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An Ocean Experience To Remember

Heroes Remember

An Ocean Experience To Remember

We got on a ship called the Arama, SS Arama, it was right, they just grabbed it from the PNO line, and it had been down in Australia, and it was loaded, they were gonna have a... a cruise, you know, a luxury cruise, and I think it was thirty-nine thousand tonnes. It was our regiment, and some nursing sisters, and some odds and sods up on top, officers up there on upper deck, which us lower ranks never got near. And, but the meals on that were absolutely fabulous and because, like I say, it was a luxury liner and they loaded it up. But unfortunately, I was on J deck, I guess, way down at the bottom, I was, my... I had a complete stateroom with two other guys. The dining room was about where that exit is there, and I never made from the dining room to my bunk once, in between was a bathroom, I had to visit it every time. You know, you're from down east so you'll know Halifax, you know Bedford Basin, you know, I don't know whether the docks are still there but they used to pull out from the dock go about two or three hundred yards this way and then turn to go into the sea, it sounds unbelievable, but on a 39,000 tonne ship, I never even made the corner, I'm over the side. Sick?! Oh, unbelievable, and I never kept any food down, until one day a sailor on the ship took pity on me, we weren't supposed to go upstairs. He took me up on the upper deck and gave me one of these great big dog biscuits. Tucked me into a corner under a life raft and said, "You sit here son, and nibble on this biscuit." Which I did for about two days. And, oh the North Atlantic was rough, it was December, rough, rough, rough waves thirty, forty, fifty feet. And I could sit there, and I'd watch, we were in a convoy, I'm just not sure who all was in there, but there was one small American transport, must have been about a tenth the size of our boat and I used to sit there and watch this thing just go up and down, like it was like a canoe, you know. But anyway we finally got to Scotland and boy was I glad, I never saw a better sight in my life when we pulled in to Greenwich and those beautiful green hills. And, oh, I was glad that voyage was over, I'm telling ya.

Mr. Hyde’s ocean crossing from Halifax to Scotland in December 1939, was an experience most of us would do almost anything to avoid.

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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