CATANIA, Italy, July 31, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today participated in the inauguration of the Operation Husky 2013 Canadian Display, a new and permanent exhibit to Canada's contributions during the Sicilian Campaign, at the Museo dello Sbarco military museum in Catania. The unveiling is part of a series of events taking place in Italy to mark the 70th anniversary of Operation Husky, the Second World War's Sicilian Campaign which took place from July to August 1943.
"This special exhibit will help ensure that visitors to the museum understand Canada's extraordinary service and sacrifice during the Sicilian Campaign seven decades ago," said Minister Fantino. "The exhibits focus on the tremendous efforts of the more than 25,000 Canadian soldiers who fought with Allied forces through extremely challenging conditions and the 562 of them who gave their lives in Sicily to defeat fascism and restore peace and freedom."
Soldiers from the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Army Tank Brigade joined the first Allied assault on Sicily in the early morning of July 10, 1943. The British and Canadian troops came ashore along a 60-kilometre stretch of coastline near Pachino, at the southern tip of Sicily. The assault was one of the largest seaborne operations in military history, involving nearly 3,000 Allied ships and landing craft. Fierce fighting lasted more than four weeks through kilometres of mountainous terrain. More than 2,300 Canadian soldiers became casualties, 562 of which were fatal.
Minister Fantino congratulated Operation Husky 2013 participants, a civilian Canadian contingent that concluded a 20-day commemorative journey to retrace the steps of Canadian soldiers. Their journey began on July 10 at the beaches of Pachino, and their symbolic march concluded in Agira. A group of 60 Canadian Armed Forces personnel also joined to take part in a portion of the commemorative march. A ceremony of remembrance was held at the Agira Canadian War Cemetery on July 30.
Through the Community Engagement Partnership Fund, Veterans Affairs Canada has provided financial support to the 3rd (Montréal) Field Battery of Artillery in support of in-Canada activities for Operation Husky 2013.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to defend the Republic of Korea and uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.