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Landing on the Beaches of Sicily

Heroes Remember

Landing on the Beaches of Sicily

We were supposed to hit the beach, make a reconnaissance for the infantry and that, but by the time we got there, which is three days later, the invasion started on the 10th. By the time we got there on the 13th the Italians, very weak Italian Coastal Division, offered no resistance at all. I think they were just glad to give up. So, by the time we really got there the war had pushed on inland oh, a few miles, I don't know how far. and we off-loaded our vehicles and went about two or three miles inland and my introduction to war was that night. We were sort of bivouacked behind a mound, a hill, sort of thing, and there's another little mound over there and, of course, it's pitch black and we never got in until about midnight, so just night vision, wasn't too clear exactly where we were but we were harboured there anyway. And about three o'clock in the morning, holy smokes we heard these guns going off, and this is the first time I'd really, you know, I'd heard artillery fire before because we'd done reconnaissance work, but there was a battery of a hundred and fifty five How... .155 Howitzers, back behind the other hammock, and they were shooting right over our heads, and of course we realized, within a very short time, that they were outgoing, they weren't incoming. But boy, at three o'clock in the morning on a foreign shore when you don't know where you are, when you hear that sound, it's a little scary. So the next day, of course, after we heard these going off, they continued for about fifteen or twenty minutes then it was silent and, of course, dawn came early, about four o'clock, four thirty something like that, so we got our... the command... the Squadron Commander got his orders and we packed up and we caught up to the advancing infantry. and I just forget the name of the town, but anyway he wanted some information about the next town, little village along the way so, we started off on a reconnaissance. The forward troops went forward and... of course, I'm with the commander so we're a little further back, and we, and then we started our, our role as reconnaissance That was the first time, reconnaissance, and I don't think we suffered any casualties there. It was about, about a week later that we had our first casualties Some of the forward troops were machine gunned... mortared, but I, myself, was still back with the commander so although we heard the shells and machine guns and that, we weren't really under fire ourselves. And I guess that phase continued right the way through Sicily.

Mr. Hyde’s squadron reached Sicily and he describes their going ashore.

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
4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards

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