While the Officers in our section were relied heavily upon by General Eisenhower and the whole North African Theater.   Our superior officer was a full “Bird” Colonel, a West Point Graduate, who NEVER raised his voice to any of us!  Whenever  he had to disagree with any thing we handed him, he would just quietly say, “Do you think we could do it better or a little differently if we did it this way?   We always agreed! 


Paul and His RAF buddy Ernie Green.

After the war Ernie went to France as a Missionary

We had a Captain, a First Lieutenant. the other Master Sgt and myself in one 12x12 room!   We eventually were given two rooms across the hall, and increased our personnel to include a British Major (their counterpart of our office) and gave me two clerk typists in the third room..   The Master Sgt. was given a direct Commission to Second Lieutenant and they gave me his Master Sgt’s rating….This guy was without a doubt the smartest man I’ve met!  One day, I counted seven pieces of correspondence on his desk, he’s on the phone and the British Major came in and asked him a question!!  He calmly reached over and got a paper, showed him the paragraph he was concerned with and continued on the phone!  And yet, down to earth!   When we were in Italy,  nearing the German capitulation  we were working late nearly every night, when I came back to the office (we my former M/Sgt, myself and our other Clerk typist  had our bunks off the British Major’s office so we could be near the phone 24 hours a day),  from a Bible Study Fellowship at about 10:30…As I walked in this one who by now is a First Lieutenant, called out and said, “Hey Buddy, come in here,  Josie Itterbe is playing!”   I  listened a bit and finally tumbled -  “You mean Jose Iturbi!” 

Back to Africa:   I’ll summarize a bit:  Frequent Air Raids from the Luftwaffe;  watching The Anti-Aircraft fire, tracer bullets in the night sky;  looking down from our Balcony on spit and polish parades held in honor of visiting generals and other dignitaries;  Watching General Eisenhower’s chauffeur, the pretty Kay Summersby park his bullet proof Cadillac  (I got a ride in it one day when it was raining – his male chauffeur ate with us in our lst-3-Graders-Mess),  having plaster ceiling fall on our heads and desks when an Ammunition Ship blew up in Algiers Harbor!   Watching, and walking around through a proverbial plague of locusts!  Huge grasshoppers four inches long!  (Some of the Arabs were seen to catch them, pluck off their wings and legs and eat them raw!!)   {Remember, John The Baptist’s diet was locusts and wild honey?} Etc., etc.

Captured Italian prisoners who became waiters.

Top row L to R

Cappellin Albino, Gorni Lino,  Sateriale Antonio

Bottom row L to R

Mostardac Amillo,  Luchini Vincenzo

Of course, our mail was continually censored, and mine was always typed in the office, either when I had little else to do or after hours, or after a bath…I often had to leave a half written  “V” mail in the typewriter pending my return from a service with the Chaplain..  Often on returning, I found the letter had been finished by our censor putting his own two cents worth in to get acquainted with my wife!  Quite a guy!

Prior to our Full Colonel being rotated to the States, we received a tall, lanky Lieutenant Colonel – Col R. E. Shoecraft as our Chief of section.  He had been in Pearl Harbor and at one point was called back to testify about it…Another Sterling individual!  Our Office worked almost exclusively with TOP SECRET Signals correspondence.  One day the new Colonel came in all flustered because he couldn’t find one particular paper, Top Secret, naturally!   We scoured all three offices to no avail.  About a week later, he sheepishly came into the office with it and when asked, said it was in his “IN” basket all the time!!   Forever after, his “IN” basked was called the “Rat’s Nest”!


In July of 1943, I received a Telegram from home – (The army only let you use a number which designated a phrase of a few words, to save telegraphers time and let them send more in a short period…)  telling me:  “Daughter born.. everyone fine, letter follows”  In a week or so  I got a letter from the friend of Doris who stood up with us when we were married, and she said we had a beautiful little boy!   Until I received confirmation from home, I didn’t know what we had!!


Doris and baby Jim




By the time we as a Headquarters was to move over to Italy (we had all been part of the planning of the Sicilian and Italian campaigns),  General Eisenhower had gone back to England to prepare for the invasion of Europe…We were transferred to Italy,  Our group flew in an Army C-47 (Commercial Douglas DC-3, the workhorse of WWII) – my first airplane ride!  Uneventful, beautiful,  AND uncomfortable sitting on steel jump seats on either side of the cabin.


     We landed at a small air strip just South of the Palace in Caserta, Italy, about twenty miles North of Naples…Our  first billet was in the royal stables across the road from the Palace which the King of Naples had built in the 1500’s…After it was built, he asked the Architect if he could build another like it, and when he said he could, he had his eyes put out!!   A huge palace of over 2000 rooms…Four squares of about 50 yards each with a huge central staircase with a Mosaic domed ceiling, and a hidden “orchestra” cloister around the base of the dome!   Each room in the palace had a arched and painted domed ceiling as well.  For a building so large, that’s a lot of painting!! 

Allied Forces Headquarters in Caserta Italy.

Palace built in the 1500 and had over 2000 rooms.


 Our office was in the extreme North East corner and never saw the sunlight!  The wall leading to our window was about ten feet thick…We had three or four wide steps before walking to the window which had doors about eight feet high with grill work of l”xl” steel on the outside of each window!

Paul's Desk at the Palace in Caserta


Picture postcards of the Royal Park behind Caserta's Palace

Water flows from the grotto at the top of the hill through seven pools and is transferred from pool to pool through different fountains.


The grounds of the palace were also “palatial”…A series of huge pools, about 7 or 8 stretched about a half mile directly behind the palace, and led to a low mountain or a high hill with a grotto and artesian spring flowing out of the top cascading down the hill into the large pool, then through pipes into the next and subsequent pools. 

Each pool had a group of larger than life size statues from which the water poured from the previous one.   A paved road on either side of the pools were lined by (we were told) trees of nearly every kind in the world!??.  This was not bad duty!


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