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We’re Still Looking After Each Other

Heroes Remember

We’re Still Looking After Each Other

We're still looking after one another. I'm still looking, in touch with twenty or thirty people that were in my battalion that live around Toronto. I'm in touch with them, if somebody gets sick they will phone me and say what can we do to help him. Well he's alright, his wife is there and she says he's fine and he's got a son there to look after him. Okay, well you know let us know if there is anything we can do to help, you know. That goes right straight through, there's a great feeling of support everywhere. Well you do feel that's a responsibility you take on as a battalion commander. You were responsible for those lives and you do everything you can to make sure that they're well looked after and that they're well supplied and they're well trained. And sometimes you fight, you fight the brigadier and the orders back there in saying, "No it's wrong, it's wrong." "Well you gotta do it anyway." "Well alright I did my best." You are always trying to protect your family as it were. I have always been known as, I was the old man because the old man is always the colonel. He's either got to be, he's sort of a fatherly figure.

Mr. Gilday talks about the lifelong bond he feels with his men and how they watch out for one anther.

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
Battallion Commander

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