Spr Louis Dinicol, 10th Fd Sqn 21 May 1944

Sapper Louis Dinicol - Gravestone at Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery

Louis Dinicol was born in Winnipeg MB, the son of Saverio and Mary Dinicol. He had completed Grade 10 and was working as a sheet metal worker when he enlisted on 14 October 1942 and was assigned to the Royal Canadian Engineers.  He completed training at A6 Canadian Engineer Training Centre at Camp Chilliwack BC and from there was sent to the UK, arriving on 8 April 1943 to join the Engineer Reinforcement Unit. He joined the 1st Bn RCE in June and was qualified Tinsmith Group ‘B’ when he was transferred to the 10th Field Squadron in September 1943. 

The 10th Field Squadron left England for Italy October 1943 destined for Naples. The convoy was attacked from the air on 6 November, sinking one of the ships carrying Canadians. No lives were lost, but Louis's ship was delayed for a day as it split from the convoy to help pick up the survivors.  The ship was unsuccessfully torpedoed the following day.

Once ashore in Italy, the Squadron took over well-used equipment and vehicles from the British 7th Armoured Division who were returning to England. The Squadron was moved over 200 miles southeast to the Taranto area and was attached the 1st New Zealand Division. Despite having to complete a great deal of vehicle and equipment maintenance, they immediately got to work on bridging and route repair and construction tasks. As the 5th Armoured Division gained strength in Italy, the Squadron moved closer and closer to the front relieving other Eighth Army formations. Their first action came on 17 January 1944 supporting the Perth Regiment in an attack in which four NCOs and two sappers were wounded. The Squadron was then moved back towards Naples to the city of Caserta. Again, bridging and mine training, rest and maintenance, as well as planning for the Liri Valley operation occupied their time.

In mid-May, the 5th Armoured Division started moving forward to the Hitler Line. On 21 May 1944, the 10th Field Squadron was waiting with the rest of the 5th Armoured Division to advance and support the Melfa River Crossing.  The time was punctuated by movement, waiting, movement, and more waiting. Crossings were built and mines were lifted. 1 Troop was working on road repair tasks and lifting mines near Aquino when a shell burst behind one of their section vehicles.  Three men were killed and ten others wounded. Among those killed was Sapper Louis Dinicol.  He is buried in the Cassino Commonwealth War Cemetery. 

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