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Date: January 6th 1944

January 6, 1944

Well, another Xmas has gone by and we are still further apart than the last one. There is a difference, however, and that is, I feel certain this is the last one we will spend apart. -----

At the moment, we are in tents but we are hoping to move to billets before the middle of next week. The weather has been particularly bad the last ten days and today was no exception. It snowed all day and the ground is stiff with frost. The climate is, as far as I can determine, quite similar to that of England, though the further North you go, the colder it gets. I walked up to the canteen tonight and was quite thrilled by the wintery appearance of the countryside. All the hills around the camp are cloaked with snow, which glistens in the moonlight. ------

You really see some rare types of humanity in your travels here. All the younger generation are very enthusiastic, but I quite often see what looks like cold hatred in the eyes of many of the older people. What puzzles me most is how a man like old Mussolini could imagine he could build a second Roman Empire with such people. A chum and I had supper on two occasions with an Italian family and had a very entertaining evening. Most of these people have very good voices and of course singing after supper was the order of the feast. These people went to great pains to explain to us that they were anti-fascist and did their best to give us a pleasant evening. I have managed to pick up enough Italian to carry on a simple conversation, which helps considerably.

In most of the towns I have seen, the conditions are pretty awful. Most of the people are poorly clad and many of the kiddies are actually hungry. I would feel sorry for the Wops if only I could forget their long dark history of treachery. I feel in my bones that if Gerry turned the tables on us, these so-called co-belligerents would be the first to drive home the old dagger. -------