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The Bombing of Monte Cassino

Heroes Remember

The Bombing of Monte Cassino

I was surprised, we could, from our gun position and the position that we were in, I think...I forget the name of the place... I think it was Savaro (sp), I think was the name of the place, a village. And that was, no civilians, everyone was gone out over there. We were in that area, and that's where we had our gun positions in there. And we could...there was Cassino right over there. The valley was just a bit below us, and there was Cassino, the town of Cassino, and there was Mount Cassino right in front. We were firing open sights, you know, it was a...and no matter what they threw at it, the Germans were still there. And we were there when they decided they were going to bomb it. And I can't remember the number now, something like five or seven hundred bombers or something were going to come in and bomb it there, you know. But you could look, you'd see these bombers, you took a look behind you, you'd see them coming in. All of a sudden you'd see the bombs coming away. That was how it was. And they'd seem to be just floating then all of a sudden they'd pick up speed and be heading down. And the first, I suppose the first ten or twenty bombers that went and dropped their loads, you could see the big flashes and the explosions and all that. You could feel the vibration of it really. After about the first ten or fifteen planes I suppose, the rest of them kept going in and bombing, but all you could see was, that was just one big black ball of smoke. That's all. And they kept pounding, and pounding, and pounding, and pounding. And then when the bombing was over, then our guns opened up. What the hell our guns were opened up to fire at, we couldn't see anything anyway, but they knew what they were doing I suppose you know. And all the guns opened up and started shelling. And then it all quieted down after a while. They still couldn't take it. The Germans were still there. After all that pounding, you know. And we found out after, or heard about it after, and I of course read stories about it, how they had these underground pillboxes built underground. And they could...the town of Cassino, we, we were pulled out of there after that because they couldn't take it. They decided the hell with that, we'll go around and go up the Hitler Line take, go around. Forget it, leave it, we're not going to waste any more time on it. And, I remember that we said, my God I don't understand why we're pounding that and we can't take it, you know. But they never did take it, they just went around it.

Mr. Godden describes the Allied bombing of the Germans at Monte Cassino where hundreds of Allied bombers atacked the Germans, but could not break their position.

Tom Godden

Mr. Godden was born in Lynn, Massachusetts in March 1921. At a very young age he moved to Newfoundland. When war broke out Mr. Godden was working with the postal service, and when they would not let him leave for the service he resigned. In 1941, he enlisted in St. John's and became a member of the 166th Newfoundland Field Regiment (a light artillery regiment). He held the position of a dispatch rider for most of the war, serving in Africa and Europe. Mr. Godden witnessed the famous Allied bombing assault on Monte Cassino. After the war, Mr. Godden returned to Newfoundland and went on to have a successful career with Pan-American World Airways.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Tom Godden
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
166th Newfoundland Field Regiment
Dispatch Rider

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