Flares light up the night sky above Trieste to celebrate the end of hostilities with the Germans, 8 May 1945.
Private Reg Minter, 620068, went to the Middle East with the Tenth Reinforcements in July 1943. He joined 24 Battalion as a signalman and went to Italy in late December 1943. His first real time in action was at Cassino in March 1944 where he was wounded. After six weeks in 2 New Zealand General Hospital, Reg rejoined the battalion and fought on up through Italy, arriving in Trieste in April 1945.
'Where we were, we could look way down onto Trieste, the harbour and everywhere. We stayed in Santa Croce ... that was the village we stayed in. And that's where we billeted for many months there. And the early part of it, of course, there was tension there about the Yugoslavs, the partisans, or Tito wanted to reclaim Trieste. And the Allies said no, and there was a bit of tension for a while.
Did you come across them yourself?
Oh yes, a lot of partisans. Half Santa Croce was full of partisans. Well, the Slavs. Because there was a huge mix-it was real cosmopolitan between ... Italians and Slavs in Trieste ...They were quite friendly, up to a point. Not so friendly as the Italians were. They were reasonable-in other words, they tolerated us. They were friendly up to a point. A sort of reserved coolness. ...
And from there - oh, we never left there till about October. Guys were going home all the time and they told us that we didn't have a hope of getting home before Christmas because of the shipping. And also they were recruiting - guys that hadn't been over there very long were recruited for Jayforce in Japan. They were all drafted out of our battalion - other battalions as well - and made into a couple of battalions and they all went to Florence to special barracks down there somewhere for training for Jayforce.'