Veteran Stories:
Archie Patterson

Army

  • Archie Patterson attending the Memory Project event in Burnaby on November 4th, 2011.

    Archie Patterson
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"This one poor young lieutenant come and joined us and he just got in the front lines, I think 15 minutes or something, and a mortar bomb landed right in his trench with him."

Transcript

Okay, well, I was in armourer, one of two armourers with the Royal Canadian Regiment. And we kept all the weapons, the smaller, what we called small arms, serviced. That was pretty well everything except tank guns and cannons. Normally like the, say a private soldier on the Bren gun for example, Brens stop shooting sometimes, he turned it into the quartermaster stores and they in turn would bring it to the armourer shop where I was. And it was my job to find out what was wrong with it and repair it and test it like I said and then get it back to them. Everybody got along fine with everybody as far as I know. Certainly in our group. We had fun, we used to play softball at night sometimes against each other, whatever, you know. A lot of guys spent some time with those two bottles of beer I told you about, that you were eligible for. That sort of thing. But I used to climb all the hills around for something to do on a Sunday afternoon or something. But they were fairly rugged but they weren’t very high where we were. Well, the weather, you know, we went through the winter 1952/53, it wasn’t that cold but it’s cold enough, like we used to have to do two hour watches during the night and you get up 4:00 in the morning or something, it’s cold enough. But I think the coldest I remember it being was about six below Fahrenheit. Which to somebody from Fort St. John [British Columbia] is not that cold. One of the most trusted of Korean guys that worked practically for our CO [commanding officer] I think, was actually a spy for the North Koreans. He had apparently been a captain in the Japanese army during the war, World War II, or so the story I get anyway. And one morning, the ROK [Republic of Korea] policemen come looking for him and he was nowhere to be found because somebody had already warned him they were onto him. He just disappeared, never saw him again. One time, this one poor young lieutenant come and joined us and he just got in the front lines, I think 15 minutes or something, and a mortar bomb landed right in his trench with him. Chinese used phosphorous [a highly flammable chemical] a lot, they used to like phosphorous and that’s horrible stuff. Yeah. So that saddens you, even if I didn’t know him, you know, he was only like 22 or 23 years old or something.
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