Veteran Stories:
Earl Page

Navy

  • A photograph from the Hanover, Ontario newspaper, The Post, showing Ross Krotz (left) and Earl Page. 19 July 1951.

    Earl Page
  • The cover page of HMCS Huron's onboard newspaper, The Fan Shaft, during the Korean War. 1 April 1951.

    Earl Page
  • An official Republic of Korea letter proclaiming Earl Page as an "Ambassador for Peace."

    Earl Page
  • Earl Page.

    Earl Page
  • Earl Page was awarded the Peace Medal by HooJung Jones during the 2002 HMCS Huron reunion.

    Earl Page
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"The interdiction was to stop any of the Chinese junks or North Korean junks, or whatnot, coming down the coast and they’d be dropping off agents and whatnots, spies and that, too."

Transcript

Well, I was a carpenter’s assistant, or helper, I put it that way, before I joined the navy in 1948, after I left high school.  I left high school in my third year in high school and worked as a carpenter’s helper and then joined the navy. Jobs were pretty hard to come by, in those years.  So the navy was a good bet and I didn’t want to travel.  So that’s why I joined the navy.

I didn’t know much of Korea other than what I’d taken in geography in high school.  And, we didn’t know anything too much about the war, we knew that Canada was participating, and we knew the three destroyers had left the west coast to participate and help out in the war over there – and we were over in Europe, and on our way back from Europe at that time, when the war started. We had been on the European cruise along with the [HMCS] Magnificent, the Canadian carrier, and [HMCS] Micmac, a sister destroyer.  And, we heard on the way back from the European cruise, I think we were in probably Azores taking on oil, fuel oil, when we were told that the ship was scheduled for Korea and we would be leaving in January [1951].

Most of my duties were in the boiler rooms – was tending the fires, the boiler fires.  Naturally we were all oil-fired [ships] and the boiler rooms were under air pressure because, to keep the fires in the boilers, you had to have air pressure to keep the forced air fires.  And they were eight fires in each boiler.

We operated with the carriers for the first, oh, probably three or four months we were out there. We used to run as plane guard, and, there was quite a screen because there’d probably, oh, three, sometimes four, aircraft carriers doing flying off operations and there’d be, probably about six or eight destroyers in consort with the carriers as a screen for anti-submarine patrol, and radar screen and, etc.

The only memorable occasions would be if we were sometimes sent inshore to maybe pick up somebody, or people that had been behind enemy lines spying or whatever, getting information, and bring them back.  But, other than that, that was the closest we ever got inshore.

Probably about a couple of months before we left to come home, we were – in total time we were about five months out in Korea, actual Korean time.  We were gone for nine months, put it that way, from the time we left Halifax until we got back.  But, anyways, five to six months, and we did get some inshore bombardment and interdiction.  The interdiction was to stop any of the Chinese junks [small sailing vessel] or North Korean junks, or whatnot, coming down the coast and they’d be dropping off agents and whatnots, spies and that, too.  And we’d have to interdict them and we had to be very careful with that, because they would come along side and blow themselves up, or blow a hole in the side of you with a hand grenade if they could get close enough.  So we were very careful with that interdiction and we had to check them out.  We’d probably send a small boat, sea boat over, or the mortar cutter, and have a look at them.

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