#Story - Italy

The Canadians in Sicily

​​Among the Allies employed in Operation Husky were the 25,000 Canadians attached to the British 8th Army. Having landed near Pachino, they travelled 200km to reach Adrano. Their sacrifice is shown by the Agira cemetery, where almost 500 men are buried.

​​General Montgomery's 8th Army also included the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 1st Armoured Brigade under the command of Robert Wyman. The Canadians landed on 10 July 1943 on the Bay of Amber Coast. The I brigade landed on Sugar beach and quickly captured the Pachino airfield. Meanwhile the II, which arrived on Roger beach, headed for Ispica, which was occupied on the 11 July. On the same day the 1st advanced towards Rosolini.

On 12 July the Canadians reached Modica then Ragusa, liberated shortly before by the Americans, and stayed two days in Giarratana. On 15 July they moved towards Enna, passing through Vizzini, which had been liberated by the Scots. Many Italians were taken prisoner and transferred to the concentration camp in Priolo.

On the same day, the Canadians had their first clash with the Germans at Grammichele: they chased them as far as Caltagirone, where they entered on the 16 July.

On the 17th they arrived at Piazza Armerina and Mirabella Imbeccari; on the 18th at Grottacalda and Valguarnera; and on the 20th a reconnaissance patrol arrived in Enna along with the Americans.

On the 21st the II brigade attacked Leonforte, building the first Bailey bridge on Italian soil on Highway 121 and succeeding in conquering the town on the 22nd.

Meanwhile, the I brigade took Assoro. On the 24th the battle of Agira began, with the Canadians only conquering the town on the 28th. On the 29th together with the British forces the occupied Regalbuto. On 2 August the III brigade took part in the capture of Catenanuova. They built a bridgehead north of the Salso and from the Revisotto and Seggio mountains advanced on Adrano, which was taken on 7 August.

During the campaign the Canadians covered 200km. Losses amounted to 2,310 men, of whom 562 were killed. Most of the victims were buried in the cemetery of Agira.

Afterwards the Canadians continued the fighting in Italy under the command of Christopher Vokes, in the battles of Ortona and the Liri Valley. They then rejoined the 1st Army in the Netherlands, where they saw out the end of the war.