@BattleofOrtona Blog – “25 December Part II of III”

“On Christmas morning, Brigade Headquarters ordered the R.C.R. to abandon the original intention of cutting the main road, and instead to form a corridor between the Hastings and 48th Highlanders through which the latter could receive supplies and evacuate casualties. After a day’s heavy fighting, the R.C.R were far enough forward to send a patrol into the 48th Highlanders, which had, in the words of the battalion diarist, spent a ‘most unhappy Christmas.’ While the R.C.R. were forming this ‘lano’ the Brigade Support Group, a company of the Sask L.I., were ordered to make up a ‘safari’ of food and ammunition, which as soon as conditions were favourable, would be rushed up to the Highlanders. Sixty men set off at dusk on this carrying task and arrived at 1200 hrs. At dawn the following morning they returned with the wounded. Lt-Col I.S. Johnston, commanding the 48th Highlanders, wrote to the Commander of the Support Group:

Please accept the thanks of the 48th Highlanders of Canada for the ration-carrying part which your unit provided last night. It was a hazardous, wearisome job to perform on Christmas Night but you may be assured this unit and in particular the casualties you carried safely out will be forever grateful”

 – W.D., 1 Cdn Inf Bde Sp Gp, S.L.I, December 1943, App III.

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