Episode 10 – Life In The Poor Bloody Infantry

In this episode of Courage And Valour, the veterans of the New Zealand Infantry Battalions talk frankly about the life of an infantry soldier in the front lines, and behind the lines, in WWII, both in Egypt and in Italy. This is a collection of memories, reminiscences and anecdotes from those men who were there at the sharp end. The detailed accounts after all these years are astounding, and the openness about life back then very refreshing.

In this episode, in order of appearance, we hear:
– Pat Green (24 Battalion, Mortar Platoon)
– Ted ‘Bluey’ Homewood (21 Battalion)
– Don Adams (21 Battalion)
– Colin Murray (24 Battalion)
– Norm Harris (24 Battalion)
– Charlie Honeycombe (21 Battalion)
– Te Puhi Patara (28 Maori Battalion)
– Bob O’Brien (24 Battalion)
– Harry Hopping (24 Battalion)
– Nolan Raihania (28 Maori Battalion)
– Aubrey Balzer (28 Maori Battalion)
and
– Ted Waters (21 Battalion)

Listeners will note I chose not to add any bridging narration for this episode, because I felt it didn’t need it and it simply flows like one long conversation. Plus all the participants are known voices from previous episodes. For those wondering who is telling which story, here’s a handy guide

00:01:31 – Pat – Getting into a Battalion

00:01.56 – Bluey – A day in the life of infantrymen at Maadi

00:05.03 – Don – Route marches and showers at Maadi, and leave into Cairo

00:06.19 – Bluey – Army teaching him self respect and more

00:07.00 – Colin – The Division being self sustaining

00:08.02 – Norm – Cook trucks

00:08.18 – Colin – Food

00:08.49 – Charlie – Don’t eat German food

00:09.08 – Pat – Rations, cooking, stealing spuds

00:15.44 – Te Puhi – Food and wine

00:16.59 – Bluey – Old gear and bad tanks

00:20.07 – Norm – Trucks valued more highly then men

00:20.23 – Bob – One bloke letting him down

00:21.27 – Colin – Let down by a guy too

00:23.39 – Pat – Shorty’s fear, and joking in the front line

00:27.35 – Colin and Bob – Fear, and moving forward against the enemy, short rounds

00:29.53 – Colin – Friendly fire

00:32.16 – Colin & Harry – Daytime attacks

00:32.38 – Pat – Getting chased across a big field by mortars

00:34.13 – Nolan – 12 Reinforcements baptism of fire

00:35.08 – Norm – Dealing with death and losses

00:35.51 – Aubrey – He and his brother Clarence wounded, and Mac killed

00:47.50 – Colin – Firepower of an infantry platoon

00:49.24 – Pat – Make up of Company structure

00:53.53 – Charlie – Seven man section

00:54.56 – Bluey – The big bed

00:55.49 – Norm – Sleep and pickets

00:56.30 – Pat – Left Out of Battle (LOB)

00:58.23 – Nolan – LOB through Purple Death

01:01.05 – Te Puhi – Freyberg and the “Wave out and they’ll wave back” story

01:02.19 – Charlie – German flame throwers at Orsogna

01:02.44 – Colin – Coming out of the lines for a rest

01:06.59 – Pat – Coming out to rest, washing, hitting the Sgt with a tomato

01:08.51 – Pat – Coming out of the line, MP argument

01:11.53 – Pat – Christmas Dinner at Forli

01:14.13 – Te Puhi – Rests and leave

01:15.20 – Don – Leave at NZ Club

01:16.47 – Colin & Harry – Kiwi Club, and Colin’s haircut

01:19.09 – Don – Kiwi Concert Party

01:19.57 – Colin & Harry – Leave and rest

01:20.50 – Don – Italian opera

01:21.16 – Pat – Getting into Venice

01:26.42 – Ted – Leave in Venice

01:28.01 – Don – Dome on St Peter’s Cathedral

01:29.06 – Colin & Harry – Religion and Padres

01:31.47 – Colin – Village sewerage, and the currency

01:32.37 – Colin – Italian civilians and their primitive lifestyle

01:35.52 – Don – Italian people

01:36.17 – Norm – Italian people

01:37.00 – Colin – Italian women

01:37.40 – Aubrey – Italians

01:38.53 – Norm and Pat – Coming in as a replacement

01:40.21 – Norm, Pat & Colin – Fred Haar

01:44.55 – Pat – Tracker Jones and his stint in a British Glasshouse

01:51.53 – Colin & Harry – Singing and music, and bond between comrades

01:54.00 – Pat – Singing

01:54.59 – Colin & Norm – Looting

01:56.24 – Don – Looting and rackets

01:57.01 – Te Puhi – Racket

01:58.42 – Ted – Stolen car racket

02:00.08 – Colin & Harry – Looting and rackets

02:08.09 – Pat – 2nd Lt Sammy Reidpath taking the surrender of German Regt, and collecting Lugers

02:10.49 – Pat – Rimini hall with starry ceiling, bomb on Freyberg’s HQ,  and mortar shelling the cemetery

02:18.09 – Pat – Visiting cemeteries

02:21.59 – Bluey – We got all the shit, but we loved it

END

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