Early in 1943, several drafts of Canadian Officers, Warrant Officers and NCOs joined the 1st Army in Tunisia. Apart from the disastrous raid on Dieppe in June 1942, Canadian forces had not at that stage been deployed to a front line theatre and there was a need for them to gain additional battle experience.
A second draft, known as the “Q List”, left Liverpool for Algiers during January 1943. Once they arrived in North Africa, a number of them joined up with the Irish Brigade, who were very short of officers after the first battle period north of Bou Arada and the men were posted to the three infantry battalions as follows:
6 Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers – Nick Kingsmill, George Curphey.
1 Royal Irish Fusiliers – Bill Teed.
2 London Irish Rifles – David la Prairie, Strome Galloway, John Curry, Captain Gale
The ‘Q List’ men on their return to Britain in April 1943.
The men took leading roles within their respective battalions over the next two months includng taking part in battles on Stuka Ridge and at Djebel Mahdi. One of their number, Lieut Curphey, was captured soon after he joined the Skins and was later to die whilst as a PoW in Italy.
During the Italian campaign in 1944, another group of Canadian Officers joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers, and these included Major Maurice Crehan commanding A Company, Captain Jack Chambers as Intelligence Office along with Lieutenants McClennan and Lafever. At Monte Spaduro on 20th October 1944, Major Crehan was killed, alongside eight others, in a valiant defensive action on a calamitous day for the Faughs and Lieutenant Al McLennan was captured.
We are privileged to remember the contribution of all the Canadians, who joined the Allied Armies in Tunisia and Italy, including those, who served so valiantly with the Irish Brigade during their long years of campaigning.