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Canada’s Forces Strength In September 1939

Heroes Remember

Canada’s Forces Strength In September 1939

Well, I was glad somebody had finally done something to stop it. We were... although Canada's Forces at that time were minuscule and could really do nothing, I think all the permanent forces, all of us, Army, Navy and Air Force, were totaled about three thousand men. I mean we used to drill with, I even remember doing drill with wooden rifles, wooden anti-tank guns, holding a rope over there and a guy over there that was on the other end of the platoon, you know, doing that sort of thing. But it soon got built up. At the time the war was declared, I was a regimental policeman and I heard the news, I guess before anybody else heard, at about midnight in the guard room. And, you know, I must admit it was a shock but at the same time I was glad that it finally come to something Interviewer: As a member of the PPCLI and the Canadian Permanent Force, you were active immediately. Immediately, yeah, we, we were lined up on a... Shorty Calhoun was our Colonel, "Shorty" 'cause he was six foot six and a hero from World War I. They lined us all up on a parade square and gave us the option, we could either stay with the unit or get out if we wanted. We were given the choice to go active or not, and most of us chose to remain active. And a lot of the guys got promotion, I remained a Lance Corporal without pay, I did for a long time after that, but I stayed and I'm glad I did.

Mr. Hyde looks back at the day Canada declared war on Germany and considers the state of the Canadian forces at that time.

Gilbert John Hyde

Mr. Hyde's father was an electrician with the Moose Jaw Power Company and also a Veteran of the First World War. Mr. Hyde was an only child. He enlisted on 18 October 1938, two weeks after his 18th birthday with the PPCLI. Basic training was taken in Winnipeg before sailing from Halifax to Scotland in December 1939. On arrival, Mr. Hyde went directly to Aldershot in England where he spent several months in further training. Mr. Hyde then moved from being a military police officer to the job of dispatch rider - to a signaller assigned to a signals battalion with the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards. That was followed by a 3 ½ year stint on a Bren Gun carrier. The squadron was eventually posted to Scotland and eventually sailed for Sicily where Mr. Hyde participated in the landing there and went on to a number of battles in Italy before returning to Sicily, where his troop, the PLDG, received several awards, including a battle honour and a commendation from the Divisional Commander and the British 8th Army Commander.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Gilbert John Hyde
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
Military Police

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