Veteran Stories:
Frank Wood

Army

  • Frank Wood's medal ribbons, from left to right: United Nations Service Medal (Korea), Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for Korea, and Canadian Korea Medal.

    Frank Wood
  • Frank Wood's jump wings.

    Frank Wood
  • A series of photographs showing an air strike on Hill 166.

    Frank Wood
  • Air strike on Hill 166.

    Frank Wood
  • Air strike on Hill 166.

    Frank Wood
  • Air strike on Hill 166.

    Frank Wood
  • Air strike on Hill 166.

    Frank Wood
  • Frank Wood's Certificate of Military Qualification demonstrating he has qualified as a non-commissioned officer.

    Frank Wood
  • The front side of a propaganda leaflet dropped by the enemy, 1952.

    Frank Wood
  • The backside of a propaganda leaflet dropped by the enemy, 1952.

    Frank Wood
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"Over to the Chinese side on the Sami-ch’on Valley, and my God when they started to appear I don’t know. I just can’t describe it. Like a huge flock of cattle or herd of cattle or flock of chickens or there was just massive. And the valley by this time was pretty well packed with Chinese."

Transcript

We landed in Pusan [Korea] and we off loaded onto trucks.  And we were taken up to a place called Britannia Camp.  And we were off loaded off the trucks and lining up and the PPCLI [1 Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry], of course all the units were separated into their own unit type things like reinforcements.  And we went to Britannia Camp, the PPCLI, and it was during role call they wanted to make sure that everybody was on board.  And who is giving the role call, taking the role call, was my brother.

At first I didn’t even recognize him.  He had a moustache and his beret was down over his eyes more or less and he started the role call and by the time he got from A to B to C and I still didn’t, you know, and nothing clicked in.  We were, well, pretty well told, you know, you don’t talk and you don’t move and blah, blah, in the military. And so I waited anyway and we got down to the Ws and he called Wood, F. D.  And he stopped and he looked up and, like, I answered and, well… So anyway then we were billeted and he and I had supper together.  Well, he had to get permission from the commanding officer, of course.  He was a sergeant, by the way.  He got permission from the commander officer so that he and I could eat in the sergeants’ mess and have the meal together because I was heading out for the front lines.

The deal was that as soon as everyone had eaten that they were to board trucks and go to, head for the lines for their respective companies in the front lines.  So my brother and I had our meal.  We learned that the trucks had left so again he got permission from the commanding officer that he could take me up to the front lines in the officer’s jeep.  So we went up and he introduced me to the sergeant up there that was a company sergeant, was in that I would be under, and he introduced us and we had a bit of a chat and he and I said good bye and that’s the last I seen him till we come back to Canada.

There was an attack on Hill 355 [23 October 1952], that’s Hill 355 and occupied by [1 Battalion] Royal Canadian Regiment, the RCR.  We were PPCLI that were on what we called The Hook [3km long crest line that was frequently fought over between Chinese and Commonwealth soldiers].  And The Hook it was comprised of what another military term was Big Norrie and Small Norrie.  I was on Big Norrie on the Hook and we were facing Chinese at the Sami-ch’on Valley [the valley of an unnamed tributary of the Sami-chon River dividing opposing forces in The Hook].

Well, it was very early morning and all we sound, the sound of bugles and drums or I don’t know, it sounded like pots and pans and laundry tubs.  But there was a terrific amount of racket in the, at first we see nothing because of the light fog.  Not dense but relatively light, coming from way back and over to the Chinese side on the Sami-ch’on Valley, and my God when they started to appear I don’t know.  I just can’t describe it.  Like a huge flock of cattle or herd of cattle or flock of chickens or there was just massive. And the valley by this time was pretty well packed with Chinese.  And they were heading to Hill 355 which they eventually overran up one side and down the back and back over again.  And then they disappeared.

And there was no, there was no letting up on us.  We fought, we fired, and just got fatigued almost.  But they disappeared almost as, well, not just in the snap of a finger but they disappeared almost as quick as they appeared.  You know, there was a terrific amount of casualties on both sides.

My bunker experienced a direct artillery hit, well, a mortar I believe and it pretty much blew the bunker apart.  I was blown for a few feet, probably, I don’t know, 8 or 10 feet and when I was out on the ground I suffered concussion and I was bleeding from the ears and the nose and the mouth and went on sick parade as they kind of cleaned me up a little bit and give you an aspirin.  It was certainly nothing like you would see on M*A*S*H [American television show about an American Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Korea].  But they gave you, gave me some 220s or something like that.  And they gave me four or five in my hand.  They gave me two to take.  And just as that I had anymore problems to come back.  And that was the extent of my treatment.

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