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In Britain For The Battle Of Britain

Heroes Remember

In Britain For The Battle Of Britain

I know the 2nd Brigade not the 2nd, the 1st Brigade got over there and we were the... in the second were slated to go but we never did because they just got over there and then Dunkirk happened and it came back. But we spent most of our time, I guess, guarding the beaches, and being reconnaissance, as we were then when we got amalgamated would be, after forming the independent reconnaissance squadrons, we got amalgamated. We spent most of our time reconnoitering all the roads and the villages and everything in case of an invasion so that we could...could help that way. And we went on all sorts of exercises and... Interviewer: What was your reaction when you saw the impact of the Dunkirk evacuation, when you realized the British had been basically kicked off the continent? Well, I guess we and the 1st Canadian Division and I forget whether it was the 51st Highlanders, I think it was the 51st Highlanders, we were the only organized forces in Britain, and quite frankly, if Hitler hadn't listened to his, whoever he was listening to, and listened to his Generals and invaded, we wouldn't have stood a hope in hell, in my opinion, because we were spread so thin. I can remember guarding the coastline and I'd be on patrol here, some guy fifty yards down the pyke with a rifle, well you can imagine, what we, what were we gonna do? Against these well trained German soldiers, nothing. Interviewer: The Germans had a course to conquer the Channel, and they felt that air power was required to control the air over the Channel, what do you remember about the Battle of Britain? Well, I can remember, like I say, seeing these thousands of planes coming over and one thing I, this particular time in September, we were stationed just across from Biggin Hill, which is one of the main fighter air, air bases in Britain, and there was a valley between us, I suppose, around, two or three hundred yards, we were on this side and Biggin Hill was on the other. And I can remember one day in September this massive German raid came over at 11 o'clock in the morning, day like today, not a cloud in the sky. You could see all these Vs and we just used to sit there, looking you know, and all of a sudden, there had been squadrons of Spits and Hurricanes sitting a way up on above just waiting for them, and they came down out of the sun, I don't know how many squadrons there were but they must have put everything they had against it. And they just went through those formations, they just came, Germans were coming like this and these guys are coming down like this and just went through them like that, came up the other side, went through them like that, and back down again they had Germans dropping out of the sky like flies. And that's the big impression I've got of, although, I saw hundreds of other ones but that was the big one. I thought, "Finally we're doing something." And then afterwards, of course, Churchill owed so much to so few, well they were the few that did it and I think it was that particular raid that really convinced the Germans that it wasn't, because they really took a kicking that day.

Mr. Hyde's brigade had been in England for some months as Hitler's air force began that stage in the war known as the Battle of Britain. He sets the scene for his experiences during those early days of the Second World War.

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
Battle of Britain
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
Military Police

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