Veteran Stories:
Emile Leon Bill Thibault

Army

  • Mr. Bill Thibault's display of photos and medals regarding his time in the service. Medals, from left to right: 1939-1945 Star; France and Germany Star; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal; 1939-1945 Medal; Canadian Korea Medal; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for Korea; Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal for Korea; United Nations Emergency Force in the Mediterranean; Canadian Forces' Decoration (1 bar).

    Bill Thibault
  • Bill Thibault's dog tags. Korean War, 1953.

    Bill Thibault
  • Bill Thibault with a South Korean child. Korea, early 1954.

    Bill Thibault
  • Mr. Bill Thibault, November 2011.

  • Bill Thibault's section in Korea. He is on the front row, second from right.

    Bill Thibault
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"I’m not sorry that I went in the army. I think, you know what, I did the best I could at the time."

Transcript

I joined up in early 1952, went to Camp Borden. That’s Camp Borden, Ontario, RCASC [Royal Canadian Army Service Corps], because I guess they figured I didn’t want to go back to the infantry, I really didn’t [Mr. Thibault served also in World War Two in Europe]. And we trained there, we ended up in the summer in Wainwright [Alberta] with the brigade, we had the whole brigade, with the Van Doos [soldiers of Le Royal 22e Régiment], the RCRs [Royal Canadian Regiment] and the PPCLI [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry] and all the other engineers and artillery and the Service Corps, we were all in Wainwright that whole summer. And did our training and we ended, like our home base was in Camp Borden because most of the guys we were with were from the east toward that and on the west, I don’t know what it was, it wasn’t that many joined up from the west. A lot of them from Maritimes. We had a few from Quebec in the RCASC and a lot of Ontario people. So that was our home base. By March [1953], we moved, got on the ship to the south and we got on the boat in Seattle [United States]. Sixteen days later, we were in Japan and then it took us, the whole brigade kind of went in one, what it was was a brigade changeover. We were the third group, the first had already been there and back, the second brigade was in there and we were relieving them. And the, I think it was the third [battalion], like the RCR, the third PPCLI and the third [Royal 22e Régiment] were taking over. And we were taking over from the other company. It was a good life but it was, like I say, my wife didn’t have a good life, it wasn’t, we didn’t argue, but she knew what I wanted to do and … We were more or less a static unit and we were behind the Imjin River [in Korea]. Once in a while we’d cross the river where the infantry was, we’d haul ammunition. We were on ammunition duty. The division [1st Commonwealth Division] was under the bridge. The British had a service corps and so did the Kiwis [New Zealanders], they had a service corps. But their trucks, they were the old Bedfords and they weren’t dependable. So anything that had to be moved, we had to write on our windshields was ammo, we were on ammo detail and that gave us permission to go through. We hauled all the ammo for the whole division, not for just our brigade [the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade, part of the 1st Commonwealth Division in Korea]. Oh yeah. Yeah, and we had way better trucks, better drivers, better workers and this I’ll say, the Americans couldn’t believe the amount of work that we got out of them. Our Canadians have always been that way I guess. Because we were all volunteers. They weren’t volunteer at that time, the Americans, they were conscripted. And they’d stand there and they’d wait until you told them what to do. You could see it, we did, you could see their officers and their sergeants, people wouldn’t do anything. Yeah, and that’s why I say, but we enjoyed, like I didn’t enjoy it but I mean, it was a pleasure to work with guys that, like I was a corporal and boy, I didn’t, well of course, I, I am different than the other corporals I guess, we had most of the time six or seven drivers or six trucks and I’d say to the guy, who led the last, yeah, I’d drive their truck, do their duties. I’d give them a day off every, I did as much driving as they did. I’m not sorry that I went in the army. I think, you know what, I did the best I could at the time. And like I say, I stayed in it until … The pay wasn’t that great, the life wasn’t that great but I only had a grade 8 education, what could I sell? And I got by and I was able to feed my family. I looked after my family, that’s the important part as far as I was concerned.
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