OTTAWA, July 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, today marked the 70th anniversary of Operation Husky and extended congratulations to the Operation Husky 2013 civilian contingent who launched a 20-day commemorative journey at the beaches of Pachino on the island of Sicily, Italy. Led by Canada Company, Operation Husky 2013 is a special mission to mark the 70th anniversary of the Sicilian Campaign—code named "Operation Husky"—from July to August 1943.
"Operation Husky 2013 is an important way for us to honour and remember the sacrifices and successes of Canadian heroes 70 years ago," said Minister Blaney. "I applaud all those who have joined in marking this important anniversary. Brave Canadians gave their lives in the fight for freedom in Europe and the fighting in Italy as part of Operation Husky was some of the most challenging. Their sacrifices will be remembered forever."
Thousands of Canadian soldiers from the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade joined the first Allied assault on Sicily, considered one of the largest seaborne operations in military history, on July 10, 1943. Canadians battled through hundreds of kilometres of difficult, mountainous terrain, pushing deep into enemy territory with incredible force. The Sicilian campaign—Operation Husky—was a success: Sicily was conquered in 38 days. However, Canada paid a heavy price. More than 1,300 soldiers became casualties, almost 600 of which were fatal.
Through the Community Engagement Partnership Fund, Veterans Affairs Canada has provided financial support to 3rd (Montréal) Field Battery of Artillery in support of Operation Husky 2013.
"Our Government is proud to support the 3rd (Montréal) Field Battery of Artillery as it encourages all Canadians to express our heartfelt gratitude to Canada's Veterans, men and women in uniform and their families," said Minister Blaney. "We wish them every success in Operation Husky 2013."
The Community Engagement Partnership Fund provides funding for non-profit organizations, educational institutions and other groups interested in planning remembrance initiatives. Funding applications are accepted throughout the year. For more information, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada