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A heavy load to carry

Canadian soldiers in Italy.
Photo: LAC PA-129781


As a great big elephant, I know all about carrying heavy loads! 75 years ago, Canadian soldiers began fighting in Italy during the Second World War. Italy has a very old culture that goes back many thousands of years. Battling there was compared to fighting inside a massive museum because there were so many historic buildings and old works of art.

It was difficult for our soldiers. The enemy was tough and the land was mountainous. In such a rugged environment, using trucks to transport supplies was often not possible so horses, donkeys and mules helped save the day. Their strong backs and sure footwork on steep, rocky paths helped deliver what our soldiers needed to be able to fight. Sometimes our soldiers would also jump on the animals’ backs to rest their weary human legs.

Canadian soldiers in Italy.
Photo: LAC PA-163669

More than 93,000 Canadians saw action in Italy between the summer of 1943 and early 1945. Sadly, almost 6,000 of them would lose their lives. Many pack animals also died. The object I contributed to our Heritage Fair project is an old horseshoe, just like the ones worn by many of these brave beasts during the war. From one strong animal to so many others—I trumpet their accomplishments!

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