Battle of the St. Lawrence: Diving the wartime wrecks of Bell Island

An item from the Legion Magazine.

Stephen J thorne

Courtesy Jill Heinerth/

Battle of the St. Lawrence: Diving the wartime wrecks of Bell Island


Jill Heinerth has made more than 7,800 dives deep into oceans all over the world, spanning both polar regions, tropical paradises and many places in between.

She’s famous for her cave dives, including inside an Antarctic iceberg the size of Jamaica. But some of the most poignant adventures the Mississauga, Ont., native has undertaken may be to wartime wrecks off Newfoundland and in the faraway wonder once known as Truk Atoll.



Lieut Jack H.Smith/Deparment Of National Defence/Library and Archives of Canada/PA-114511

 The 1943 battle in the Italian mountains


At the beginning of August 1943, after nearly a month of hard fighting in Sicily, the Canadian advance was threatened by three mountains towering more than 300 metres above the Salso valley.

“These three hills dominated the entire alley eastward from Regalbuto,” wrote Lieutenant-Colonel Gerald Nicholson in The Canadians in Italy, 1943-1945. “There could be no assurance of safe passage for Allied troops along the river flats until they were denied to the enemy.”



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