Elgins Left Old Syracuse
In Big Hurry on the Night
of Their Sicilian Landing
Commanding “A” Squadron, Elgin Regiment
The Elgins – or some of the Elgins – first got into action in Sicily. There are incidents – highlights and lowlights – connected with that campaign that I am sure few of the boys will ever forget. Time has a tendency to make them amusing but there weren’t so funny when they occurred. We left the British Isles on June 25, 1943 and finally reached Algiers – and still we didn’t know where we were going. Then the invasion was on and we were taken down near the island of Pantellaria. Every morning, for three mornings, we’d wake up and see some island out in front of us.
We seemed to be going around in circles. The next thing we knew we were in Malta, and sat there for a day. Then on the night of July 15 we started for Syracuse and were going to land. We knew where we were going then.
The 18-day and night trip on the old Cameronia, which had been torpedoed the previous trip with the crew decidedly jittery, wasn’t especially funny, with none of us knowing just where we were going, but we were on our way. The night landing off Syracuse is something that do doubt will be remembered long and vividly. Soldiers usually are anxious to get into a town, but I never saw a gang so anxious to get out of a town as that night of July 15, 1943 when we hit the beach and sort of
Fat Lost Ten Pounds!
We had no idea where we were to camp until some chap struck a pistol in my ribs and wanted to know who we were. I told him we were Canadians and he said we could camp in the field nearby, as his bunch was moving out. I leaned against a picket fence the rest of the night directing stragglers into that field. Nineteen of our outfit came along the next morning travelling in an Italian cart, drawn by a puffing donkey, which they had borrowed. That camp in reality was only about four miles from Syracuse, but it seemed like 100 miles that night.
We weren’t called the Elgins in Sicily. We weren’t designated as a squadron of the Elgins. We were the T.D.S., No. 1 Tank Delivery Squadron.