- Contributed by
- People in story:
- The King (Code name Collingwood), Winston Churchill, Cammander in Cheif, Jock Colwill, General Acker, Maurice Overend, Rear Admiral Morse
- Location of story:
- Naples, Italy. Ajaccio, Corsica
- Background to story:
- Royal Navy
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 16 November 2005
Commodore David de Pass and Edward Astley-Jones
This story has been written onto the BBC People’s War site by Storygatherer Lucy Thomas of Callington U3A on behalf of Frederick Edward Astley-Jones. They fully understand the terms and conditions of the site.
WORLD WAR II --Service details from Edward Astley-Jones.
part 3 continued:
We moved to the former Italian Palace of CASERTA, which is very near NAPLES. It was hard work but 1 made many friends in that Allied Forces headquarters not only with our American allies but among our own Air Force and Army. Winston Churchill came out, in 1944, to the South of France landings ‘operation dragoon’. The headquarters ship was at Ajaccio in the island of Corsica.
I was in attendance on my Commander in Chief and Jock Colwill, the Prime Minister’s secretary said, “Oh Teddy, look after the old man for a bit, I’m going down to the ward room for a glass of gin.” So when the Prime Minister wanted attention I went in and there he was, smoking a cigar. It was very hot and sitting almost naked, on his bunk wearing the most lovely pink celanese vest and pants he asked “Where is General Acker?” General Acker, my Commander, was the United States Commander in Chief of the Air Force in the Mediterranean and so I replied to the Prime Minister, “He hasn’t yet returned because he has been flying his personal Mustang to see how the troops are getting on landing on the beaches”. The Prime Minister was heard under his breath to say “Oh I wish I was with him”.
The King always travelled under the code name of Colonel Collingwood. When the King arrived in Naples he was able to stay in the Villa Emma which was the residence of Naval Commander in Chief Admiral Cunningham. Wearing aiguillettes on account of the importance of the occasion I remember offering his Majesty a cigarette, which he took eagerly.
Later in 1944, my very good friend, Maurice Overend, who was secretary to the Flag Officer Western Italy, was taken ill with malignant hypertension and had to be flown home at once. I was asked if 1 would like to take over his work and be personal secretary to Rear Admiral Morse. I took this opportunity with both hands and moved to his quarters in Naples.
Rear Admiral Morse had made quite a name for himself as it was entirely his own brilliant work that had opened the ports of Western Italy, smoothly and strongly, so that we were able to use them to pass all the machinery and ammunition of war up to our fighting men as they made their way through Italy. With every passing month it was possible to predict the end of the war coming closer, and in June 1945, it was deemed that we no longer needed a large administration in Western Italy so Admiral Morse hauled down his flag, and we left Italy for England.
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