Seaforth Highlanders mark 70th anniversary of liberating Amsterdam


May 8, 2015 - Vancouver Sun Vancouver’s Seaforth Highlanders of Canada landed on the shores of Sicily on July 10, 1943, and fought across the island, gaining fame in the capture of the town of Agira, where the pipe-band arranged an evening ceremony of Beating Retreat.

With the German surrender of Sicily, the regiment crossed the Strait of Messina and fought its way along Italy, enduring many battles, including the toughest of all at Ortona, where the regiment suffered many casualties. The battle was fought throughout Christmas Day 1943 and the regiment’s padre, Major Roy Durnford, had organized Christmas dinner in a ruined church. The soldiers came in, company by company, to eat Christmas fare, then return to the battle.

Further north, in a battle to push the Germans back across the Savio River, Private E.A. (Smoky) Smith was awarded the Victoria Cross for destroying a German tank at close range with his PIAT rocket-firing anti-tank weapon. The regiment continued northward, skirting Rome and later, Florence, both cities protected by mutual agreement between the opposing sides.

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