Spr Harry Booy, 3rd Fd Coy 13 May 1944

Minturno War Cemetery with Monte Cassino in the background

Harry Booy was born in Spedden AB to Harasym “Harry” and Olga Booy into their large family of eight children. Harry had completed Grade 8 and had been living in Battleford, SK working as a truck driver for two years when he enlisted in the 8th Reconnaissance Battalion on 20 February 1941.  He had been serving in The Prince Albert & Battleford Volunteers since the previous July.  He was quite fit when he joined, but like most soldiers of the time, he was in need of dental care.

By July 1941, Harry was in England after having completed some training in Farnham QC. He continued training with the newly designated 8th Canadian Reconnaissance Regiment (14th Canadian Hussars) of the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division.  In March 1943, Harry was transferred to the Royal Canadian Engineers as a reinforcement and in April was assigned to the 3rd Field Company, RCE in the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. He qualified as Pioneer Group ‘C’ by October and Blacksmith Group ‘C’ by December.

In July 1943, Harry landed in Sicily with his company. In support of the 1st Division, he fought through the Sicilian Campaign, the boot of Italy, the Moro, Ortona and then across the Gustav Line.  

It was during the preparations for the Gustav Line battle that Harry died. On 13 May 1944, a party of sappers from No. 3 Platoon took an armoured 15 CWT truck and went down to the river 15 or 20 minutes after supper to wash.  Harry waded out to a deeper part of the river and was caught in the current and swept away.  It was not confirmed whether could swim, but it was thought unlikely.  Witnesses say he appeared to be in trouble and an attempt by Sapper Hunt to rescue him failed. His death was a declared a service-related accident and no indication of misconduct was attributed. Harry is buried in the Minturno War Cemetery along with 31 other Canadian soldiers including Sapper A Norris and Lieutenant WEW Steeves of the RCE.

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