‘The Little Iron Men’ Group 2 Arrive…
3 Company – ‘The Little Iron Men’Group 2 Arrive…
Not quite the sunny Italy they were hoping for!
Horizontal rain and a 85 mile cycle from Terni, through very mountainous terrain, to Castiglione del Lago. The group did well and covered the distance in excellent time!
Major Balham, Captain Wright and the Drapers arrive…
CQMS Lewis, Gdsm Lamb and 2Lt McNeill Love greeted them at Perugia airport and took them to the lake campsite for an antipasti lunch and a chance to meet the group. A glass of red wine later, enormous amounts of cheese and cured meat and we were sufficiently ready to run a marathon a few hours later!
Marathon Number 1.
Some ran the marathon, others cycled it and those that didn’t take part in the physical aspect helped with support vehicles and ran very necessary water and morale stands. Everyone who started the marathon completed it and all in very good times. It was an emotional event and everyone, once finished, claimed they ‘would never do one again’! Guardsmen Harding had a particular emotional time due to only having 10 songs on his iPod, which he had listen to on repeat for 4 hours non stop! A great effort by all of the runners and all enjoyed a superb curry by the lake soon after!
Cycle from Castiglione del Lago to Florence
The following morning the Group (minus those that ran the marathon) began a 87 mile cycle ride into Florence with the Drapers. It was a long ride and the group made good time, completing it in 4 1/2 hours.
Commemoration and education.
The following day Group 2 were with the Drapers and conducted a service of remembrance at the graveside of lone Welsh Guardsmen, Guardsmen William Aubrey Wright, who died aged 19 and is buried at the Florence War Cemetery.
Major Badham, Captain Wright and other members of the group delivered lecturettes on WW2 in Italy, comparisons between the Allies and Axis capabilities and the medical care they would likely to receive.
Did you know that during WW2 Officers were more prone to getting tetanus and other diseases than other ranks? Other ranks would clean all of their own mess tins, mugs and cutlery whereas
Officers would have theirs cleaned for them in big communal washing tubs which consequently meant disease was more easily spread! Corporal Ratchford
A day exploring Florence.
A rest day and time set aside to explore what Florence had to offer.
Total miles on bicycles per man: 172 miles
Total miles ran per man: 26.4 miles
Good bye group 2, hello Group 3…
Group 3 cycled from Florence to Castel del Rio , a mostly uphill battle along windy roads that never seemed to end. 47 miles later they arrived in the campsite towards the top of the mountain. Due to a big push in the morning the group finished cycling by the early afternoon, leaving time for them to explore the water falls and plunge pools that surrounded us.
Monte Battaglia and Santerno War Cemetery
We went to visit where the 3rd Battalion had one of their most prominent battles, the battle of Monte Battaglia. They were given the task to conduct the final assault on the heavily fortified Axis position, which they did, but at the cost of hundreds of lives. The Welsh Guards were instrumental in the Allies breaking through the Gothic Line.
Whilst there the Platoon Commanders delivered stands on the Italian Campaign in general and also the significance of breaking though the Gothic Line. The Company Sergeant Major delivered a talk from a G4 perspective and just how difficult it would have been to CASEVAC casualties and resupply those at the very front of the battle.
We then drove for 15 minutes down into the valley to conduct a commemorative service at the Santerno War Cemetery, where 7 Welsh Guardsmen are buried. GSM Buxton laid a wreath and we spent 20 mins reflecting on how challenging it must have been fighting through the mountainous terrain.
Cycle to Lido de Spina
78 mile cycle to the coast. The group cycled hard and accomplished this leg in very good time.
They particularly enjoyed the down hill start when they first left the campsite.
The group used this day to recover from the cycling and get some well deserved rest.
Final push to Venice
The group cycled from Castel de Rio to our final destination. The route was 37 miles and they finished it in two hours.
The group had a day to recover from the cycling and the G4 recced the chosen circuit through the small streets of Venice in order to accumulate 26.4 miles.
At 0600 we set off from our campsite and ran to the train station to take us over to Venice. After a quick admin stop and a RV with the support vehicle, we continued the marathon – running several circuits around the streets, up and over bridges countless times, stopping at Venice’s major cultural attractions to take pictures. It was a tough event due to dodging people and the stop/start nature of the route but a fantastic effort by all those who completed it 5.45 hours later!
Three Company’s second marathon complete.
The group ran a marathon in the beautiful city of Venice.
11 members of the Company did extremely well.
Well done to;
Lt Jack Farmelo
2Lt McNeill Love
WO2 Andrew Griffiths
CSgt David Lewis
Little Iron Men
Also well done to;
Who cycled the same distance to Venice.
Close down camp, fix and repair all the bikes and get ready to drive back through France to the
Total miles on bicycles per man: 171 miles
Total miles ran per man: 26.4 miles