In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2018, 1st Canadian Division raised the divisional flag of the Kingston Garrison, commemorating the beginning of Operation HUSKY 75 years ago during the Second World War.
At the same time, over 7,000 km away, five members from 1st Canadian Division started a 19-day, which will span 300 km in Sicily. The commemorative walk will mirror the path Canadian soldiers followed during their 38 days of combat 75 years ago. The commemorative walk, Operation HUSKY 2018, will see 1st Canadian Division members joined by nine other Canadian Armed Forces members, and will include ceremonies with the local population through 20 towns and villages.
“July 10, 2018 marks the 75th anniversary of Operation HUSKY which saw the Allies land in Sicily commencing the Italian campaign. It is of great historic significance for the 1st Canadian Division, who played a key role in the liberation of Italy from the Axis powers during the Second World War,” said Colonel James Davis, Chief of Staff (Readiness) of 1st Canadian Division.
“Operation HUSKY 2018 will be a unique opportunity to proudly walk more than 200 km through 20 towns and villages liberated by the Division, where, 75 years ago, our forbearers from the Division advanced inland after landing. It will be an emotional experience to visit the Canadian military cemetery in Agira, where 490 Canadian soldiers are buried. Our members will pay homage to our brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the liberation of Italian people.”
Operation HUSKY was launched by the Allies in Sicily on July 10, 1943, which marked the beginning of the Allied invasion of the island of Sicily. It was the largest seaborne operation in military history before the D-Day landings the following year, and involved 3,000 Allied ships and landing craft.
The fighting in Sicily lasted over four weeks and the Canadians battled through 100s of kilometers of mountainous Sicilian terrain. 26,000 Canadian soldiers participated in Operation HUSKY. There were 2310 casualties, 562 of them Canadian soldiers. As a result of Operation HUSKY’s success, the Canadians and their Allies secured the Mediterranean Sea for shipping, and moved on to mainland Italy in September 1943.
Operation HUSKY 2018 is a privately-led commemorative walk in Sicily Italy, led by Honorary Colonel Stephen Gregory, from 2nd Field Regiment, the Royal Canadian Artillery. It began on Tuesday, July 10 in Pachino, and will finish on Tuesday, July 31 in Catania. Canadian Armed Forces participants will march in combat uniform, and a ceremony will take place in each of the 20 towns the participants pass through, laying a wreath for the Canadians, Italians, and Germans who died in the war 75 years ago.
For more information on Operation HUSKY 2018, visit www.ophusky.org. For more information on 1st Canadian Division, go to www.forces.gc.ca/en/operations-how/1cdndiv-1divcan.page.