Subseries 1 - 30th Anniversary: The Canadians in Italy

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30th Anniversary: The Canadians in Italy

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  • Graphic material
  • Textual record

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MG 20.5-E-1

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  • 1939 - 1975 (Creation)

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214 photographs : b&w and col. prints and copy prints ; 20 x 25 cm or smaller ; 32 slides (col.) ; 0.056 m of textual records

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Sub-series consists of correspondence, programmes, schedules, scrapbooks, and photographs belonging to Ralph Davies and Sharkey MacDonald (Charles MacDonald), former Cape Breton Highlanders and World War 2 (WW2) veterans, who were chosen to be delegates for the “30th Anniversary: The Canadians in Italy” delegation sent to Italy to commemorate the Italian Campaign and the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Italy. Delegates visited memorials, battlefields, and war cemeteries and took part in cultural and religious ceremonies to mark the occasion.

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      General note

      The Italian Campaign was launched in 1943 to divert German attention and resources away from the Eastern Front. Approximately 93, 000 Canadians took part in the campaign over a 22-month period, beginning in Sicily and arriving on mainland Italy on September 3, 1943. By late 1944, the Allies had broken through the Gothic Line in northern Italy, which led to the surrender of Italy by Germany in the spring of 1945. Nearly 6, 000 Canadians were killed in action in Italy, with the majority buried in war cemeteries in that country.

      Daniel J. MacDonald, the Minister of Veterans Affairs for Canada and a former Cape Breton Highlander, visited many of the war cemeteries during a trip to Italy in 1973. To commemorate the Italian Campaign and the 30th anniversary of the liberation of Italy, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Canadian Government planned the “30th Anniversary: The Canadians in Italy” delegation of 1975. The pilgrimage included World War 2 (WW2) veterans, Canadian high school students, and government officials. They travelled to Italy from April 22, 1975 to May 3, 1975.

      To learn more about the Italian Campaign and Canada’s role, visit:

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