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With British Guns in Italy eBook

Hugh Dalton
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 220 pages of information about With British Guns in Italy.
the road into a damp, open field, which someone said was a “strategic point.”  Here a number of different Battery parties collected.  We were to wait for the guns.  The downpour steadily increased, the field rapidly became a marsh, and there was no shelter anywhere.  Raven walked up and down, puffing at this pipe, taking the situation with admirable calm.  It was at this time that I personally touched my bedrock of misery, both mental and physical.  For there seemed to be nothing to be done, and, what most irked me, there were so many senior officers present that I myself could take no decisions.  Then some of our guns arrived, and were halted at the side of the road to wait for the rest.  But this made the traffic block worse, and they had to move forward again, and the idea of getting them all together was abandoned.

Raven then gave the order to the rest of us to move on.  There were some vacant places in various cars and lorries at this point and some footsore men were put in.  The Major insisted, in spite of my protests that I preferred to walk, that I should get into one of the cars, which I shared with Littleton, the Chaplain who had thought that war “might be tremendously worth while” and three junior officers from Raven’s Headquarters.  I was, in truth, pretty done at this stage, chiefly through want of sleep, compared to which I always found want of food a trifling inconvenience.  It was now about 4 p.m. and we could only make very slow progress.  A rendezvous had been fixed by Raven at Foglie, where rations were to have been distributed.  But there was no one and no rations there, and it seemed that Raven had taken the wrong road.  The enemy were said to be advancing from the north at right angles to our only possible line of retreat, and the chances seemed strongly in favour of our all being cut off.

An Italian doctor ran out into the road and stopped our car, almost beside himself with despair.  He had been left in charge of a number of severely wounded cases, without any food, medical necessities or transport.  But we had no food and could do nothing to help him, except promise to try to have transport sent back to him from San Giorgio di Nogara.

CHAPTER XXII

FROM SAN GIORGIO TO THE TAGLIAMENTO

We reached San Giorgio about 9 p.m. and here I got out of the car, which two of Raven’s Staff took on to try and arrange for transport to be sent back for the Italian wounded.  Having slept for an hour or two in the car, I felt quite a different being and fit for anything.  Stragglers were coming in from the various Batteries’ dismounted parties, and I collected nearly a hundred of these men into a hall on the ground floor of an Italian Field Hospital.  They lay about on the stone floor, sleeping like logs.  Upstairs a panic had spread among the wounded that they would be abandoned.  Men were crying with terror and struggling to get out of bed.  Campbell,

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