- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Charles Smith
- Location of story:
- Italy, Palestine, Eygpt
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 25 June 2004
Having been called up for military service in 1941, I completed my basic training course at Bridge of Don Gordon Highlands Barracks in Aberdeen. I then attended a Bren Gun Carrier course at Linksfield School in Aberdeen, then becoming an instructor.
Eventually I was transferred to the 10th Battalion Cameronians Support Company in Dalton-in-Furness, Lancashire. The regiment then moved to Langholm in Dumfrieshire, Scotland, where I was given embarkation leave and then transported in an embarkation draught to Glasgow docks where we boarded a ship called ‘Eastern Prince’ and then set sail. We didn’t know where we where going because security aboard the ship was very tight.
After approximately nine days sailing we reached Naples in Italy where we disembarked and joined a holding battalion, eventually being posted to a Highland Regimnet “The Royal Scots” (R.R), serving with the American 5th Army outside Florence.
One night in the Front line, in the trench. I felt like I was being watched so I turned round slowly. There was a young Italian girl with an empty tin mug in her hand and obviously looking for a drink and we duly supplied her with a drink. As we had just finished our tea. We could hear the Germans singing, “ Still the Nacht, ”
(Silent night), after all it was Christmas Eve and with us being in the hills and the air being thin, they sounded very close. The young Italian girl turned up again later that night and handed me an envelope. With it being dark, I put it in my pack and I had to wait to open it and see what was in side. I found it was her school report card.
Eventually my regiment was put aboard at a train, at Florence and we travelled south to Taranto where we got off the train and embarked on a ship, (S.S. Devonshire) which set sail. We finally reached Haifa in Palestine. We were encamped in Nathanya, where we were engaged in Policing duties between the Arabs and the Jews.
During our time in Palestine, and leave being reintroduced we used it to visit the Sphinx, Pyramids, Cairo and Egypt (I have photographs to prove it as a lasting memory), also the notable religious highlights in Bethlehem (the manger) and Jerusalem. I also visited the Syrian capital of Beirut and a return visit to Alamein the scene of a victorious battle, which marked the beginning of the end of the war.
I was eventually transported back to the U.K and demobilised and became a civilian again.
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