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Rough Convoy, Easy Landing

Heroes Remember

Rough Convoy, Easy Landing

Well in the fall of 1942, we were up, we went up to the mountains in Scotland (inaudible) we didn't know where we were going. I drove a jeep from, from Edinborough, Scotland down to Manchester, England. We got on the ship in Manchester. There was rumours that we were going to Greece. We didn't know where we were going until we were out at sea a few days and we, we were told, we were out, just got out to sea, we were told that we were on our way to Sicily, the invasion of Sicily. So we, the, the regiment is ready, well-trained and ready for a fight. You know, the Canadians wouldn't back down from anybody. But before we got there, we had lost three ships. Got torpedoed in the Bay of Biscay, just after we passed Gibraltar. I was sitting on the deck, nice hot day, of course it was July down to real beautiful weather and we didn't have too much of that weather in England. And I, I watched this torpedo going by, they missed us and I watched the, going by and hittin', hittin' the ship next to us, hit it in mid ships and the guys were the same as I was, they were laying on the hatch and ten minutes after they were still coming down out of the air. Blew. And I timed it, the ship, that ship. In seventeen minutes there was nothing left on the top of the water, she was gone...down. We lost three ships. The last one that, the last one, we, we could still see it burning when, on the horizon when we got out of...I just don't, I don't know how many ships we had in the convoy going. And a lot of our equipment was on the ships that went down. I know the drivers, it's the Canadian Army I guess another SNAFU the drivers of some of that equipment that was on my boat. The drivers were on a boat that got sank. We lost a lot of equipment. We got, when we got in the, I had drove a carrier a few times just practising in England, I was a three inch mortar man, I was a mortar man, I wasn't a carrier driver but I took it ashore. And the driver of the carrier, his carrier was in my ship and I was told I had to that one ashore eh. So I went ashore, took a carrier, Bren gun carrier ashore and as luck would happen I got on a pretty high spot because there's only a little trickle of water come over to the side of my carrier. A lot of them went down, went right down out of sight. We, we got strafed a few times as we anchored off, before we got ashore. And as I remember the sea was pretty rough, pretty rough and...But we went ashore, we never met any resistance for two or three days before we met any resistance ‘cause they pretty well softened up the beaches before we got in, the navy and the air. They bombarded the, the beaches with...We never had any, no resistance for three or four days... We went in on the 10th and I think that the biggest resistance we met was three or four days after we arrived there. And the Italians, the Italians didn't want to fight us. They didn't want to fight so you know, they, they, they didn't put up any resistance. We didn't expect it to be as easy as it was.

Though the convoy he was part of was attacked on the way, Mr. McInnis remembers how relatively easy it was to land in Sicily, although he was assigned a job he had little training for.

Alexander McInnis

Mr. McInnis was born in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, on September 7, 1919. His father was a section man for the CNR. He was the 3rd in a family of six (four brothers and one sister) of which his sister was the eldest. He joined the Cape Breton Highlanders without telling his parents when he was 20 years old. His four brothers also joined the forces. He started training in Baddeck, Nova Scotia, and then Victoria Park in Sydney until joining the West Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment. He went overseas May 12, 1940, and trained in Aldershot for three years. In 1943 he was sent by convoy to partake in the invasion of Sicily. After helping to free the town of Agira, he was sent across to southern Italy. After taking part in the Battle of Ortona he was wounded and ended up in the hospital in England for seven months. He then moved on to France, with the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry Division. After five more months of fighting in France and Holland where he helped in freeing the port of Antwerp, he was sent home to Canada.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Alexander McInnis
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Cape Breton Highlanders
Three Inch Mortar Man

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