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Tanks in Italy

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: Tell me, how would you characterize Italy as tank country? Would you consider it to be good country for a tank regiment operation? No. Interviewer: Why is that? It was always one hill up and one hill down. Next hill. It was always very defensive. Easy for the Germans to defend because they always had the upper hand. They had the higher ground and could look down. Interviewer: And every river crossing was contested? Yeah. Interviewer: When you got to the Po River Valley area and you looked out on the Lombardi plane position, that must have looked like tank country to you. It would be flatter, would it not? Yeah, it would be flatter, but we knew from the news that it had been flooded and therefore the tanks couldn't move very well in mud. And we held, we were up there for, well I said till the 24th of February. The 24th of February, they pulled us out and sent us to Leghorn and then from there to Marseilles. And from Marseilles, we went up to Menai, which was on the border between Belgium and France. A-Squadron did a shoot at Hogwall Forest and then we moved up from there to Nijmegen and Nykirke and did the square there at the end of the war. Nijmegen, Nykirke, Barnesville. Interviewer: Tell me, just before you leave Italy, and we'll deal with this other, the move into Northwest Europe, when Rome fell on June 5th. Of course that would be considered to be a great victory for the Allies in Italy. Mussolini, by that time, had been gone a month and a half. The situation was looking very positive. The very next day was D-Day Invasion, Northwest Europe. Interviewer: How would you characterize what happened after D-Day to what happened before? The only change it made to us was the fact that reinforcements were hard to get. And many of the people, the wounded that were slated to go back to Canada, back home, the third time wounded you went back, even that was cancelled. They had to return to their unit as soon as they were able. That's where Lady Aster called us the "D-Day Dodgers". Interviewer: What was your reaction when you first heard that? Well, we thought it was a nice title. Why not use it!

Mr. Dowie describes Italy through the eyes of a tank driver and the impact of D-Day on the Italian Campaign. They were called D-Day Dodgers.

Vernon Dowie

Mr. Dowie was born in Montreal on August 9, 1920. His father was from Jamaica and was a medical doctor who trained in Cambridge, England. His father did not have a medical licence in Canada and thus worked at a variety of jobs including painting and as a railway porter. Mr. Dowie joined the Three Rivers Regiment in August 1940 and was part of the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade. He trained in England and served in Italy, Sicily, and Holland. He is still involved with the Three Rivers Regiment.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Vernon Dowie
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Three Rivers Regiment
Tank Driver

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