Veteran Stories:
Brian Vernon Pittman

  • Dogtag belonging to Corporal Brian Pittman.

    Brian Pittman
  • Corporal Brian Pittman.

    Brian Pittman
  • Corporal Brian Pittman.

    Brian Pittman
  • Corporal Brian Pittman.

    Brian Pittman
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"The odour of the country really was bad, but you got used to it after a while."

Transcript

So I landed in Yokohama, and then from there we went to Kobe, and then from there, to Korea. We landed in Pusan, and you could smell the country for miles before you even got there and that was because they used human excrement to fertilize the land and, of course, it stunk to high heaven. But once you got out of Pusan, then it wasn’t too bad because Pusan, of course, is right on the shore, right along, on the ocean so, I guess, the odour of the country really was bad, but you got used to it after a while.

And then I went to some British outfit — I forget what unit it was — but, anyway, it was run by the British, and I was there for, oh, I don’t know, maybe a month or so. And then they decided to ship me to the Canadian army and I went to division headquarters and that’s where I stayed throughout my career… [I was a] hygiene assistant, and my job was to go around to all the different camps and make sure that everything was okay, and they started with no disease or anything like that around with that unit. If there was, I had to report it to the medical authorities, and that was about the size of it. I went once to the front lines with the PPCLI* and I wasn’t there, I was only there about a week because I was ever so glad to get of anywhere in my life because it was stationed not too far from the PPCLI with the artillery. And, of course, the guns were going steady some of them […].

My hearing got all screwed up. When I came back home I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t hear, I couldn’t hear. And then when I went on this, when I finally applied to Korea for the benefits — they never told me anything about the benefits when I was discharged in 1954. I came back home by airplane, so it only took 18 hours to come home. It took 18 days to get there; it was 18 hours to come home. And we landed in Vancouver, and they put me on a train, and I came home to Winnipeg, and that’s where I stayed because I had some holiday days coming that I never took. So I was on holidays from March until April, May – I can’t remember. It was a couple of months anyway. And I stayed because I was on holidays, from the time for holidays that I didn’t get when I was overseas. And once they were up, I went to see the colonel. And he said to me, “You should stay in the army you know.” And I said, “Not likely.” I said, “When I went to Korea you told me, or the officers in Ottawa told me, that I was going to be promoted to a sergeant.” Because I was working with a bunch of people like sergeants from Australia, sergeants from England and sergeants from the American. They were all sergeants except me. And they said, “Oh well, we’re going to get you a…,” but it never did happen.

 

* Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

 

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