On Sicilian shores

We are marking the 80th anniversary of Allied troops landing in Sicily; fighting to take back the island from enemy control. Three battalions of The Green Howards were involved in the efforts of the summer of 1943, paving the way for the invasion of France the following year.

The anniversary of Operation Husky gives us the chance to bring those events into the spotlight once more, using our collection of objects and archive and the stories of the soldiers who served to roll back the years.

We have:

  • created an online exhibition
  • accepted an invitation to attend the official commemoration events in Sicily to speak about The Green Howards’ role in the 1943 landings.
  • devised a Sicily landings talk which you can book for your group or society

JULY 1943: The Allies land on beaches in Sicily’s south-east corner. Once ashore at Avola, the Green Howards are tasked with capturing the port of Syracuse, achieving their mission by the end of the operation’s D-Day: 10 July. They move up the east coast of the island, pushing the Germans and Italians north. American and Canadian forces land to the west of the British and move north-west, protecting the British flank and aiming for the capture of the island’s capital, Palermo. Initial opposition is light. Many of the Italian coastal units surrender in droves. Fighting will become more challenging the further inland the Green Howards progress.

VISIT OUR ONLINE EXHIBITION: First Foot on Fortress Europe

Our Researcher, Steve Erskine is attending The Sicily Peace, Security and Prosperity Conference in Catania; the island’s official commemoration of the events of 80 years ago.

researcher Steve ErskineHe will address the conference on the second day, detailing the specific role of The Green Howards. Steve will also take take part in a battlefield tour, laying a wreath on behalf of the regiment, remembrance service and landing beach events.

“It’s an honour to be involved in this internationally significant event marking the Sicily landings,” says Steve, who has researched the role of the regiment during the Second World War for many years. “Soldiers who had endured an incredibly tough time in the Western Desert of North Africa were sent to a completely different environment to continue the efforts to take back territory from Germany and its allies. Landing on the beaches of Sicily and then fighting their way through the countryside equipped them with yet more experience to be tested again in Normandy the following year. Being able to be physically present in the places where the soldiers who I have come to know through my research is going to be very special. It’s something I will be able to bring back and add to our understanding of that time and the way we share their stories with museum visitors.”

FIND OUT MORE about the conference and commemoration events in Sicily

We’ve adapted two of our Museum Talks on the subject into one handy off-the-shelf offering which we can bring to your group or event.

SICILY 1943: a regimental learning curve is available to book now.