Veteran Stories:
Jim McKinny

Army

  • Jim McKinny at a September 2012 Memory Project event in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

    Jim McKinny
Enlarge Image
Listen to this story

"When I took over from the sergeant and he was going home, he warned me about snipers, sniper problems. And when he was telling me this, a sniper bullet went into the trench just next to his arm and he said, “Well that’s it, I’m gone,” and he left."

Transcript

We arrived at Inchon and we had to anchor out a ways because the docks had all been bombed out. And so we got off the ship and onto landing barges, and the landing barges took us to shore. But we could smell Inchon miles out in the harbour. The place stunk like you wouldn’t believe. But it’s like going into a barn, you smell the horse manure right away but after a while you don’t smell it anymore. That was the same effect at Inchon. We got to Inchon, we walked it seemed to me a half a mile across sugar sand on the shore, in full gear, battle dresses, and it was warm there, but we were in winter battle dresses because it was winter when we left Shilo [Manitoba]. We were soaking wet from sweat when we got to a – I’m not sure, but it seemed to me there was a railway siding there and we got on a train that reminded me of trains in the Western movies with wooden seats and plank floors. And we travelled well into the night on this train and then when the train stopped, we got off the train into trucks. And the trucks took us to I guess what was “A” Echelon and it was just a tent setup. So we slept on the ground in these tents that night. Then the next morning we had breakfast and then loaded up in trucks and took us up to the artillery lines, which was about maybe half a mile behind the front lines. And that’s where the 2nd Field [artillery] were located and we were dropped off there and the 2nd Field guys jumped on the trucks that we come in on and said goodbye and away they went.

When I took over from the Sergeant and he was going home, he warned me about snipers, sniper problems. And when he was telling me this, a sniper bullet went into the trench just next to his arm and he said, “Well that’s it, I’m gone,” and he left. That’s the last time I saw him. But the Lieutenant had mentioned to a tank, that was moved up behind us unbeknown to me, but it was moved up during the day, and he had mentioned to the tank commander that there was a sniper raising hell with us and gave him a rough idea where the sniper was shooting from. Well it was just sun-up when I guess one of the guys in the tank saw a flash and he fired the tank cannon at this flash. There was such a concussion that the dirt was coming in the trench. I thought that a mortar had landed in the trench and I kept looking at myself to me if I was all in one piece, and it was that tank firing. It’s a wonder I didn’t lose hearing because my ears were certainly ringing for a few hours.

When the radio operator yelled, “Mike target, Mike target, Mike target!” if you happened to be dozing or sleeping you woke up in a hell of a hurry, because that was a regimental target. Oh maybe the Colonel went out there and wanted to see how good his troops were performing. I don’t know. Another time they were overrunning [Hill] 355. The RCRs [The Royal Canadian Regiment] I think were on 355 at the time. And I was up at the OP [Observation Post] at the time and I could just barely see the Chinese going up the slope up to 355.

Follow us