Veteran Stories:
Albert Hugh “Al or Abby” McBride

Army

  • A photo of Albert McBride taken in August 2011 at the Korean Veteran Association's "Last Hurrah" in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    Albert McBride
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"I lost my best friend, Gordie Walmer. He got killed about a month before he had to go home, with me. He was a good, good guy. The good guys were there. We left the good guys there."

Transcript

So I went over in October 1951. I flew over with the [426] Thunderbird Squadron, [Canadair] North Stars [transport aircraft], flew to Japan, spent two weeks in Japan, then we sailed to Korea, they called them “WCOM” – they’re Chinese boats with British officers running it.

We ended up in Pusan, and there was three tanks that had to be loaded up on flatbeds to send out. We degreased them, loaded them up on flatbeds. I spent two days doing that. So then we went up by train, boxcar, with the tanks on the flatbed, we slept in some boxcars. There still was snipers left, the Chinese or North Koreans, and they put in a couple rounds through our boxcar. There was seven Strathconas [Lord Strathcona’s Horse Regiment]. And, we ended up in B Echelon, then I ended up in A Echelon and I stayed there and I was driving the truck for a while, deuce and a half [2 ½ ton truck]. Then C squadron, then I went in as a replacement and I’d go into it when a guy would go on leave or get wounded, I’d go and replace him at different crew. And you always got the dirty end of the stick when you’re a replacement, because you don’t really belong to that crew.

The area I was in, was one of the most concentrated areas for getting shellfire, getting artillery. I went down for water one time –I can remember this – and I was coming back and a mortar hit and I was trying to make the next cover, and it blew four holes through the jerry can, so I dropped it. Just scratched my ankle, twisted my ankle. I got up back to the tank and they gave me heck because I only had one jerry can of water. I wasn’t going back for the other one.

It was horrible conditions, there was rats. One of my friends died of this fever, I don’t know what they called it, Manchurian Fever – a rat bit a chocolate bar and he ate it and he died. But, we didn’t know that he was – he was always complaining about not feeling well, all the time, so they didn’t realize what he had until it was too late. Grey was his name, and he died with this poisoning from the rats.

I lost my best friend, Gordie Walmer. We went to school together, South Burnaby High. We didn’t join together but we met up in the regiment and then we went to Meaford [Ontario] together, and we went to Korea together. I went on leave in Vancouver [British Columbia] – we were in Stanley Park getting drunk, drinking beer, and the old city police come up and was going to take us to jail, and Gordie said, “Good, we won’t have to go to Korea, then.” And he says, “Oh, you’re going to Korea.” This was the policeman. That was before we left, this was vacation leave. He was a great, good guy. And he got killed about a month before he had to go home, with me. He was a good, good guy. The good guys were there. We left the good guys there.

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