Top Ten

Dr. Robert Meiklejohn kept a diary while working as a doctor during the Italian Campaign. This December, 1994 photo depicts the temporary burial grounds for Canadians troops outside the Casualty Clearing Station in Ravenna. Part of the corresponding diary entry reads: “The casualties from the Ravenna Marsh area were severe and although they were brought back to us quickly we lost what to us seemed a lot. Many were so badly shocked that they couldn’t be properly resuscitated; others were just too badly injured - usually with multiple wounds. One very young lad, who was only seventeen, kept insisting he was fine. He had no pain and didn’t realize how badly he was wounded. He died as a nursing sister held him.”

Harold B. Rushton was a flight sergeant pilot with the 450 Squadron of the RAF. During an operational flight over the roads of Avellino on September 20, 1943, his plane was shot down and hidden by Italian civilians until Canadian patrols showed up. This is an official report of the incident given by Rushton. It includes his description of landing behind German lines and giving himself first aid.

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C.S. McKee served in both the First and Second World Wars. He was the chief Signals officer of the 1st Canadian Corps during the Italian Campaign. This sixty-page scrapbook details Mr. McKee’s time overseas. It includes postcards, holiday greetings, event programs and newspaper clippings tracing his journey from Canada through England, Italy, Belgium and back home to Toronto after the end of the war.

A letter that Captain George Edgar Broomhall sent home to his daughter Anne.

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Evan Wake served in a tank regiment that landed in Sicily in July, 1943 and was involved in the battles for Ortona and Cassino. Mr. Wake drew this sketch in 1943 to reflect the Italian scenery near Campobasso while his tank convoy was delayed to check the road ahead for mines. He wrote the words "Save this. Evan" on the back and sent it to his wife.

'The "A" Company of the Westminster Regiment under the command of Major John Keefer Mahony was ordered in May, 1944 to establish the initial bridgehead across the River Melfa. Here, King George VI, traveling incognito as 'General Collingwood' awards Major Mahony the Victoria Cross for his exceptional bravery and leadership during this action. The investiture took place on July 31st, 1944 at an abandoned airfield near Raviscanina, Italy.'

E. W. Taylor served as an officer with the Governor General’s Horse Guards, the reconnaissance regiment of the 5th Canadian Armoured Division. He was in Italy from early 1944 through to early 1945. Mr. Taylor kept this menu from the officers’ mess New Year’s dinner for the Governor General’s Horse Guards on December 31, 1944. Mr. Taylor asked everyone in attendance to sign the menu. In his war diary for this date, he writes that the event made up for the Christmas dinner they lost after being ordered to move.

A commemorative plate given to Jessie Stewart when she retired from the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. Ms. Stewart was aboard an American ship that was torpedoed in the Mediterranean Sea while enroute to mainland Italy in 1943. Ninety-nine nurses were onboard and had to be rescued.

A letter that Canadian serviceman Kenneth MacNeil wrote to his wife while he was in hospital. The letter recounts many of his memories since arriving in Italy, including descriptions of the country's beauty and surreal feeling of actually getting to the front lines to fight for his family.

A Poster published by the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada Limited. The poster encourages the purchase of Victory bonds so that Brock junior would not have to finish his father’s fight in Italy.

A letter that Captain George Edgar Broomhall sent home to his daughter Anne.

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