Kinmount boy mentioned for bravery under fire
Kinmount, Oct. 2 – One of the heroic young Canadians who helped pave the way for the crossing of an important river at Marana, Italy, in October, 1944, Cpl. Joseph M. Hickey, has arrived in Canada aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam, according to word reaching his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice J. Hickey, R.R. 1, Kinmount.
Serving with the Carleton and York Regiment, attached to the 1st Canadian Division in Italy, Cpl. Hickey received honourable mention for the daring his displayed during the fight for the river bank positions at Marano.
Three houses, set in a triangle on the bank of the river, were heavily fortified by the Nazis, and had to be removed before a crossing of the river could be made by Allied troops.
A company of Carleton and York Regiment men, under the command of Major Orr of Regina, advanced and cleared key roads in the sector, leaving only the houses on the river bank to be taken.
A platoon under Sgt. Norman Savage, Fredericton was assigned the house at the apex of the triangle, and a platoon under Sergt. Harry Ulloch of Chatham, N.B., was given the task of taking the house at the right corner. Savage and his men succeeded in taking their house, but the other dwelling defended fiercely by infantrymen equipped with a Tiger tank, could not be captured. The Canadians had only one tank in support, and this was knocked out during the initial assaults. The company reformed around Savage’s house, and word was sent out for another tank. It was decided to storm the house on the left side first, and another attack was launched, in the light of a burning haystack set afire by tracer bullets.
This attack was successful, and only the house sheltering the Tiger tank remained in enemy hands. Another haystack was set afire to give light, and Cpl. Hickey, accompanied by Pte. Cyril Fisher, of St. John, N.B. were ordered to sneak up to the house and knock out the enemy tank at close range.
Through a heavy fire, the Kinmount soldier and his companion made their way to the house, and the tank was destroyed by Piat mortar fire at extremely close range. By this action, the last enemy position on the river bank fell, and river crossings could be made.