Discussion in 'All Anniversaries' started by colinhotham, Jun 27, 2013.

  1. colinhotham

    colinhotham Senior Member


    The 10th of July 2013 is the 70th anniversary of OPERATION HUSKY. This was the invasion of the island of Sicily which at the time was held by the Axis forces of Germany and Italy.
    A decision had been made by the Allies that on the defeat of the Axis in North Africa, that Sicily would be used as a stepping stone to continue the advance into Europe.

    I have visited Sicily on a number of occasions. Circumnavigated it by bus and train and travelled north to south many times, as I traced the routes of the British and Commonwealth 8th Army, The US 7th Army and the Canadian 1st Division.
    This operation was notable for the following:

    The General Patton slapping incidents.
    The Audie Murphy SNAFU comment.
    The Combat Engineers and their “Bridge in the Sky”
    Alec Guinness the actor (Later Sir Alec) in command of an LSI. (Landing ship infantry)
    The battle for the Malati Bridge (3 Commando Army)
    The reporting of Ernie Pyle, famous American war correspondent.
    And many other outstanding stories.

    As a tribute and commemoration, I have chosen to write a short biography of three of the soldiers who died during the 38 days of the operation. One British, one American and one Canadian.

    Colin Hotham.

    There is nothing we can do
    for the ones beneath the
    wooden crosses except to
    pause and say, 'Thanks pal' (Ernie Pyle)
  2. colinhotham

    colinhotham Senior Member


    Horace John Clements was a Londoner born in 1915 and married to Mary Louise Stallwood in December 1937. He was employed as a painter before joining the Army as a private in the Royal Artillery.
    As a member of 215 Battery, LAA Regt, he landed on Sicily as part of Operation Husky. By then he had been promoted to Sgt.
    On the 8th of August 1943 he and a friend lit a fire on the beach at Agnone, Sicily. Unknown to them it was lit on top of a mine buried there. In the ensuing explosion Sgt Clements was killed and his friend severely wounded!
    Sgt Clements is buried in the Syracuse War Cemetery on Sicily.
    His daughter Barbara was born after he left England, so he never saw her. It is to Barbara I am indebted for supplying the documents and photo used to prepare this story.

    Attached Files:

    4jonboy likes this.
  3. colinhotham

    colinhotham Senior Member


    Louis A. Szatalski was born in Albany New York in 1917. In 1941he joined the US Army and having been drafted, he reported to Camp Upton, Long Island for training, where he joined the 36th ECB.
    He landed with Company C at Licata, Sicily on the 10th July 1943 and he was killed on the same day. He was buried in a temporary grave in the American Licata Cemetery the following day.
    After the war his remains were reburied in the Sicily Rome Cemetery, at Nettuno on mainland Italy.
    My thanks go to Larry Duzal (SonofaMP) for his research assistance.

    Attached Files:

  4. colinhotham

    colinhotham Senior Member


    Bruce Donald Davison was born on the first of June 1920. He lived and worked on the family homestead in Deep Creek, British Columbia, before enlisting in the Canadian Forestry Corps in 1940.
    In 1941 he travelled overseas with No.7 CFC to Scotland and while working there met and married Margaret Cameron. In 1942 he re-trained for combat and was posted to the Loyal Eddies in April 1943. The Canadian 1st Division was included in the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) and by the 27th July 1943 he had landed there.
    In the fierce fighting for the high ground near Agira, he was killed. In 1944 his body was moved from the temporary burial site and moved to the Canadian War Cemetery, Agira, when it was set up.
    His daughter Ann was born in June 1943 after Bruce had left for Sicily.
    My thanks go to Len Gamble for use of material from his excellent book SO YOUNG THEY WERE (Armstrong's fallen of the Second World War), which I found to be a good research tool and a good read as well

    Attached Files:

  5. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron


    What a splendid idea to use these three deaths to commemorate the battle for Sicily.

    As a callow youth, I received my first introduction to modern warfare here and still have vivid memories of my month on the island.

    For all the D Day Dodgers, Sicily was where we started our tortuous campaign and I am so pleased that I was able to return with my wife to see the much more beautiful side to the Island.

    Best regards

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Well done Colin.....looking forward to meeting you once more in July - my time on Sicily was in the 33rd Gen Hospital being patched up with skin grafts etc - but within sight of Etna - then Taormino- with it's unforgettable sun rises

    Tricky Dicky likes this.
  7. Brian Smith

    Brian Smith Junior Member

    Colin thank you for posting this timely reminder of those involved in Operation Husky.

    Those who have seen my posts will be aware I am tracing my Dad's service and I find he landed on George Beach on 10 July with 33Beach Brick.

    He never felt able to share these experiences but it is good to be able to relive them through others.

    Regards Brian
  8. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    reposting here our memorial to those fallen in Sicily
    The Nominal Roll prepared in May 1946 for the 4th Durham Survey Regiment RA contains a group of four men killed in Sicily on the same day –27 July 1943.

    They were all KIA
    L/Bdr Brougham R. E.
    Gnr Cairns J.
    Gnr Dunn A. R.
    Gnr Mort L.

    We have the following from Paul Wood .. writing about his father Robert Leslie Wood who was a Driver i/c in the regiment
    ***** Uncle Jimmy proved invaluable as his memory was clear and he was able to provide the level of personal detail which makes a story come alive. For example, we were enthralled as he described how dad was wounded and nearly died.

    Dad was either driving or front passenger in one of the big 15 cwt army trucks when it was hit by an 88 German shell. The six Gateshead lads in the back were immediately killed; two further were injured. Shrapnel from the shell then came through into the cab and thence into our dad’s back. He was knocked unconscious and dragged clear of the now burning wreck by another Gateshead lad following in the truck behind. He was carted off to a field hospital and then on to Cairo for recuperation. A few inches to one side and I would not be sat here typing.******

    We have a copy of the war diary for July 1943 for the Regiment and the individual batteries/light scale parties who took part in the invasion but have found no mention of this loss of men in one incident. Although the 4th Survey were often close to the front line they suffered few casualties (except for the sinking of the Italian POW ship after the fall of Tobruk in1942).

    So we continue to search for more details of this incident.



    There were two more deaths in the regiment in Sicily
    Gnr Howes T.H. was KIA on 23 July 1943
    L/Bdr Backhouse Died B.C. on 15 August 1943
  9. Uncle Jack

    Uncle Jack Member

    Our four are buried together
    BROUGHAM, ROBERT EDWIN Lance Bombardier 946550 27/07/1943 24 Royal Artillery United Kingdom Coll. grave III. G. 39-42. CATANIA WAR CEMETERY, SICILY CAIRNS, JACK Gunner 916154 27/07/1943 23 Royal Artillery United Kingdom Coll. grave III. G. 39-42. CATANIA WAR CEMETERY, SICILY DUNN, ROBERT Gunner 904238 27/07/1943 23 Royal Artillery United Kingdom Coll. grave III. G. 39-42. CATANIA WAR CEMETERY, SICILY MORT, LLEWELLYN Gunner 884269 27/07/1943 32 Royal Artillery United Kingdom Coll. grave III. G. 39-42. CATANIA WAR CEMETERY, SICILY

    From CWGC
  10. fish99

    fish99 Junior Member

    sorry to bring up an old thread, but thanks for posting this. My partner is the great niece of Sgt Horace Clements. All we have is a picture of Sgt Clements headstone and a photo of service personel standing around a make shift grave. thank you for providing details of the circumstances surrounding Horaces untimely death. Regards

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