The fall of Florence, August 1944

Lieutenant Roki Maika recalls the spontaneous welcome that greeted the men of the Māori Battalion's B Company as they reached the outskirts of Florence on 4 August 1944:

We were just sitting down to a breakfast of Galinas when we were told to move, and fast. Two or three times during the push we were caught like this, but this time I was determined. I told my batman to bring the pot with him ... And so we swept down to the plain that was Florence. There was evidence all around that Jerry had completely broken off and even now was sitting on the high hills just north of Florence. The road was now getting lined by civilians and the nearer we approached the city the larger the crowd got and the louder the cheering. We were being showered with flowers, offered fruit, bigger and more luscious than any we had acquired along the long march from Siena. In all it was a great welcome, spontaneous, warm and genuine. By this time we had reached the outskirts of the city. The crowd had completely disappeared. A loud crash of a Jerry shell down one of the streets promptly brought our minds back to the job on hand.

From J.F. Cody's official history, 28 (Maori) Battalion (Wellington, 1956), p. 402.

Submitted by mbadmin on

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