1943 Barone Ricciardi’s Castle

Barone R. Ricciardi’s card courtesy of Mary A.

Art Austin, Salerno, Italy
My dad Art Austin was with the 5th U.S. Army when they sailed on the Duchess of Bedford on September 9, 1943. They were a part of the assault waves of the landing at Salerno. The Duchess landed at Paestum south of Salerno.

The excitement started a few nights after the Paestum landing. I was comfortably relaxed in a bed in Baron Ricciardi’s castle—the first bed I had seen in months on end. My but it was grand! The Colonel winked when he gave me permission to guard the office that night, ‘if I felt like it.’ Without the proper authority, a foxhole, as usual, would have been my home. Of course, I felt like it—an understanding man, that Colonel.

Near midnight, however, a messenger rushed through the room wildly proclaiming, “The Germans are coming! Burn all secret papers.”

A groan from across the room proved that the Master Gunner, who was sharing the office defense with me, had heard the bad news. We hesitated a few moments. One who has not seen a bed in months, does not get up readily under any circumstances. But duty and self preservation demanded action.

We looked for clothing, secret office records, emergency chocolate rations; hunted for the absent Colonel’s belongings to take along (might as well be captured as to leave them behind); searched all night long until daylight found us in a safe location. Still, it was not a total loss. From that time on, everything missing on inspection days had been lost at the Baron’s.—Art Austin.

This entry was posted in Farewell to Eldred, World War II. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *