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An encounter with a boxing champion

by nottinghamcsv

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David Davison
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29 July 2005

This story was submitted to the People's War site by CSV/BBC Radio Nottingham on behalf of David Davison with his permission. The author fully understands the site's terms and conditions.

I remember an amusing incident in May 1945 when the Germans had surrendered and we were moving north in the early morning across the River Po and I saw what looked like huge fields of bluebells but they weren’t bluebells at all but the German army, sitting on the ground having surrendered. The image of the blue/grey uniform stretched for miles and miles and it was a lovely sight! We went up to the foothills of the Alps, more wonderful spring sights and sounds and we reached a little village and all the Italian villages came out cautiously. We were an unknown quantity of course to them. For all they knew we could have been bent on pillage and slaughter but we were much more gentle that that-we were just glad it was all over! They came up the road gradually and leading the way was a huge man and we stopped and said how do you do and the huge man turned out to be a very famous international boxer called Primo Carnera. Now, all my childhood Primo Carnera had been the heavy weight boxing champion and he had come back to end the war in his home village. I can only imagine that as they proceeded to meet us, the Italians thought that probably the best person to go forward and meet the advancing British soldiers was their most famous boy and of course, we all knew him. Hours were spent having handshakes with Primo Carnera and we all came away shaking our hands because of his iron grip! And a few boxing tips were traded of course! Then we went on to climb over the final chain of alps into Austria and I remember sitting on one of a mountain paths just on the border of Italy and Austria when the convoy stopped because the King George VIth making a radio broadcast about the hostilities being over in Europe. We were all clustered around the radio and I was conscious of shadowy figures creeping past and it was some German stragglers trying to get back to their homes on foot. We all ended up listening to the King together!

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Message 1 - An encounter with a boxing champion

Posted on: 29 July 2005 by Ron Goldstein

Hi Nottingham CSV

Can you get a message back to David Davison ?

Tell him to use this link: links

to listen to King George VI painfully speaking to the nation on May 8th 1945

You can also tell him his story is great!

Ron Goldstein

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