Dennis Moore at the Korea Veterans Association of Canada reunion, The Last Hurrah. Winnipeg, Manitoba, 30 August 2011.Dennis Moore
Hockey game on the Imjin River. Korea, January 1952.Dennis Moore
Face-off during a hockey game on the Imjin River. Korea, January 1952.Dennis Moore
The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry track and field team after their win in 1951. Dennis Moore is back row centre, with soldiers Lachance, and Mackenzie to right. Lieutenant-Colonel Jim Stone, commanding officer, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, is kneeling on far left.Dennis Moore
From left to right: Scott Moore (older brother), unknown soldier, Dennis Moore. Korea 1951-1952.Dennis Moore
"And we came across a bit of a hill, looked at, and Jesus, there was the most beautiful ice rink on the Imjin, outside rink. It was like mirror, like a glass, they’d done it up."
I guess that night [after arriving in Korea], we had to stop and that’s when I started realizing that I was in a war. Because I could hear the bigger guns and they were loud and they were close. And they were ours. And that was, so I didn’t get right into a battle, but it give me time enough to get scared and get smart, right there. I remember, I said, “Hey, the bands and all that stuff is all over, it’s the real thing now.”
The regiments, oh, that was a good thing. I was sort of athletically inclined, I wasn’t a professional. And it was a track and field thing, summer. And it was regiment against regiment against units, all Canadian, brigade. And there was running and carrying sandbags over a barrel, I forget all the details now. It was more about sports or track and field related to the military and I’ll go back to that.
And it was very close, there was running and jumping and all that business. And it was getting pretty close, you know, and we didn’t know what we were playing for. But anyway, it was for a Major Gosselin^ trophy. I don’t know him but he got killed in action and that trophy was in honour of him. And we* won it. But before I say we won it, one of the events was taking a grenade and think of volleyball net. But not a live grenade, not primed. And you threw that grenade over, you had five, you threw it over the net into a target, it was on the ground. Just the target, you know, outer or inner, going up. And for some reason or other, and I wasn’t a huge man, like a softball or at this time a grenade, for the size of me, I would out throw I think anybody I know. And that’s boasting, that’s just a fact. I don’t know why that was.
But anyway, we were taught, and I can’t explain it unless it was in a camera, to throw a grenade over your head in that motion, okay. And I didn’t do it that way, I don’t know why, but I took the grenade and think of, I threw it like a football. But that’s not the way we were taught. And again, it sounds like a boast, it’s not a boast, when I done it that way, I could pretty near, now, I couldn’t throw it that far but distance didn’t matter. But I could throw it over that net and I think I put every one of them right in the bull’s eye. And I don’t think I did, I did. And it won the event.
I will say it was November of 1951, Brooke Claxton, who was the Minister of National Defence, Canada-wise, come over to have a visit. I didn’t see him, I was in the hills. And he had promised someone, you know, speaking to the troops, that he was going to send over hockey equipment. Now, somebody wants to ask him that. And he was going to send over some hockey equipment and he did, in December, it arrived. And when I heard this in November, you know, word of mouth went through like wildlife, and I said, “That’s ridiculous.” I was in the hills in our positions and the mail truck come up. We’re in December now, 1951. And a guy by the name of Jack Trainer, he was a corporal, he delivered the mail. He delivered the mail, he said, “Moore,” like he knew from Ottawa or he knew that I played hockey, because there was no tryouts or that, they just, anybody who played hockey and somebody was ramrodding in every unit. And he knew that I had played hockey and he said, “You’ll be playing hockey with the Patricias and you’ve been selected” – and I still didn’t believe him, you know, I said, “Where are we going to play?”
What was going on in the meantime, this equipment was here and the Canadian engineers built the rink of which I’ve got pictures of, I didn’t know this was going on, and they built, I’m getting ahead of the story, they built the rink on the Imjin River and I see pictures out there, I’ve got better ones. And they built the rink. So anyway, I guess in January, things not too bad war-wises, a jeep came and picked me up, I think it was my company commander’s jeep, his driver took me to the rink. And he took us to about, I don’t know, 15 miles sort of behind or along the Imjin River, someplace. And we came across a bit of a hill, looked at, and Jesus, there was the most beautiful ice rink on the Imjin, outside rink. It was like mirror, like a glass, they’d done it up. And there was nets made, they made the nets and there was two or three marquis tents, huge tents, they ended up dressing rooms and they were heated, which was sort of nice. And the other team and the other part of the PPCLI team were arriving from different companies, we were spread all over of course. And we played the brigade headquarters.**
When we left, we heard trucks and that coming and we were so nice and comfortable in that dressing room because it’s sort of warm, you know, and we went out with our skates on and we went down a little hill and when I left the tent and my God, there was I’d say, maybe I’m exaggerating, I don’t think so, I’d say there was about 500 or 600 spectators there, from Canadians, Australians, Brits, different countries, Americans. [The hockey game] overrides some of the garbage thoughts. It was such a release, not only for the players.
^Major Joseph P.L. Gosselin, Le Royal 22e Régiment, Killed in Action, 9 July 1951
*The team for 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
**The team for Headquarters, 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Group