| images by john ecker, pantheon photography

Posts tagged “Canadian

Abandoned building, Agira, Sicily, Italy, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

Agira Sicily 2 photo by John Ecker pantheon photography copy

AGIRA, SICILY, ITALY:  This long abandoned building is near Agira, Sicily. It’s now home to a sizeable pigeon population that calls the old building home. The building is not far from the Agira Canadian cemetery which is the only exclusively Canadian cemetery in Italy from the Second World War. Elsewhere in the country, Canadian war dead were often buried with other Commonwealth soldiers. Agira is the final resting place for all 490 Canadians killed during the Sicily campaign.

Operation Husky was the code name for the invasion of Sicily. On July 10, 1943,160,000 British, Canadian, and American troops landed in southern Sicily in advance of future Allied landings on mainland Italy. The terrain in southern and central Sicily is very hilly and was mostly barren in 1943. The German defenders put up great resistance and the Canadians had it tough in their advance toward Agira.  Still, today, one can see the locations of the German defences and the route Canadian troops took in their attack on the town.

After the taking of Agira, most of the Canadian troops were merged with the British for the final advance toward Messina on the northern tip of Sicily.  Sicily finally fell on August 17th, 1943, just five weeks after the landings.  Shot handheld with a Nikon D300, ISO 250, f/20, 1/40 sec. 56mm on Nikon 18-200 lens, photo by John Ecker  |   pantheon photography

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Vimy Ridge Memorial, France, photo by John Ecker | pantheon photography

VIMY RIDGE MEMORIAL, FRANCE:  April 9, 2012 is the 95th anniversary of the start of the battle of Vimy Ridge.  It was the first time that Canadians would  fight together under Canadian command.  It is, for many, ‘when Canada became a country’.  The Canadians were given an almost impossible task.  French and British attempts to take the ridge had failed.    In the course of the next six days, 3,598 Canadians would die and another 7,000 were injured.  The highest point on the battlefield was Hill 145. That is where Canada’s Vimy Ridge Memorial now stands.  In 1922, the French government gave the Hill and its surrounding to territory to Canada, in appreciation for defeating the Germans in one of the pivotal battles of World War One.  Every Canadian should visit the Memorial at least once in their lives, in tribute to the terrible losses that day and in recognition of a defining moment in Canada’s history.

Photo by John Ecker     |     pantheon photography


Juno Beach Remembered, Normandy, France, photo by John Ecker, Pantheon Photography

BEACH REMEMBERED, NORMANDY, FRANCE:  June 6 is the anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Operation Overlord.  The Canadians took Juno Beach that day.  They landed near Courseulles.   Advance bombardments  by air and sea before the landings had done a good job.  German beach defenses were quickly stopped, with some accounts noting that Canadian landing craft were not being shot at just 15 minutes after the Juno assault began.  Today, the shoreline looks much as it did almost 70 years ago.  Period photos show many landmarks that still exist today.  The top photo shows defeated German troops guarded by their Canadian captor.  The bottom photo is a modern day shot near the same spot.  John Ecker   |   pantheon photography


Beaumont-Hamel, France, Battle of the Somme, 1916, photo by John Ecker, Pantheon Photography

BEAUMONT-HAMEL, FRANCE, BATTLE OF THE SOMME, 1916.  Click here for my story about Beaumont-HamelPhoto by John Ecker         pantheon photography