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Society of Our Own

Heroes Remember

I was moved to Nijmegen, got that all set up and then, now we're into June, the war is over and we're trying to keep troops happy before we can get them home. The bottleneck now is ships getting back across the Atlantic. Ships, ships, ships. Getting them home. So by this time, I was working for Guy Simmons I was a general staff officer grade one, they'd call it, general staff officer, so that means I'm on his direct staff, his little circle of people that help him run the army. So I am promoted way up, I'm getting farther back all the time, but the war is over and so he put me in charge of the city of Amsterdam, which they turned into a big leave centre. So I had a good time there for six months, from June till December of ‘45 and they closed the leave centre and I came home. From that day till this, we've had a society all of our own. You get two World War II Vets together, I don't care if they are air force, navy or anything, they can immediately bond with one another. I have always said a, I don't, a brother, a comrade of mine or anybody that's been all through World War II, I alway feel I could trust him with my life You know, I didn't feel he'd ever steal from me, I didn't think he'd ever, you know, he might steal from somebody else, but not me. But we had a, and it still is there, you get three to together or two together, right off the bat they're friends.

Mr Gilday talks about the work he was doing, and then coming home. He goes on to talk about the connection he feels with others who served in the war.

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
1st Special Service Force
General Staff Officer

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