Remember: Frank Stanway, 91, on the fight for Sicily
Published Saturday, November 10, 2012 7:15PM EST
MONTREAL—While many Canadians will take a moment tomorrow to remember, 91-year-old Frank Stanway still has vivid memories of his experience as a Canadian soldier in the Second World War.
“I drove the gun carriage with ammunition, we were an eight man crew,” said Stanway, looking at photos from his time as a soldier. Stanway and his crew looked out for each other as they helped push Canadian armies through Sicily.
“You see the devastation of some of the cities as the Germans got in there, they tried to bomb all the villages, all the houses,” said Stanway.
At the age of 19, he and some of his friends decided to enlist. According to Stanway, it was “the thing to do.”
Stanway was a gunner and one of his toughest moments was the first time he came under attack.
“The first time I came under shell fire I guess was in Sicily and one of my buddies was hurt pretty badly,” said Stanway.
He took part in what is known as the Italian campaign, where 562 Canadian soldiers died and close to 1,900 others were injured—including Stanway. After he’d been shot, Stanway suffered from a sore leg and arm.
Stanway had been away from his family for a total of five years. The reunion, he remembers, was quite something.
“I didn't recognize my daughter,” said Stanway. “When I left she was 10, when I got back she was 15.”
Thirty years after the war, in 1977, he went back to Sicily.
“A lot of the places that were in rubble were rebuilt, it was amazing,” recalled Stanway.
Amazing to see because decades before he was there and helped shape history, making a difference for us all. On Nov. 11 he will remember all veterans, but the Sicily group holds a very special place.