Data: 17-08-2005Autore: MAURIZIO BALESTRINOCategorie: TestimonianzeTag: #aprile 1944, artiglieria, canada, san-marco, veterani-reduci


My name is Orme Payne. I was a Sergeant in World War II. I was in an Artillery Unit responsible for all communications within the battery.

L'amico Maurizio Balestrino stà conducendo una assidua ricerca sulle vicende del padre, Armando Balestrino, che fu inquadrato nel battaglione "Bafile". Questa testimonianza è tratta appunto dalla sua ricerca, la riporto così come l'ho ricevuta, compreso il messaggio che la accompagna.

"Ho ricevuto un'altro messaggio da un reduce canadese del fronte ad est di Cassino del 1944. Te lo copio di seguito, vedrai che parla anche del Bafile e del bombardamento che subì. Purtroppo la data non può essere sicura, la descrizione è molto simile a quella che mi fece mio padre di un bombardamento che subirono nottetempo. Tornato all'alba dal suo giro notturno (come quelli che descrive il sig. Payne) trovò il campo bombardato, molti compagni morti e il suo giaciglio (quello in cui avrebbe dormito se non fosse andato in missione) crivellato di schegge. Quella fu una delle occasioni in cui credette che il Signore l'avesse salvato dalla morte. Forse questo reduce canadese aveva incontrato anche mio padre, oppure il marinaio Antonioli."

Segue il messaggio del sig. Payne:


At long last, I am attempting to put together a reply to your quiries. After 60 years, memories of dates fade - they didnt seem to be so important at the time. I shall put together events as I recall them.

On April 14/44 our regt. 17th fld. regt. moved into Acquafondata, a small village that doesn’t appear on any map. My job as signal sgt. was to establish and maintain communications. Because radio was so unreliable, we depended on telephone lines. These lines were constantly shelled or mortared or interfered in some manner. I had a listening post and maintenance crew at a village called Vallerotonda. This town had taken a terrible beating with hardly a building untouched. It was also what we referer to as the Jeep=head. No vehicle could go beyond here and so all supplies loaded on mules for the trip to Valvori another village up in the mountains.
The Westminster regt. and the Perth regt. were there and of course our observing officers and staff were there as well.
The Bafile unit - I don’t know how many there were holding a section of ground south of Valvori. Since all travel wa done at night, locations are a little vague. I do remember the night the Germans identified the Bafile unit - it was total carnage. I often thought that bombardment was meant to teach them a lesson for not siding with them. The trail leaving Vallerontonda was used by everyone to bring up supplies but then it branched out into several different trails.
I did meet some Italian Marines but I could not tell you much beyond that. I did not make that trip more than four or five times but I can tell you it felt good when it was over. Our telephone line was damaged so often our repair crews were run off their feet. It was here, I decided to lay a second line away from the first and connecting them at intervals (I called it laddering). It involved extra line and work but we did keep communication working.


One of the things that s stands out it my memory was the destruction of the Abbey at Monte Cassino - it was a terrible thing to watch. Wave after wave of bombers. There was nothing but a cloud of smoke and dust over the whole mountaintop.

You asked about the password and replies - they did change daily and the information you got from your father was accurate. I hope this can fill in some of the blanks for you. If other things come to mind I will forward them to you from time to time.

Good luck with your search, truly. Orme Payne

Informazioni e immagini tratte dal sito: Remember Canada

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