Five hundred Canadians lost their lives after landing in Sicily as part of Britain’s Eighth Army on July 10, 1943. Two months later, a combined Canadian, British and American force made the first full-scale invasion of mainland Europe, attacking on the toe of Italy and reaching Naples on Oct. 1. Later in 1943, Canadian troops fought brutal battles at Ortona and Monte Cassino. In May 1944, they took part in the costly, but successful, attack on the Hitler Line north of Cassino, then moved north through Italy, breaking the Gothic Line and enemy defences at Rimini, until reaching the Senio River early in 1945. Nearly 6,000 Canadians died while fighting in Italy.