Veteran Stories:
Clyde Reo Bougie

Army

  • Clyde Bougie standing with a Korean soldier and a statue.

    Clyde Bougie
  • A docked hospital ship which took care of casualties during the Korean War.

    Clyde Bougie
  • Improvised shelters which were typical of Korean War accommodations.

    Clyde Bougie
  • A United States Air Force Sikorsky H-5 helicopter, which were some of the first helicopters to conduct medical evacuations in wartime.

    Clyde Bougie
  • Various cap badges of different Canadian military units.

    Clyde Bougie
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"So he gave me the sign and I run like hell, I go across and yeah, sure enough, bullets were flying around me."

Transcript

They had an outpost, you see, their main lines and then they had an outpost about a quarter of a mile out front of the main trench line, an outpost. They had thirty guys out there, a lieutenant, a sergeant and a couple of corporals and the rest were men, riflemen. And this one morning, they brought 12 of them out on stretchers, very sick. They were going from both ends. And they had high fevers. And Major Smiley said to me, my medical officer who was there, he said to me, “You’d better go out to the outpost and see what’s going on.” So they had to get a guard for me and I ended up with my old buddy, Corporal [Peter] Nolan.

So when we got halfway out to the outpost, Peter stopped and he says, there was a little hump there like that and there was another small hill there with some little branches on it, bushes and that. And he said, “From here on in”, he says, “what you’ve got to do is run like hell”. I said, “What do you mean, Peter?” He said, well he says, “We’ve had two guys killed here already.” I said, "How?" Well, he says, “There’s snipers over in the left and there’s snipers on the right.” I said, “Oh, well, that’s nice.” So he runs across and sure enough, ping, ping, ping, ping. And I said, “Oh my God, I’ve got to go across there.” So he gave me the sign and I run like hell, I go across and yeah, sure enough, bullets were flying around me. And got across.

And then we headed on through, kept on going and we’d go through little hills and hummocks and then we come to this larger hill. And I could see this black spear in the side of the hill. The Canadians have dug a trench right through the hill, from one end to the other. Had it all cleaned out, you know, you could see the dirt all spread out all over the place.

And we walked through that there tunnel and we come to the other end and as soon as I got there, I could see the trenches in there. So I met the lieutenant and I asked him, I said, “Where do these guys get sick”, I said, “were they spread out over the whole length of the trenches here?” And he said, “No, we were fed at that end, from one end and up to the other end and the only ones that got sick were the other ones on the far end.” Only ones that got sick. I said, “That’s strange.” I said, “I’ll have a look down there, so I’ll see what’s going on.” So I went down to the other end of the trenches and everywhere I went, there was little shelves with grenades hanging on and other stuff like that, with a whole box of ammunition wide open, all ready to use. And there was other boxes with strings of ammunition with a machine gun stuck up there ready to be used. And the guys all along the side, where the holes in the ground where the guys were all dug in, you know.

And I got to the other end and checked out their hoochies [a type of shelter] and all your utensils and everything was okay, everything was fine. They didn’t have anything around there that would attract rats or mice or anything like that. And I said, “I can’t find anything here.” So I said to Peter Nolan and the lieutenant, I said, “Well I’ll head back to the main mess tent [where food is served].” So I looked into one of the meat patties [container] and right in the middle, at the very bottom, there was like a little V shape, like somebody had hit it with a cleaver or something. And why this would happen, I have no idea. But there was a hole in the bottom of the thing. And the meat, the juices from the meat had soaked into the asbestos lining, insulation.

And the fellows, the last 12 guys that ate, the six patties in a row and another six patties, that had been covered with juice were the ones that got sick. I went into my kit and I took out a vial and a swab and I swabbed the thing and put it in there and put the cap on it, stuck it in my pocket, jumped in my jeep and never said anything to anybody, you didn’t have time. I headed out, I passed a CCP [Casualty Collecting Point] where the sick guys had been taken, I could see three stretchers still sitting outside the CCP, they couldn’t get them in, they were still sick and there was somebody attending to them and I drove by slowly so I wouldn’t raise any dust and then I sped up again and headed right across the Imjin River and into the 25 FDS [Field Dressing Station], into the laboratory. So I took it in there and I seen the Sergeant Poliad in there and I asked him to examine this here swab. And which he did, he carried, I waited there, it took about 15 minutes he was working around there, using different chemicals and fooling around and then he says, “Staphylococcal food poisoning.” I said, “You’re kidding? Those guys would be dead in about two or three hours.” And I said, “It better be, I’d better phone the CCP and tell them what it is.” So they can treat them properly, you know.

And so he went into the orderly room and he phoned the CCP, it’s called a Casualty Collecting Point, he told them what it was. So I drove back then, I passed the thing and those guys were still out on the stretchers there when I went by, going back to the RAP [Regimental Aid Post]. And when I got back to the RAP, and I parked the Jeep, the major come out and he see, he come over and he grabbed me and gave me a great big hug. This was usual. I said, “Well, what’s all this for, sir?” He says, “You saved those guy’s lives.” I said, “Well, what are you talking,” you know, well, he said, “you reported, he said, they phoned me up and told me that, from the lab, FDS, they told me what it was, Staphylococcal food poisoning and they treated them for it and they’re doing good, they’re all reviving.”

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