Extracts from The Reconnaissance Journal Vol. 1 No. 4 April - June 1945.

44 Recce > The Reconnaissance Journal > Vol. 1 No. 4.

This issue carries a report from 44 Recce on pages 173 and 174. It is dated May 1945 and briefly covers the last Winter in Italy and the end of the war, and mentions various personnel.

Reconnaissance Journal Vol. 1 No. 4 pp173–174


May, '45

We did not have a spectacular winter but, nevertheless, were kept very busy, sitting most of the time along the spandau and rocket-infested Senio River. From Christmas until our Army was unleashed for its final battle in April, our job was that of an infantry battalion. We held long stretches of the winter line through the dreary Italian months of rain and snow. At times the Regiment spent as much as live weeks in the line, with each Squadron more than two weeks up and one in reserve. Vehicles and equipment were maintained as best possible by skeleton staff, but it says much for those who looked after them that when our turn came to move we reached Venice with practically no mechanical breakdowns. The enemy did not give us a quiet time and tried all combinations of raids, rockets, spandaus and shells to drive us from our positions. We stayed all right, replying in hearty fashion with spirited patrol clashes and by throwing hack as much ammunition as we were permitted to expend. The S.P. Bty. and Mortars had some good shoots.

For us the break-through was disappointing, as the great number of blown bridges slowed us down so much that infantry often did the job faster, and consequently we were not employed as much as we should have liked.

Lt.-Col. Charles R. Spencer has been commanding since November and Captain Bill Hill to Adjutant and Lt. Chris Collins to S.P.'s are the few H.Q. changes.

R.Q.M.S. 'Scrappy' Knight just about heads the Age/Service groups and has learnt quite a lot about England from Sgt. Hughes (R.C.S.), Sgt. Doble, Tprs. Moon, J., Webb, F., Parker, R., Trueman, F., and Bright, J., all of whom were lucky enough to have home leave.

Sgt. Hills is still the 'Sheriff,' completed a course and we now think our R.P.'s are wonderful.

Major 'Wally' Hammond has power in 'A' Sqn., where some old stagers can still be seen. Tpr. Johnson remains behind the typewriter, and 'Dolly' Gray plays with paybooks. S.S.M. Beavers is lucky enough to be home for leave, whilst 'Jerry' Walker fills the vacancy. Frank Shoesmith acts C/Sgt.

Lt. 'Oscar' Collinge, M.C., had his troop in the lead for the race to Venice, but, unfortunately, blown bridges prevented him getting there first. Captain 'Les' Symonds and stately Lt. George Croker are the only 'B' officers who came abroad with the Regiment three years back. Now that Lt. Hugh Cruse has been wounded, Lt. Ginger Wilson is the only Springbok in the Sqn. Friends will like to know Hugh is mending well in Pretoria. Sgts. Bailey, Cardwel, Bithall, Johnson and Davill are Troop sergeants kept in order by S.S.M. Brooks and C/Sgt. 'Benny' Harman. Finally hearty congratulations to Cpl. Chapman on his immediate D.C.M., gained a few hours after being appointed L/Cpl.

Major 'Ted' Blaber, M.C., handed 'C' Sqn. over to Captain Maurice Lane when the former took U.K. leave. We welcome back Lt. Jimmy Howell, M.C., after his long absence from wounds received at Savignano. The Sqn. snipers, Tprs. Ellwell, Gerrard, Sankey and Young all have a number of kills to their credit.

The war was rounded up nicely when the Sqn. had a few good days capturing many P.W. and liberating hundreds of eggs.