Sept 19-20, 1943

 'Sherman' tank 'Adjunct' of 'A' Squadron, 14th Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment), firing on Potenza in support of the advance of the West Nova Scotia Regiment.  Credit: Alexander M. Stirton/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-144103

‘Sherman’ tank ‘Adjunct’ of ‘A’ Squadron, 14th Armoured Regiment (The Calgary Regiment), firing on Potenza in support of the advance of the West Nova Scotia Regiment. Credit: Alexander M. Stirton/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-144103

Sept. 19: Went forward to the West Nova Scotias this a.m. Got into German fire. Two men hit – at least one German killed. Moved up to Laurenzana, skirmishes and mines. Road blown at Anzi. Went in with West Nova Scotians as they attacked Potenza – had quite a few casualties., mines and blown bridges everywhere.

Sept. 20: We are now sitting in front of Potenza. There is some machine gun and mortar fire. We have been shelling the Town. The bridges are blown and we are making detours. Expect to move in with four “A” Squadron Tanks in a few minutes. Moved 50 miles yesterday. Moved off at 10 a.m. behind seven “A” Squadron Tanks and passed over a detour to road, then after the Tanks had blown up the front houses which lodged the machine guns we all passed in to the Town. It was badly knocked to pieces and mined. I went into an air raid shelter and found hundreds of civilians lodged there. Their welcome certainly brought a lump to my throat. We established a collecting post in first city square and evacuated several W. Nova Scotians. Also found several of their dead and removed their personal belongings and handed them in and reported their location. One of our Tanks was blown up by a mine with casualties to infantry on the outside. At 1 p.m. the City of Potenza was in our possession and we moved north of Town and took up covering positions north of the Town.

Got called back in afternoon to attend an American Air Force chap who was shot down Aug. 28 – had been a prisoner in hospital here until just before we came – then escaped, even though he had a broken leg. We tried to get him to Collecting Post but came under such heavy fire we had to go back. The Infantry finally cleared up the snipers in the Town who had hidden until we passed, then opened up.

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About Rob Alexander

I am a writer, photographer and historian and the author of The History of Canmore, published by Summerthought Publishing of Banff, AB.

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