Mr. Richard Waterson, May 2012.The Memory Project
Mr. Waterson's medals, from left to right: Canadian Korea Medal; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for Korea; United Nations Service Medal Korea; Canadian Forces Decoration & Bar; Alberta Centennial Medal.Richard Waterson
"So we had the training and at the end of the course they had a baptismal service and I was baptised by emersion in the River Imjim in Korea, and as far as I know the only Canadian soldier that was ever baptised by emersion there."
[With No. 56 Transport Company in Korea.]
So I went to Korea and I was, as I mentioned, I was what they called an Ammunition Accountant because you had to keep track of – we were supplying the ammunition for ourselves, the British and the Australians and I think all those. So we had to keep track who was getting what and what they were issued and that, so that the record was sent back to Ottawa. Ottawa then could bill these other companies, the British and the New Zealanders, for what they used.
And so that was my lot. But then I was also – I was not a drinker or anything, never have been, so I was the Chief Steward at the, which I’d also been back at the base. And it was nothing when I was at Camp Borden to sell $1,500 of beer on the pay weekend a night at $0.15 a bottle. So I had eight waiters, I had two guys bringing the beer out of the cooler, two guys were collecting all the empties and taking them back you know, and it was a great time.
Going over it was beautiful, just like glass, smooth all the way over. But then when it came to the time for rotating back, the Federal election came up. And under the Election Act, Land Forces, the Army, have to be on land to vote. So we had to stay there two weeks longer to do all the voting and everything, then we rotated back home.
The worst part was that just put us into the stormy season, and it was which is just […]. We were a week or two late getting back into port with all the ships. All the trains I would say sitting on the siding in Seattle waiting for us. But things happen, yeah.
We had some Korean children as help, like busboys or something or other, where you go to the mealtime; they bring you your meals and that to you. Your bed, it was all made up and the cabin was all swept out and we maintained them and everything. It was quite interesting.
After the end, I say then when the Chaplains had a church membership training and that and you could – well on the way over to Korea there was a Life Magazine that had a write up on all the different religions. And that’s when I decided that I was a Baptist. So we had the training and at the end of the course they had a baptismal service and I was baptised by emersion in the River Imjim in Korea, and as far as I know the only Canadian soldier that was ever baptised by emersion there, so.
As far as I know, also, I say I was the only soldier in the company [No. 56 Transport Company] – I mean the Service Corps [Royal Canadian Army Service Corps] is not a fighting unit. Like all the drivers on your trucks all had Sten Guns [a British submachine gun], but any of the clerical staff and stuff like that, you had an actual rifle. And we rotated that one night the British would be on guard duty and the next night it would be our unit.
So this one night the British guy was on night and he fell asleep on the job. Well he got fined a whole month’s pay. But the next night I was on there. And the Koreans never bothered you continually, like it was just every once in a while. And they had the potbelly stoves and you made them […]. So we had to run through all the tents and everything checking on these stoves to make sure if they were working and everything okay on them.
And so I came in out of this tent and I had to go down and here was these three Koreans walking up the centre of the camp. So I turned around and yelled “Halt” at them. Well they turned around and run.
So I was down with my rifle and it’s surprising how fast your mind thinks. I said “Lord”, like our tents were here and the British tents were the opposite way across, and they were – if I fired at them and I missed, I could hit one of those British guys down there. So I fired just over their heads and over the trees. You never saw three guys disappear so fast in all your life. And we never had no more problem all the time we were there. They said “Stay away from that place.”
The evening, I say it was night time and that, it was pretty quiet because it was just in the daytime when we had all our trucks that would, when we had the big main ammunition depot, all the big supplies there. And we had trucks that would take it from our main depot. Like again, it would come by ship to […] and then by train from […] up to Uijeongbu; and then from there our trucks would bring up to what was called the Main Ammunition Depot, where we were at. And then as it was issued out from the Forward Ammunition Depots they would send signals back to me who got what and how much, so that we could bill them back to Ottawa who would bill the countries for it and go on from there.
So that’s the way it was. As I was saying, we had the little Korean boy working. There was the two of us in the tent. And he made up all the tents and got our meals and washed all the dishes and everything, so it was… (laughing)