infantry

May

22

1944

Chindit jungle strongpoint faces third Japanese attack


22 May 1944: Chindit jungle strongpoint faces third Japanese attack

With a heavy heart I sent a Most Immediate signal to Joe asking for permission to abandon the block at my discretion. The direction of the new Japanese attack would prevent night supply drops on the airfield, and, with the A.A. guns, only night drops were now possible. Night drops on the block, or on the jungle to the west, could never keep us supplied with ammunition in heavy battle. It would take too many men, too long, to find and bring in the boxes.

May

18

1944

Polish troops capture Monte Cassino


18 May 1944: Polish troops capture Monte Cassino

But when the infantry probed the outskirts they found little opposition, and many Germans gave themselves up. There was some sniping and some machine gunning, but this was soon overcome, and in due course the place was mopped up. Some casualties were caused by time bombs left by the Hun. Later we learnt that the Polish flag was flying over the Monastery. It was very fitting that this should be so, for the Poles have suffered dearly.

May

15

1944

Back into the front line after 40% casualties


15 May 1944: Back into the front line after 40% casualties

The desolation was augmented by millions of flies as they tried to do justice to the feast that ‘civilised’ man had delivered to them, moving from corpses to latrines, then to our food and pricking and sucking the naked parts of our bodies, such as hands and faces, which might then absorb some disease.

May

14

1944

Attack continues after 100 casualties in 2 minutes


14 May 1944: Attack continues after 100 casualties in 2 minutes

Captain Wakeford, keeping his Company under perfect control, crossed the start line and although wounded in the face and in both arms, led his men up the hill. Half way up the hill his Company came under heavy spandau fire; in spite of his wounds, he organized and led a force to deal with this opposition so that his Company could get on.

May

11

1944

The last battle for Monte Cassino begins


11 May 1944: The last battle for Monte Cassino begins

Large mortar bombs started to explode all around us followed, almost immediately, by heavy artillery fire. The enemy infantry opened up with his machine guns and tracer bullets whipped and whanged their way a few feet over our heads. I prepared to return the fire but found that, as our troops were now in my line of fire, I was unable to do so. I could see them reasonably clearly moving forward just across the river and all we could do was to watch as the machine gun bullets arched and swathed across the crossing point.

May

5

1944

A night on the beach in New Guinea


5 May 1944: A night on the beach in New Guinea

Twice more during the night there were alerts. The warning gun was only 1/2 mile away, so it practically blew us out of bed. During that night I spent the most miserable four hours ever. The spatter of rain in my face woke me. Soon it was torrential and seeped into bed. When I was finally soaked and lying in a half-inch of water, I got up, threw my poncho over me, and leaned against the bank. It rained like the devil.

May

2

1944

Hand to hand fighting with the ‘Ivans’


2 May 1944: Finland: Hand to hand fighting with the ‘Ivans’

As soon as we meet Ivan, we charge. Machineguns to fire from the hip. We will take no notice of what happens to the left or right. We go on storming through the wood until we meet our own people. If I should drop out, Zech will take command, and if he falls, Brugmann. In that case, I shall be left lying. This applies to everyone. We can’t worry about the dead or wounded.

Apr

24

1944

Jungle firefight as Chindits ambush Japanese


24 April 1944: Jungle firefight as Chindits ambush Japanese

We kept ourselves flat on the ground as the bullets scythed through the thick jungle undergrowth a couple of feet above our heads. The unfortunate mules carrying our wireless sets could not get down far enough. I watched fascinated as bullet holes appeared in rows along their bodies, little spurts of blood in line, before they crashed to the ground.

Apr

18

1944

The relief of Kohima begins


18 April 1944: The relief of Kohima begins

At 09.30 hours Corporal Judges and his section consisting of Privates Johnson,Thrussel and myself, as well as Corporal Veal’s section, went onto the road to help evacuate the wounded Indians, BORs, walking and stretcher cases. It was my job to look at the stretcher cases. If they were dead I had to send the Indian stretcher bearers round the back of the feature where they put the bodies in a heap to be buried later.

Apr

14

1944

Surprise as the Norfolks arrive at Kohima


14 April 1944: Surprise as the Norfolks arrive at Kohima

I thought to myself, “Crumbs! Now what have I done wrong!” I went over to him and he said, “Where the bloody hell have you been?” I said, “Well we ran into a little bit of trouble…” He said, “I know, I’ve had it all, chapter and verse, on the telephone!”