I am awaiting my job it may turn up any time but as the Brig has put me in for something else I may change it quite soon. He says that if I get it I shall be paid about three times my present rate. But as I told Mother, I am not counting any chicks yet!
I have just heard that Musso has resigned for (the German radio tells us) health reasons. Presumably he has had ill health thrust upon him!
‘On arrival our Captain went to the Town Major to report that 862 Advanced Stationery Depot had arrived. He said to the Captain, ‘Paper is the last thing we want at the moment’. The Captain’s comment was, ‘It’s OK, we haven’t got any!’
I am still very busy, no job is outside my scope, at the moment my area covers about eighty square miles, with many towns and villages. I am really responsible for housing all the troops in such places, in addition here, I have collected two clubs an Officers Leave and Transit Camp, Town Guard Room and a civilian housing committee which has had to house about 35,000 people. I have also managed to get started a civilian Transit Camp because it was quite common for me to have a family of twenty just come and squat in my Office at about nine o'clock at night, so that I organised that one to save myself some bother.
The little house I am living in now would just about suit you and Dorothy, at the moment it suits me!, it has a kitchen a dining room, a sitting room, two large bedrooms, two small bedrooms, a servants room and usual things like a bathroom. It has also a great attraction for the kids, a small pool and fountain, the pool has two or three gold fish in it. The garden is very small and very suburban but quite pleasant and in spite of the cold at the moment there is quite a nice show of Mimosa.
… However, I have taken great pains to listen to these people here and help where I can, I have also taken great pains to always to carry out a promise, even if I haven't promised a great deal since I have been here. I am glad to say that they appear to trust my office implicitly and are unfortunately inclined to credit me with the most extensive powers, such as being to release all their relations from prison, in fact there are so many peculiar ways they think I can operate, that I might appear to have the powers of the late lamented Musso. Most of their requirements are very closely linked with the individual making the requests.
I have a lot of amusement really. The troops are of course my first care and attention but I had for example an old Nun who wanted something and she pointed out to me that they were brought up to believe in "Faith, Hope and Charity", obviously suggesting that I might supply one or all. I am afraid that I suggested that it would be very wise to add "Patience" to the other three. This made the old dear laugh so much we parted the best of friends but she had really got nothing out of me.
At the time of writing I am sitting in the little white and green villa right at the edge of the sea, some way above it but I am able to throw my cigarettes into it from my bedroom window. It has three bedrooms, a large lounge cum dining room, a kitchen, bath etc. but it is very new and clean, with the most modern things, all the lighting for example is concealed and it is fully furnished with wireless sets and so forth. The rooms are decorated and designed to look like a grotto and all beautifully clean. I have borrowed it from the man who owns it and for these four days I have imported my own staff, i.e. my batman, chef and maid of all work.
Yesterday I had a crack at fishing also in a boat borrowed for the occasion, I managed to catch a few small ones and today we were intending to go for big stuff. Well this morning it was raining and quite a fresh breeze blowing, by lunch time I got myself soused by going down on to the rocks, to have a look, quite big seas were running by that time.
So I spent the afternoon reading and looking at the weather, my bat borrowed my line and went off to try to get some fish, result, he got soused and got my hook caught in some weed and lost same, much to my delight!
Really staff are most trying , I have been here for forty eight hours now and the results so far are, one knob torn off the wireless set by an exuberant Italian cook, action by me, sent car for wireless man, cost me 20 cigs and a few lire.
Tonight a pipe has burst in the bathroom and I have been mopping in an effort to stem the tide, now I have to send for a plumber supposing we can find one. Alas what a life. Tomorrow I have to go away too, some distance, I have been asked to have a cocktail at the Br Embassy, not a good start to a short holiday!
Last night I went out to have dinner with the man who painted my portrait. He is the strangest little chap, quite young but so excitable and friendly. He seizes your hand between both of his and bows so low, that I sometimes think he will fall over. I then have to say ‘good evening’ to his wife, his two small children, the sister and a friend who rush at you and smile, as my Italian is still limited, most of the conversation consists in smiling fatuously at one another.
We had a most enormous dinner, very well prepared and cooked, with a great deal of laughter, particularly in relation to the poor maid and the artist. The poor man was sitting at the end of the table and every time the girl passed he had to lean forward to give her room, the poor girl was rather fat and everyone became hysterical, the maid getting very red in the face with embarrassment.
The bombings before, the fighting then: the price paid to the war from Salerno and its province was very high: 400 dead, thousands injured. Material damage was enormous: 15,000 destroyed rooms, over 100 damaged bridges, one fifth of industrial buildings lost. Eating, housing and transporting points of greatest pain.
- Municipality of Salerno: Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of National Education.
- Salone dei Marmi: meetings of the Council of Ministers were held
- Mayor's Office: Office of the President of the Council of Ministers
- Sala della Giunta: Headquarters of the Ministry of National Education, then Public Education
- Palazzo delle Poste: the headquarters of the secretariat Poste and Telegrafi.
- Palazzo Natella: headquarters of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, the Ministry of Public Works and the liaison offices of the Ministries of War and the Navy
- Palazzo Barone: Headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- Palace of Justice: Headquarters of the Ministry of Grace and Justice and the Supreme Court of Cassation
The city of Salerno has played the role of Capital for only a little more than five months, yet in that short, but convulsive and dramatic time, it formed a government that was the cell, the first support of the new Italian state, the beginning of the history of our rebirth as a people, as democracy, as a government