The city of Edmonton has honoured Maurice White, a former member of an elite Canada - U.S. army nicknamed the Devil’s Brigade, for his service during the Second World War, reports Edmonton Journal.
He joined in the army in 1941, he was only 17, and went overseas two years later as a member of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment. He fought in the Battle of Ortona — a small, yet extremely fierce battle fought between a battalion of German Fallschirmjäger (paratroops) from the German 1st Parachute Division and assaulting Canadian forces from the Canadian 1st Infantry Division and the culmination of combat on the Adriatic front in Italy. The battle, dubbed "Little Stalingrad" for the deadliness of its close-quarters combat, took place in the small Adriatic Sea town of Ortona.
After this battle, he volunteered for the Devil’s Brigade, special forces military unit, an elite American-Canadian commando unit in World War II, under the United States Fifth Army, who went on raids and fought battles in Italy and France. The group were known for unconventional evening raids that included mountain climbing and parachute jumps. This name was earned after some German soldiers started calling its members "black devils" because they often attacked suddenly at night with blackened faces, then quickly disappeared into the darkness.
The unit fought in the January 1944 amphibious landing at Anzio, through the siege of Monte Cassino, to the capture or Rome and the invasion of southern France.
Personnel of the First Special Service Force being briefed before setting out on a patrol, Anzio beachhead, Italy.
Assembled in 1942 near Helena, Montana, the 1,800-man unit accounted for 12,000 German casualties and captured 7,000 prisoners. This Canadian-American unit officially was called the First Special Service Force. It was the first special forces unit in the world. The unit sought volunteers who had been hunters, lumberjacks, forest rangers or who had other outdoor experience.
White belonged to military unit until it disbanded in December 1944. He is one of about 15 surviving Canadians of this unit. For years, White has volunteered his time to talk with students about what he and his comrades experienced during the war, reports Time Colonist.
Other american members of this unit were honored February 3 in a ceremony with the Congressional Gold Medal in the U.S. Capitol's Emancipation Hall by the U.S. government, reports Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. The Congressional Gold Medal is the nation's highest award for distinguished achievement. Past recipients have included the Tuskegee Airmen, Gen. Douglas MacArthur and, most recently, the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders.
You can read and listen other story at ww2live (A member of Devil's Brigade who fought in the Anzio battle wins Congressional Gold Medal).