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15 October 2014
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Valentine's War

by cambsaction

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Archive List > British Army

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Peter Valentine
Location of story: 
Italy
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A4129102
Contributed on: 
29 May 2005

This story was added to the People's War website by Steven Turner, a story gatherer for the BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Action Desk. It was submitted at Duxford during their 60th Anniversary VE Day celebrations on behalf of Peter Valentine. A story "Working at Hawker" was also added on behalf of Peter's wife, Mrs Joan Valentine.

"I joined the Army on August 7th 1941; I’d tried for the RAF but was too young at 17. I first joined the Kings Royal Rifle Corps at Debden where we were tasked with guarding the aerodrome. If the airfield fell we would have to have retaken it, that was 1942. I then went to the Royal Artillery with 17 Field Regiment, 78th Infantry, firing 25pdr guns. We fought in Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily and Italy. I became a wireless operator by accident, I happened to be in the radio tent when I picked up a transmission for Sergeant Rogers. “Who’s on the end of this?” the officer asked. “Come and see me”. So I became a wireless operator using a 19 set radio. I was at Monte Cassino, it was bl**dy noisy! We slept in dugouts, living like animals, using railway sleepers as cover. On Christmas Day 1944 I volunteered to stay in the line for which I got a weeks leave in Rome. The doctor delivered my food in a hessian bag. The Colonel came by and said “Hello Valentine, Merry Christmas!”
We were in Villach, Austria on VE Day. It was a bit of an anti-climax; there were no celebrations, nothing. I joined the Forces Broadcasting Service in Milan and worked with them until I was demobbed on 6th October 1946."

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