817533 Cpl CHADWICK. JTK D Company 28 NZ (Maori) Bn 2 NZEF CMF 23 MAY
My Dear Tom
I was very pleased to hear from you the other day and to learn that you had not entirely forgotten me. Apart from the home folks you are the first one that I have heard from from that part of the world. Well, Tom, it is quite a relief to know that the worst part of the show is over although from the way Tito is behaving at the moment it appears as though it is not all over by a long shot.
As you will have seen from the papers and heard over the air we are now in the vicinity of Trieste. This is a God forsaken country Tom though it has its good points. It is very rocky and mountainous although on the few flats there are the land is very fertile. The heat just now is terrific but I believe the cold in winter has to be seen to be believed. The first view of Trieste coming on it from the north is very reminiscent of Napier with its long waterfront fringed with trees – AND the same stony beach. There the resemblance with Napier ends as the town smells just like any wog town. Do you remember that far back? The sea is also very different with a surface like a mirror. Of course we have not yet seen it when the weather is rough but I believe that that does not last very long. The roads all through Italy are long stretches of bitumen wide and running for most of their length between avenues of trees.
The main roads run for miles with scarcely a bend so you can imagine what route marching along them is like! Since the show finished we have been places (unofficially, of course) but though I managed once to get within striking distance of the Austrian border we did not quite make it though I believe some of the boys were lucky enough to sneak into Vienna. Everyone, Partisans and all still move about fully armed keeping a very wary eye on one another. The finishing stages of the show after we had crossed the Po was very much like a triumphal procession with the Div belting along on trucks trying to catch up with Jerry and receiving a frantic welcome all along the roads. Cheering Ites greeted us with flags and flowers for miles but alas Jerry had been nasty enough to cart away all the plonk so we had to be satisfied with water!
I’ve seen my fill of Jerries Tom. I don’t know how they were last time but this crowd certainly have a peculiar odour of their own. It got so that I could tell with my eyes shut whether there was a Jerry around or whether he had been in a house just from my sense of smell. I’d be perfectly happy to smell the works for a change right now! Of course if I had a chance to see Blighty I wouldn’t hesitate. I was on leave in Rome some time ago and while in the NZ Club an intern (Jim Cooper’s younger brother) didn’t know him but was I pleased when he came up to me and introduced himself. Apart from the Maori boys here he is the closest to home that I have struck over here. We had a great yarn together and he told me that his sister had told him to look me up if it was at all possible. So would you be so kind as to pass it on to her?
I see by the latest lists that Albie Bennett is now repatriated and in England. Manu was with the battalion for a while after we crossed the Senio. Well Tom remember me to all the Whakatu folks over there and tell them that I am still very much alive. I have also run into Lindsay and Jack Tucker though that was ages ago. I didn’t know that May was in the CCS until we were too far away for me to go along to see her. As for the Clive lot the only one I have seen was one of the Cushings – but whether it was Bert or Doug I am not sure.
The Itie girls are certainly good to look at but I must confess that their vino is the main attraction as far as I am concerned. Unfortunately it kicks like a horse after a certain number and what one has been up to in the meantime sometimes remains an everlasting mystery. Give me good old beer at all times but the stuff that we have on issue here is like a cross between molasses and stout but goes under the name of beer.
Well ole pal there is little else that I can tell you. Perhaps the next time I tell you anything it will be in the very near future over a glass of beer. Until then Tom all my best to Mrs Bradshaw and family and everyone else in Whakatu especially Jim Cooper and family, Bill Tucker and family. I daresay you see Dad occasionally and get some of the news from him. Cheerio for now and again all the best in the world.
Yours as ever