Guardsman Allison Furlotte, 4th Battalion, The Canadian Guards. Valcartier (Quebec), 1952.Allison Furlotte
The mandolon Allison Furlotte brought in Korea for entertainment.Allison Furlotte
Allison Furlotte's mandolin.Allison Furlotte
Allison Furlotte's Discharge Certificate dated April 27th, 1955.Allison Furlotte
A poem titled "Soldier".Allison Furlotte
Mr. Allison Furlotte. November, 2012.The Memory Project
"And in the middle of the night, maybe two or three o'clock in the morning, really a dark night, an explosion went off not too far from the safe trail we had to patrol. And I must have had my back turned because it got me in the back of the leg."
'52 I think I joined the service. Just walking by the recruiting office one day looking at the pictures in the window, the tanks and trucks and stuff like that. I never […] I never went in that direction with the intention of joining anything. But the sergeant was standing in the door and he said you're interested in something like that. You could be driving one of those. That kind of made me excited.
And anyway he asked me to go in. And I went in. And he interviewed me and ended up signing up.
In Korea we were on patrol along the 38th parallel [separating North and South Korea], myself and Jimmy Dickey, he's passed, long gone for quite a long time. And in the middle of the night, maybe two or three o'clock in the morning, really a dark night, an explosion went off not too far from the safe trail we had to patrol.
And I must have had my back turned because it got me in the back of the leg. I got really a rough leg there. And some streaks here where shrapnel passed by. And one doctor told me I still had two little spots in my spine where it when right through my web… belt.
And I got thrown into the minefield. But I don’t remember nothing there. It just happened in an instant.
And the next day when I didn’t return I suppose when my partner -- I didn’t show up because we used to cross one another. He must have did something. And like I said, I was thrown over 20 or 30 feet into the minefield. And it was many, many years -- well after the war, sort of I recognized that the boys were saying you should apply for compensation or something because you got injured.
And after a bit of persuasion I did do that but I got turned down because they had no records of nothing. No records, absolutely no records. So I was told anyway.
So I dropped it for a while, the boys were saying now you should press it. So I applied again and I got turned down again. And at that time they were saying too bad you haven't got a witness. Well, the only person who was nearby was my friend further up the trail. And he's long gone. He's dead.
So at one of the conventions we had a speaker who was saying if you heard about anybody getting injured, we'd like to hear from you and all that. So I got up to the mike and I asked if there was anybody that witnessed my situation that I had, because no one seems to know. And my company has no records.
And the following year this guy come to me crying and he said yes, he said I helped them put you on the stretcher and they took you in a helicopter. And I was so happy I said do you mind writing a letter too. And I give him the address and he knew where to write it to. And give me a copy.
I tried to find it and I couldn’t find it. I was going to bring it this morning. And I said well now that I've got a witness there's going to be no trouble. They turned me down again. So I dropped it. I didn’t bother anymore. But my leg does bother me. It buzzes and stings a lot.
My leg was just like hamburger. But anyway, I woke up the following day, maybe 10 o'clock, 11 o'clock and there was a lot of traffic in the field hospital, a big tent. And they seemed to be packing stuff.
So one of the nurses stopped to look at my wounds and I said where am I. She said I'm not sure if she said Australian or New Zealand camp hospital. But she said we're packing, we're leaving. We're packing up.
This was a cease-fire time [after the signature of the armistice of July 27th, 1953]. People were moving out. And she said you better notify your company. I could hardly talk I was so sore. I couldn’t. I mean how was I going to do something like that.
So another one come by and I beckoned for her to come. And I said what's going to happen to me? Well, she didn’t know. She said they shouldn’t have brought you here. They should have brought you to your own field hospital.
So anyway four or five o'clock came and with a gurney and one crutch. Said we're going to give you a little tent, we're going to put in the shade with a gallon of water and a box of crackers. They're going to come and get you. There's people out there looking for people.
Now this was during the cease-fire time. So anyway I figured if that’s the way it is, that’s the way it is. You're a solider. You don’t complain too much about anything. You follow your rules. So anyway they put me up in this little tent. And I couldn’t walk at that time. I just couldn’t. I was just too sore.
There was no broken bones or nothing. It's just that the muscle was all tore. And they bundled it up and wrapped it up. And they give me some kind of pills or something, whatever it was.
So that night went by. And the next morning I thought I could hear voices. And I tried to holler. And then I thought maybe I shouldn’t. It could be the North Koreans, the scavengers, if you understand what I mean. When you moved out they came in and they took everything you left behind because they were so poor.
And I tried to holler and I was just too sore. But then the voices kind of faded away. That day went by. And then in the evening I heard it again in the distance. So I dragged myself out of that little pup tent that they gave me. It was great for the day because the sun was warm and at night it was cold. I had one blanket. You could see through it almost, but I was pretty cold at night.
So I got up enough courage to really holler. And the voices kind of faded away again. And then I could hear them again. And I hollered again. Then they got stronger. I still couldn’t understand their language. I didn’t know who it was really.
But it wasn’t our people. It was either Australian or New Zealand troops because that was their area I was in. They fixed me up and put me in a truck and away I went back to my unit.
But of course at that time they put me on light duty or whatever it was for a few days, and redone by bandaging and stuff. And I never could understand why they wouldn’t have a record of something.
I had somebody working on it. I don’t know what his name was now. And he wrote to the ambassador of Australia and New Zealand. But the story -- and he said well if they were packing up they wouldn’t have time to take records of nothing. They fixed you up and looked after you the best they could. Which I was satisfied with the way I was looked after. But I never thought at that time I'd be looking for records or information.
So that’s pretty well my story over there. And then we come home.
I'm a lover of music. I played guitar since probably four or five or six years old. And I had older brothers and stuff like that had guitars. And I was always banging on guitars.
My father played the violin. And my mother is a beautiful singer and stuff like that. So everybody in the family played music. So thinking of bringing something a mouthorgan or guitar or -- that was too big. But I had a mandolin. I thought that's going to fit in the kit bag. So I shoved the mandolin into the kit bag and the thinking about it was going to be broke by the time I get it again but it wasn’t. It wasn’t broke.
When things were quiet, get me singing and playing the guitar. And some guy beating the drums on a bucket too. Sounded pretty good too. And we'd have a few beer and we'd sing for a few hours.
So this went on. And then of course due to the dampness, sleeping outside, and stuff like that, it started falling apart on me. So I threw it in the woods thinking I'd never see it again. But by golly a couple of weeks later, here this guy comes with this mandolin. Said you must have lost it. They tell me it's yours. I didn’t argue. I just took it. But it was all coming apart. So when the boys see I had my mandolin back again, so they wanted to have a singsong. And the strings were still on it. But it wasn’t in tune. You couldn't […]. Like I said, falling apart. But after they got a few beer it did not matter whether it was in tune or not.
Banged on that for a while and a few days later […] so I threw it away again as far as I could throw it. And golly it came back to me again. So there, I said, that’s funny. I just throw it in my kit bag again and it stayed there. And on the boat I talked to myself, why am I bringing that home for? But on the boat they didn’t throw the garbage over until I think it was six days out at sea. So there was boxes and boxes that point on the boat. So I run it back there and I laid it on top of the box. And maybe someone will throw it overboard or it will go overboard with the rest of the stuff. And golly, the same afternoon this great big coloured guy came to me and I hardly could understand him. And he said somebody told me, you lose a […]? I said yeah. Somebody told me this was yours. He thought maybe I forgot it back there. It was in bad shape. I just took it and thanked him for it. He was too big to argue. And shoved it back in my kit bag again. It ended up home hanging in my shop. It doesn’t look very good. It just wouldn’t leave me. It just seemed to come back. The cat came back. The boys laughed at that. They said by golly, you got your mandolin back again. Just couldn’t get rid of it.