Canadian Troops in North Africa

Discussion in 'North Africa & the Med' started by militarycross, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    Good Evening all. I was asked at the hockey game tonight if we had any ground forces in North Africa. I know we had the Navy, Merchant Navy and Air Force as well as some folks in services and Corps, but can not seem to find any reference point to specific regiments. So, I turn to my world wide encyclopedia of knowledge.

    Thanks for your help on this friends.
    phil

    And we lost the hockey game too!:(
     
  2. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    M.C.
    While no ground troops per se were involved in North Africa - quite a number of Officers and senior N.C.O's were attached to many British units - and many also died - under what was known as the "canloan" scheme in order to give them some battle experience - the invasion of Sicily by the 1st Cdn Div was not even on the radar at that time as it was a virtual last minute decision to replace the British 3rd Div who were booked for that task.- Maj Gen Salmond was killed on his way to Cairo to study the 3rd Divs plans -Symonds then took over....

    Close to November '43 - the 5th Cdn Armoured Div assembled in North Africa prior to landing in Italy - without tanks or vehicles - the understanding was that they would take over the 7th Armoured stock as they left for the Uk - unfortunately these vehicles had run past their "sell by" date by a few miles and so the 5th Cdn refused them - and waited until new stock arrived from the Uk - this did not endear them to many and thier first effort in action was to relieve the Seaforths and Loyal Eddies at the end of the Ortona action - some idiot shouted to the exhausted Seaforths that the 5th would now show them how to fight ......bad mistake as they then run into the 4th Regt of the 1st paras and wuz whupped - and again when they met with the Seaforths on the way out - Monty fired them and after a smalll engagement and banished them close to the American sector - Gerry Chester's 25th Tanks and my 21st Tanks then took over Tank support for 1st Div until they left Italy in Feb '45.

    It wa lot of fun with the Canuks

    Cheers
     
  3. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    M.C.
    Phil..... here is an article - 'wot i rote' - for the BBc series a few years ago - the Official Histry of that campaign by Lt Col Nicholson is extremely explicit with all the action - and the politics behind it - see Canadians in Italy 1943 -45 - should be in your ;ocal library.


    BBC - WW2 People's War - Canadians in Italy, 1944

    Cheers
     
  4. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

  5. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    Very useful, Tom & Highland51. I have the book on Canloan Officers and knew one fellow here in town who was one with the Royal Hampshires. Will turn there.

    It is as I suspected and said to my chum that other than being an assembly point for the Italy invasion, one might have suspected some of the services and corps to be represented.

    Thanks much.
    phil
     
  6. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    51st & M.C.

    I see that the Canloan system was inaugurated officially in late '43 for the NW Europe thingi but I recall fairly clearly that some Canloan people were in action in North Africa - the shield - which I can't enlarge also shows the Battleaxe of the 78th Div who were never near to NW Europe which sort of proves my point .... ?
    nessy pass !

    Cheers
     
  7. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Is this the shield, showing the make up of 8th Army and those that fought at Alamein?
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    51st HD -

    No No the 78th were not at Alamein -they were at North Africa -Italy and Austria - this shield was on the Canloan article showing the personnel and the regiments they served in.......all of them appeared to be NW Europe divisons- I am fairly sure can loan officers served in Niorth Africa - possibly with 78th and 6 th Armoured.....

    that shield you display for El Alamein is not correct as it shows that 78th - 6th Armoured - 4th Div's who were only in North Africa - not the Middle east - neither were the Canadians !- they were drafted into the 8th Army for Italy - the 1st Canadians for the Sicilian landings along with 51st HD - then Italy and joined by the 5th Cdn Armoured Div after Ortona...

    Cheers
     
  9. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    It is not just for Alamein, it is for 8th army, produced on 2nd anniversary of Alamein.
    I have some info somewhere on Canloan officers who served with 5th Camerons, pretty sure the first two were during North African campaign or Sicily.
     
  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    51st HD -
    Didn't know that - thought it was for Alamein only - the 46th and 1st Divs plus the two Tank bdes should therefore be included ???

    Cheers
     
  11. canuck

    canuck Closed Account

    I'm sure are many interesting stories arising form the mixing of Canadian officers with British troops. That old story of two peoples separated by a common language!
     
  12. militarycross

    militarycross Very Senior Member

    This Christmas Card - which looks like an early photo-copy - came to me today in a shoebox of things. L/Cpl Elwood Franklin was with the Royal Canadian Regiment, Mentioned in Dispatches for action in an infantry and tank action in the Simard Valley Area.

    Tom, you anything you would like to share about this part of the Italian Campaign?

    Cheers,
    phil
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    M.C.
    only too pleased to relate the history of those days.....at about the time of the writing of the Christmas card - they were having a bit of a rest after their activities around Campobasso and beyond in the hills clearing up the many villages in the area - e.g the RCR were in Duronia and the 48th were in Pietracupa and the H & P's in San Biase on the 4th November these are about ten miles North of the Biferno River and possibly 20 miles NE of Campobasso.

    The British 78th Div and the 8th Indian Div took over and went over the R.Sangro after quite a struggle as the weather had caved in by that time knocking down all the bridges and Monty firing his chief engineer for not knowing how high the River could surge !

    Back came the 1st and 2nd bdes of Canadians on the R Moro around the 4th dec
    and once over that River - the RCR came back and up to Sterlin Castle then on to San leaonardo where they met up with the Seaforths - who went on with the West Novas of 3rd bde towards Casa Berardi... the 1st bde by passed the Casa to the West and the Seaforths with the Loyal Eddies went down to Ortona where they had a very fine Christnas dinner with two bottle of beer for each man ... in the Church of of St Thomas (?) of Constantinople and a good time was had by all - for two hours each per company !!! .....as the Padre remarked that he was glad to see them all in Church at long last !

    The 2nd bde needed a great deal of reinforcing after Ortona and thus went back to the Lucera area North of Foggia Airfields where we joined them in the early spring of '44 for the next battle which was the Liri Valley Hitler/ Gustav lines. After Agnani near Rome we split up the 1st Div went back to the Naples ares and messed about in LCI's to conn Kesselring that the next landings would be in the Spezia area.

    Instead we crossed over to Fabriano and Jesi to start the Gothic Line battles oiver the Metauro on August 25th - Rimini falling on the 23rd September...I lost interest at that time and spent a few months luxuriating in various hospitals..and missed the nasty winter in the Mountains....!

    it was a whole bunch of Fun....

    Cheers




    Cheers
     
  14. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    M.C.
    that Christmas card was indeed an early phoyo copy - the 8th ASrmy was badly served with mail - until Monty took over in Aug '42 when he exhorted Churchill to "do somethging " about the mail from the uk as it was taking weeks by ship around the South African cape.....Churchill did and the "Airgraph " was born this was an ordinary A4 standard form on which we wrote our messages - this was then reduced to around 4x 4 inches - sent home by air - enlarged at the nearest P.O. to our home and delivered....by the time we were in italy these were redundant and we then had "green envelopes" which did NOt go through the censor ....
    Cheers
     
  15. dvallx

    dvallx New Member

    My father (1st Canadian Infantry Division) was deployed to North Africa while en route to join the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment in Italy as a reinforcement officer.

    He departed England on September 23, 1943, in a Mediterranean-bound convoy (the convoy may have been named "Herring"; he was assigned to anti-aircraft duty while in transit).

    I understand that the convoy stopped in Tunis or Tripoli, and the Canadian officers disembarked and took a train to Phillippeville in eastern Algeria.

    He is listed as "in the Field" on October 16, 1943, and posted to the 4th Brigade on November 2. He has identified as being in Foggia in November.

    Whether this indicates he was active in North Africa is questionable.

    The next listing is action at the Moro River on December 8th. He was taken POW near the Gully on December 13, 1943.
     
  16. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    http://www.convoyweb.org.uk/ seems to be down at the moment, so cant check on the convoy.
    The fighting in North Africa was over by Sept. 1943.
    Try a post in the North africa and the med. forum, someone will be able to help further.
    Welcome to the forum, btw.
     
  17. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Reme

    Purely in the interests of accuracy the fighting in Africa was over by 12th May '43 - Sicily - July 10th - August '43 - the invasion of Italy by 8th Army was on 3rd Sep '43 - and the US 5th Army on

    9th September '43- the fighting in Italy was all over on May 2nd '45...
    cheers
     
  18. RemeDesertRat

    RemeDesertRat Very Senior Member

    Of course! Badly worded response from me, not unusual though :)‚Äč
     
  19. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Dvallx -

    Something a bit off here as Cdn 1st inf Div only ever had THREE brigades not four - even 5th Armoured started off with two brigades an cobbled to-gether a third for the Gothic Line

    his ship would most likely disembarked at Tunis to rail back to Phillipville in Algeria ..and Foggia is still in Italy just North of Bari on the Eastern part of Italy...

    Cheers
     
  20. Pylon1357

    Pylon1357 Junior Member

    Although this post was quite some time ago. Tom, you are correct there were "Canloan" people in North Africa. Two that come to my mind are Paul La Prairire who at the time was a Lt if IIRC, and 88 Keyes, CSM Gordon Keyes. Both Mentioned in Strome Galaway's book With the Irish Against Rommel.
     

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