Thursday, June 21, 2007

Staff Sergeant Arthur Bell

S/Sgt Arthur Bell was my wife Margaret's father. Having survived the war he tragically died in 1953 slipping off his bicycle on an icy road, so sadly I never met him.

Recognise the location? The photo is endorsed This photo was taken at 2pm Sunday 6th January 1946 at Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy. At the time S/Sgt Bell was serving in Trieste. I suspect that Ron was in the queue waiting to be photographed. Small world, isn't it?


Blogger Frank mee said...

Small world indeed, My Uncle Raymond who also went through Italy and into Austria with the Royal Artillery had his photo taken in the same place.
It only came out because I showed him Joan and I in the same place many years later on one of our trips to Venice.
We walked for miles over the small canal bridges into the old area's seeing many of the wonders without the help of tourist guides.
The church of Santa Maria della Salute on the Punta della Dogano.
Then the Ca'Foscari Pallazo Balbi and Museo del Settecento all very close to each other, the tourists might see one but not all.
The tiny Cafe's and wonderful bakeries well off the beaten track fed us like Royalty because we had made the effort to find them, they were equally delighted when we would let them try us with different dishes.
We both loved the Italian people and they certainly took to Joan, handcuffs came in handy at times. It surprised me how many had worked in Newcastle during the winter months, they would recognise the northern lilt and next minute we would be talking about places we all knew.
Great times and I am glad those lads in the Italian campaign got to see some of it when they had the time.

Friday, 22 June, 2007  
Blogger Tomcann said...

It was in late '45 that an extra large tidal situation put the St Mark's bascilica into a dangerous situation with flooding undermining the foundations and causing the Civil Italian authorities to ask for assistance from the British Miltary Authorities.
At tht time the Commander Royal Engineers (C.R.E.) of Venice was my old friend Lt.Col. Maurice Menage, M.B.E. who had been the chief engineer at St Peter's crossing at Medjez el Bab and also
was liason to the Abbot of Cassino representing Gen Alexander in the attepmt to clean up the monastery prior to the re-building, which ttok place after the war ended.
He then took on the salvation of St Mark's and after many tone of cement had been introduced to the foundations he declareed that it would last at least for his lifetime - he was right as he died in 1989.
Both Maurice and his wife were honoured at a Civic Dinner in Venice by a grateful council and a presentation made.
I too have stood there - in 1991 and fed the pigeons !

Saturday, 23 June, 2007  

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