Tuesday, July 26, 2016

William Edmund Gearey

The 5th name on the memorial at Victoriatown is William Edmund Gearey born 24/Apr/1920 in Bristol Bay, England to Edgar and Rose Gearey, arriving at the Port of Quebec in 1920 on the ship Minnedosa, the oldest of 3 children.
William was Roman Catholic and he and his family were members of Siant Gabriels church. He was a truck driver in civilian life.

He enlisted on 29/2/1940 into the 2nd Canadian Field Regiment as a gunner and served in the Mediterranean Theatre. He was killed in an automobile accident on 27/Sep/1944 and is interred in Arezzo War Cemetery in Tuscany, Italy


Historical Information
On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side.

Progress through southern Italy was rapid despite stiff resistance, but the advance was checked for some months at the German winter defensive position known as the Gustav Line. The line eventually fell in May 1944 and as the Germans withdrew, Rome was taken by the Allies on 3 June.

The Germans made a stand in front of Arezzo early in July 1944 and there was fierce fighting before the town was taken on 16 July by the 6th Armoured Division with the aid of the 2nd New Zealand Division.

The site for this cemetery was selected in November 1944, and graves were brought into it from the surrounding area. Both the 4th and the 8th Indian Divisions were involved in the fighting in this region, and Plots VII-IX in the cemetery contain Indian graves.

Arezzo War Cemetery contains 1,266 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.


The entire cemetery has not yet been photographed so there is no photo of William’s headstone.

He was awarded posthumously:

1939-1945 Star
Italy Star
Defence Medal
War Medal
C.V.S.M. with clasp

His survivors included his wife Patricia, son Kevin Edmund born 21/10/1943, one brother, Ronald, one sister Lilian Rose and his parents, Wallace Edgar and Rose Gearey.

©2016 Linda Sullivan-Simpson

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