Monte Camino

Discussion in 'Italy' started by Paul Reed, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Hi Paul / Owen
    I have tried to attach my many photo's and first hand accounts (2) of the 1st battle for Monte Camino but to no avail, (I am a complete div when it comes to computers) and at the age of 72 I cant see myself getting any better. I seem to remember that someone aksed if I would submit the above articles, I have them ready so I was wondering if you could do it for me if I send them via e mail to you, if you contact me via PM for email address.
    The photo showing the stretcher bearers was indeed taken at the end of the 2nd battle and I believe they were either 8th or 9th Royal Fusiliers (who were in support) or the Queens, the other photo showing the 2 soldiers looking up at the mountain is claimed to be Grenadiers, I have taken a photo of the exact spot in Miele although now the owner of the house has extended it to cover the exact area where the two Guardsmen (Soldiers) are standing. We had that picture commissioned by Sean Bolan who's father was a stretcher bearer up there with the 6th G.G. and it has been presented to the Mayor of Rocca and can be found in his chambers in the Town Hall, anyway enough of mt gabbing on hopefully either one of you will contact me so that I can forward the articles mentioned I am sure they will make very interesting reading.
    Kind regards
    Mike Sterling (rotherfield)
     
  2. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Hi
    I have tried to attach photo's

    002 The Castle at Rocca d Evandro, this was the German Command centre for the area, it has now been repaired and is used for civic functions
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    003 Spandau Ridge looking from the Chapel, the first Hump is Wilfred
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    004 The curved hill in the distance is the edge of Bare Arse Ridge Point 819 is the green hump in the middle
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    005 Point 819 (no 2 Coy G.G. positions in the first battle)
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    007 The Chapel ( As you can see the term Monastery was a bit of a misnomer
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    009 The remains of the German observation Tower just above the Chapel, this tower was 10 metres high
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    010 The original Cairn that myself and 3 colleagues built on Point 819
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    011 The original cairn (now destroyed)
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    026 Monte Camino and Monte La Difensa (Camino is pyramid hill on left) taken from our Pensione in Mignano Monte Lungo on Highway 6
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    028 Bare Arse Ridge from the road just outside Calabritto
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    024 Monte Camino from the South just outside San Clemente, Spandau Ridge on right (Pip Squeek and Wifred) on left are the cliffs on the edge of bare arse
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    Kind regards
    Mike Sterling (rotherfield)
     
    Paul Reed likes this.
  3. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Mike, I've edited your post to take out your email. I will PM you my email address and I will post the photos for you.
    Regards,
    Diane
     
  4. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Thanks dbf
    As I mentioned I am a complete div with computers, I have to ask my 10 year old grandson how to do things.
    I hope that those who read the accounts will appreciate them, they were written by two young Lt's at the time and show two different apsects of the 1st battle, the first by Lt Wheatley is his account of his area on point 819 the other by Lt Freeman - Attwood is his account of his area just below point 727
    I did send Owen copies of these accounts by pigeon post but there are others who would like to read them I am sure
    Thanks once again
    Mike (rotherfield)
     

    Attached Files:

  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Mike,
    You're not wrong, I would love to read them too.

    Email me the photos at least and I will edit them into one of your posts.
    Regards,
    Diane
     
  6. Tommygunn

    Tommygunn Member

    Mike,
    I would suggest that you convert all your documents to a 'Winrar' file and upload them to this site: filefactory.com.

    You may have to put your documents into multiple Winrar files depending on the size because there is an upload limit, although quite large.

    From there you can post the link/s and people can download the file/s at their leisure.

    Tom.
     
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Mike I've edited in you photos and captions - see post no. 63. Please check that they are correctly annotated.

    Many thanks for sharing.
     
  8. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    I did send Owen copies of these accounts by pigeon post but there are others who would like to read them I am sure
    You did ask me not to share them & I haven't but if you'd like me to scan them & add them to here I can, which would take awhile to do. Unless you can email them to me & then I can add them here.

    Lovely photos by the way.
     
  9. Paul Reed

    Paul Reed Ubique

    Interesting photos - just been in Italy with two Mt Camino veterans.
     
  10. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Hi Diane
    Just a couple of small mistakes
    No 26 should read No 28
    No 28 should read No 26
    And No 24 should read 28
    Cant find post 63 how do I get to that
    Mike

    EDIT: Fixed.

    Mike's documents now added.
     

    Attached Files:

    dbf likes this.
  11. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Hi Owen
    Yes I know I did say not to share them but it is OK now so I have sent them via e mail to Diane hopefully she will organise them to be seen by all who are interestded
    Hope you are keeping well, I am still juggling with dayes for Sept visit to Camino may have to switch it to the 8th - 15th as it is cheaper, will let you know
    Mike

    EDIT
    Mike's documents now added.
    PLEASE NOTE, copyright remains with the authors and at the very least it would be good manners to contact Rotherfield/Mike first should you wish to use or quote this material. He knows the veterans who wrote them and has been very kind indeed to share the accounts on the forum.
     

    Attached Files:

    Paul Reed likes this.
  12. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Mike,
    I finally found a few moments to sort things out and uploaded the pdfs into your previous posts. Sorry it's taken so long.

    Thank you very much for sharing these with the forum.
    Regards,
    Diane

    2 extracts I transcribed from other Guards Histories, attached.
     

    Attached Files:

    Paul Reed likes this.
  13. ColinWT

    ColinWT Junior Member

    Ladies and Gents

    Apologies but this is my first post.

    I've been interested in the battle for 4-5 years and whilst I've visited twice I didn't have enough time to explore and find the Goumier's monument! D'Oh. I didn't know there were any other people with similar interests.

    I was a troop commander in an RLC Pioneer Squadron a few years ago named after Pte Johnny Tancred. He was one of the Pioneer Corps carriers who helped carry supplies up the mountain and wounded down (I said I was RLC!)

    Pte Tancred was 41 years old and on arriving at the top volunteered to carry down a wounded officer. After a 10 odd hour journey down the hill alone he dropped the officer off at the med post and keeled over and died of exhaustion. Sadly the only recogintion he and the bearers received was an MiD. Sadly from the dates and units involved I worked out that there was a 3 in 4 chance the officer he carried down died of his wounds (though I'd need to check again!).

    The bearers came from a number of British PC Coys, several from Africa (Basuto and Mauritanian if I remember) as well as other spare 'odds and sods' including elements of a regiment from 7th Armoured Division who's got themselves tarted up ready to get sent back to the UK (to train for Overlord) but who were sent to carry supplies at the last minute.

    I researched some of the history for a Squadron Battlefield Tour back in 2006 to trace the unit's roots to Monte Camino.

    I'd read much of the 56 Div Regt War Diaries and AARs for the battle - I have copies for a number if anyone wants one. I'd read Freeman-Attwood's account at the Imperial War museum but not Wheatley's. Also a member of the Queen's Regt has an account at the IWM. James (?) Lucas the military history writer also served with the Queens Regt and fought patrol actions around the base of the hill between the two battles.

    Alex Bowlby (an Italy Star Veteran who wrote of his exploits in 'Recollections of Rifleman Bowlby') has written a very good history of the battle though I don't believe he fought in it - annoyingly I haven't got the book to hand and can't remember the name!

    Apologies for my precociousness!

    CWT
     
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Sol

    Just spotted your pic of a British soldier kicking open a door in the Monte Camino area.

    Immediately reminded of my tank commander, SSM Busty Thomas doing the identical thing as listed here:
    Booty, Looting etc.
    On another thread I asked forum members to solve the mystery of Dave's Japanese Swords and it set me thinking about a facet of warfare that is usually glossed over, namelylooting.

    As my thread title suggests, in my experience, it was never referred to as looting, if it was discussed at all it was usually referred to as liberating and I honestly don't think it was ever considered as a crime of any type whatsoever.

    To start the ball rolling, consider this little piece I penned on the BBC WW2 Archives, it starts off with a simple diary entry:

    Wednesday 25th. April 1945
    Moved off at first light. Stopped at casa where Busty fitted out old people with suit. Pulled into new H.Q. area then out again. Finally stopped at factory

    This episode about Busty was a piece of pure ‘black comedy’.

    The squadron was advancing Northward, and in the middle of the night of the 24th we came across a small farmhouse. Busty, Tommy Gun in his hands,very melodramatically kicked open the door of the house then, as no-one was in residence, rummaged through a chest of drawers.

    He found and ‘liberated’ a tweed suit saying ‘this might come in handy later for a bit of swapping’ .

    The next day we were at another farmhouse where the occupants gave us a bottle of vino and Busty promptly gave them the suit he’d ‘liberated’ the previous day. I couldn’t help wondering at the time whether or not at some time in the future farmer A would see farmer B and ask him ‘Where did you get that suit from, I used to have one just like it !’

    Looking back at this event some sixty odd years later I suppose that other folks might have considered this came under the heading of looting. In all honesty,Busty would have hotly denied this and I suppose that as I shared in the bottle of vino I was also an accomplice and I certainly don’t feel guilty of any such crime.

    I now intend to rummage around and find a few other instances that fit the title of the thread, in the meantime I would be interested to hear from others on this subject.

    Ron
     
  15. Phaethon

    Phaethon Historian

    Rather interestingly, the veteran I contacted recently (The one I posted a while back who was involved in operation keepsafe) was in the 3rd Bn coldstream at Camino. So if anyone has any specific questions regarding this battle, I could ask him during the next interview.
     
  16. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    Sol

    Just spotted your pic of a British soldier kicking open a door in the Monte Camino area.

    Immediately reminded of my tank commander, SSM Busty Thomas doing the identical thing as listed here:
    Booty, Looting etc.

    :lol:

    I didn't read that one before. It's fantastic story Ron, I definitely must find more time for BBC WW2 Archives' stories. Thanks

    Regards
    Enes
     
  17. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Enes (and others interested in Monte Camino)

    Since the BBC Archives got their act together and fixed the previous lousy search system it has become a first rate researchers tool.

    I went to the site, on the bottom search box (which searches on the BBC site, as opposed to the TOP search box which searches on the internet) I entered Monte Camino and up popped these 17 articles, spread over two pages:

    Your 17 search results for "Monte Camino":
    BBC - WW2 People's War - 64th (7th London) Field Regiment Royal Artillery 17

    On December 4th, during the battle for Monte Camino our Commanding Officer Colonel McCracken DSO, MC, was mortally wounded.
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/66/a2812466.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - My Dad's War Memories Part 2

    The time would be around midnight when I saw a figure walking casually down the road, but before I had time .... 11 June 2009 My Dad's War Memories Part 2 You are browsing in: > > > Contributed
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/14/a4090114.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Italy 1943

    I learned that we were going to attack Monte Camino, quite a high mountain.
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/11/a2724211.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - In the Care of Angels

    No. 2622507 L/Cpl William Entwistle served in WW2 in the Grenadier Guards, and sustained a shrapnel wound .... 10 June 2009 In the Care of Angels You are browsing in: > > > > > Contributed by
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/24/a3921824.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - The Grenadier Guards 6th Batallion Remembered

    The batallion endured a terrible four day ordeal on the heights of Monte Camino and on the 12th of November when the batallion came down from the top, it could only muster 263 men for duty.
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/60/a3921860.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Looking for stories...

    He was killed on 3rd December 1943, probably during the battle for Monte Camino one of the peaks near the infamous Monte Cassino.
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/52/a2522152.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Wakefield and WWII part 2

    Mrs Cresswell’s future husband was involved in the Naval build up to the invasion of Italy and a cousin who was in the RAF, and flew sorties over the Monastery of Monte Camino.
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/user/70/u732370.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - Italy

    The holdup on this particular front was a mountain called I think Monte Camino.
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/34/a1982234.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - My Dad's War Memories Part 4

    At 4.30 a.m. this morning after a hurried preparation we boarded the Troop Carrying Vehicles and proceeded .... 7 October 1944 Owing to the unseen swift withdrawal of the enemy we received orders
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/96/a4090196.shtml
    BBC - WW2 People's War - The Day that War Broke Out - Part 4

    On visiting the beach to get news of our equipment the Sgt. Major wanted to know if the Colonel would be .... They seemed surprised that we wanted it differently but were happy to do as we wanted. We
    www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/80/a4143980.shtml

    next
     
  18. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Hi Colin
    Just found your message regrding the Goums memorial, Monte Camino, not sure if any others have given you directioins but the easiest way is to drive through the Towb of Rocca d Evandro past the Castle on your right until you come to a T junction, turn right this will eventually take you to the Hamlet of Camino, just before entering Camino you will see a small track signposted Cemetery, go up this track, in places barely wide enough for a car keep going until you come to a cluster of houses $ I think. Park the car on your left there is a wider track tis leads up to thje small Chapel on top of Camino, walk past this track and you will see another smaller trtack in front of you by some railings, head down this track about 50 yards it divides into two take the left hand track continue on this for about 100 yards as it bears round to the right you will see the Goums mem orial in front of you at the head off the Goat Track, if you follow thgis goat track it will eventually take you down the mountain to the small village of Miele.
    As for Alex Bowlby he was a great friend of mine and sadly died some time ago, sadly missed as he was a real character, his book was called "Countdown to Cassino" he hated the title but the publisher had other idea's, he also disliked the picture on the front cover depicting Maori's attacking in Casino but once again the publisher had other ideas.
    Hope this helps
    Mike (rotherfield)
     
  19. Rotherfield

    Rotherfield Senior Member

    Just got back from my annual pilgrimage to Monte Camino.
    Once again a very successful visit, meeting old friends in Rocca d Evandro and some new friends.
    Mike (rotherfield)

    Monte Difensa from the East, this was taken by the American / Canadian Special forces during the second attack.
    [​IMG]

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    This is Bare Arse Ridge from the South.
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    Monte Camino from the small village of Gallucio
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    From Galucio show Spandau ridge on the right and behind the cliffs on the left is Bare Arse Ridge
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    the new Cairn just above the hamlet of Formella
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    The Cairn overlooking the Liri valley and in the distance the white oblong building to the right of the cross is the Monastery on Cassino
    [​IMG]


    Shows the Chapel on top of Monte Camino in the distance
    [​IMG]
     
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  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Mike
    I've edited in the photos from you latest pilgrimage trip. As you said it must be comforting to know that the local villagers remember all the men who like your uncle, fought under such terrible conditions.
    Thank you again for sharing.

    All my best
    Diane
     

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