Gerald Robertson at a Memory Project event in Ottawa, Ontario. August 2012.Gerald Robertson
"I got a Bren gun and there was a few boys with extra ammunition which they gave to me and I was left there to take care of that in case the Chinese came and attacked because of the Bren gun, you could probably push them back."
We came out and they brought us out and they said we have a special thing for you. So as we were given all new clothes, told to load up with ammunition, as much ammunition as you can carry because they expected problems. But they didn't expect the problems that we got. They thought we were just attacking a small group, a reasonable group, and we weren't. And the weather wasn't the best, a bit of snow, it wasn't cold.
Well, I guess we started—the shooting started pretty early in the morning, around 10:30, 11 probably. I can't remember that of course 'cause you don't look at your watch. But that was—we went on and we lost machine gunners. They had a direct shot—there was one machine gunner in particular direct on us and they had a great spot obviously. And we were never able to get him, whoever the machine gunner was, he was Chinese.
Anyhow, we made up and we had one chap who got the MM [Military Medal] there. But what never really come out was he wasn't shot by the Chinese, he was shot by one of our own men. Because I was right alongside him. And he got hit in the ass, in the hip. It wasn't bad. He was actually able to carry on. Anyhow, and he did very well 'cause he stayed in even when he was bleeding and that sort of thing and they gave him a Military Medal. I just forget his name. But anyhow, you probably have a list of who got medals there, I don't know.
Then of course we kept losing people and the grenades, grenades, grenades. They had three trenches out in front. If you picture a hill, just about at the top, or maybe a hundred yards down from the top, they had three trenches and all they were doing was throwing grenades. Endless grenades. Actually I got one that cut me right across the finger. I got a scar from that. Didn't get a Purple Cross, not in the American army.
Anyhow, what else. We finally got those three trenches emptied with our grenades and also with rifles because they had to come out. To shoot a grenade, you have to come up out of your trench and of course we picked a few of them off that way because we were just stuck there. And there was people throwing grenades that were endless.
Anyhow, we got them all and then we went up to where they were. I jumped in one of the trenches and there was two dead men there, two dead men, I'm standing on top of these two guys supposedly dead. But I had to make damn sure they were dead so I had to take my bayonet on my rifle and I, you know, not right into them but just enough that they would have had to scream, you know. They were dead.
Lt. Middleton and myself and another person ended up there where they were. And Middleton said well, we had to go out because he was running the show. The lieutenant is always the one that comes up and there was Lt. Levy and Middleton there but Levy was back. Anyhow, Middleton said well, we have to leave somebody here to take care in case they do another, come after us, you know. But they I guess were hurt as bad we were and so we moved back a bit and I got a Bren [light machine] gun, there was all kinds of rifles laying and everything laying all over the place.
I got a Bren gun and there was a few boys with extra ammunition which they gave to me and I was left there to take care of that in case the Chinese came and attacked because of the Bren gun, you could probably push them back. But it never happened.
I just can't understand all these wars. I don't understand why we destroy cities and why we do this to each other. I don't understand why we're so goddamned smart that we can send somebody up to the moon and you wonder how the hell we can do these things, how come we're so goddamned stupid the way we do things. Because when you see what in Korea, all the kids and everybody that gets hurt—a lot of those civilians get killed, you know. It's just hard to believe.