Noah's Arc

The Club of the 14th/20th King's Hussars
National Old & Ancient Hawk's
Annual Reunion Club

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PLEASE CLICK HERE TO VIEW MEDICINA 2015 (70TH ANNIVERSARY)


Medicina 1995 REMEMBERED

medicina 1995

VIDEO - Medicina 1995

You can view the video made during our Regiment's visit to 1995 by clicking (VIEW VIDEO) below. Please note that this is a very large file so please give it time to load. Close the Window after viewing to return here.

NOTE:

During playback of this video it was observed that one of the interviews within the clip identified Ken Dowding as the speaker. We now know, thanks to Nigel Burgham, that the interviewee is in fact Russell Burgham, father of Nigel, and not Ken.
Below are

1) The 'real' Ken Dowding;
2) Lt Burgham (centre front) on the group photo;
3) An extract from Page 109 of 'Ramnuggar Boys'
VIEW VIDEO - CLICK HERE


Ken Dowding
Mr Ken Dowding

Russell Burgham (Centre Front), Syria 1944
Lt Russell Burgham (Centre Front), Syria 1944

Ramnuggar Page 109
Ramnuggar Boys - excerpt from Page 109.





Medicina 2012

The 14th/20th King's Hussars and Cittadini di Medicina

Medicina, April 2012

Medicina is a small medieval town close to Bologna which, for our Regiment, took on enormous stature following the short, fierce battle that took place there on 16th April 1945. As part of 43rd Gurkha Brigade our Regiment, fighting alongside 2/6 Gurkha Rifles, stormed the town and defeated elements of the German infantry - with the tanks of the 14th/20th (with 75mm guns) and the kukris & bayonets of the Gurkhas the battle was won, despite encountering German self-propelled guns, anti -tank weapons, and even at least one Tiger tank.

The battle honour was awarded to the only two regiments that had a presence in the town - 14/20th King's Hussars and 6th Gurkha Rifles. The battle resulted in the two Regiments forming an affiliation that still exists today.

You can read the full story by Major JGH Corrigan on the 6GR website: Click Here

25th April is National Liberation Day and we visited the city of Medicina to join them in their celebrations. A total of 25 Noah's Arc members made the trip.
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Departure

Still flagging from our marathon Reunion weekend the travellers eventually met up in the Jet2.com check-in area at Manchester Airport, apart from Les & Val Brierley who travelled via Gatwick. From M/c we had Bob & Linda Harrison, Brian & Denny Draper, Bob & Eileen Butler, Mick & Viv McGowan, Steve & Pat Butler, Dave & Pat Hinchcliffe, Ernie & Eileen Hughes, Jim & Su Thomas, Tony & Jean Wagstaff, Bob Winch with Samantha Elliott, and Pete Stuffins.

That Landing

After a very uneventful flight our approach to Venice Marco Polo airport was announced and, with seatbelts fastened, we had a fair view of the sea areas surrounding Venice. Then we were over land and the end of the runway at about 10-30 feet high. The experienced travellers amongst us probably felt something amiss about our landing speed and then it all changed! Opening the engines to full thrust, and with the plane angled upwards at about 30 degrees, we saw the runway hurtling below us untouched by the wheels. we were climbing rapidly in what the pilot eventually told us had been an 'aborted landing' - something about the wind having changed suddenly from a headwind into a tailwind.

Arrival

Despite landing in monsoon-style rain by the time we'd claimed our baggage the sun was out in a clear blue sky (it remained that way for the remainder of our stay) and we had our first 'live' introductions with Signor Luigi Trevisan and his lovely wife Laura.

Luigi & Laura

Luigi and I have been exchanging emails on a regular basis for some months and it was during these exchanges that the trip to Medicina was planned and arranged. Luigi not only offered to be our translator but also to join us in our hotel and be our constant companion during the day in Medicina. A wonderful couple with whom we are everlastingly grateful. 001 (46K)

Lido di Jesolo and Hotel Adlon

After a short journey in our coach to Jesolo we were delighted to find the Adlon to meet the very best of our expectations - located on the beach, really nice rooms and located in a very pleasant Adriatic town. Jesolo was preparing for a new season and, in many ways, our timing was perfect - most places already open but no crowding.

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Bob, Brian, Pete & Jim in 'basking' mood.

Medicina

We faced a 2 1/2 hours drive from our hotel so, following a 6:45 breakfast, we were on our way.

Entering the town is like seeing an image from history. I've seen many photos and some paintings of the town and, to me, it was unchanged - the tiger tank, the gurkhas, the German paras and our own regiment may have departed but the town remains the same. A wonderful feeling of having achieved a lifetime's ambition.

Mr Brian O'Bree

Alighting the bus I found Brian waiting to greet us. Brian originally joined 2/6GR and, though it was later after the 1969 amalgamation with 1st Battalion, one of the rifle companies he commanded was C (Medicina) Company.

During earlier exchanges with him he said "This makes my first visit to Medicina particularly poignant and I am much looking forward to it. Ciska and I will meet you all at Medicina when you arrive by coach with Luigi and Laura before the day's events begin."

We are delighted to have shared this experience with Brian and Ciska.
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Luigi, Brian, Laura, Ciska, Bob and Linda

Assembly and The Parade

We all have many wonderful pictures of the parade and somehow I'll upload them for viewing. For now please enjoy these few:
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The Children

On arrival at City Hall we were invited up onto the steps to first of all hear the children sing the National Anthem of Italy. To hear an anthem sang with such gusto and with great charm and hapiness was a delight for all. 013 (30K)

Speeches

Our host, Mayor Onelio Rambaldi paid tribute to the "Fallen Heroes" and gave a short speech outlining the history of the liberation. Following which he presented us with the beautiful locally made plate in commemoration of our visit. 014 (30K)015 (30K)

In reply I spoke about the pride and honour we felt in being allowed to come to Medicina to share with them their celebration of liberation. Mayor Rambaldi accepted our Commemoration Pennant.
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And then it was Brian who delivered a very well received speech in their native language. 018 (30K)

Charlie Cornes

You may have spotted a familiar face amongst our photographs. Charlie didn't form part of our travelling party and it was a great surprise to all when he turned up (having made a long drive from the South) to join us. Having 'found' Charlie I'm sorry to say that it didn't take us long to 'lose' him! After the ceremony we were being escorted to a battle site at the Gaiana River. Unfortunately when the police moved off we had to follow and Charlie hadn't retrieved his car. This ends with a happy note when Charlie again found us at the reception. 019 (30K)020 (30K)

The Commisioner of Police

Ask any of the ladies in our party who made the most impression during our visit. I shall be very surprised if they don't immediately reply "the policeman" - Doctor Daniele Brighi introduced himself on our arrival and hardly left our side. There is no doubt that he is a handsome, charming man, and it was virtually love at first sight for some! I have to say that he was also very efficient in ensuring that our visit passed off smoothly. Perhaps he was most impressive when his staff stopped the traffic on a busy main road to allow us to cross safely after Luigi had advised us all to 'be careful crossing'. When Charlie was lost he set out to find him.
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The Gaiana

We were again provided with a police escort to visit the site of major battle which effectually saw the end of the war in Italy. Even today bodies are still being found at the line held by about 1000 German Paratroopers. On the wall attached to what looks like an old barn is a plaque recalling the role of the 14th/20th and 6GR.
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Party Time

To conclude our day we were hosted by Mayor Rambaldi and the Councillors of Medicina at a 'Commune' restaurant staffed entirely by volunteers. A ravioli/spaghetti dish was followed by as much meat as we could eat. And I could say the same about the wine - raise a hand and a carafe of red or white wine was placed into it! It was a great atmosphere and we again exchanged thanks and gratitude with the Mayor following which he presented each of us with a Medicina lapel badge and a video "The Battle Of The Gaiana". We showed our appreciation with a rousing three Cheers.
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... and then we were joined by this couple of young Aussies who wanted to know what was going on! 027 (30K)

Afterwards

It was saddening when the time came for us to make the way back to Jesolo - we could have partied on for ever! Our journey was saddened further when we had to say our goodbye's and offer our thanks to Luigi & Laura.

Throughout our stay we enjoyed perfect weather and saw temperatures rise through 21 then 24 and finally 30 degrees. Our individual party members were free to do their own thing after our Medicina experience but most followed the 'norm' of a trip into Venice by bus and boat or a trip to Murana. Our evenings were spent mostly together and each restaurant proprietor we met rubbed hands in glee when seeing 25 of us walk in and order from their menus. Of the four nights perhaps the last was the best (although we did lose Les & Val) when we visited a truly Italian Trattoria.

The Euro zone isn't cheap these days (beer at 4 Euro for instance) but nevertheless we ate and drank plenty.

Other happenings - Ernie lost his wallet, the 'baskers' took a dip or two in the sea, Val made a memorable speech, Dave's keys!.
Lowlights - Marco polo airport: overcrowded, overly busy and no time to visit the duty free.

... and finally!

This was a memorable experience for every member of our party. It might have looked like a battlesite tour from the outside but it was nothing like that. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip - made ever moreso by the way everyone joined in - was there a moment when someone wasn't laughing and having fun? I don't think so.

If ever you are in Italy I would implore you to visit the town. Just go to City Hall and introduce yourself, I have no doubt you will be warmly welcomed. This is Medicina.

Bob_H, 29 April 2012


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