"First of all I got back, I don’t think anybody cared whether I’d been to Korea or whether I was in the army, so, you know, and you don’t go around talking about it, so who’s going to know anything anyway."
The war started when I was at university and so I guess I enlisted while I was at the university.
Well, my assumption would be that there would have been a much larger war and that it was the beginning of an intensification of the Cold War.
What you want to do, if there’s going to be one, you might as well know what’s going on rather than get caught in the middle of it and it seemed to me to make a lot of sense. I was in COTC [Cadet Officer Training Corps] each year I was in university. So I had some beginning and it seemed logical that I would go in service, assuming that it was going to be a bigger situation. And when I did that, it was quite critical in Korea, yeah, they [UN Forces] were almost knocked out of it.
The trip over was with the USS General Freeman, which was quite a good ship and I had good accommodation. For one thing, I didn’t have any troops. So if you’re by yourself, you don’t have any responsibility, I didn’t have to supervise any of them either way. So I’m there and I have a nice trip. It was very pleasant, it was about, on the way over, they went by the Aleutian Islands and stopped for a little there and then we got to Yokohama [Japan] and I got the train from Yokohama to Kure. And as I indicated, I was in Kure for a couple of days and then I took a boat ride over to Iwakuni, which was the Australian air base. And went from Iwakuni to Seoul, where I was greeted by my staff sergeant.
Well, where I was, they had the main line of resistance, which extended across Korea. South of the main line of resistance we had probably a seven mile area that was cleared of Koreans. So they couldn’t get there or get shot, whatever. So anyway, Canadian units in the brigade, they’d have two battalions up, one battalion back in reserve and I guess you know who they were, while I was there, the Second [Battalion] RCR [Royal Canadian Regient], Third RCR were there, the Second and Third PPCLI [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry] were there and the Van Doos [a nickname for the Royal 22e Régiment] were there.
So while I was there, the Third RCR arrived in March 1953 and after they got to the front lines, they were attacked by a battalion of Chinese. And got badly shot up but had very little rewards for the disaster.
First of all I got back, I don’t think anybody cared whether I’d been to Korea or whether I was in the army, so, you know, and you don’t go around talking about it, so who’s going to know anything anyway. If you look at it, very few people know what the Korean War was about or for. If I look at a textbook, it’s got a page and a half about the Korean War. You know, so who knows. You know, the page and a half is little more than the Second World War, where you’ve got six pages. The textbook for Canadians. No, they don’t know anything about it.