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A Tough Question - A Troubling Answer

Heroes Remember

A Tough Question - A Troubling Answer

Interviewer: Mr. Hyde, looking back on your experience in the Second World War, the Canadian Army, the Italian Campaign, how would you say that, that experience affected you in later life? Well, the only thing that's really affected me in later life, I've had, I have nightmares, and I really don't know what they're about sometimes. But the most profound thing that affected me is when I killed that German, cause he was a kid, sixteen years of age, when I read the dog tags. Sixteen years of age and he was in the Hitler Jugend Division, Hitler Youth division, and these guys were fanatics, and we fought against them, they were some of the toughest troops we fought against. They were even, they were even worse then paratroopers, these kids. And that's really affected me and I still think of that kid that I killed. But it was instinctive, you know, the first guy I'd ever killed and I still think of that, and that's what really affected me most, I guess, and losing a couple of buddies but you expect that. Interviewer: When you think back on the men that you've served with in the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, when you think of those men and the other men that you've served with, what do you think of when you think of them? Well, I think, you know, they're a wonderful bunch of guys. They gave their lives, they were willing to give their lives for whatever reason, they were willing to give their lives if necessary. And for the guys that got killed, I don't know whether they were the lucky ones or not. You have to think of the people left behind: mothers, brothers, fathers, sweethearts, you know, they've suffered for years and years and years and years. And the guys that where wounded, you know, some of them are horrendous wounds that these guys got, and they're still in hospital. Although the Veteran's hospitals are cutting down, there's still some of them in hospital from the First and Second World Wars. These are the one's that really suffered, and their relatives, you know, because they've got to look at these guys, they've got to see them, see their agony. The guys that got killed, they went pretty quick most of them.

More than half a century after his service for Canada during the Second World War, Mr. Hyde is asked a difficult question. His answer is clear and to the point.

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
Machine Gun Operator

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