And No Birds Sang is the story of a young Canadian man, Farley Mowat. The story begins September 2nd, 1939 with a young Farley painting his parents porch when his dad pulls into the driveway and excitedly claims the war is on! Farley was an eager eighteen year old with the aspiration of joining the air force and becoming a fighter pilot. In one month he presented to the Royal Canadian Air Force, he was rejected due to his young age and slim build. Instead he was enlisted in the 2nd Battalion called the Hasty Pees, with the expectation of being transferred to the 1st Battalion and active service. The story follows Mr. Mowat and his experiences during multiple battles as the Allies invaded and eventually took over Italy. The title comes shortly after Farley’s first battle when everything was quiet in the air and no birds sang.
By the summer of 1943 the Allied Powers had finished their campaigns in North Africa. Their next objective was to move into Sicily and invade Italy to cause the Germans to move northwest from the coast. This came to be known as “Operation Husky which was designed to open the shipping lanes in the Mediterranean, eliminate it as an Axis base, and to aid in the fall of Mussolini’s government” (Hickman n.d.). In July 8th, 1943 Mowat, now an intelligence officer was ordered to head to Sicily to participate in Operation Husky. They left the night of the 8th and encountered terribly rough seas due to the sirocco. The sirocco is an intense wind that comes off of the Sahara. It looked as though Operation Husky would be cancelled. Fortunately, later that night the wind slowed and the platoons were able to continue with the operation. The invasion commenced on the night of July 9th, landing on the west side of the Pachino Peninsula with approximately 400 ships. Mostly older locally recruited soldiers defended Pachino with antiquated weaponry, and were considered unreliable and poorly trained. The only real value of the market town of Pachino was the airfield they possessed. The allies deployed airstrikes shortly before midnight on July 9. The Canadians moved in from the water to the hostile shore at 5:30 in the morning to clear the beaches. Even in broad daylight the Italians were not manning the costal positions. A beachhead was established easily with little artillery and the Allies pushed on to the airfield.
When the allies arrived at the airfield they found the first real Italian resistance. There were machine gun posts, which the allies soon overpowered. Shortly the Italians surrendered in mass to the allies. The Allies took 200 prisoners and more guns, finally eating their first meal in 20 hours. (The Royal Canadian Regiment 2014)
Mowat and his men were ordered to continue on and chase after the retreating enemy. After marching 50 miles they were finally allowed to rest in Sicily for two days. On July 15th, the order to press on was given, they were to chase after the Axis Powers who were still retreating. While on the march they...