Further to Bernard Wardens article titled ‘The Forgotten Army, Italy 1943-1945’
In the November Issue Bemard Warden wrote an article about ‘The Forgotten Army, Italy 1943-1945’, following this article we have received a number of emails: –
Ben Stephenson emailed Bemard Warden
I enjoyed your article about fighting on the east coast of Italy in WWII. As a child my grandad used to tell me about his experiences of fighting in WWII. He was in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and told me many stories. Including quite a few about Italy. I vividly remember him describing terrible weather conditions, including deep mud when he travelling along the east side of Italy fighting. I always thought he fought his way from north to south Italy on the east coast but after reading your article I must have been mistaken and he must have fought from south to north. He spoke about setting up camp in a football stadium in either Ancona or Bari, you wouldn’t have any knowledge of which one it was would you? It has always bugged me which stadium it was that he told me about. Also if you have any information about the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders involvement in the east coast fighting I would be interested to hear about it.
Bernard’s reply to Ben
Thank you Ben, it was great to read your comments concerning my article. I was hoping that other members would have taken the opportunity to recall their stories to complete the picture.
So far I have found that there are 59 Argyll and Sutherland personnel buried in Commonwealth Graves on the Adriatic side of Italy. I will try and find, which cemeteries they are buried in. Once I have identified the. cemeteries I should be able to find the photographs of each gravestone.
I will get back when I have researched further.
From Ted Bell 1597677 – Radar 70th Squadron RAF
“I enjoyed reading Issue 57 of the Magazine, except for one line in the middle of page 16 near the beginning of Bernard Warden’s interesting article. He described the 8th Army “capturing the Port of Brindisi, Bari, as well as airfields around Foggia, which provided a base from which US bombers were able to exploit the opportunity to bomb oil fields in Romania and various places in northern Germany”. He should have written “the ports of Brindisi and Bari” but that is a minor matter compared with his omitting any mention of RAF squadrons (I know
there were at least eight) on those airfields round Foggia, most of which had, ironically, been built by the Germans as a convenient place from which to operate in North Africa. The RAF units were 37,38,40,70 (which I joined in December 1944), 100, 142, 150 and 458 Squadrons. I have lately been thinking about my stay in that area, since I am currently enjoying dental treatment from Francesco Candeliere who was born in Cerignola, between
Foggia and Bari. The airfield I was on was at a place called Tortorella, where 37 and 70 Squadrons formed 231 Wing, within 205 Group. In my time there the squadron converted from Wellingtons to Liberators and moved to Palestine, where I converted from servicing aircraft radar equipment to running an education office under the EVT scheme (educational and vocational training which occupied the time of large numbers of servicemen awaiting the trip home and subsequent release).
If you have room for it, I’d like to add a ditty I composed some time in 1945. We comparative youngsters whose khaki shirts had red flashes on the’ shoulders were conspicuous among the older men who had been with the Squadron through North Africa in support of the Eighth Army and were heard talking about such places as Mersa Matruh and Kasfareet. As with *Lilli Marlene*, the music is stolen from the Germans; this should be sung to the tune of *0 Tannenbaum*, better known perhaps as the * Internationale* .
From Tortorella’s dusty ‘drome
The Desert Rats have all gone home
And of some others we are robbed,
For just a few have been demobbed.
But though our numbers dwindle fast,
We’ll stick it out right to the last.
While ever there’s a canteen near,
You’ll find the Red Eagle Squadron here.
Note from the editor: Our thanks for all of the information and memories from these men who were there, it helps us from later generations have a better understanding about the war in Italy. Robin