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Transcript (Part 1 - Sicily):

Gilbert Hyde
When we got on the Rundle Castle which was a British troop ship and we knew we were some place.  We didn’t know where.  We knew we were going some place and by this time we had our tropical gear of course.

Samuel Lenko
And it was finally when we were outside the Mediterranean somewhere, where they told us where we were going to go, to Sicily.

Robert Horowitz
During the voyage from Gibraltar to Sicily, we were attacked by, I think it was six subs, if I remember correctly.

Elizabeth “Betty” Brown
Our supply ship was hit, with all our supplies for tropical dress and all the rest of it plus our medical supplies.

Samuel Lenko
These little corvettes got in the circle in this one area and they were throwing depth charges and, in this one area, all at once this thing like a cigar, it came out of the water way up and then down a little and I was standing on the bow there watching and it blew and it was on fire and it went down.  It was gone.  It was a submarine, a German submarine they got.

Edwin Laird
The time we went in there that was the largest invasion force that had ever been amassed in history.  I think there were something over 3000 ships.

Ralph Paulsen
The Mediterranean was so rough that it smashed the landing craft so we were delayed for a day.  So on the 10th, at two o’clock in the morning they lowered another landing craft.

William Chipchase
Going down there’s buddy, scrambling nets and the old ships would go like this, and she’d bang and you’d hope to God when you get down to the bottom that you were going to hit that landing craft.

Ralph Paulsen
And we had all our fighting equipment on weighing perhaps 70 or 80 pounds and when we ran off that platform, we ran into ten feet of water.

Maurice White
Your main thought is to get to shore as fast as you can.  Like I say in the water you have no protection whatsoever and at least when you get to shore you have some cover.

Robert Wigmore
My first task was to blow up the barb wire that was along the shoreline and we did what we called a Bangalore torpedo.  It was an eight foot piece of pipe packed with explosives and just pushed it under the wire and light your match to it and it would blow up.

Ralph Paulsen
We were to shoot anything, any person we saw walking and about four o’clock in the morning the first people we saw walking down the beach were three nuns.  Nobody fired a shot, thank goodness!

Edwin Laird
We had a couple ofMesserschmitts, whatever they were, strafed us a couple times but there wasn’t much aircraft though.

Maurice White
Still it hadn’t got to the point of being real fighting yet, you know, there wasn’t enough.  It was almost like a manouevre.

William Chipchase
And the dust was about six inches deep and hot.  My god you couldn’t hardly breath, just like flour.  The guy ahead of you, and you’d see he would, got a hundred pounds of flour through over time there was so much dust and that.

Robert Horowitz
It was fun and games.  That was one of the rules that Colonel Booth said we had to keep our equipment clean and you can’t.  There’s no such thing as keeping your equipment clean in these kinds of dust storms you get there.

Ralph Paulsen
We got sunburned through our shirts and the medical officer made a concoction of iodine and olive oil and he used that for a suntan lotion and it worked.

Maurice White
In Ispica, that was the second town we went in, we sent I think it was seven guys on a patrol into this town and they fired a couple of shots and I believe it was 2,700 Italians just, you know they were ready to quit before we even got there.  So, it seemed like we were going to have a pretty easy time.

William Thexton
We hadn’t gone very far when I saw a lot of black dots in front of us and on the side in the field on the right and I looked at them through my binoculars and they were carriers and as we got closer I realized it was the entire Hampshire Regiment’s carrier platoon.  Everyone of them knocked out and the crew’s bodies still in them

Samuel Lenko
And I looked up on the hill and I could see this German mortar firing.  Just seen 40 of them were in the air and come down and it blanketed our Bren gun carrier and our crew because they were right out in the open.  They were blown apart, on fire.

Ralph Wallace
I had an extra package, I gave it to him and I just turned and stepped away, he was cut right off here.   I heard him make a noise.  I turned and looked.   I had a hard time keep my dinner down.  He handed me the package of cigarettes that I had give him and he said,  “Here, I won’t need these now.”

Alexander McInnis
You know our nurses and doctors they, they,  my God they worked hard because there were a lot of wounded in there.

Edwin Laird
Too many of us were sick... malaria, jaundice, dysentery.

Elizabeth “Betty” Brown
And it was the medical officers who were good scroungers and they got a cache of German supplies, they found them that the Germans had left.  So that’s what we started with when we first started.

Ernest “Smoky” Smith
They would take a position and they would stop you right there you know they had 88's and when those things went off and mortars, the whole works. You could always tell when they were leaving because they’d throw everything but the kitchen sink at ya!

Robert Wigmore
They’d shell for about five or ten minutes, maybe and a half an hour break and then they’d shell again so all together we had 12 men killed and 23 wounded.

Edwin Laird
Almost every real strategic tough target was given to Canadians.

Vernon Dowie
At Agira, Germans had blown the bridges and the railroad bridges still existed.  The Colonel decided that we’d take the tanks across the bridge, the railroad bridge, into the valley which surprised the Germans.  They didn’t expect us to be there.  So we went up and that’s where we took Adrano.

Robert Horowitz
Our policy was to chase the German’s tanks and when they got close enough we found we couldn’t hit them because our shells were not long, we couldn’t fire them long enough and the Germans could with their 88's.  So we used to turn around and high tail it out of there.  But what we did was turn our turret around, but the Germans couldn’t do that. They were on an angle like this.  The 88's would only go from there to there.  They couldn’t understand this.  Here we’re running away, we were hitting them and knocking tanks out.

Robert Wigmore
And the Germans waited until we got almost into Grammichele.  They knocked out the first and the last tank and that meant we couldn’t move then because the roads were too narrow.  We couldn’t turn them around so because we were so well trained we automatically just dived off the tanks and charged right away and it was only about 150 yards we were in on the Germans before they could reload and took the town.

Samuel Lenko
If we caught anyone I’d holler out in German like I’d say, “German soldier, come on in with your hands up.  We’ll take you as prisoner of war.”  And mostly they did.

William Chipchase
How we ever did it, I don’t know.  You could see miles around just as clear as a bell.  The Germans standing up there seeing every little movement that we made.

Gilbert Hyde
And we went up to a, sort of probed our way up into Palermo and that was the end of it as far as Sicily was concerned and then it was a little hiatus until they started the invasion of Italy.

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