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Details about  1943 Sangro Crossing Eyewitness MS Account of Valour & 53 Original Photographs

1943 Sangro Crossing Eyewitness MS Account of Valour & 53 Original Photographs

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Dorset, United Kingdom
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Condition: Used : Split the cost with friends
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Country/ Organization:

Great Britain


World War II (1939-1945)

Ephemera City

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c.1943 (November) Eyewitness Account of the Sangro River Crossing during the Italian Campaign, and 53 Privately Taken Photographs of the Campaign.

An interesting six page letter headed “14269854 Gnr Dooley R/3 Field Reg. R.A. C.M.F.” and signed at the end “Syd”. The letter starts with general news before modestly telling his family of recent dramatic events.

“Well Mum & Dad, I am now allowed to say that I was on the Sango [sic] crossing. So I will tell you all about it. We had to go forward with the Infantry, to lay a telephone line, & what a job it was. We had to climb down a big mountain side with a roll of cable, which was very heavy, to get to the banks of the river Sango. We then had to wade across, with the water up to our waist, but we got across ok although the current was very swift & cold & I am very proud to say that I was the first white man to cross the river. Well everything went ok up to there, but when our men opened up on Jerry that’s when the fun started. He shelled hell out of us , with his mortar’s, so we ducked in a hole out of the way. There was bullets whizzing all over the place, & it was very hard fighting. We finally took our objective, but Jerry was still knocking hell out of us, & not only that, it started to rain heavy & the Sango river began to get wider & deeper, making it dangerous to get back. All of a sudden a mortar came over & wounded one of Officer’s pretty bad, & the doctor said he would have to go back to hospital straight away. So he asked for a volunteer, to take him back across the Sango. So I volunteered & very soon 3 more men volunteered & believe me it was no easy job. There was shrapnel flying all over the place. It was a miracle that we were not hit & not only that, we had a long way to carry him & it was still raining & the ground was very slippery. Well we finally got him down to the river bank, but we found it too deep & swift to get across. I tried to swim across twice, but each time, I was washed down the river, so all we could do was wait on the bank & hope for the best. We waited there all night, until the early hours of the morning, until we saw some of his own men coming back, so we handed him over to them & they took care of him. Well we managed to get back across the river, by all clinging together & floating across, but I’m afraid a few of them got washed away. We finally arrived back to our own unit & you would be surprised how pleased our Officer’s were to see us. They did everything they could for us. They gave us a bottle of rum between us, to warm us up, & we went to bed which I was very much in need of. I hadn’t had a sleep for 3 nights & the next day, I heard a rumour going round that we had been recommended for a medal, but we have heard nothing of it since…”

The letter is signed “Syd”, and alongside he has drawn a little doodle of a British soldier sheltering from the rain with an umbrella up, captioned “Come to Sunney Italy” [sic].

Also included are a series of 53 privately taken photographs during the Italian Campaign by Sydney Dooley. The vast majority are of military subjects including British and Indian colleagues (possibly some of Sydney), advancing troops, prisoners of war behind barbed wire in makeshift camps, numerous destroyed heavy vehicles, field guns, empty shells at the side of the road, and a small number of a local town (most of which show the cinemas!). The overall size of most of the photographs is 56x45mm. With an image size of 38x27mm., with a few slightly larger. The general quality of the images is good and quite detailed for a smaller size.

An interesting record of the Sangro crossing.

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Item location: Dorset, United Kingdom
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Paypal is my prefered method of payment, though cheques are acceptable as well. Thank You
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