This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Italian Campaign, a vital piece of the Allies’ victory in the Second World War which involved more than 93,000 Canadians.
During this year’s Veterans Week, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) chose to recognize this critical campaign, which claimed the lives of close to 6,000 Canadian soldiers, and the Canadians who took part in it through an official poster.
This poster, which was unveiled by Lawrence MacAulay, minister of veterans affairs commemorates the Italian Campaign by featuring Lt. (ret’d) Maxine Llewelyn Bredt—a Nursing Sister in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps who helped treat the sick and wounded during the campaign.
“For more than a year and a half, Canadian soldiers battled from landings in Sicily to northern Italy. Their bravery, skill and endurance helped pave the way to the liberation of Europe. It is our responsibility to keep Veterans’ stories alive—like Maxine Bredt’ s—and sustain their legacy for generations to come,” said MacAulay.
In the poster Lt. Bredt is shown in her former uniform with the image superimposed on a photo showing soldiers of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in the Sicilian town of Agira after capturing it in July 1943.
“Women were essential to the war effort, serving in the military, filling labour shortages, and leading on the home front. The Women of War exhibit onboard HMCS Haida National Historic Site commemorates their significant contribution. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about our history, and pay tribute to the sacrifices of Canadian men and women during the First and Second World Wars, by visiting Parks Canada national historic sites across the country,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.
The poster was unveiled at the HMCS Haida National Historic Site. Coincidentally the site was featuring the Parks Canada one-day Women of War exhibit honouring women of the Second World War. The exhibit featured displays, photo exhibits, and costumed interpreters all celebrating the contributions of women during the Second World War.
This year also marks the 5th anniversary of the end of Canada’s Mission in Afghanistan, and the 75th anniversaries of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Scheldt.