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The Sicily Landing

Heroes Remember

About the first day of July, we got instructions to move in to Malta, and it was, it was kind of exciting. Although, we ran into two German planes on the way over, you know they were still watching us. And we got in to Malta, and all our group, the flotilla, we went out, tied all up in a buoy, all in line. Starboard to port, starboard to port. And we sat there knowing something was going on, but not sure you know. And you get these buzzes what's going to happen, "Oh, we're going to go into Southern France from here." "Oh no, no, we're going to go into Italy." And so anyway. On the, I guess July 9th, we got instructions that all leave was cancelled, so we knew something was going on. So that night, we pulled out of Valletta Harbour, in Malta and we went around the island and we took on board a hundred and fifty troops and all the convoys were forming. And as you got towards Sicily you could see all these, the battleships coming in, the destroyers. And unfortunately, with the landing craft, the seas were rough and I think every soldier on that boat was sick, sea sick, yeah. I was down in the engine room, I didn't feel that great myself, you know, because of the fumes and the waves were quite high, it was stormy. And probably lucky for us because when we hit the beach in Sicily there was very little defence there. We just sort of moved in to it. We were beginning to think it was just like one of our practice landings. And so we got the troops off, the ones they staggered off, we felt sorry for them but then we went back to Tunisia and wait for the next instructions.

It's July, 1943 and the flotilla of landing craft is on the move expecting to see action soon, but not sure where. They were soon on their way to Sicily with each landing craft carrying 150 soldiers to the beach.

George Henry Foster McLean

Mr. McLean's father came to Canada from Scotland. He was a cooper by trade and was a member of the Royal Navy during the First World War. Mr. McLean was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and has two brothers and two sisters. He was second born, with one older sister born in Scotland. He received his education in the Vancouver school system. He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Navy just after his 16th birthday. He then spent five months in militia training before receiving a call-up to active service effective in May, 1942. Mr. McLean served in North Africa, Malta, Italy and was part of the D-Day raid at Omaha Beach.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
George Henry Foster McLean
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Leading Hand

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