The Italian Campaign was often called “The Engineers War” because military success was so dependent on overcoming the numerous natural and artificial obstacles.
The Government of Canada is planning an overseas commemorative program to mark the 75th anniversary of the Italian Campaign. Around 26 November 2019, the approved delegates will travel to the Canadian departure city to join the delegation before departing for Italy.
The official delegation will travel overseas to attend remembrance ceremonies and events at several sites in Italy from approximately 27 November to 6 December 2019.
The Colonel Commandant would like to nominate several RCE representatives to these ceremonies and events. As an indication of the number of sapper units in this campaign, honours were received by more than 80 Canadian Sappers from the following units: 1st Canadian Corps HQ and 1st Canadian Infantry Division & 5th Canadian Armoured Division HQs; the 1st, 3rd,4th, 12th, 13th and 14th Field Companies; the 1st and 10th Field Squadrons; the 2nd Field Park Company; the 4th Field Park Squadron; the 1st Drilling Company; the 1st Canadian Bridging Platoon; the 1st Electrical & Maintenance Platoon; and the 5th Mechanical Equipment Section; It should also be noted that during the Italian Campaign, Sapper officers commanded the 1st Canadian Corps and 1st Canadian Infantry Divisions - Lieutenant-General ELM Burns and Major-General Chris Vokes respectively.
We have published a complete list of these honours at RCE Honours - WW II Italian Campaign on our website.
When considering a nomination for the pilgrimage, please consider his level of comfort and ability to share information with others or make informal presentations about their military service. Delegates will participate in a full schedule of events so some days can be tiring. It should also be noted that the weather in Italy in November is typically cold and sometimes rainy, and the majority of events will be held outdoors. A medical team will accompany the delegation but ll delegates must be in good health. Veterans Affairs will ask nominees to have their family physician certify that they are in good health and that they can withstand the rigours of travelling overseas. The delegation doctor will also review the medical forms for each nominee to provide final approval.
Veterans over the age of 80, or those who have a medical condition that requires help with daily living requirements, are required to choose a caregiver to accompany them on the trip. The caregiver will be required to remain with the delegate at all times. Additional details regarding the role of the caregiver will be provided to the nominated Veteran. All travelling and living expenses for the Veteran and their caregiver in Canada and overseas will be the responsibility of Veterans Affairs Canada.
If you are aware of any Sapper WW II Veterans of the Italian Campaign who would be interested in joining this delegation, please submit his name and WW II unit to History.Heritage@cmea-agmc.ca by 10 August 2019. We will follow-up to provide the details of the nomination process.