Local history online

Dear Editor:

As a life long amateur historian of Canadian military history, I claim The Devil’s Brigade as one of my favourite movies. I remember when it came out in 1968, and the beaming pride I felt about Hollywood’s portrayal of Canadian soldiers.

If you haven’t seen this movie, please watch it. Feel the pride for our soldiers as I always do, when our boys arrive at the training camp in Montana.  One brief five-minute scene will clearly remind you of the huge gulf between the cultures of our two countries.

By the time you read this, I will have posted a memorial on my Facebook page, Harriston Superior Monuments. It will be for Victor Innanen, the youngest member of The Devil’s Brigade. Victor was killed by a sniper on Jan. 11, 1944 in the hills of Italy not far from Rome. He was 17 years old.

But Victor had gone through arduous training, including hand-to-hand combat, and would have participated in the amazing attack and capture of Monte la Difensa in early December 1943. It was that success against the enemy that led to the story being told in the movie.

Victor was born and raised in Arthur Township and went to school at USS #17 on Concession Road 12.  There are very few documents about Victor but we know that at age 14, he lived for a few months with his older sister at her house in Harriston while he tried to enlist in the army.

There’s lots more in the memorial posting on Facebook, so please have a look at the local kid who left school early looking for adventure.

John McVicar,