My name is Gilbert Hyde, and I'm veteran of World War II. I'm now eighty-four and a half years of age. I started my military career as an Army Cadet at age eleven and a half. I joined Canada's regular force just two weeks after my eighteenth birthday on the 18th of October 1938, in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.
I sailed for overseas in December of 1939, and landed in Scotland on New Years Eve. I stayed with the Patricia's for about six months, until they were forming a new organization called Reconnaissance Squadron, and I volunteered. My feet were no longer sore from all the marching I did, but my bum became sore from riding on motorcycles, armoured cars, and universal machine gun carriers. Then they made the Reconnaissance Squadron into a regiment, called the 4th Princess Louise Dragoon Guards Reconnaissance Regiment, with the 1st Canadian Infantry Division.
We trained and we trained in England until June of 1943, when we sailed for Sicily. I landed on the second wave of the invasion of Sicily at Pachino, and I spent the next seventeen months fighting the length and breadth of Sicily and Italy. I was extremely lucky. I was shot at, I was bombed, I was machine-gunned, I was torpedoed, but I never got a scratch, although guys were killed right alongside me.
We crossed the Melfa River after we'd broken through the Hitler Line. There were just three of us across the river, and we ran into a 'hornet's nest', and the only way we could get out of it was to go over the bank into the Melfa River. The guy that was with me got a rifle grenade in his back, and I carried him back across the river. By the time we got back, he was dead.
Finally, I was repatriated back to Canada, and I was posted to the 6th Canadian Infantry Battalion, which was forming to fight the war in Japan. Before we could set sail, Japan capitulated due to the atomic bombs. In 1947, I joined Canada's permanent force. After progressing through the ranks from Corporal to Sergeant to Staff Sergeant to Sergeant Major and then Lieutenant, I finally retired as a Captain after thirty-six years service, in 1974.