“After the horror of Cassino town, my best friend Vincent and I were lucky to be some of the first in our company to relish the chance to have our first shower and change of clothes in over a month. After enjoying tea and buns served by the much loved Captain and Mrs Roberts from the Salvation Army (albeit with debris from shells falling all around us) we headed out to search nearby farms and fields to scrounge for food.
In a huge wooded area we came across a secret American Camp, lit by fairy lights. Challenged by an armed soldier, we explained we were hungry and looking for food; in typical US army spirit we were welcomed to the cookhouse where we ate huge breakfasts with large coffees, followed by steaming doughnuts. The American soldiers, hearing that we had just come off the front line at Cassino, stood and saluted us before we thanked everyone and left; on our way out we passed the sign ‘American No 3 Chemical Company’ – the unit was dealing with containers of poison gas!”