Fifty five years ago, one of the biggest news stories of the summer was the invasion of Sicily by Allied Forces. For some, the memories will never fade because they were in the front lines of the first successful Allied push into occupied Europe.
Jack Wallace of Nepean remembers Sicily the way it was 55 years ago—the stifling heat, the billowing clouds of dust and the rugged mountain terrain. At the time, Wallace was a 23-year-old lieutenant commanding a squadron of Sherman tanks with the Three Rivers Regiment. The battle for Sicily—“the soft underbelly of fascism” as Churchill called it—was the first taste of war for Wallace and many other young Canadian, American and British soldiers.
Memories of the Sicilian campaign are still sharp for Wallace. Shortly after the war, he wrote a diary chronicling his experiences in Sicily as a favor to the parents of Mickey Dawson, a close friend. Dawson, a 24-yearold lieutenant, served alongside Wallace in Sicily and was killed in France after D-Day in 1944.
Wallace enlisted at 18 and received a commission with The Royal Canadian Dragoons. In January, 1941 he was transferred to The Three Rivers Regiment. Wallace and Dawson trained together in England and Scotland before embarking in June 1943 for the invasion of Sicily. Wallace’s diary presents a soldier’s-eye-view of one of the lesser known Canadian campaigns of the Second World War.
What follows are excerpts from Jack Wallace’s personal war diary.
"Shermans in Sicily: The Diary of a Young Soldier, Summer 1943,"
Canadian Military History:
4, Article 8.
Available at: http://scholars.wlu.ca/cmh/vol7/iss4/8