Synopsis of Chapter Eighteen ~ Waiting for the Boat in Rome
21st December 1944 to 21st Jan 1945


My plane from Salonika took me to Bari airfield. No immediate flight onwards, so hitched-hiked all next day on a tank transporter to Transit Mess at Naples. Message saying I was on my way from Greece had not been received, so my place on the Troopship had been allocated elsewhere. Temporary despair, also poor conditions at Transit Mess, and snowing over Christmas.

Went to Opera on Boxing Day at San Carlo Theatre, and met chap in charge of troopships (who had failed our EFTS course at Prestwick) who expected it to be 3 weeks before I sailed. He arranged for me to go to Rome Leave Centre for 2 weeks meanwhile. Also cold there, but much more entertainment. Spent first few days on foot 'doing' all the Ancient Roman Antiquities.

Then met F/Lt Stocks, ex Cyrene SOR, who took me along to a few parties, at one of which I met F/Lt Pep Peploe, ex Ismalia days. Went with him to 3 operas and 2 ballets, the highlight being Benjamino Gigli singing Turandot at Rome Opera House. Also went to a couple of dances. Then, on 2 successive days, we had a conducted tour of the whole Vatican area by one of the Swiss Guard with no tourists in sight.

Finally returned, after 2 weeks, to Transit Centre, Naples, in Pep's staff car. Still time to see Pompeii, Herculanium and Vesuvius before troopship sailed on 21st January. Regretted my delay in Italy, but what a way to spend it. Had only just managed to keep Deirdre informed, and arrange marriage when I got to UK.

F/Lt Max Stocks
F/Lt Pep Peploe
Benjamino Gigli
San Carlo Opera House, Naples
Roman Antiquities Sites
Rome Opera Houses
Vatican & St. peters
The Forum, Rome, January 1945
Vatican, Rome, January 1945



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