A Note from the Editors

Why the Perth Regiment of Canada?

 

What makes the Perths remarkable is just how unremarkable they were. The Perth Regiment of Canada was not made up of professional soldiers, nor were they an elite fighting force that dropped from the skies, or raided occupied Europe in the dead of night, and they did not land on D-Day, or fight in Normandy.  But they did have remarkable achievements; The Liri Valley, The Gothic Line, and The Delfzijl Pocket in particular, but they were a County militia battalion based in Stratford, Perth County, Ontario, and just like numerous other County militia battalions they drew their volunteers from the local community; farm hands, mechanics, railway and factory workers, office clerks, and a host of other occupations representing a cross section of Canadian manhood. 

What is remarkable about The Perths is that they served in Italy.  Much is made of the Normandy landings; however, the Canadian Army was in action a full year earlier in Sicily and Italy, a fact which is largely forgotten.  The 1st Canadian Infantry Division assaulted the beaches of Sicily on July 10, 1943.  The Perth Regiment, 5th Canadian Armoured Division, 11th Canadian Infantry Brigade, first saw action on January 17th, 1944 and they wear the badge of honour “D-Day Dodgers”.

The term “D-Day Dodgers” coined by British Member of Parliament, Lady Astor, was originally used as a derogatory term, but ultimately became the mantra and badge of honour of all Commonwealth Soldiers serving in Italy.  The fighting in the mountains and plains of Sicily and Italy was every bit as bitter and harsh as Normandy, made more so as priority for equipment and replacements went first to North-West Europe. 

As time passes, history has tendency to become more abstract, shortened, and condensed.  Battles are described in abstract casualty figures.  However, each casualty represented a human being, a son, a brother, a husband, or a father.  When speaking of The Regiment we are not talking about the abstract, we are talking about the human beings who made up The Regiment.  The objective of this website is to identify, and to record for posterity, the names and photos of men who made up The Perth Regiment of Canada.  

 

Lest we Forget.          

 

This is their story;  the story of The Perth Regiment of Canada, 1939-1945. 

James and Andrea McRae

Editors

Carlisle, Ontario.