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First Successful Amphibious Landing

Heroes Remember

First Successful Amphibious Landing

Interviewer: So the landing happened on July 10th, 1943 at Pachino. Pachino, that's right, yeah, yeah. Interviewer: And I take it this was the first amphibious landing in the European theatre that was successful. It was, yeah. Interviewer: So there must have been a lot of nervous people before this began. Oh, I didn't think, I thought for a while there when they were going in for that landing they were never gonna make it, because it was so rough, that water was just crazy. And I was talking to the Captain of that boat or Skipper or whatever it was and he, we were talking, and I said to him, "Are we gonna make it to land?" By this time we knew where we were going, we knew we were gonna land in Sicily, and, "Are we gonna make it?" He says, "I'll put ya there if I have to ground this ship." But it was, oh God it was rough. Interviewer: What was the resistance like when you landed? Oh, there was hardly any. I mean the, the Germans had drawn back, and the, the Italians were there and they were just giving up. I think in the Seaforth there was only, I think it was only two people killed in that landing. There was some wounded, you know, but there was only two people killed which is a pretty good percentage, you know. And as soon as we hit the shore we, well we got in there, as soon as everybody got there we just took off right straight ahead. Interviewer: This was not into the town of Pachino that you landed? No, no. Interviewer: So a lesson was learned from Dieppe. Oh yes. Oh, I think how, what we learned from there, not to go into place where there's a cliff.

The Allies first successful amphibious landing in the Second World War took place on July 10, 1943, at Pachino, Sicily. Smokey tells us about that landing.

Ernest “Smokey” Smith

Ernest “Smokey” Smith VC, CD, was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, on May 3, 1914, and was educated in elementary and technical schools there. He was the second of five children having an older sister, two younger brothers and a younger sister. Both brothers served in and survived the Second World War. Smokey left his work with a contracting firm to enlist with the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada in March of 1940 and began basic training with the Royal Canadian Regiment in Toronto. He went on to complete his training at Camp Borden before sailing out of Halifax in June of that same year on the Monarcher of Bermuda, heading for Europe and joining the regiment overseas a few months later. Smokey was injured while fighting in Sicily, but returned to battle a few months later in Italy. He was a private when he won the Victoria Cross, Canada's highest award for valour, at the Savio River in Italy on October 21-22, 1944. After the war, Smokey left the Army for a short time, but rejoined and served until August 1964, when he retired and was released with the rank of sergeant. After leaving the military Smokey and his wife established the Smith Travel Agency in Vancouver. In 1995, Smokey was appointed to the Order of Canada. At the time of his death on Aug. 5, 2005 Smokey Smith was the last surviving Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ernest “Smokey” Smith
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Seaforth Highlanders

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