An account of ops at Sicily and Malati Bridge

Type: Files
Author: Lieut. John Channon Erskine RE & No.3 Commando
Year of Publishing: 2015
Keywords: 3 commando bridge, lentini river, malati bridge, punta del malati, sicily
3 Commando Bridge.

On the 12th July 1943, two days after taking part in the invasion of Sicily,  No.3 Commando re-embarked on board the Prince Albert commando carrier at Syracuse to prepare for a second attack. This time they were tasked with taking and holding the Malati Bridge near Lentini, ten miles behind enemy lines and  five miles inland from the sea. They were to hold it until the arrival of the 50th Division.

They landed at a beach near Agnone about 20 miles north west of Syracuse. After capturing the bridge from the Italians and removing the demolitions they had laid, a counter attack by the Germans with support of Tiger tanks inflicted heavy casualties on the exposed men of No.3 Commando. Eventually they were ordered to withdraw but the bridge was saved from the demolition that the Germans had planned. After the fall of Catania, General Montgomery ordered that a stone be carved with “3 Commando Bridge” and this stone cemented into the Punta del Malati bridge

These recollections written by Lieut. John Channon Erskine, RE attached No 3 Commando, are provided to this Archive courtesy of his son Andrew Erskine. The original transcript is currently stored in the Australian War Memorial archives.

More can be read about the author here:  Lieut. John Channon Erskine, RE and No 3 Commando.

Some recent photos of the bridge are in our gallery [view images].

Click on 'download' above, or read below.
 
Refresh/reload this page if the document does not display immediately below.

 

3 Commando Bridge - The Fallen

In July 1943 after the invasion of Sicily No.3 Commando were tasked with taking and holding the Punta del Malati bridge until the arrival of the 50th Division.
After capturing the bridge from the Italians and removing the demolitions they had laid, a counter attack by the Germans with support of Tiger tanks inflicted heavy casualties on the exposed men of No.3 Commando.

Eventually they were ordered to withdraw but the bridge was saved from the demolition that the Germans had planned. After the fall of Catania, General Montgomery ordered that a stone be carved with “3 Commando Bridge” and this stone cemented into the Punta del Malati bridge.

An excellent account of the operation by Lieutenant John Erskine Channon RE and No.3 Commando is [HERE....].

Some images of the bridge as it is in more recent times are [HERE....].

In Memory of the No.3 Commando Fallen. 
[click/touch highlighted for more].
 
CULLEN, James Kennedy 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
MACKIE, David Robert Goode 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Sergeant 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
PARSONS, Arthur Joseph 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
FREESTON, John Graves 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
HOWARD, Edward John 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
HOPKINS, Frederick Walter 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Corporal 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
RUXTON, Anthony Fane 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Captain 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
MURRAY, Hugh 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Fusilier 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
MALLETT, Ernest Raymond Cecil 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
BUTLER, Anthony Danvers Cavendish 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Lieutenant 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
MCGERTY, Francis 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Sergeant 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
LITTLE, Robert William 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
MACKENZIE, Thomas 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
CAVE, George Charles Montague Major 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Lieutenant 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
BISHOP, Frederick Walter 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Fusilier 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
WOODWARD, Sydney George 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Corporal 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
PIENAAR, W. F. 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Lieutenant 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
RILEY, John 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
CLARKE, Hilary Laurence 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Fusilier 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
BAKER, Fred 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Lance Corporal 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
CLELLAND, John McDonald 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Gunner 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
FOWLE, Charles 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Gunner 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
DAVIS, Stanley George 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
GREEN, Edward 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Gunner 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
HARPER, Leslie 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Lance Sergeant 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
WAREING, Nicholas 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour WO2 Company Sergeant Major 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
GRIFFITHS, Ronald Eric 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
JONES, Kenneth Edwin 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
HANKINSON, Edward 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
HAYES, Harry 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
MITCHELL, William 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Trooper 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
HEWITT, John Lionel 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
BOYLE, Francis 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Corporal 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
CRAFT, Alfred James 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Lance Corporal 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
EVANS, Gwilyn 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
LLOYD, William Eric 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Captain 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
JARROM, Eric Charles 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Lance Corporal 14/07/1943 Syracuse War Cemetery, Italy
NEEDHAM, Henry Joseph 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
PERRIE, Thomas 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Sergeant 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
HINDE, Fred 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Catania War Cemetery Italy
HITCHCOCK, John Edward 3 Cdo. Roll of Honour Private 14/07/1943 Cassino Memorial, Italy
We Will Remember Them.