April 6, 1944 — Memphian, Phil Larimore says life at Anzio far from ‘Beer And Skittles’

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April 6, 1944 — Memphian, Phil Larimore says life at Anzio far from ‘Beer And Skittles’

The news story began, “Life on Anzio Beachhead has been by no means “beer and skittles.” It’s just plain mud and dirty, dangerous work. Take it from a Memphian who knows and whose own work on the beachhead has been rewarded by the Silver Star.[1]

The article, titled, “Memphian Says Life At Anzio Far From ‘Beer And Skittles’,” continued:[1]

“We had to stay in our foxholes all day and keep our heads below ground level because the battlefield is on very flat ground and the mountains north and east are owned and operated by the square-heads (Germans). They could look right down our throats and every time someone on our front lines moved, they would throw all kinds of artillery at us.

“But every night as soon as it started getting dark, we started moving up to the front lines (we lived about 600 yards behind the front line) and passed through them because our work was done in front of the lines.

“There we laid barbed wire or mines or whatever our platoon had to do. We worked all night and left only in time to get back to our foxholes by dawn.

“But that is over now for a while. And you shouldn’t worry too much about me. We have good men in our platoon and every time a Jerry patrol caught us out in front of our own lines, we just beat the hell out of them and turned the tables on them.

One night the Allies attacked and took a couple of houses from the Jerries. It took them most of the night so it was dawn when Lieutenant Larimore got an order to move up to the houses and put an antitank minefield on the road to prevent the Germans from taking the houses with tanks.

“When the major who commands my battalion was briefing me he talked to me just like a father,” Lieutenant Larimore wrote. “For, you see, when anyone moves around during daylight hours on the front line, the Jerries shell the heck out of that area instantly. And the major knew I would have to crawl out on the flat, open road and would be in plain view of the Jerries only 100 yards away.”

Lieutenant Larimore crawled up to the houses, about 500 or 600 yards, then out on the road where he laid his field and crawled back in a ditch.

“About that time all hell broke loose but I was on my way back,” he exulted.

It was this particular gallantry in action that won the Memphian the Silver Star.

Lieutenant Larimore’s letter carried a further note of exultation.

“I’ve had my first bath in 30 days,” he said. “I took my undershirt, pants, shirt and trousers off for the first time. And back here in the camp I slept with my clothes off for the first time. It felt wonderful!”


[1] Ida Clemens. The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Saturday, May 27, 1944.

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