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The son of Allan and Sarah, Alexander MacInnis was born in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia on September 7, 1919 and had four brothers and a sister. His father worked for the Canadian National Railway and he himself worked in construction before the war.
Mr. MacInnis enlisted in Sydney on January 4, 1940 and fought overseas, as did all his brothers. On landing in Sicily with the West Nova Scotia Regiment, he remembers "the awful fire-power.... I remember thinking of home and wondering whether I would ever see my wife and family again." Later, in the weeks following the Battle of Ortona, "some good German soldier sent me back to England. It was painful, but good."
However he was soon back in action again. His stay in hospital ended with an assignment to the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (RHLI). He had been a gunner with a carrier platoon in his original regiment, and he resumed this role with the RHLI in the Netherlands and Belgium. Today Mr. MacInnis says he is most proud of having assisted this part of the war effort by "opening up the Port of Antwerp and cleaning the Scheldt Estuary."
He remembers his "wonderful" homecoming well, saying, "I was married for three months then gone for five years. Need I say more?" In Canada, Mr. MacInnis worked as a steelworker for 39 years and also served as an alderman for the city of Sydney for 25 years. This will be his first trip back to Italy.