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The Attack on Italy

Heroes Remember

We started off at around midnight in the Mediterranean and then we came in to Messina and it was about five o'clock in the morning when they lowered the door and we were about in two feet of water. We walked to the mainland without firing a shot. We went up the mountain and then we saw the position. It was all Italian soldiers there, but not the Germans. They all had white flag. So I was asking myself, what the heck, do they want to give up already? They were bombarded all night by the, it was a battleship bombarded them all night. And I had a guy beside me, he had a Bren gun. He wanted to fire at them. I said, “No, no,” I said, “forget it, they want to give up, we'll get them.” So I said, “Let's go, let's go and get them.” We went six of us, we got a whole Italian regiment prisoner that morning, a whole Italian regiment. And the colonel of that regiment, he had all his soldiers put their arms in a pile, in a big pile. And I asked him for his revolver, he wouldn't give it to me. “Well,” I said, “that's your right, but,” I says, “you're going to empty it.” He give me the bullets. I didn't want to get shot by him. So he gave me the bullets and he kept his revolver. And then the Italian in about three days after I think they capitulated, but then we had to face the German.

Mr. Clavel describes the Royal 22nd Regiment’s uneventful landing in Messina, Italy and advancing unopposed on Italian positions. He expresses surprise at the wholesale surrender of the Italian forces.

Roger Clavel

Roger Clavel was born in Sainte-Scholastique, Quebec on February 15, 1919. He was the sixth of eight children. After finishing grade eight, he sold donuts door-to-door. Mr. Clavel enlisted three days after the war started, on September 13, 1939. He went overseas as a Fusilier de Montreal, and while in England he was married. Mr. Clavel then joined the Royal 22nd Regiment in North Africa. During the Italian campaign, Mr. Clavel eventually ended up driving a medical supply truck. The Royal 22nd Regiment then rejoined the Canadian army in Belgium, but Mr. Clavel saw limited action. After returning to Canada, Mr. Clavel had to wait exactly one year for the arrival of his war bride.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Roger Clavel
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Royal 22e Régiment
Truck driver

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