Monday, November 20, 2023

Research: Three Months in the Mediterranean, 1943 (15)

 The First Photographs of Canadians Landing in Sicily. OUCH!!

Cameras and 'Photo-Communications' Have Improved Since 1943

Canadian forces land on the beach at Pachino, Sicily, on July 10th, 1943
Source: Not The (Montreal) GazetteRecognizable shot found here
Same photo found at another source with a more informative caption:
Troops from 51st (Highland) Division unloading stores from tank landing
craft (LCTs) on the opening day of the invasion of Sicily, 10 July 1943


I feel The Gazette has delivered a lot of fine details about Operation Husky up to this point in my series related to news clippings found on microfilm stored at the University of Western Ontario (UWO in London, Ontario, Canada) situated on a lovely property in the north end of the city, about a 65-minute walk from my front door. Truth be told, I'm looking forward to wintertime again because that's when I do most of my research at UWO, e.g., walking to the basement at Weldon Library, scrolling through one of thousands of reels of film, and approx. two hours later returning home with hundreds of copies of classic WWII stories safely packed onto a USB stick. 

[Family Thot: My mother did research re family history, wrote letters for information by the score to libraries and churches in England and Scotland, waited months for a single shred of evidence we were related to so-and-so from this parish or shire, etc., and eventually typed up her findings for each of her children. What a chore. I appreciate it now! And she would fall over to see the amount I can find and share from one 80-year-old newspaper. And I have hundreds at my fingertips, so to speak.]

All of the above being said, photographs found in microfilm related to The Gazette are pitiful. Fortunately, we have the internet and access therefore to excellent copies of millions of photos at various locations, sites, etc. 11,000,000 at Imperial War Museum alone. And sometimes I can find a photo exactly the same as the one shared by a 1940's newspaper or at least one that depicts the same event... somewhat, or indirectly, or at the very least in a way that informs me and my fair-minded readers about the written facts at hand. Or so I believe.

News clippings follow from the July 22nd, 1943 issue of The Gazette are accompanied by a few 'better photos' and links to related materials. I've had a string of good luck lately finding 'related materials', so please look forward to a post that will direct readers to items that help expand the story of the role of Canadians in Combined Operations, the men of the barges*, though one sailor said, "Don't call 'em barges." A news clip with that headline can be found somewhere in this archive. Happy hunting, I say, because exactly where I cannot say. (?)
[*re barges. I have recently learned that two Canadians were members of COPP, Combined Operations Pilotage Parties, involved with reconnaissance of foreign shores aboard canoes or other small craft, before landing crafts loaded with troops and all materials of war came ashore during various raids and operations. So, the role of Canadians in Combined Operations is wider than I before knew. Stay tuned for more information.]

The headline suggests the Allies are gaining the upper hand. An editorial cartoon that follows well down below adds to that 'suggestion.'

One barely sees an LCM (landing craft, mechanised) or LCT (landing craft, for
tanks) and troops coming ashore. One soldier appears to be hand drawn. If you
can find the original, please let me know at
(The original caption appears with another Gazette photo below*)

Related Photos:

A number of craft off the coast of Sicily. Photogr. Captain Frank Royal. 
1st Sicily Invasion Pictures, 1st Cdn Div. CAFU, Album 61, 10 July 43

1st Canadian Division hauling transport up from the beach. No. 21090
Canadian Army Film Unit, CAFU. Pachino, Sicily (vicinity) 10 July 1943

Operation HUSKY. Men of the Highland Division wade ashore from landing
craft during the landings in Sicily, 10 July 1943. Photo credit to Sgt. F. 
Wackett, with No. 2 Army Film and Photo Section. NA4193, IWM

*caption appears below for the first Gazette photo shared above:

I have seen a good quality copy of the photo above but cannot recall where it is located. Help Wanted.

The City of Messina is still miles and miles farther north along the eastern coast as far as Canadian troops a re concerned, but they are making progress near Enna, about 40 miles west of Catania (see map about 30cm south of here!):

U.S. and Canadian troops are inside the blue circle (center). Sailors in the 
80th and 81st Flotillas of Canadian Landing Crafts are inside the red circle,
lower right, near the towns of Fontane Bianche and Gallina, respectively.

Photo from LIFE Magazine (Aug. 2, 1943 issue) as seen at Catania's
"Museum of Allied Landings in Sicily, 1943"

Make For Messina continues:

Enemy prisoners on the road from Modica moving back. Photo 21806,
as found in Album 61, Canadian Film and Photographic Unit (CFPU)

Make For Messina continues:

Don't believe me? Just look out the window then!

Another informative article by Canadian war correspondent Ross Munro:

Major-General Guy Simonds, General Officer Commanding, 1st Canadian 
Infantry Division. Pachino, Sicily, 11 July 1943. Photo 21786, CAFU

The following "News Digest" provides information from Sicily and other war fronts:

I've plugged the Canadian troops and sailors (RCNVR) once or twice already so it seems fair to mention the role played by the Canadian Air Force:

Two aerial photographs follow that depict the heavy bombing on select targets by Allied forces; the first is from The Gazette and the second, with better quality, is from the Library of Congress.:

Aerial bombing of German railroad yards at Siena during Operation Strangle.
On the alternate line from Pisa and Florence south to Rome, the Siena yards were
bombed by Mediterranean Allied Air Force Bombers. Photo: Library of Congress

The Gazette's editorial cartoon tells a tale from another war front:

Time for a break in the action? I recommend Royal Stewart Dry Ginger Ale. If only we could find a bottle:

This day's newspaper clippings conclude with a smear of the Italian troops by a Nazi newspaper:

More newspaper clippings from Montreal will soon follow.

Please click here to read Research: Three Months in the Mediterranean, 1943 (14)

Unattributed Photos GH

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