Spr Ivan Kenneth Halvorson, 10th Fd Sqn

Gradara Commonwealth Cemetery, Pesaro, Italy

Ivan Halvorson was born in Vantage, Saskatchewan to John Halvorson and Mary Halvorson, both immigrants from Norway.  He was eighth in a family of ten children. His family relocated to Fairview, Alberta where Ivan completed his schooling to Grade Eight. He enlisted in the Canadian Army in May 1941 declaring his trade as labourer and farm worker on the family farm. He was assigned to the 10th Field Squadron, Royal Canadian Engineers and kept in Edmonton until mid-August when he joined his unit in Petawawa, Ontario for training. He returned to Fairview in September to marry Dorothy Withrow.

The Squadron arrived in Scotland in December 1941 and established themselves in Surrey in England.  He was qualified as Pioneer Group ‘C’ in September 1942 and later as a Driver Class III in January 1943.  He was appointed Acting Lance Corporal in November 1943 just while the Squadron was en route to Italy. He was appointed Lance Corporal in February 1944.

On 21 May 1943, Ivan was wounded during the fighting at the Melfa Crossing. He spent nearly three weeks in hospital until returning to his unit in June.  He also relinquished his Lance Corporal appointment at his own request.

After the Liri Valley Campaign and Melfa Crossing Campaigns, the 10th Field Squadron moved up through Tuscany and by August 1944 found itself on their way to the Gothic Line on Italy’s east coast.  Most tasks along the way involved route construction and maintenance with a heavy emphasis on mine clearing and crater repair.  The work was dangerous, and with the exception of being wounded on the Melfa, Ivan managed not to get hurt.

Tragedy struck while they were preparing for the assault on Coriano Ridge on the morning of 11 September. Harry with other members of the Squadron were having breakfast in shifts near a kitchen truck.  A stray shell hit the kitchen tent causing 28 casualties – six killed outright, three seriously wounded who later died of wounds, and 11 seriously injured.  Ivan died in hospital later that day.  He is buried in the Gradara Commonwealth War Cemetery in Italy. He left a wife and a son in Fairview. was 28 years old.

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