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15 October 2014
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166th Newfoundland Royal Artillery

by cambsaction

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Contributed by 
People in story: 
Lesley Chennells
Location of story: 
Hemel Hempstead and Italy
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
18 August 2005

[This story was submitted to the People’s War site by a volunteer from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire on behalf of Leslie Chennells and has been added to the site with his permission. Mr Chennells fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.]

After father was killed, mother remarried — a Canadian from Newfoundland. He told us how he came to join up. He lived near Bell Island — where they used to mine for iron ore. He once saw a U-boat scuttle one of the ore boats and decided he wanted to do something about it. He signed up with the 166th Newfoundland Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery.

He came to Watford to train then went off to North Africa — Tunisia — and over to Italy. He was at the Battle of Monte Casino. At Christmas, when he was home again, he sometimes used to get a bit homesick and if he had had a couple of beers he would open up a bit and talk about the war. When they were firing at the Monte Casino monastery, they were using 25lb guns and he said the bits of stone were falling off, like peas on a drum.

He said it was so cold when they were in the Apennines. They didn’t have much to eat so one day they bartered with a farmer — some of their blankets for his pig.

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