BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

BBC Homepage
BBC History
WW2 People's War Homepage Archive List Timeline About This Site

Contact Us

New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

by Ron Goldstein

Contributed by 
Ron Goldstein
People in story: 
Ron Goldstein and Pete
Location of story: 
Carovilli, Central Sector of Italy
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A3443113
Contributed on: 
24 December 2004

I sent this Aerogram to Mick, then still serving in England

Can it really be 60 years ago ?
It was, according to my diary.

Saturday 1st. January 1944
Spent in Carovilli in the Central sector. Snow, cold, damp but still had a very good Xmas.
Sunday 2nd. January 1944
Spent most evenings with Fioccas, very nice people. Troops are getting it rough at Vastgirade due to the cold

The format for most of the troops in Italy on entering a village for the first time was to establish themselves with an Italian household. Instead of spending off-duty evenings in our un-comfortable billets, one could then relax in front of a roaring wood fire. Inevitably one brought spare rations for the mother of the family, which were thrown into the communal cooking pot.
We then ate an evening meal with the rest of the family.

In Carovilli I found myself in the household of the village priest, Signor Fiocca, and we spent many evenings discussing theological matters including how could a nice boy like me be Jewish!

In my Album I still have a photograph of the Priest’s two younger sisters, Delya and Iola.

One interesting aspect of the month or so we spent there was the time that one of the lads went down with pneumonia. We were completely cut off from other units by snowdrifts some 2O feet high and when we radioed for help were told to enlist the help of the local convent.

We moved Peter, I have forgotten his second name, to the convent, and they took over completely and probably saved his life. We used to visit him occasionally to see how he was getting on and on the last occasion found him sleeping in a huge chapel with altar candles placed near his head and feet for all the world like a monarch lying in state. When he saw us he said: "For Christ's sake get me out of here!" Apparently he had woken out of his fever to find himself lying in that manner and thought that he must be dead!

Another clear memory was coming out of our billets one morning to see ski tracks of a German Patrol who had calmly come through the village and made their escape without bothering us.

© Copyright of content contributed to this Archive rests with the author. Find out how you can use this.

Forum Archive

This forum is now closed

These messages were added to this story by site members between June 2003 and January 2006. It is no longer possible to leave messages here. Find out more about the site contributors.

Message 1 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 24 December 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Another cracking contribution from Ron. This is rapidly becoming "The Ron Goldstein" website :-D

<xmaspud> Seasonal greetings to all <xmaspud>

 

Message 2 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 26 December 2004 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

I agree and why not? I have learned more about that campaign from Ron and Tom than from all the books I have read on it.
At least they know the meaning of split rounds, the stink in a tank! is that why Ron took a tin opener to his? they tell it as it was and not like some one sitting in a warm room and writing from books.
It shows in the graphic nature of the stories, the down to earth attitude and the way they enjoyed the very few welcome breaks in historic places.
Long may they keep writing.
Regards Frank. <hotdog>

 

Message 3 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 28 December 2004 by troopergeoff

Yes, well done Ron, I think at that time I was still at Base camp Guelma Nth Africa with your old mate Eddy Patman and we had snow every night at the camp. Wonderfull memories.
I would like to wish you and yours a very a healthy and happy New Year..

Cheers Troopergeoff

 

Message 4 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 30 December 2004 by Ron Goldstein

Hi Geoff
Delighted to reciprocate your greetings for the New Year.
Every good wish to you and yours
Ron

 

Message 5 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 10 March 2005 by StratusIT

I found this link at the moment:
www.archart.it/archart/italia/molise/carovilli/thumb0001.htmAbout links

Here you can see Carovilli without snow, but I'm working to find out some pics with snow.
I think it's a hard work because it's a small place with few people.
In Molise region there are two sites of Pescopennataro, a small village near Carovilli I think.
http://www.pescopennataro.comAbout links

and

http://www.pescopennataro.itAbout links

Ciao and hope to give you good news
Luca

 

Message 6 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 10 March 2005 by Ron Goldstein

Hi Luca

For the benefit of other users of this site may I introduce you ?.

Last week Peter gave me a link to a Weather Forum (on which you post messages) as he had seen a cracking photo of snowbound Capracotta which is very near to Carovilli.

I posted a message on that site asking if anyone had seen any photos of Carovilli in the snow and up popped Luca who said he would try for me.

He has now found me this awesome picture of Pescopennataro to be going on with !

Mille Grazie Luca and welcome to this site

Ron

 

Message 7 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 11 March 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Ciao Luca

The live webcam http://www.pescopennataro.com/webcam.htmAbout links is superb.

Many thanks,

Peter

 

Message 8 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 11 March 2005 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

The wonders of modern technology. Wonderful pictures and I bet they bring back memories for Ron.
Regards Frank.

 

Message 9 - New Years Day 1944, Snowed in at Carovilli

Posted on: 11 March 2005 by StratusIT

I posted in the Net Weather forum other pictures of Carovilli, you can find them at:
www.net-weather.co.uk/forum/index.php?showtopic=13491&st=17About links

I'll try again to find other pictures, if I'm lucky I'll post to you.
Sorry if I make mitakes in writing....

Ciao :-)
Luca

Message 1 - Now will you believe me?

Posted on: 24 October 2005 by Ron Goldstein

Dear all

I have just finished reading this masterly series of stories based on the Army career of James Hughes.
In Chapter 6 he writes about the extreme winter conditions in the Isernia area, if I may quote him:

" On 22nd December the ‘Skins’ were ordered to got to the village of Capracotta, 5000 feet up. We set off from Isernia and if my memory serves me right I don’t think it was more than five or six miles. When we got to the village we had to wait outside while a ‘recee’ unit came out. It started to snow again, and by the time they got out, we had a job to get in the snow was that deep. In the morning the carrie3rs etc were completely buried. My Platoon was in what had been a school, and we found some little potatoes amongst the rubble, put them in a tin with melted snow and had a meal. We were completely cut off, and had to be supplied by aircraft."

The village where I myself was snowed in, namely Carovilli, was just down the road, as it were, and I can still remember how deep the snow was and how we all froze.

This series of stories about the 78 Div are amongst the best I have had the pleasure to read and I commend them to all.

Ron

Archive List

This story has been placed in the following categories.

British Army Category
Italy Category
icon for Story with photoStory with photo

Most of the content on this site is created by our users, who are members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site's House Rules, please click here. For any other comments, please Contact Us.



About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy