Veteran Stories:
A. Edward “Ed” Heatley

Army

  • Two South Korean soldiers posing with Bren light machine guns, with an unidentified Canadian soldier, Korea, 1951-1952.

    Ed Heatley
  • Ed Heatley posing with an unloaded Bren light machine gun at the Korean front, 1951-1952.

    Ed Heatley
  • A Corporal Collins sits on Sherman tank "Chippewa," Korea, 1951-1952.

    Ed Heatley
  • Ed Heatley's fellow soldier, Corporal Collins, in front of a bunker entrance, Korea, 1951-1952. Corporal Collins is carrying a Lee-Enfield rifle affixed with bayonet.

    Ed Heatley
  • Photo of Ed Heatley at the Fairmount Winnipeg Hotel, August 29, 2011.

    Ed Heatley
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"My left arm was shattered, but they sewed it together again and sewed it back on for me."

Transcript

They put us in a boxcar, to go over to the other coast, to go to Korea, but it was cold, cracks in the thing. The car was ready to fall apart, by the looks of it. And we lit fires up in the, in the boxcar, to keep warm.

So, we got over to the – I forget the name of the station where we caught the ferry to go over to Korea. I can’t remember it. So anyway, we got over to Korea, and went through there, we got into, just past Seoul [South Korea], we stayed a couple of days in Seoul, a camp there. And then we were sent right up to the lines. And, I think it was Hill 255, no, it was [Hill] 355 the RCRs [The Royal Canadian Regiment] were on, the big one, and we were just to the right of the RCRs. And, had to dig in pretty good.

So, we never got into the big fighting part but, with the RCRs, we had gotten a lot of the shelling and stuff like that, and had to go out on the odd patrol. I was scheduled to go out on one patrol and that was one of the scariest things that I ever done. And, sitting out there, you know, a thousand yards out in front of the position and just sitting there, waiting to see if anything was going to happen.

But, on those patrols, it’s getting dark and you’re going down a hill into the valley, and then you’ve got to sit down there all night,  to come back in the morning and you don’t know whether there’s mines out there or, or whether, you know, the Chinese were coming up, checking us out and stuff like that. But so you know, and it’s pitch black, you can’t see nothing hardly. So that was scary just sitting there, and the shelling going on. But we managed to make it through the, the night and come back up.

But then, we only had those - our rifles, 303s [.303-calibre Lee-Enfield bolt-action rifles], and, single shot things, so I happened to get lucky and meet an American group and I had a bottle of whiskey in my kit up in the - hidden away. So this American, he had a, a small automatic [weapon], so I traded him the bottle of whiskey for his automatic.

So, that was fine and I had that for quite a while, and then one of the other fellows in one of the other platoons, was going out on, was a sniper, out in front, and he asked if he could take my [American] carbine with him. So I loaned him my carbine, I said, “Don’t forget to bring it back.” He says, “I’ll bring it back.” So, when he did come back, they were out there for two days, and when they came back, they carried him back, and he’d got shot through the throat. And we got him up to the top of the hill and he died right there with us before we can get him down to the hospital, or anything. And, that was the end of my carbine. So I lost that. But, he was in bad shape. He was still breathing though, but, he never made it down to the bottom of the hill.

Then when the - we were supposed to be relieved the following October, we’d have been there a year, and our relief was supposed to be coming in at the end of October [1952], so it happened, I got shot on the 15th of October. And I got both arms and across my chest, left chest, above my heart there. And, so my left arm was shattered, but they sewed it together again and sewed it back on for me. And, then it went across my chest on the left side and then through the other arm on the other side and took most of the muscle out.

I remember it never even knocked me down. I had to, help myself with help, I got out of the trench and that was it.

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