The regiment concentrated in the
Gradisca area on 12 May, during which time all
available A.E.C.S and three-tonners were employed on 13 Corps transport
The story behind this is that until 10 June when the Jugoslav agreement
was finally signed, nobody knew which way the "cat was going to
jump." So all of the compo rations and other stores which were
in dumps in southern Italy were flown up to Udine airport, loaded on
to all R.A.S.C. vehicles, assisted by all other units with large transport,
and ferried to new dumps. The loading at Udine was carried out by German
Conforming with 13 Corps' move forward the regiment again moved on 23
May to the
east of the river Isonzo and deployed "in tight formation"
with H.Q. 6 A.G.R.A. and 75 Medium Regiment R.A. in a waterless area
of "blasted heath" and limestone north-east of Duino. Once
more we lost our lorries and gun tractors for supply duties. Here, despite
poor facilities for sport or amusement on the spot, many football matches
were played 'away', whilst cricket, netball and deck tennis were played
in the regimental area. Though technically in action, this period was
spent mainly in attempting to bring the guns and equipment up to a peace-time
standard of cleanliness and polish.
On 10 June 1945, as mentioned above, the signature of the Jugoslav agreement
officially announced, and most ofTito's forces were withdrawn. The regiment
then moved to Monfalcone, a town and naval base west of Trieste, where
it became a part of the troops under AMGOT (Allied Military Government
of Occupied Territories).
Monfalcone stood on the Adriatic, and from there south to Muggia was
shipbuilding area. The many ship-yards were of course in ruins, and
the harbour at
Monfalcone held a number of vessels of all sizes which had been sunk
or scuttled, lying on their sides, the larger ones half-submerged. Beside
the harbour were the modem buildings of the naval barracks, gleaming
white, and these buildings were to be home for most of us until the
end of our army service. They were comfortable once we had furnished
them with our own kit, and the upper floors provided fine views of the
Alps, some 50 miles away to the north-east. Often at night there were
electrical storms in the mountains, and they provided us with pyrotechnic
displays worthy of some of the barrages we had seen in the past two
or three years.
Once established in our new billets the prime thoughts in our minds
RELEASE. Quite soon we were in receipt of the
arrangements for our release from the Service. The principal was first
in, first out, and we were all allocated Release
Group numbers. The first release personnel seemed to be on their way
to the U.K. quite quickly.
HOME LEAVE. Since railways were operating from Turin and Milan,
via Switzerland, to the Channel Coast, a scheme called LIAP came into
being (but the initials are part of a phraseology which now has no meaning)
personnel with appropriate service were sent home for 28 days leave,
and then came back to their units.
So very soon lots of men went off, some to return but others for good.
Now let us return to the remarks at the end of the previous chapter
- how do you cope with a large number of men whose chief reason for
being for several years has now disappeared? Apart from release and
leave there is another possibility - local leave. Not far along the
coast was a small seaside resort called Grado, which had a pleasant
sandy beach and was approached by a causeway. There were a number of
hotels, one of which was taken over as a short stay leave centre for
the regiment. For longer stays (up to a week) there was Velden in Austria,
only about 60 miles away. This was (and is) a resort at the southern
end of the Worthersee, a lakeside town with good facilities and excellent
walking in the hills. Here too there was an hotel which we took over
for the use of our people.
(and, of course, other hotels here and at Grado were taken over by other
Then the city of Trieste was only 18 miles away by the coast road, and
our own transport ran a bus service in the evenings to take our men
into the city. This was shared between ourselves and the Royal Navy,
who had in the harbour a squadron ofMTBs, and the frequent arrival of
destroyers and cruisers. It is a large and cosmopolitan city and had
a wide variety of entertainments as well as our own clubs in which we
could enjoy ourselves. There was an occasion, too, of symphony music.
The composer. Constant Lambert was an R.N. officer serving in a cruiser
visiting Trieste, and he conducted a concert in the local Opera House,
which was a fine hall with excellent acoustics, and which many of us
enjoyed. We have already mentioned a concert in Rome, and one is reminded
that there had been a third classical occasion- this was on the "blasted
heath" near Duino when a performance of "II Bottega Fantastica"
was given by part of the Ballet of La Scala, Milan. When one considers
that it was done on the backs of five 3-tonners parked together it was
Then there was sport. In Trieste there was an excellent stadium (for
those days) and the highlight there was a match between the Italian
national side, and the Eighth Army XI . Of course, all of our players
were professionals, and we are glad to say that we won. Apart from this
there were football leagues, cricket leagues and hockey leagues, and
much more competitive sport.
One cannot leave this subject without the word "Education"
as this was one of the
keystones of the programme. Each unit was ordered to appoint a Unit
Education Officer, and his duty was to find men suitably qualified to
be instructors in appropriate subjects, and suitable clerical and support
staff to run the Unit Education Scheme. The instructors were all given
the acting rank of sergeant, and the scheme worked very well, and much
boredom was averted.
Another feature of life at Monfalcone was the Gazelle Yacht and Rowing
was, of course, named after the 13 Corps sign, and when it was up and
running some 200 people sailed every day. During the German occupation
no pleasure craft had been allowed, and the civilians did not wish to
sail, due to the RAF bombing and strafing. There were certainly boats,
but they had been out of the water for years. There was a permanent
staff of two gunner officers and some 15 gunner O.R.S. at Monfalcone
alone. Many of them thought when sent there first that this was just
another fatigue, and they were going there because the C.O. was keen
on sailing. After a while few of them wished to change their occupation
before their age group was due.
But all this time the strength of the regiment was ebbing away as men
went home on
release, on transfer to other arms of the service, and elsewhere. After
all the aim was to thin down the TA regiments, and particularly the
2nd line TA units. In the area were two regular medium artillery units,
2nd and 4th - in the latter unit one of our own, Lex Cadzow, was already
commanding the Gibraltar Battery.
Now the bulk of the younger men were transferred to 4th Medium Regiment,
and went off to Udine. By the late summer of 1946 all of the personnel
had drifted away although according to the City of Edinburgh and the
Lothian and Peebles Territorial and Auxiliary Forces Associations, the
66th (Lowland) Medium Regiment, R.A..T.A., was not officially disbanded
until 1st January 1947.
We had been in existence for 7 & half years, of which we had spent
2 & half years in continuous action against the Germans - no mean