Canada's History : 2020-08-01

TRADING POST : 22 : 22


was able to assist the beleaguere­d Americans. Both countries were involved in protecting the convoys across the Atlantic or in the Caribbean, although the Americans increasing­ly siphoned off their naval forces for the war in the Pacific. The Canadian navy and air force took up the slack. Canadian corvette warships again assisted the Americans in North Africa, and the two countries fought together in Sicily and in mainland Italy, although rarely side-by-side. Off the west coast of North America, Americans and Canadians launched an invasion to take back the Japanese-occupied Kiska Island, part of the Aleutian chain of Alaska, in late 1943. In Italy and France, Canadians and Americans fought together from under a unique 1st Special Service Force, also known as the Devil’s Brigade. Canadian bombers attacked the same targets as the American bombers, while American divisions fought alongside and sometimes within General Harry Crerar’s First Canadian Army in 1945. In all, 1,086,343 Canadians served in uniform, along with twelve thousand merchant navy sailors who were only later considered veterans. By war’s end, some forty-five thousand Canadians had been killed and another fifty-five thousand had been injured. Almost everyone in Canada was affected by the war, whether they assisted in the many British Commonweal­th Air Training Plan bases and airfields, worked in the essential war industries, were patriotica­lly involved in raising money, or grieved the loss of family members and friends. This generation served and bled for victory. Whether at the many fighting fronts or backing the attack from home, Canadians understood the importance of defeating Hitler and his minions. They mobilized like never before, and the country was transforme­d due to their unwavering commitment to victory in this necessary war. AUGUST–SEPTEMBER 2020