I sank like a stone in eight feet of water striking the bottom feet first. Lt John Dougan was awarded the Military Cross for his leadership (and would later win a bar to the MC at San Leonardo). The three vessels supposedly sunk by German torpedoes were all part of the Slow convoy: the Devis, the St. Essylt and the City of Venice. Vehicle shortages, in particular, would be of great significance as the division marched towards the island’s centre in mid to late July 1943. The 231st Maltese, who had moved into position after a very tough cross-country approach, launched the attack on the night 30-31 Jul. Sicily, a rural mountainous island known for its orange groves and almond orchards, olives and the Mafia, sits strategically in the Mediterranean off the foot of Italy. Following the success at Catenanova, the Canadians ushed on to Regalbuto, 10 kilometres to the north. The Devis was a 6,054-ton motor merchant class built in 1938 in Belfast. Corporal Kay, the section commander, earned the DCM for this action. Husky began on the night of 9/10 July and ended on 17 August. The 1st Canadian Division along with the 231st Malta Brigade and the British 78th Division was tasked to take Regalbuto, Centuripe, and Adrano, in an action code-named Operation HARDGATE. He was the first Canadian KIA of Operation Husky. By 3 July it had passed through the Straits of Gibraltar. The “Fast Assault Convoy” left its numerous moorings on June 28 and assembled just off the English coast. By mid-day, elements of various Canadian battalions were probing into Modica. On the night of 26 Jul, a platoon of The Edmonton Regiment force marched over eight miles of rough terrain and managed to cut the road from Agira to Nicosia. A savage street-by-street battle ensued. One of the Germans reached for a gun and Long riddled him with bullets. The 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade, with the exception of the Three Rivers Regiment, traveled in the slow convoy. The ship was carrying 292 troops of the 1st Canadian Division and ten naval personnel. Having lost many vehicles at sea when the transports were torpedoed, the troops advanced largely on foot. Realizing the Germans were pulling back, British and American troops of US Fifth Army began marching toward Naples on 19 Sep. By the end of the month, the southern portion of Italy was under Allied control, including the major airfield complex near Foggia, which was captured on 27 Sep. Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Baytown and http://ww2today.com/3rd-september-1943-operation-baytown-the-invasion-of-italy, Canadian Nursing Sisters who died in the World Wars, The master of deflection – George Beurling, The unrecognized Ace – F/L William Alexander, Once RCAF… Always RCAF – Chalmers “Slick” Goodlin, Cape Bauld – Wartime Isolation – Cpl. The companies moved over rough terrain, but the advance patrols were able to provide guides and the movement went smoothly with their assistance, as well as the battalion scouts. Killed 05/07/1943. It is also possible that there were individuals of British descent serving with the Canadian division, or that some of the wounded passed away after 9 July and are mixed in with the casualties from the liberation of Sicily. The Germans had evacuated 60,000 troops plus thousands of tons of equipment, tanks, artillery and supplies across the Strait of Messina by the time Patton arrived. Strong winds caused havoc for the Americans, with troops being scattered widely over the south-east of Sicily. Sapper James Orr, Royal Canadian Engineers, 4, Private Harold Pedersen, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, HQ 1, Private Charles Melvin Campbell, Royal Canadian Service Corps, HQ 1, Private James Dryden, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, 9, Sapper William George Fowler, Royal Canadian Engineers, HQ 1, Lance Sergeant Gordon Glover, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, 1, Private James Earnest Hamilton, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, HQ 1, Lance Bombardier Leslie Tilson Patrick Keogh, Royal Canadian Artillery, 1, Private Archibald James Kenyon, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, HQ 1, Private Theo McMaster McCready, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, 9, Gunner Frank Boyers Martin, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, 1, Private George Martin, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, HQ 1. Italian troops on the coast, belonging to the coastal divisions, were poorly equipped, demoralized by the political situation and the massive Allied bombardment; they offered no resistance to the landing. Reference: https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/ships/2981.html. The initial objective was a series of goat paths leading up the cliffs. A patrol of the 48th Highlanders simultaneously entered Regalbuto itself, to find the enemy there had left. Italian resistance was light. In the area of Ragusa, the Canadian division received orders to stand down for 36 hours of badly needed rest. It started a second front forcing Hitler to back off his aggressive attack on our ally, Russia. The pressure from the Canadian public and from the Generals in the field, influenced Canada’s PM Mackenzie King to insist that the Canadians be involved. The Eddies had to rely on own 3-inch mortars until Britsh self-propelled guns arrived. Enna to Dittaino Station 22 km This was a walk on a really hot day along the bottom of a valley with temperatures up to 38c One of our members developed heat exhaustion that later required hospitalization over night. When it left Clyde on June 24 it carried 302 troops, 700 tons of military equipment, one landing craft and 2000 tons of sand ballast. That may be the way the generals saw it. At first, all went well, but resistance stiffened as the Canadians were engaged increasingly by determined German troops who fought tough delaying actions from the vantage points of towering villages and almost impregnable hill positions. Two days later, the British paratroopers captured Brindisi, again without resistance, although along the way the advance was met with German harassment. The converted passenger liner was declared a loss and in addition to casualties among the crew, six Canadian soldiers were killed. Allied Forces Headquarters - Mediterranean Supreme Commander: General Dwight D. Eisenhower. he men were young, of course, many just 18 to 24 years old. The German leader, Adolf Hitler, “canceled a major offensive at Kursk after only a week, in part to divert forces to Italy,” resulting in a reduction of German strength on the Eastern Front. The Americans, who had entered the war in 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor, had been advocating for a launch into mainland Europe as soon as possible. American General Patton wrote in a letter, “This is a horse race in which the prestige of the US Army is at stake...we must take Messina before the British.”. German artillery, mortars and machine-gun fire drove the Eddies to the shoulders of the road while the Shermans moved up. Generalmajor Paul Conrath, commander of the division, felt this right flank was the key to his entire defensive line. Although the Canadian Army had mobilized from Canada for the Second World War in mid-1939, the bulk of its force remained in the UK until 1943. Atkinson formally accepted their surrender. Killed 05/07/1943. The British had lost 11,843 while the Americans lost 7,402 killed and wounded. By late afternoon, the Dorsets dominated two roads leading into Regalbuto from the north and the northwest. If there was ever a spot to expect stiff resistance, this was it. Scaling the cliff, the company was reinforced and cleared Monte Fronte. It was an important action because it marked the beginning of the Italian Campaign. The collapse of Italy necessitated German troops replacing the Italians in Italy and to a lesser extent the Balkans, resulting in one-fifth of the entire German army being diverted from the east to southern Europe, a proportion that would remain until near the end of the war. It was clear to Patton that the British and American both had a goal in mind… be the first to reach Messina. The Teviot picked up a total of 204 survivors, the remaining survivors being rescued by HMRT Restive and HMS Rhododendron They were all landed at Algiers on 5 July. It was a fairly uneventful trip until about 3 kilometres before their destination went all hell broke out. Operation Husky: The Canadian Invasion of Sicily, July 10–August 7, 1943 Neither the British nor the Americans sought Canada’s involvement in invading Sicily.