Medical orderly for 24 Battalion, C Company.
Private H. C. Worth, MM; born NZ, 8 Nov 1919; seaman, Auckland. (Source: Burdon, R.M. 24 Battalion. p.246.)
'We went down past where my original RAP had been, and I checked with an ADS and RAP to see that the boys hadn't got out. At the last RAP they warned me not to go with the party, but I put on my Driver Tim's coat and became a private, and off we trudged–three red cross flags flying and armbands on. A camera man now took our photos, and when we had gone 100 yards he got hit. [We went] up to the Castle with a marvellous view of Cassino below, Cassino and its few remaining derelict houses. The Sergeant. in the Castle told us we could go out in parties of 12 only, so we set off, keeping below Jerry's stronghold. We could see some people with a red cross flag on the road, and when we got near them we realised they were our wounded. They had rum dropped by parachute the day before, and at 2 p.m. decided that they were not going to be collected so they had started to walk—all lying cases who had been hit in the legs. They were an amazing sight on the road. Two pairs were leaning up against one another, and the other was sitting on the wall. They were very slow moving. We had two stretchers and I decided to try and take all of them. I put the two worst on stretchers, and got 3 men to carry each, and gave the others a two man carriage. Circus (Nickname for Pte Worth, the C Coy medical orderly, who was acting as guide.) had led the party in and I directed it from the middle, and also going out. However a Jerry appeared on the road with a red cross flag by Pt. 165, and the boys seemed a bit perplexed so I took the lead and when half way to him I turned down off the road. The Jerry came down to meet us and said ‘Retournez’. He kept repeating ‘Retournez’ and said the Commandant had ordered it. I argued, without avail, but I got the boys to close in. He then told me to come and see the Commandant, but as I had no pips on and was a captain in my paybook I thought it best to send others, and sent Circus Worth and Bob Thompson. This meant I could contemplate ways of escape in daylight and in dark.
While Borrie pursued his meditations, Thompson and Worth accompanied the German to his headquarters. After they had waited there for about twenty minutes, a German officer came out and asked if they spoke ‘Deutsch’. Thompson said they did not, upon which the officer produced a written message and asked that it should be given to the ‘English Commander’. He then said that the party might proceed on their way to the Castle, but that after this no more wounded might be evacuated. Having shaken hands with Thompson and Worth, the German asked them for a cigarette. Only too readily they gave him a packet and then returned to their party.
‘I didn't dare to turn round’, writes Borrie, ‘until I heard footsteps, and then I saw Circus's long face.
‘We can go but it's the last party.
‘What relief! Bob and I picked up our man and almost ran with him, but the others kept close behind. I collected the others, got more men on the stretchers, and went down and got Denis Wood just as he was trying to get me. We got the patients on my jeep and came riding victoriously home to the ADS.’ Pte H. C. Worth, MM; Auckland; born NZ 8 Nov 1919; seaman.; Medical Units Middle East - In broken French we argued, and then Thompson and Worth were taken into the ruins on Point 165 to see the Commandant. The Commandant asked for a cigarette—Worth immediately gave him a full packet. The German explained that, as the English had shot at a stretcher-bearer at Cassino, the Cassino commandant had ordered that there was to be no further evacuation of British from Monastery Hill. He gave his approval, however, for our evacuations, coming down with Thompson and Worth to inspect us. Private H. C. Worth, MM; born NZ, 8 Nov 1919; seaman, Auckland.
' (Source: Burdon, R.M. 24 Battalion. pp. 246, 247.; McKinney, J.B. Medical Units of 2 NZEF in Middle East and Italy. pp. 352.) AWMM