Over ThereDecember 1943 -
January 1944"There was snow was on the ground
in Virginia when we boarded the ship in December 1943. We had back packs and
duffle bags, and had to wait 2 to 3 hours in the snow before daylight before
finally boarding the ship. That was the longest ride when I was going over
there. The ship was a cargo ship, and could carry 500 men on each one, plus all
the supplies they were carrying over there."
"The cargo ship was part of a big convoy of
other ships, including a Destroyer. There was a compartment down below deck
where we stayed. Sometimes at night, the ships would all shut off their engines
to keep from being heard by German submarines, which were thought to be close
by.""The Destroyer would drop depth charges in
the center of the convoys, if they thought an enemy submarine was close by, and
water would rise 100 feet in the air. On the way, a captain on one of the ships
died, and they buried him with honors at sea."
"After sailing from Virginia, twenty one days
later, in January, we arrived at Naples, Italy, at about 3:00 in the
afternoon. The ship stayed outside the harbor, and didn't come in close to start
unloading until 3:00 in the morning. The Germans had previously made a bombing
raid on the harbor, and had sunk some of our ships all over. They had a gang
plank which was placed across a sunken ship for us to walk on as we
unloaded. The concrete parking lot felt like the land was moving, we had been on
the ship so long." "When we got on a truck,
the driver said we were in luck, that we were going to "Mussolini's
College." I thought, yeah, that would be too good to be true. It might have
been one in the past, when we got to the second floor, we were told this is
where you sleep, two blankets, no beds, a marble floor. I had my wool clothes
and wool overcoat, but didn't sleep much because of the cold. The next morning
when the sun came up, we saw the reason why it was so cold, one end of the
building wall and windows had been bombed out, a big open hole. That was the
worst sleeping place I had the whole time while over there. After about ten
days, we went to the other side of Italy to Bari."
on link here to see a map of Italy and the events that happened earlier in 1943.