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Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy

A Foretaste of Winter

A Foretaste of Winter

The long spell of warm autumn weather was finally broken. Showers of rain on 11 October freshened both town and countryside, filling the air with a moist, earthy fragrance. The first rain seen since the storm at Djebibina in Tunisia, it stirred memories of page 305 distant occasions amid New Zealand scenes. However, five nights later a heavy downpour startled the bivouacked units in the divisional area, and set them to deepening drainage ditches and raising bedding clear of the ground. On 28 October there was a violent thunderstorm. During the afternoon clouds banked up, and about five o'clock the storm burst upon the Taranto region. With the thunder came torrential rain that lasted for about four hours. The thunder and lightning were almost continuous, and the barrage balloons over Taranto came down in flames, one by one, the coils of their cables causing trouble where they fell.

In the early hours of the morning the storm began again, continuing steadily for about three hours, and then on and off for the whole day. Out at the flooded A and B Company areas the men sloshed through the chewed-up mud between the wide pools of water, again attempting to improve the drainage system. The night of the 30th brought another storm, with thunder and lightning and drenching rain; but by that time the unit areas were in such a mess that it was regarded almost with indifference.