Part 4 - Tributes to the Fallen Sappers of the Gothic Line

Aug 25

This is the fourth in a series of articles on the involvement of the Royal Canadian Engineers in the Gothic Line Battle.

The Gothic Line stretched over 300 kilometres across Italy from La Spezia on the west to the Foglia Valley on the east.  It was 16 kilometers deep and fortified with nearly 3,000 concrete-reinforced gun pits and trenches including Panzerturm (tank turrets set in concrete emplacements), machine-gun posts, anti-tank; mortar and assault gun positions; 120,000 metres of barbed wire and many kilometres of anti-tank ditches.

It was Field Marshall Kesselring's last line of defence in Italy. It took nearly a month of hard-fought battles for the Allies to break the Gothic Line. The US 5th Army was responsible for the western half, and the British 8th Army was responsible for the eastern sector. with the Canadian 1st Infantry and 5th Armoured Divisions fighting along the coast up from Ortona. It was the 8th Army's most deadly battle after Cassino and the Liri Valley.  At one point, the battles at Coriano Ridge were claiming 150 killed daily.  Eighth Army suffered over 14,000 casualties that month of whom 4,511 were Canadian.  Among the dead were 40 members of the Royal Canadian Engineers. Their role in the battle is described in the series Engineer Gallantry on the Gothic Line. The story of each of the dead is described here.

This is a list of the Royal Canadian Engineers killed during the Gothic Line Battle.  As much as possible we have researched each one and posted a short tribute describing their lives before and during the war and telling the story of the action that took their lives.