- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Lt Col R.C. Rose Price, Sergeant George Hunt
- Location of story:
- Conegliano, Italy
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 05 October 2005
On this day, Sergeant Hunt, along with his Battalion, heard these remarks by the Battalion Commandant, as the war approached an its end.
(The following is an exact copy of the original script)
(SPECIAL ORDER OF THE DAY
Being the address given to the Bn. On 3rd May 1945, by the Commanding Officer)
Officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and Guardsmen of the 3rd Battalion WELSH GUARDS-in which I include most particularly our medical officer, our padre, our Brigade signal detachment, our T.C.V. Platoon and the R.E.M.E. personnel attached to us.
The GERMAN armies in ITALY have surrendered unconditionally to Field Marshal ALEXANDER, and it can only be a matter of days before they surrender unconditionally in GERMANY.
I thought it right that we should meet together here on this great day and mark the occasion and that I should say a word.
I think our hearts are very full. In mine I find equal measure of thankfulness and pride. Profound thankfulness that this business is now ended and tremendous and proper pride in this great Battalion and all it has done.
FONDOUK-HAMMAMLIF-CERASOLA-MONTE PURGATORIO-MONTE GRANDE-MONTE PICCOLO-CASSINO-PERUGIA-MONTE BATTAGLIA-MONTE VERRO and the crossing of the River PO.
Today we are 820 strong.
Almost exactly 1,000 Guardsmen sailed from ENGLAND on 5th February, 1943, and since then almost exactly 1,000 more have come to us.
Of those who sailed that day, there are 389 with us now-but we are NOT all here, and we think of those in hospitals in this country and in ENGLAND, of those doing jobs in this country, and of those in the I.R.T.D., and we think of all those from Commanding Officer downwards-if I may use the word-who gave much in the construction, shaping, training and fighting of this Battalion. We think of those who may still be prisoners-and there were only 45 of these, and of those most particularly to the number of 181 who gave all; and perhaps a special thought for the relatives of 6782 Guardsman MORRIS of the Support Company, who alone in these last battles has died, as the result of an accident.
And now, and I hope without marring the occasion and because I have not had an opportunity of speaking to you as a whole since I took command 12 days ago, I am going to strike a more personal note.
Some of you may not know that two of the original companies of this Battalion were Number 6 Holding Company and Number 7 Holding Company, and that I was the first company commander of Number 6 and that your second-in-command, Major GRESHAM, was the first company commander of Number 7. Those two companies later became our present Number 3 and 4 Companies, and there are present in these companies and elsewhere in the Battalion some of those original men.
Since those days I have often gone absent from the Battalion, but our ways have often lain close together and our business has always been the same, so that it is not possible for men to describe my own great happiness in being given the honour of leading this Battalion in its final battles and bringing it safely home to port.
I think the soldierly quality which has always appealed to me most is dash.
At that late stage of the war it was harder for us all to take risks, but each day one saw what one knew one would see; each and every one of you showing unmistakably that you were members of this most gallant Battalion.
It may have its equals, and I think I know of two. It has no superior in the Brigade of Guards.
CONEGLIANO, ITALY (SIGNED) R C ROSE PRUIT
3rd Bn. Welsh Guards.
This story was submitted to the People's War site by Henry Wheeler of the BBC Radio Shropshire CSV Action Desk on behalf of George Hunt and has been added to the site with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions
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