Killed in action at San Tommaso, Italy. Corporal Tim McCarthy was a Section Commander in the Scouts and Snipers Platoon when he was killed in action by enemy shellfire on the night of 6 January 1944 in the small village of San Tommaso, Italy. Sergeant Vic Jackson (later CSM and RSM) was the platoon sergeant of the Scouts & Snipers at that time and he later recounted the circumstances of the death of Tim McCarthy whom he greatly respected. On 6 January 1944, the Scouts and Snipers Platoon were set up in the basement of a two-storey home in the small village of San Tommaso which is located about 3.5 km west of Ortona and about 700 m west of Cemetery Hill. At that time San Tommaso was still under enemy sniper and artillery fire. When the Scouts of Snipers occupied San Tommaso, Sergeant Vic Jackson ordered that several graves be dug under an olive tree behind the house. The basement of the house was of solid brick construction with vaulted ceilings and had a wooden door at ground level facing north towards enemy territory. The night of 6 January 1944 was a dark and the weather was cold, wet and stormy. Sergeant Vic Jackson was up on top of a large wine cask in the basement when an enemy shell burst outside and a fragment passed through the door and then hit Corporal McCarthy. Corporal McCarthy fell to the floor mortally wounded. Sergeant Vic Jackson attended to Corporal McCarthy’s wound and saw that he had been hit by a single small shell fragment in the trunk of his body. Although his wounds were quickly dressed, Corporal McCarthy died within a few minutes. Sergeant Vic Jackson had the body of Corporal McCarthy wrapped in his gas cape (poncho) and, after a brief service, they buried him outside in one of the temporary graves which had been previously prepared under an olive tree. Subsequently, Corporal McCarthy was re-interred at the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery. [Submitted by Bob Jackson, son of RSM Vic Jackson]
NOK: Son of Frank and Elizabeth McCarthy; husband of Lucy Sybil McCarthy, of Toronto, Ontario.
A letter from the 48th Highlanders’ Padre, H/Capt Stewart East to the family stated:
The 48th . Highlanders of Canada ,
The Office of the Christian ,
Jan. 9. 1944 .
Dear Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy ,
This cannot be anything but a very unhappy letter for
it may be the first word you will receive of a loss which is grievous
to me , and will fill your home with sorrow .
Cpl . William Terence Webb McCarthy , your son , has been
killed in action on the Italian Front- the date January 6 , 1944 .
The death was almost instantaneous , and I buried him
the next day in the presence of his officer and platoon sergeant .
” Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death ,
I will fear no evil — ” was the passage I quoted over his grave , for beloved
Tim” McCarthy knew no fear in life , and I know he will have no fear
in death .
Corporal McCarthy , as you will know , was my personal
friend and advisor . So great has been his help and service that he
was known in the Regiment as the Padre’s assistant .
I cannot speak too highly of his character and bearing at all times . Although he
was not a young man he was allowed to remain with the fighting troops
because of his power to keep up the morale of all whom he met .
I personally am deeply affected and have asked my wife
in Toronto to go and see Mrs. McCarthy .
Corporal McCarthy was killed by a small piece of shrapnel
which entered his body on the left side and , I think , penetrated to his heart .
I consider your son one of the salt of the earth. He died , I think , in the way he would have wished .
May God in His own time give you comfort ,