"We were watching for trains carrying war goods and troops etc, by the enemy. Our patrol area was approximately 10 miles long, back and forth, back and forth. On a previous patrol we had caught a train between tunnels and we destroyed all the box cars."
I was in the radar plot branch in the navy on board HMCS Sioux. My duties were operating the various radar sets on the ship. Also plotting of ships and aircraft and submarines up in the combat information centre. I was assigned to the navigator as his yeoman and my duties were assisting in taking star sites etc, also chart corrections. For example in notice to mariners we’d be advised of sunken ships, where they were located. They’d have to be marked on charts. Also we received intelligence from different sources regarding minefields that had been sowed in the water and they had to be charted on the charts as well. My action station was up on the bridge and our bridge was open. There was no cover on it, no roof or anything, open to all the elements.
Just before the invasion of Inchon, which took place I think in [September] of 1950, there was a gun position outside of the port on the left hand side. And that was our job, a couple of days. We’d actually hit that before when it was under construction and there was a lot of workers – were killed that time I remember. They had an aircraft spotter over it and he was reporting to us. So apparently they were rebuilding it or rebuilt it again and we went in there just before the invasion of Inchon and knocked that one out.
We were on patrol on the east coast of Korea. It was in late July of 1951 and we were in an area between a place called Songjin and Chaho and between those two cities there were five railway tunnels and each tunnel was called a package. It was package number 1 to package number 5. Package number 1 was the most northerly and they were about roughly 8 miles or so in-between. We covered package number 5 and we were watching for trains carrying war goods and troops etc, by the enemy. Our patrol area was approximately 10 miles long, back and forth, back and forth. On a previous patrol we had caught a train between tunnels and we destroyed all the box cars, etc., etc. and you could see everything from the bridge, you see having no cover or anything. We had been firing at targets as well on this patrol and these targets were just beyond the first mountain range. They were actually hills. Because we had a Cessna spotter aircraft and he was giving us ranges and bearing on different targets and we had a similar bombardment chart on the ship and we were quite active there for many, many days.
Anyways, we had a train trapped in package number 5, in tunnel number 5. You could see the smoke coming out. They were old trains. They burned wood and coal and God knows what else. So we reported this over the ship to ship, ship to aircraft radium, that there was a train in package number 5. A short while later, we heard an aircraft, a propeller-driven aircraft, a WW2 type, and we were just in the transition period in Korea. We had WW2 type plus the jets, but this was a WW2 type. I think it was a Corsair. And it was coming toward us and I remember being on the bridge looking up and seeing this massive yellow-orange looking torpedo hanging from the bottom of it and thought my God, what is that? It sort of circled around and it dropped down low right over the railway tracks, parallel to the tracks and it headed right toward the mouth of the tunnel where this train was belching smoke. And we thought he’d just sort of launch this torpedo and sort of take off, but no, it went smack, right into the mouth of the tunnel and there was a massive explosion and it sealed off the tunnel. We figured it was a Kamikaze pilot, but it was later on that we heard that there was an aircraft carrier out there. Most of the aircraft carrier used to stay well clear of shore because of shore batteries. Enemy shore batteries could fire at them. But on this aircraft carrier, they had planted a camera in the nose of this Corsair and by remote control they launched the aircraft and they watched the proceedings through a TV screen and it was controlled by someone. The aircraft was controlled like a toggle switch or lever and directed the aircraft right into the tunnel mouth. Just amazing.