British NCO served with 110 Bty, 80th Medium Regt, Royal Artillery in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1945
REEL 1 Recollections of background in Nelson, 1922-1942: family background and social circumstances; education; work as grocery delivery boy, 1936-1938; outbreak of war, 3/9/1939; work as apprentice parks gardener, 1938-1940; role as air raid warden with ARP; communal air raid shelter; rrationing; deferment of call up due to apprenticeship, 1940-1942; call up, 7/1942. Aspects of training with Royal Artillery at Marske by Sea, 7/1942-8/1942: conditions of service; drill; gun drill on 4.5" howitzer and firing on sea ranges; PT; relationship with recruits and instructors. Period at Royal Artillery Base Depot, Woolwich, ca 8/1942-10/1942. Period at Royal Artillery Base Depot, Almaza, Egypt, 10/1942-12/1942: voyage out; first impressions. Voyage with draft and period in transit camp at Tripoli, Libya, 1/1943. Aspects of service with 110 Bty, 80th Medium Regt, RA in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944: reception on joining unit near Catania; posting to gun team; gun drill in action.
REEL 2 Continues: reserve role during advance through Sicily; crossing Straits of Messina; nature of terrain during advance to Foggia; role as gun layer; move to Naples, 1/1944; leave in Naples. Recollections of operations at ANZIO, 1/1944-2/1944: voyage and landing on beach, 24/1/1944; night harassing fire from German railway gun; personal morale; moving gun positions; firing; food rations; German shell fire; story of direct hit by German shell on gunpit and resulting wounds, 3/2/1944; evacuation by hospital ship. Periods in hospitals at Naples and Sicily, 1944. Various aspects of service in Italy, 1944-1945: rejoining unit on east coast; nature of operation; reduction in gun teams; movements following VE Day, 8/5/1945; disbandment of unit, 12/1945.
REEL 3 Period as manager with Church of Scotland Canteen in Turin, 12/1945-3/1946. Return to GB and demobilisation ca 3/1946. Post-war career: career as gardener with various parks departments; effects of war service.
Over two million American servicemen passed through Britain during the Second World War. In 1944, at the height of activity, up to half a million were based there with the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF). Their job was to man and maintain the vast fleets of aircraft needed to attack German cities and industry.