Veteran Stories:
Fred MacDonald

Army

  • 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery in Korea. Fred MacDonald served with the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery while in Korea.

    Herbert Stickley
  • 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade shoulder flash.

    Roy Jardine
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"It looked like a country that was desolate, blown half to pieces."

Transcript

Born in Nova Scotia, Digby area, and between Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario, I did my, what I call “up ins,” and, then I joined the army, and the army sent – I was in Peterborough, Ontario – and the army sent me from there out to Victoria, BC, for my basic training. Victoria was an artillery base, Work Point Barracks [Esquimalt, British Columbia], and I did all my basic, did light ack-ack [anti-aircraft gun], went away for different courses, and then came back to Victoria again.

When I went to Korea, was June 1952, and supposed to be there for a year, course they kept me a little longer. I was in Japan for a while, and then from Japan they sent me on to Korea and arrived in Pusan, then next thing I was on a small train going further up into Seoul, and then from there we trucked on up into headquarters, up around Imjin River, and I get into headquarters, how – whatever, orders I don’t know, just I was put there.

Say I went down to Seoul, Eighth [United States] Army Headquarters with some documents, I'd be down there, take the orders in, paper work in, whatever it was, and they would go over it, sign it, or put a reply, whatever, and then I'd take it back up to headquarters again, that would take better part of a day. I'm usually Eighth Army Headquarters for lunch, and then back our place later afternoon, sort of thing. You have to do your shift for guard duty, night time, if you're on guard duty it's a 24-hour shift, and I did a couple of those, and other than that, that’s about it, just driving back and forth.

It looked like a country that was desolate, blown half to pieces, and you really, I didn’t take a lot of time to think about what's going to happen to the country so on later on or happening now – it's you looking after yourself too, that was what I was doing. It was about May 1954.

But that’s about the time I got hurt, too, so, they sent me off to Japan to a hospital in Kure. I was there for a while, then they sent me, they decided they going to send me home, by hospital, American, went to Tokyo – hospital, and then from there with American air-vac [medevac] home. So from Tokyo we went to Midway Island in the Pacific, from Midway we went to Hawaii, Hawaii we did a couple of weeks there –  that was a good time – and from Hawaii to Bakersfield, California, California to Seattle, Seattle to Vancouver, Vancouver to Victoria. That took about, well a good couple of months, because we weren’t in a hurry, so.

But the worst thing about Korea that bothers me, it always will, is my brother* got killed in Korea, he got killed in the Kap’yong battle [22-25 April 1951], and I tried to get recognition for him, for what he did, him and his partner, and couldn’t get recognition for him, so, that still bothers me.

*Private Bruce Merlin MacDonald, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, died 25 April 1951

Follow us