capt. Burdett had just taken over from Capt. Hunt a few days before, when the latter was evacuated with jaundice). This most inconsiderate action on the enemy's part resulted in the deploying of the two remaining platoons and in the occupation of their ground about an hour later. (In this little assault Capt. Burdett used basic battle drill by sending 11 platoon to a flank position from which it could act as fire platoon, and by assaulting with 10 under the command of Lt. E. K. Wildfang.)
From this excellent position the company had an almost perfect view of the objective, Busso. It was about two miles away, and the going in between was-except for the last eight hundred yards down-hill. This was one of the few down-hill attacks of the whole campaign, for which "B" Coy. was duly grateful. Orders were given without any delay and the troops moved off very shortly. Down the hill, keeping to cover, and up to the assaulting position two hundred yards short of the town, the company moved with remarkable dispatch. On arrival at this point 10 platoon moved to cut-off position to the right, while 12 adopted a similar position to the left. 11 platoon, under the command of the writer, with an added composite section from the other two platoons, deployed into extended line. In doing so it was seen by the sentry in the tow, and drew fire. Without any further ado a Very signal was sent up calling for a five-minute artillery concentration on Busso, and completing of the deploying movement was carried out under its cover. Following this the assault went in, and the town was cleared. Two casualties were suffered - both quite serious - and 20 P.W. were taken. A perimeter defense was then assumed and the Bn. objective was in our hands.
In passing it may be noted that this attack by "B" company was watched, from the excellent O.P. from which the recce had been made, by Lt.-Col. Spry, Col. Partride of A.F.H.Q., and various other officers. It had been called an almost perfect example of battle drill in action.
The next morning "D" set out, by patrol bounds, for ORATINO, and arrived there at about seven o'clock, with no opposition. Both towns were heavily shelled by the enemy shortly after their occupation, and spasmodically thereafter, but no casualties resulted.
When both companies were consolidated on their objectives "A" and "C" companies moved forward to complete a Battalion defensive area, and the purpose of the exercise had been achieved. Campobasso was no longer shelled; the troops who had relieved us could hold a ceremonial parade, and the Corps and Divisional administrative units could carry out their duties without interruption.
Since landing in Italy on September third there had been no leave for Canadians and there had been no leave centre. There had been practically no facilities for entertainment--other than the odd bottle of beer and the NAAFI issue. Campobasso, the new leave centre was now named the MAPLE LEAF CITY; shows, hostels, baths and other things to make a leave interesting, began to make their appearance.
The R.C.R. had done its job, though it was not to rest yet. The advance was to continue across the BIFERNO River, to CASTROPIGNANO, Molise, and Duronia and the Germans were to be back to their Winter line before we could settle down to our hard earned rest.
In the meantime the Victory was not a hollow one; for, in their turn, everyone was granted a leave in the MAPLE LEAF CITY.
The Regiment now found itself in an area which, in any of the later all-out battles, would have required a brigade or a division to fully cover. "D" and "B" companies, as has been mentioned, were about three miles apart, and "A" was further to the North again and slightly to the rear. "C" company was to the left of "D" and slightly to the rear, in somewhat of a reserve position. "B", after a couple of days of incessant heavy shelling of their town, decided to withdraw all but a platoon; and moved to positions on the forward slope of the hill from which they had originally attacked, astride the road to BUSSO. Shortly after this it became apparent that we would soon have to cross the Biferno river, and orders were issued to "B" to return to an area near "A" Coy., where it was within reach of Bn. HQ. by runner. The 48th then relieved them in their positions and they set out, cross country, for Bn. HQ. The remainder of the Bn. remained in their positions and took advantage of such things as a visiting mobile bath unit.
Orders were finally given on the twenty-fourth (with "B" Company still in the wilderness) for the crossing of the Biferno in the general area of a road which passed immediately to the south of Castropignano. The general plan, briefly, was for "A" to cross just south of the road and seize a piece of high ground, with "C" passing through in somewhat of left hook to an objective astride the road and beyond Castropignano. "B," in the interim, was to cross below the town - to the north of the road - and seize Castropignano, while "D" was to follow in reserve. An intent reader will note the similarity in original plan to that adopted for the capture of Campobasso. In the case of Campobasso, of course, the reserve company was to be committed, provided the original company was not bogged down. This step was not required for the present assault.
"A" Company crossed the river on time - at five in the afternoon -and almost immediately ran into the 48th Highlanders. As they proceeded towards their objective they successively contacted each of three companies of this battalion, from which it was obvious that they were also assaulting with similar objectives. The resulting SNAFU was finally resolved by a patrol from "A" Coy. RCR, which found the 48th Bn. HQ. and conveyed a message from the Brigade Commander to "stand fast."
"C" Company which had been slowly following "A" - at a good respectable distance - now proceeded to pass through with the help of an New Zealander who had checked in earlier as an escaped PW. They reached a position about five hundred yards from their objective without any incident, beyond encountering some mines, which they successfully avoided, and then patrolled the objective. The patrol reported "all clear," and Lt. Jeffers' platoon proceeded to occupy it. As they moved off, the company signallers, complete with their set, followed the platoon thinking, in the dark, that they were following Company Headquarters. As they reached the objective they came under heavy fire from machine guns. Capt. Carling, realizing what had happened to his wireless, proceeded forward in an attempt to find them, and was severely wounded. The enemy fire was so heavy that attempts to reach him failed until the machine gunners had been forced to withdraw by the action of the forward platoon. By the time they arrived to him he had died of wounds.
"B" Company had managed to arrive on the Bn. axis by about six o'clock, and had started feeling their way down to the river bed by ten (about the time that "C" was reaching their objective). They ran into quite a few mines, and had to feel they way around them, and also had some difficulty in finding a proper crossing. They finally got across - wet to the chests - and entered the town about three a.m. They cleared the town with two platoons, finding a machine gun post at the far side, which they cleared with a smoke grenade (much to the discomfort of the Jerries, upon whom the phosphorus landed.)
The death of Capt. Carling taught officers the essential lesson that they must never proceed without an escort (except on leave). If a lone officer is killed his command will take some time to realize his loss, and will sit waiting for orders - which time could be profitably spent carrying out the orders of his successor. The "B" Company action taught the lesson that there are very few circumstances when the lead platoon should be led by its officer. In this instance the officer was leading, and when challenged had to move into a position from which he could not command his platoon. His own action in throwing a grenade and the prompt action of his leading section commander in providing fire support enabled him to get into a position of control fairly rapidly, but not as rapidly as if he had been following the lead section.
"D" Company and command group, when the town was clear, started to cross in approximately the same area as had "A" and "C." The harrassing fire, which had been spasmodic and spread out throughout, now intensified on the crossing, but they managed to get through with only one casualty (Capt. Schliehauf of "D," who remained on duty for six weeks before being finally evacuated).
The next day saw the battalion receive a good deal of attention from Torella, a town about three miles further westward, in the way of light artillery, and from enemy nearer with mortars. Later that day the 48th, and some airbourne artillery mounted on tanks, passed through to capture Torella -which was reported clear late on the 26th -another day later. The HPER then passed through to a town called MOLISE, about four miles beyond Torella. The RCR were in reserve.
Guards were relaxed, OPs which had been watching Torella were called off (for what point was there in watching the 48th), the support platoons entered the town, as did the three Coys. which had been resting on their objectives, and the rest routine began again. Platoons at this time were usually somewhat under strength, what with leaves, NCO's courses, and the normal loss from malaria and jaundice. The text-book - and the War Establishment - called for thirty-seven all ranks, but seldom did the actual number present in battle exceed 24. A platoon on drill parade was quite pitiful, since there were always a few excused for fatigues such a parade would consist of approximately twelve men, plus the NCO or officer in charge. The reinforcement situation was not, at this time, critical, and usually the platoon sergeant would account for his WE somewhat as follows: No. 4 Sec. 5, No. 5 Sec. 6, No. 6 Sec. 5, PI. HQ. 8 (Offr/NCO, 2 PIAT, 2 2" Mortar, 2 runners), on course 4, on leave 3, total 31. When the platoon began to get really low the platoon commander would often dissolve one section and make his headquarters into a fighting group under an NCO - complete with Bren, Mortar and PIAT. Such an organization was much better suited to the difficult task of allocating fair guard duties, and a fighting section of six men was of value - one of four men was useless.
The rest at Castropignano was quite an enjoyable one but the even tenor of life was broken when, on the night of Oct. 31st the Regiment relieved the HPER in Molise, where they had been subject to heavy shelling. The relief was carried out quite according to the text book. On the arrival of the RCR the HPER stood to, and a proper hand over of positions, billets, trench stores, fire tasks and so on, took place. The change-over was in the dark, of course, since the enemy had good observation of most of Molise and its surroundings. Much to our surprise our arrival did not cause the enemy to desist from his shelling, and so it was necessary to push him away from us, so that we could live in comparative security.
Patrols were sent out to find the enemy's positions, and as the patrols reported features clear platoons moved onto them, and the companies moved on to the platoons. "C" was the first to move, with "B" and "A" following. "E" moved to a feature overlooking the town of Duronia, while "A" moved into a small town about four miles away. Both found their objectives evacuated by the enemy. A Carrier patrol then carried out a recce of Duronia, reported it clear, and "D" Company entered. As soon as "D" had consolidated "B" and "C" followed them up, found themselves billets, set up defensive positions on a Battalion basis, and we had a new home.
During the advance on Duronia the feature assigned to "B" Coy., a feature overlooking the town, was surmounted by a small wooden cross. There is something remarkable in the fact that, after all the miles of country from Reggio di Calabria, and in all the possible places in which the company could have climaxed this portion of the Italian campaign, this Holy Place was their final objective.
The enemy, of course, blasted with everything he had, and caused a few casualties. It appeared afterwards, however, that he was withdrawing further, and was merely emptying his guns.
A couple Of days after this occupation Third Brigade, which had been resting in the Campobasso area ever since we had passed through on the approach to Campobasso, passed through, and faced up to the enemy on the banks of the Sangro River at a place called Castel Di Sangro, some 20 miles or so further to the west. After a campaign comparable in strenuousness to the Sicilian, First Brigade was at last at rest.
Second Brigade had fought their way to an area approximately level with Busso and somewhat to the south and had consolidated themselves there. Their further advance had been rendered unnecessary by the advance on the Division on their left, which had started to veer to their right, thus cutting across the 2 cm axis. On the right of Third Brigade British troops had fought their way to the banks of the Sangro, which they were to cross magnificently in a full scale army assault - in the characteristic Montgomery style - early in December.
On the fifth Army sector increasingly heavy resistance was being met as the Allied troops approached the fortress of Cassino. The enemy was backing up to his winter line, which he intended to hold, and on which he had spent a good deal of time and forced labour. Things were building up for the hard, muddy, bloody, slugging battles of Ortona and Cassino in December, at the former of which the Canadians were to play such a prominent part, and in which so many of the veterans of the battles here described, so many of our friends, were to go to a better land.
The second campaign of the RCR in World War II was over. By the sweat of the brow, and the blood from their veins, Royal Canadians had added another glorious chapter to the history of the Royal Canadian Regiment.
Some comments on dress and equipment might not be amiss. During the battles which we have been considering clothing was "summer drill" Bush shirts, long slacks, forage caps or tin hats, puttees (usually) and boots. We all carried mosquito ointment, though its use was not quite as widespread as its inventors would have liked, mosquito nets and little jars of pills for the decontamination of water. Equipment was the normal battle equipment of the time web belts, basic and Bren pouches, water-bottle, mess tin carrier (usually a water bottle carrier with the mess tins inside, wrapped in a piece of cloth to prevent noise and shine), entrenching tool, grenades, weapons and ammunition. Throughout this campaign, due to the speed of the advance, and the condition of the mountainous roads small packs were carried, containing a couple of clean pairs of socks, clean underclothes, shaving equipment and a towel, gas cape, and other things more in the nature of luxuries, such as extra cigarettes, an extra tin of bully beef and even barber's tools. It may be interesting to note that, in view of the possibility of our not getting food, all ranks were issued with a tin of bully beef and some hardtack, which, in necessity, would be a day's food. If three men teamed together a tin could be a quite sufficient meal. Gas capes, of course, were always carried - rolled on the back if not in the small pack, and the bully beef was carried in the mess tins. The emergency ration with which we had been issued on board ship was only for use on the orders of an officer, and only when there had been no food from any source for more than twenty-four hours. The consumption of this ration has only been ordered twice to the knowledge of the writer - once in Sicily and once just prior to the battle of San Marco - October 4th, 1943.
Needless to say mess tin cooking, which had been the rule for some time, was not the most desirable thing. Consequently, as troops' experience grew so did their stock of extra equipment such as large vessels in which to brew tea, tins of tea, milk and sugar, loaves of bread, and even a supply of potassium permanganate with which to bathe sore feet. At the time of the fall of Castropignano - Oct. 25 - a platoon frequently looked more like a traveling kitchen than an effective group of fighters. In the event of a battle, of course, mobility dictated the "ditching" of such extra paraphernalia.
EX-CAPT. G. K. WRIGHT, M.C. - Joined CA(A) on May 9, 1942, from Shawinigan Chemicals Limited where he was engaged in war work, proceeded to Gordonhead Officers' Training Camp, and thence to various training tasks in Eastern Canada. Proceeded overseas in March, 1943, having recently been appointed to the Royal Canadian Regiment. Sailed to Sicily with 1st Divisional Reinforcement Battalion, and joined Regt. Aug. 5, 1943. Wounded in "D" Coy, graveyard, near X-roads, December 18, 1943. Returned March 8, 1944, awarded MC for action during approach to Hitler Line, May, 1944. Appointed 2 i/c "A" Company, August, 1944, posted to Corps HQ. as Assistant Technical Officer (CW) August 30, appointed Tech. Offr. (CW) December and remained in that position until end of hostilities and subsequent return to Canada. Retired October 24, 1945, and resumed position with Shawinigan Chemicals Limited, for whom he came to Toronto as Toronto Manager in May, 1946.