70 years ago
On 10 July 1943 the Allies landed in Sicily and began their progress up the ‘boot’ of Italy. Licata was the first place they touched down, easily moving up to Comiso and onwards. To the east the British and their allies beached at Portopalo and gradually moved up the coast. South of Catania saw some of the heaviest allied losses.
The memorials to the invasion are to be seen all over the south of the island – pill boxes are still everywhere and are protected monuments. War cemeteries in Siracusa and Catania bear testament to the sacrifice of the troops. There are still some Sicilians who remember those days clearly, from hiding out in the mountains living on wild fruit and fennel to the rapturous reception of the allied forces with their chocolate and cigarettes.
1943 was the last invasion of Sicily – the last in a succession of invasions from time immemorial, which has left their marks on the island and its people.