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Re-Training at Rieti Depot

by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

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Contributed by 
Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper
People in story: 
Tom Canning
Location of story: 
Rieti - Italy
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
06 August 2005

on final discharge from the 33rd gen. hospital at Catania -Sicily in the January of 1945, I was given travel warrants back to Italy with the news that my regiment had been broken up for spares and was no longer and so I was to be consigned to the R.A.C. training depot at Rieti. But first I was to spend a week at the luxury resort at Torre Annunciatta just south of Naples and on the beach.
This was more than welcome as the bedding and food was good and discipline at a very low ebb and so agreat deal of time wa spent just lazing around with a fair bit of swimming. The week went by all too quickly and soon I found myself arriving at the Rieti base depot where on meeting the CSM - a small chap called Mahoney - we took an instant dislike to each other. He critisied
my cap badge with it's red Canadian battle honour - that had to go as well as my hospital issue boots - I was then issued with brand new boots which took some polishing up to the regular standard.
Soon I was introduced to the Armoured cars which we were to pursue the Germans back into Austria if not Germany itself. This was dullsville as it was once more - driving and maintenance - gunnery and wireless traning as well as the inevitable Morse code lessons !
The only happy time was at the week-ends when we could disappear into Rome which was an hour's ride away and I spent a great deal of time in St.Peter's basilica just soaking up all the wonderful art.
This didn't last too long as we were then "invited" to volunteer for service in Burma, the carrot being six months in the U.K. - re-training what else, plus lots of leave at home.
The alternatives were service in Greece, with the 44RTR who still had their Churchill Tanks, where the Communista were trying to take over.
OR to join an Armoured car outfit in Austria. By this time I had established that Frank Alison with whom I joined up at Bury St.Edmonds in'42 was with the 16th/5th lancers in Austria - so I volunteered for that spot ! Frank's face was study when I walked in on him in the apartment block in Knittlefeld, Austria some time later !
Some decisions are made hastily as a few weeks later - we were joined by some of the men who had volunteered for Burma, which finished with the Atom Bombs, and enjoyed six months in the U.k. before transferring to Austria !
As the man said - you can't win 'em all !

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