After completing several years of training in Great Britain, soldiers of The Royal Canadian Regiment, along with the rest of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, embarked onto landing craft for an amphibious assault on Sicily. They arrived at Pachino before dawn on July 10, 1943. The landing was a major success, but The Royal Canadian Regiment would soon experience more severe encounters in the interior of Sicily as the island was sternly defended. Sicily was a joint operation involving close cooperation between army, navy and air force units and the regiment took part in several battles, including Valguarnera, Agira, Adrano, and Regalbuto. Although operations on the island were successful overall, the regiment lost thirty-two soldiers and approximately one hundred more were wounded between the initial landing at Pachino and the departure for the invasion of the Italian mainland on September 3. Six battle honours were earned by The Royal Canadian Regiment in Sicily.

In June 1943, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Émile Bernatchez, the Royal 22e Régiment left England and landed in Sicily on July 10 as part of Operation Husky. While on Read More
After completing several years of training in Great Britain, soldiers of The Royal Canadian Regiment, along with the rest of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division, embarked onto landing craft for an amphibious assault on Sicily. They arrived at Pachino before dawn on July 10, 1943. The landing was a major success, but The Royal Canadian Regiment would soon experience more severe encounters in the interior of Sicily as the island was sternly defended. Sicily was a joint operation involving close cooperation between army, navy and air force units and the regiment took part in several battles, including Valguarnera, Agira, Adrano, and Regalbuto. Although operations on the island were successful overall, the regiment lost thirty-two soldiers and approximately one hundred more were wounded between the initial landing at Pachino and the departure for the invasion of the Italian mainland on September 3. Six battle honours were earned by The Royal Canadian Regiment in Sicily.

In June 1943, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Émile Bernatchez, the Royal 22e Régiment left England and landed in Sicily on July 10 as part of Operation Husky. While on board the Ascania, Lieutenant-Colonel Bernatchez opened the sealed envelopes informing members of the regiment of the mission awaiting them. On September 3, 1943, as part of Operation Bayton, the Royal 22e Régiment left Sicily for Reggio de Calabria in Italy, where it showed its mettle in battle after battle.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Picture of Pachino Beach in Sicily

After landing at Pachino Beach in Sicily and the battle won, soldiers of The Regiment consolidate to disembark extra troops, equipment and supplies. 10 July, 1943.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
1943-07-10
Pachino, Sicily, Siracusa, ITALY
© The Royal Canadian Regiment


Photograph of LCol J.P.E. Bernatchez supervising the embarkation of RR2eR

LCol J.P.E. Bernatchez supervising the embarkation of RR2eR on board the liner HMS Ascania, prior to the departure for Sicily.

Canadian Heritage Information Network
c. 1943
Great Britain, UNITED KINGDOM
© Musée du Royal 22e Régiment


Major-General Joseph Paul Émile Bernatchez, born in Montmagny, Quebec on March 1, 1911, decided on a military career after excelling at the local Collège de Montmagny. He enlisted at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, on August 28, 1929, from which he graduated with distinction on June 13, 1934. He then immediately joined the Royal 22e Régiment.

In April 1935, he left for the United Kingdom to round out his military knowledge. He returned in February 1937 with instructor certificates from English small arms schools.

He was promoted to Captain at the beginning of the Second World War and went overseas as the officer commanding "B" Company, Royal 22e Régiment.
He was soon promoted to Major and in the fall of 1941, he took command of the unit at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

In less than fifteen months, despite countless problems and the many kinds of specialized combat training required, he was able to make his regiment much more effective. In July 1943, he still commanded this famous regiment when the Allies landed at the Pachino peninsula in Sicily.

In Read More
Major-General Joseph Paul Émile Bernatchez, born in Montmagny, Quebec on March 1, 1911, decided on a military career after excelling at the local Collège de Montmagny. He enlisted at the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario, on August 28, 1929, from which he graduated with distinction on June 13, 1934. He then immediately joined the Royal 22e Régiment.

In April 1935, he left for the United Kingdom to round out his military knowledge. He returned in February 1937 with instructor certificates from English small arms schools.

He was promoted to Captain at the beginning of the Second World War and went overseas as the officer commanding "B" Company, Royal 22e Régiment.
He was soon promoted to Major and in the fall of 1941, he took command of the unit at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

In less than fifteen months, despite countless problems and the many kinds of specialized combat training required, he was able to make his regiment much more effective. In July 1943, he still commanded this famous regiment when the Allies landed at the Pachino peninsula in Sicily.

In March 1944, the Canadian military authorities, recognizing the strong leadership qualities of this valiant soldier, appointed him Commander of the 3rd Infantry Brigade, of which the Royal 22e Régiment was a part.

He was decorated with the Distinguished Service Order in Italy after some brilliant battles with his unit, and was also Mentioned in Despatches.
In March 1945, he arrived in Holland with the other Canadian troops from the Italian front. He remained there until the end of hostilities.

In 1951, he became the Commanding Officer of the Canadian military mission in the Middle East and was later promoted to Major-General and Commander of Quebec Command.

Major-General Bernatchez died on 13 November 1983.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Develop an understanding of the participation and role of Canada’s Army in the World War II
  • Examine the contributions, sacrifices and experiences of individuals who participated in military events during World War II
  • Identify key locations in which Canada’s military operated during World War II
  • Evaluate the weapons and technology used by Canadian soldiers

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