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Unhappy Soldiers!

Heroes Remember

There was a riot. The 4th PLDG rioted. They shot off every shell they had, they shot off every bit of ammunition they had, every mortar shell, every 30 Browning machine gun, 50 Browning machine gun, and the officers, they were lucky they had success to some vino, and some whisky and stuff, and we drunk all our vino and screech we could get our hands on. And they had to march in a British outfit, they surrounded our whole bivouac area, just so that we wouldn't get outside and cause it, but for three days this went on, until finally, we were out of whiskey and shells and, and what have you. And the second night it went on, they told the hundred and, I think it was 168 light anti-tank battery, that they were also going to convert them into infantry. Well, of course, they let loose, too, this shattered their moral and they're shooting anti-air craft, and flares, and everything else, and it was a real fireworks display for three nights, and they told us we were going from the 1st Division to the 5th Division. The best Reconnaissance Unit in the Canadian Army, or in the whole of the British 8th Army, and we had been told this by Montgomery himself. He'd sent a letter to the Commanding Officer, and he passed it on, of course, that we were the best Reconnaissance Unit in the whole of the 8th Army. Interviewer: This is the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards. Dragoon Guards. Yeah, and then they convert us into infantry. It just shattered the morale like you wouldn't believe. I mean, we just went from being a hundred percent to practically nothing. And it took, it took four or five weeks for the morale to build up, and, of course, there was wholesale changes in the organization of the unit. Units, subunits were broken up, and, oh, I became a machine gunner because, before the war, I'd been in the militia, with the King's Own Rifles, machine gunners. So before I was, well, sixteen years of age, I could strip blindfolded and put it back together, a Vickers machine gun in less then a minute. So this was also on my record, so naturally, I was made a corporal in charge of a Vickers machine gun in the new infantry battalion. And that's how I spent the rest of the war, as a Vickers machine gunner.

The Americans took Rome. Shortly after, Mr. Hyde's reconnaissance unit was informed it would be converted to an infantry unit. All hell broke loose over a three day period, seldom spoken of in Canadian military history accounts.

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
Armoured Car Commander

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