Veteran Stories:
Donald Anthony Williams

Army

  • Donald Williams, 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment. 1951.

    Donald Williams
  • Stan Wilson from Montreal (left) and Don Williams from Malton, Ontario (right). Spring 1951.

    Donald Williams
  • Reinforcements for 2nd Battalion, PPCLI stationed in Japan, waiting for their draft call to go to Korea. Spring 1951. Don Williams is rear row, third from left. Emerson Patterson (front row, second from left) was killed in action 26 March 1952. Private R. Patrick (front row, first from right) was killed in Korea 9 April 1952.

    Donald Williams
  • Enemy propaganda leaflet left at the bottom of the hill on which 9 Platoon, C Company, 1 PPCLI was positioned in Korea. December 1951.

    Donald Williams
  • Enemy propaganda leaflet left at the bottom of the hill on which 9 Platoon, C Company, 1 PPCLI was positioned in Korea. December 1951.

    Donald Williams
  • Enemy propaganda leaflet, designed to obtain prisoners of war. Korea, 1951-1952.

    Donald Williams
  • Enemy propaganda leaflet, designed to obtain prisoners of war. Korea, 1951-1952.

    Donald Williams
  • Letter to Don Williams' mother informing her of his return from Korea. 29 May 1952.

    Donald Williams
  • Voyage Souvenir, USNS Gen. M. M. Patrick, From Don Williams' return from Yokohama, Japan to Vancouver, BC. 3 June 1952.

    Donald Williams
  • Inside of Voyage Souvenir, USNS Gen. M. M. Patrick, From Don Williams' return from Yokohama, Japan to Vancouver, BC. 3 June 1952.

    Donald Williams
  • Don Williams in the "Orenda News" (Vol. 19, No. 3 (April-May-June 1986)). A reporter took this photograph and wrote up a story on Don Williams' "Return to Korea" for a week's holiday in April 1986. Mr. Williams worked for A.V. Roe (April 1947-August 1950), then for Hawker-Siddeley, Orenda Division (August 1952-January 1988).

    Donald Williams
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"Thank God we did this, as if we had not, we would have had a double-loading, which means upon loading another mortar shell in the barrel, an explosion would have been imminent and would have killed not only myself and the mortar loader, but probably others as well."

Transcript

So, instead of going to work the next morning, we took the bus down to Chorley Park [Toronto], and went through the line-ups.  One line-up was for infantry, one was for the tank corps, one for this and that.  And, we were just more or less going down there to get information but before we realized it, we were signed up in the army – no kidding, that was a fact.

And sometime in June [1951], when we went to Korea, and that’s when I ended up with B Company, 4th Platoon, of the Princess Pats, and that was up at Ch’orwon [Korea].  They come along, one time, and asked – they needed volunteers to take a mortar course.  Again, I looked around.  Nobody seemed to want mortar course, and I thought, what the heck, I might as well try something different.  So I went back to Japan and took the mortar course.  We were there for five days and then were brought back to Korea.  And, when we’d come back, from then, most of the 1st Battalion [PPCLI] were starting to move in [to the line].  I was put with the C Company of, 9 Platoon, of the 1st Battalion.

Was March the 9th or 10th [1952], up to this Hill 132 – that’s the one on the Samich’on River area and it was C Company I was with, and it was 9 Platoon, and we had the – I was with the 60-millimetre mortar section, at this time.

It was mid-day when I came back to my bunker, after [a] two or three-hour night watch, at a position overlooking one of the valleys around our hill.  And this was a one-man position, I was up there alone for that time.  Shortly after getting into my bunker where two or three of my mortar section were already resting, we came under a massive artillery shelling as the Chinese were attacking 7 Platoon in front of us.  This bombardment of shelling was landing very close to our mortar pits, behind our bunkers.  We crawled from our bunkers to our mortar pits and on instruction from our Corporal Jim “Buddy” Rimmer, we commenced firing our 60-millimetre mortars as instructed.  I was the IC – in charge – of my mortar.  My mortar loader was a 19-year-old from Ottawa, Ontario.

Midway through our mortar firing, amongst all enemy bombardment, and noise of the Chinese attacking, we were uncertain if the last mortar shell that was dropped into the barrel had actually fired from the mortar.  I knew we had to determine if the mortar had deployed, as I was fairly certain that it had not.  To confirm it had or not, I had to remove the barrel from the mortar baseplate, and tip the barrel forward to release the mortar bomb that I believed had not ignited and fired.  Thank God we did this, as if we had not, we would have had a double-loading, which means upon loading another mortar shell in the barrel, an explosion would have been imminent and would have killed not only myself and the mortar loader, but probably others as well.  However, there was no time to think about the implications of what might have happened that night.  And we continued with our job of mortar firing the attacking Chinese.

After everything was over that morning, I had a dental appointment in Rear Echelon. I’m walking over several hills, to get to the reserve area, for a pickup to take me to Rear Echelon.  I came upon a medical support team, who asked if I could help them carry a body down the hill.  What was extremely upsetting at the time, was discovering that the body I had been asked to help carry, was Emerson Patterson,* a private I had come to know very well.

*Private Emerson Edward Patterson, 1 PPCLI, killed in action 26 March 1952

 

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