Old Army songs
Quotes and sayings
Dad's brother -
1911 - 1944
A SLEEP ON A MOUNTAIN
A personal remembrance.
We trudged, slipped and strained up, ever up.
A mule track, sometimes only a few feet wide.
Night, freezing, misty, yet the sweat poured from us.
An enemy m/g opens up,
the Italian muleteers run to safety.
Some of the mules fall off the track.
Stumbling and cursing with our loads, m/g's, rifles,
all the paraphanalia for killing men who had
the emblem 'Gott mit uns' on their belt buckles.
So, he was with them too!
Yet still we murdered each other.
I have never found the answer, and gave up God -
that was the easiest solution to my problem!
After some hours we were allowed to halt.
And as we crouched there, slowly freezing,
I felt around and found a blanket rolled round a body,
who I presumed was one of our men.
I gradually pulled the blanket around me
for a little warmth.
Then, not long after, we were ordered
to move up the mountain.
The man who I had shared the blanket with was
a young German, with most of his head missing!
Yet I felt nothing,
only grateful for the warmth of the blanket!
As we staggered up, ever higher, ever colder,
a tall l/c was shot in the shoulder.
It was only a flesh wound, yet he died a few hours later.
Another soldier gradually went mad with fear.
Cursing obscenely, crying and muttering,
shouting and then screaming.
He had to be clubbed with an m/g butt.
The Germans opened up with star shells
and then came the mortars and m/g's.
We crouched beneath the rocks, sweating and freezing,
feeling certain that every bullet was directed at us,
and that rock and shell splinters were searching for us.
So we spent the night, climbing and lurching,
every limb crying with pain and exhaustion.
Our faces crusted with frost
and dirt mingled with our sweat.
The following photo, and others like it,
was taken on the day following Mussolini's capture and execution.
I have no idea how they came to be in my fathers possesion.
A WORD OF WARNING - IT IS NOT TO BE VIEWED LIGHTLY.
Bombacci - Gelormini - Mussolini - Petacci - Pavolini - Starace
Piazza Loreto, Milan, April 29 1945