Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Seventy years ago, on the night of 9th - 10th July 1943, the Allied invasion of Sicily began, with the landings from the sea beginning at dawn on the 10th.  Codenamed Operation Husky, the landings involved the 7th US Army under General Patton [the "Western Task Force"]  and the 8th British Army under General Montgomery including the 1st Canadian Infantry Division [the "Eastern Task Force"].  It is worth noting that, with seven divisions, this was a bigger force than that which landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day [1944].  The beaches at Pachino were stormed by 25,000 Canadians and, whilst the Americans made rapid progress in the West, the British and Canadian soldiers met with fierce Italo-German resistance in the East. In the campaign, 562 Canadian soldiers lost their lives.

It is in memory of these soldiers in particular that commemoration ceremonies in Sicily have been organised by Canada Company during this month and volunteer marchers are retracing the route of the original march by the Canadian soldiers. There has already been a commemoration ceremony at Pachino and on Friday it will be Modica's turn. Among the visiting Canadians will be 92-year-old veteran Captain Sheridan ["Sherry"] Atkinson who more or less accepted the surrender of Modica. You can read the thoughts of another veteran, Charles Hunter, on the Canada Company website. On July 30th a morning roll call for the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives will be held at the Canadian War Cemetery at Agira.

In January I visited the Allied Landings Museum [Museo dello Sbarco] in Catania and tonight I would like to tell you that there is a smaller, but very lovingly curated, museum on this theme in Modica:  The brainchild of Andrea Blefari and Antonino Montalto, the museum has a well annotated collection of uniforms, medals, unpublished and personal documents, arms, military equipment and photos.  Andrea and Antonino's aim is not only to keep the memory of Operation Husky alive but, in their own words, "to teach the young about the price that is sometimes paid for freedom."

You can visit the Museo della Memoria in Modica by appointment and you will find details on their website.

Andrea and Antonino have now collected so many memorabilia of the campaign that they need more space for their museum and this Commonwealth citizen hopes that the Comune di Modica will soon provide it.

The museum photos speak for themselves but my favourite is the enormous WW2 field kitchen. The second portable kitchen that you will see is from WW1.

A total of 14,864 soldiers from Italy, Germany, the USA and the Commonwealth lost their lives during the Allied Landings in Sicily.


Sean Jeating said...

Ha ha ha.
Not seldom I can't but must laugh when noticing posts not getting any comments, while the most profane would get the most enthusiastic ones. :)

"Oh what a treat. Never ever saw such a most wonderful icecream in my life. Ever!"

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, blog comments are a law unto themselves, Sean. They are all welcome, nevertheless. The most read posts here are my recipe ones - and that's fine with me!

Andrea said...

We are a group of between 10 to 20 people from Malta. We are interested in history and so next March we will be visiting Sicily to visit some remains especially those that has to do with Operation Husky in which Malta was also indirectly involved. Can you please send me any relevant information regarding what to visit and were are museums, remains and others situated.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hello, Andrea. I see you've read the post on the Allied Landings Museum so presume you will be visiting that. I think you should contact . That's the Memorial Museum in Modica. I'm sure they will help you.


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