Veteran Stories:
William Murray

Army

  • Improvised shelters were typical Canadian Army accommodations at the Korean front.

    Clyde Bougie
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"The children would always be begging and I don’t think a soldier ever refused them his boxed lunch. The soldier would sooner the child eat it then he eat it. Because we knew we had another one somewhere, but that child doesn’t."

Transcript

When I first went over I was attached out to a British unit called 54 Field Park Squadron. Field Park was a supply, engineer’s supply, bridges, mines. The Dog Troop was there with us and heavy equipment. And I went to – they had three – this is a British unit and they had three American two and a half ton cargo trucks cum dump trucks. All you did was put a petition up in the body and it became a dump truck, like you could use it as a dump truck. As cargo, that laid down and you used the full length of the body. And that’s what I was there for was to drive one of them and I was there three months doing that. We would take the supplies forward to the infantry.

We were all brothers then. We didn’t have the best of living conditions. In fact our camp was set up in what was at one time a cemetery, a Korean cemetery. And there was still graves there of course. You didn’t always have the best of everything but you made do with what you had.

On Hill 355, it was on the backside going down to the net, the Patricias [Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regiment] were on the net and there was what they call a Camouflage Road. The Canadians built it in fact. It was a road down the side of a mountain with camouflage nets over it. But the last about half mile across the gap, there was no camouflage and that’s where they would engage if you go across there, like mortars, etc. And I used to have to go there quite often because driving our heavy equipment troop commander, he has to see all the roads and that’s who takes care of them.

In our base camps we had what was called ‘house boys.’ These were – like there was no schools or anything going there and young lads 10 years old, maybe to 12 or 13, they looked after making your bunk and this sort of thing and they worked in your kitchen and all this. And what we used to do with them was we would take them back to the village to their home on Friday night and then Sunday night we’d go pick them up and bring them back. And what we used to do was raid our kitchen before then so the young lad could take some food home. And we paid these young lads in Korean money.

The thing that hurts the most there was the children, to see the children, and the mothers. They had nothing. The children would always be begging and I don’t think a soldier ever refused them his boxed lunch. The soldier would sooner the child eat it then he eat it. Because we knew we had another one somewhere, but that child doesn’t. And that’s the things that hurt, was the children, seeing them.

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