Veteran Stories:
Gordon Bockus

Army

  • Private Gordon Bockus of The Royal Canadian Army Service Corps in Korea, 1953.

    Gordon Bockus
  • Mr. Gordon Bockus, April 2012.

    The Memory Project
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"[The people] didn’t bother with it [The Korean War]. In fact, most of them called it a police action, which is ridiculous, when you have about two million men over there-, about two million men there with tanks and guns and aircraft. That’s not police."

Transcript

[With the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps in Korea]

A Service Corps is broken up into transporters. Well, if the company-, and there’s A Company, B Company, C, and D. Now these are all transport companies. Transport, your drivers. Then they have what they call the composite platoons. These are the fellows that look after food, they had petrol, and the ammunition. And I happened to be in the food, which is pretty good, you know. No danger there of blowing up and... but that was it. But I would-, I used to still drive a truck, because you’re trained to do that. But I sooner had this because nobody bothered us, they left us alone, you know?

We supplied the whole brigade. They had one-, with the brigade in Korea, 25th Brigade [the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade], and we supplied the whole Brigade. It was three battalions of the Royal Canadian Regiment, the Pats [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry], and the Van Doos. Royal 22nd [Royal 22e Régiment] We supplied them. We used to get our blow down and pick up our food from the Americans. We ate American food. And British-, we were a British Commonwealth Division, but we had our own food, and our own trucks [the 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade was part of the 1st Commonwealth Division]. We had all American trucks.

They used to bring over meat, frozen meat, in big packages, big boxes. All frozen. Were probably flown in; I don’t know how they worked, because... And then we would-, they even-, they had a bakery in Seoul, and they made their own ice. And they made their own ice-cream. So couldn’t ask for any better than that. But the British were... they were supplying their own. The British supplied the New Zealanders, the Australians, the Indians. The rest of the Commonwealth. But us, we had our own. We ate pretty good.

Every day was typical. We got up in the morning, early, early in the morning. We took the trucks, went down to the closest rail station, picked up all the supplies for that day, and brought them back up to where out compound was. And then these units, like the Van Doos and the RCRs [Royal Canadian Regiment] and that, they would come with their trucks and pick up the food, you know? And we would issue them out, here, this is so much for you, this is so much for you, so much for you. And that went on seven days a week. Seven days. We were finished by about... 12 o’clock noon. So we had all the afternoon off. But we... we had to get up at four every morning.

But that was every day. Because the guys had to be fed. And what the other platoons, the other part of our platoon was doing, the composite platoon, the guys with the ammo and the petrol, I don’t know what they did. Because they were far away from us. We’ll see them once in a while.

And another experience I had was when I first landed in Korea, we had-, we flew there. We flew from Japan then to Korea. We took a ship from Seattle, Washington, to Japan, Kobe, Japan. And then we-, they flew us to Korea. Where we landed, on the other side of the road, this was the jet fighters. American jet fighters. And all you could see was row after row after row after row, these things. There was no way the Chinese would ever win in the air; the superiority those Americans had. And I said my god, where’s all these planes coming from?

[Thoughts on the Korean War]

Before-, you see the thing was that it happened to soon after the Second World War, and people were fed up with it. So, you know, they didn’t care anymore. They didn’t bother with it. In fact, most of them called it a police action, which is ridiculous, when you have about two million men over there-, about two million men there with tanks and guns and aircraft. That’s not police. You know? But that’s what a lot of people that didn’t know, they said oh, it’s a police action, you know? I mean we didn’t get hit too bad, Canada, but we still lost about 580 men, you know, and God knows how many wounded. So for a small little... We only had a battalion... brigade, and that’s-, a brigade is only roughly around 7,000 men at one time, you know? So we still got hit pretty bad for our size of our country.

Follow us