Veteran Stories:
Joseph Quinn

Army

  • Joseph Quinn in Ottawa, Ontario, August 2012.

    Historica Canada
  • Joseph Quinn in Ottawa, Ontario, August 2012.

    Historica Canada
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"That’s a casualty collecting post is, you’re right behind the lines and that you bring, get the wounded first then you have to sort them out. And like triage you’d do, and you sort them out and then some you sent by land. Others you had to get a helicopter in and some you sent back to the unit, depends on their injuries. "

Transcript

I guess I was at the old Chorley Park in Toronto [Ontario] when the Korean War broke out and we did a lot of the medic[als] there at helping with the recruits coming in. And I worked there and then when they closed old Chorley Park and then we went to Sunnybrook Hospital to work. And then and that’s right after that then I was sent to Korea. When I, Camp Borden [Ontario] and they sent me to Camp Borden and, of course, that’s when I had to pick out my men and go to Korea.

I was a med, NCO [non-commissioned officer], and we got so many men to, for your casualty collecting post as they called them and I had about 30 men. I guess it was 30 or something like that. That’s a casualty collecting post is, you’re right behind the lines and that you bring, get the wounded first then you have to sort them out. And like triage you’d do, and you sort them out and then some you sent by land. Others you had to get a helicopter in and some you sent back to the unit, depends on their injuries.

It [37 Field Ambulance, Royal Canadian Medical Corps] was in sections. And I would, I had one section which was a casualty collecting post and some were back at headquarters and some were there and then it was split up. It was under Hill 355 what they called it. That’s in Korea. I was with the RCRs [3 Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment] and the Van Doos [3 Battalion, Royal 22e Regiment] and Patricias [3 Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry], we were all up there. Might have to give them morphine or something like that. Or some guy had a bad eye, you’d make sure that you put some freezing in his eye and drop it in his eye, and you’d stopped bleeding. We repaired them really well because they had everybody going on the, they had to either go by ambulance or they had to go by, wait for the helicopter in the morning if they were at night. Most of this happened around midnight.

The night that they really overran the RCRs and I went to, I used to walk along and go to the RCR sergeant’s mess for dinner or something like this, and I was sitting with these guys and then that night. I looked after, he was dead when he came back after the raid and that always sticks in my mind. He was really shot up. That sticks in my mind. I suppose there was some really bad injuries or, you know, wounds, how would say, wounds, I guess, is a better word to say. But we were lucky that we didn’t lose too many. At our post, I’m talking about, not, a lot of them were dead, but don’t get me wrong. But in our post we were pretty good.

A little boy came in burnt and they had taken, now this is something, beans, and they smashed the beans all up and put them in water and then, when they made a paste of it and they put it all over the kid and he came in, it was like it was cement. So we had to take it off. And it was way up and there, I would, I never had the proper equipment to cut the damn stuff so I think I soaked it off, I remember, and I soaked it off the body. It was arms and legs because he was really burnt bad. But I was amazed after it did come off, the scar wasn’t too bad.

I used to bring in helicopters, and this day I pulled a pin [on a phosphorous bomb], you know, you had to pull it and let it go and the darn thing is, wasn’t white smoke. It was liquid fire. It was, it burnt and, oh boy, so I burnt my hand and burnt my clothes off and my eyes, I couldn’t see, everything was… Anyway, they rushed me back to the field dressing station. And then from there I went to Seoul [Korea] and then from there they took me, I went to Japan, to the base hospital [Commonwealth General Hospital] in [Kure] Japan and that’s where I stayed.

I think everybody just did their job and now remember, some of them guys we had were really good medics. Some were stretcher bearers. Some were, they used them as guards. And, you know, and all this kind of stuff but they were really good. They, and I can remember one guy, he said he couldn’t speak English and I said, “Well, I can’t speak French,” so I said, “We’re going to get along fine.” And we did. And I can remember we had a great time. But they really, everybody knew their job and we did it and there was no problem.

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