Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

November 27, 2009 15:23 ET

Government of Canada Delegation Departs for Italy to Mark the 65th Anniversary of the Italian Campaign

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 27, 2009) - From 1943 to 1945, nearly 93,000 Canadians fought in the Italian Campaign. Of those, nearly 6,000 Canadian lost their lives. To mark this significant campaign, the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, will lead an official Government of Canada delegation in Italy from November 28 to December 5. Before they departed, there was an official send-off for delegates at Toronto's Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Participating were students from Leaside High School, Veterans from the Italian Campaign as well as Veteran residents of the hospital.

"Together, we will honour those courageous Canadians who served in the Italian Campaign, one of the longest and fiercest struggles of the Second World War," said Minister Thompson. "The values of peace and freedom for which they fought in Italy are the same values our military men and women continue to protect today."

The Canadian delegation travelling to Italy will include Second World War Veterans of the Italian Campaign, a modern-day Veteran, representatives of Veterans' organizations, a representative from the RCMP, youth, caregivers, parliamentarians and media.

The entire delegation will first participate in a commemorative ceremony at the Cassino War Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth cemetery in Italy. On December 1, Minister Thompson will lead a commemorative ceremony at the Price of Peace Monument in Ortona for the delegation and citizens of the town. The entire Canadian delegation will also attend a rededication ceremony for Lance-Sergeant John Aubrey Matthew of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment whose gravemarker will no longer read "a soldier of the 1939-1945 war," but will now bear his name. Minister Thompson will then lead the delegation to Rimini to honour Canadian troops who fought through six rivers to breach the Gothic Line, the last major German defence line that separated the Allies from Northern Italy.

For more information on the Second World War or to view daily reports with photos of the events in Italy, you can visit Veterans Affairs Canada's Web site at vac.gc.ca. To watch interviews with Veterans of the Italian Campaign, search "Heroes Remember" and "Italy" on this site.

You can also visit the Canada Remembers Facebook page or YouTube channel to share your thoughts on the Italian Campaign. How will you remember?

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Heather MacDonald
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7428
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Richard Roik
    Director of Communications
    613-996-4649