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Might Be Accused of Being a Quitter

Heroes Remember

Might Be Accused of Being a Quitter

Well I reached a point where I couldn't sleep and my nerves were bad. I was about 34 by then. Well when we arrived in a, when I arrived in France I discovered all kinds of colonels and battalion commanders and people coming out because they discovered in Italy that a person can't command a battalion for more than really six months in battle because it gets too much for him. They need to get a fresh guy and a fresh face to carry on. No, you didn't have battle fatigue in those days, you might be accused of being a quitter. It was touch and go, yes. But you have to learn to live with it and it affects some people more than others. I heard of some people, a week or two and they were finished, you know, back they go, there's a job for them back there as a truck driver or something but not on the front line.

Mr. Gilday talks about battle fatigue, and how he suffered from it.

Tom Gilday

In Ottawa he ended up volunteering for parachuting and hazardous duties. He then was part of a group that became the first Special Force; half Canadian and half American. He was then appointed as Battalion Commander. His crew fought and took over many mountain ranges that the Germans were protecting. They attacked at night and painted their faces black, they were known to the Germans as the ‘Devil's Brigade'. After being on the line for eight months during the Italian Campaign it was decided he would run a Recruit Training School. He then opened and ran the first Canadian Army Leave Transit Camp in Oyster Work. The camp was later moved to a larger camp in Nijmegen. In 1945 Mr Gilday was appointed General Staff Officer and placed in charge of the city of Amsterdam. He stayed there for six months and then returned home.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Tom Gilday
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Northwest Europe
1st Special Service Force
Battallion Commander

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