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Porta Spagnol, Augusta, Sicily, 1943

Photograph by Major Wilfred Herbert James Sale, MC, 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters), World War Two, Italy, 1943.

The Porta Spagnola, or Spanish Gate, Augusta, Sicily. Designed by the Flemish engineer Carlos de Grunenbergh, the gate was built in the 1680s as part of the fortification of the port of Augusta. A Latin inscription on the gate records that, 'Don Francisco de Benavides, Count of Santisteban and Viceroy of Sicily, in fortifying the coast of such a large port, thought to provide for the safety not only of Sicily, but of all Italy and Christendom, in the year 1681'.

Transported on American-built 'Landing Ships, Tank', or 'LSTs', sailing from North Africa, the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) landed in Sicily on 10 July 1943 as part of 4th Armoured Brigade.

After their successful amphibious landings, elements of 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) advanced inland to take the village of Cassibile and to support 17th Infantry Brigade in taking Syracuse. The port was quickly secured and became a base for the Royal Navy. From Syracuse the Sharpshooters moved northwards to Priolo Gargallo, Melilli and Augusta.

The unit war diary of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) documents the advance of 'B' Squadron on Augusta on 12 July 1943. The advance was hampered by natural obstacles as well as enemy anti-tank guns and mortar fire. Elements of 'B' Squadron supported the 2nd Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, which eventually took the town on 13 July 1943. 2nd Lieutenant John Nicholas Crews, commanding 3rd Troop 'B' Squadron was killed in the attack.

From an album containing 246 photographs compiled by Major Wilfred Herbert James Sale, MC, 3rd/4th County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters).

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1975-03-63-13-150


National Army Museum Copyright


National Army Museum, Study collection

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