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39 Days in Sicily

Heroes Remember

There were a lot of Italian, very few German soldiers in, in Sicily. They didn't stop very long, they, they were fighting a rear guard action. They, they, just to slow us up. We didn't have too much hard fighting up in through Sicily, you know, it wasn't that difficult. We lost a few men but you know you lose a few men here in town, but you know, it wasn't that rough. We hadn't hit the rough spots up until that time. 1st Canadian Division cleared the Germans from that town and I, you know its so long ago I don't know how many casualties we had in Agira but they were very appreciative of us going in and freeing the town. That's why I was presented with this medal in 2000, when I went over. The terrain in Sicily was, it was outrageous. It was, you went up one hill and you know you've gone up another one and they were up on those hills and you know, you had to get up to them. But that was the toughest part of it. We finished up in Sicily, we finished up on Mount Etna ,the volcano, we finished up about half way up that volcano and when the war in Sicily was over, it took us thirty-nine days going through Sicily. But we didn't have too many casualties there, we never met the German soldiers ‘till we got, really got in the, after the 8th of September when the Italians surrendered.

According to Mr. McInnis, had it not been for terrain, the Sicilian campaign would have been relatively easy. Little did he know, he would later get a special medal for his work there, helping to liberate the town of Agira.

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
West Nova Scotia Highlanders
Three Inch Mortar Man

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