HC Deb 03 August 1943 vol 391 c2093
The Prime Minister

As I am making statements to the House at this moment, I ought not perhaps to sit down without mentioning the fact that our general offensive in Sicily began to develop on Sunday afternoon, and that all yesterday was passed in full battle. The report I have received says that the operations have opened well. The 78th Division have captured Centuripe after some very bitter fighting in the streets. The 5Ist Division are making progress on their right. To the left the Canadians have captured Regalbuto, where the opposition has been particularly fierce. Further North the American 7th Army are reported to have captured Troina yesterday evening. On the coast road the advance continues, in the face of extensive enemy demolition.

I should like to explain that during the last week, when things have seemed to be rather quiet, large reinforcements have been moved up to the fighting front, and it has been properly garnished with artillery and supplies of every kind. A certain delay was necessary while the American Seventh Army on the Northern flank marched Eastward, driving the enemy before it and taking up its position on the flank of our Eighth Army. Between the two the Canadian Forces are stationed. These two Armies constitute what is called the Fifteenth Group of Armies, and this Fifteenth Group of Armies, I should explain, has been throughout commanded by General Alexander. He has under him, in the Seventh Army, General Patton, of the United States, a most distinguished officer, and on the other flank, General Montgomery in command of the Eighth Army. He is himself conducting the battle, and I think we may feel sure that our affairs are in good hands.