Naples in the spring. What more can I say? We were in "La Bella Napoli" that poets and songwriters have striven to describe for centuries. The Naples of Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton where the wrath of Vesuvius has failed to dampen the romantic nature of civilizations uncounted.

True, the scars of war were quite evident. The harbor was filled with sunken hulls, and a thick black crude oil covered the surface. Jerry continued to make frequent visits. Nevertheless, the Bay of Naples is a spot God has blessed with a sunny climate which is reflected in the attitude of its people despite all hardships... A small comer of the world which I dearly love .

I had a strange feeling . I don't know if it was a physical or mental thing. I felt as though I had been running up a flight of endless stairs, and Naples seemed to be an unexpected landing, but I didn't know how to rest.

We sat up our maintenance station about the middle of Molo San Vincenzo, that long stone breakwater which juts out into Naple's harbor towards Vesuvius. Our quarters were near the end in what I believe had been an Italian telegraph station.

There was no liberty, but when you're young and the call is there, you'll find the answer. We weren't long in learning that the officers sort of turned a blind eye, deaf ear to the back side of the mole. When work was done at night, the maintenance staff of Flotilla 10 made many an unauthorized sashay into Naples. Sometimes we would slip along the port area to Angivine Castle then up bearing left sometimes cutting through the Galleria Umberto or going past the San Carlos opera House and across Via Roma to Via Chiaia. Other times we would cut across the Litorenes gardens to the Royal Palace and across the huge square between the palace and St. Francis church.

A frequent rendezvous was a small street off Via Chiaia where Lena and her sisters lived. Up the stone stepped street to the ground level apartment, where music and laughter were the rule, we'd go. Lena was a young, slim Neapolitan with lively dark eyes, and by far the prettiest of the group, m a comer of the large room, an ancient crank type phonograph wheezed and scratched over some old Italian love songs, some of which were quite good. We laughed, danced and sang and when it came time to leave, slipped back through the darkened streets of Naples to Molo San Vincenzo while the cool breeze from the hills brought the sweet smell of citrus blossoms. Life was good once again.

But, wars go on. We got organized with regular liberty and good chow while the Anzio-Cassino forces linked up and drove on to Rome. Then came Normandy, the beginning of the end. What was left of our craft returned to the Bay of Naples. We began preparing for the next job which was Southern France. Our Naples became a teaming, brawling, hot and dusty hodge -podge of every nation under the Allied Command as new troops arrived daily. Via Roma became like Times Square on New Year's eve, except for the heat.

Once again we got the word to prepare for another trip. There were hopes that this might be the final assault on Southern France, but there were only about 6 LCT's in our group and the numbers dispelled any hope of an early end to the amphibious operations of Flotilla 10.


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