Veteran Stories:
Edgar Herbert “Ed” Hollyer

Army

  • Edgar Hollyer receiving the Military Cross from Major General West, commander of the 1st Commonwealth Division for his actions during Battle of Hill 187, May of 1953.

    Department of National Defence, Canada
  • Edgar Hollyer and wife Eileen Hollyer at Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Ontario upon receiving the Military Cross from Governor General Vincent Massey, May 1954.

    Edgar Hollyer
  • Edgar Hollyer's medals, from left to right: Military Cross, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, War Medal (1939-1945), Canada Korea Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for Korea, Special Service Medal, Canadian Peacekeeping Medal, United Nations Medal (Korea), Canadian Forces Decoration.

    Edgar Hollyer
  • Edgar Hollyer and Queen Elizabeth II at the Extraordinary Canadians luncheon, 14 November 2002.

    Edgar Hollyer
  • Edgar Hollyer, right, and Donovan (Reg) Redknap, left, recall the Battle of Hill 187 at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario in 2003. Mr. Redknap served as a lieutenant with 4th Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, and received the call from Mr. Hollyer for defensive fire on his position.

    George Metcalf Archival Collection, CWM 19970045-002
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"At that time the Chinese started to really fire an awful lot of artillery and mortars on us. And I asked for the artillery to be fired in closer around the approaches of the hill and this they did."

Transcript

My name is Ed Hollyer. In Korea I was a 2nd Lieutenant. And I was in charge of Number 7 Platoon of the [3rd Battalion], Royal Canadian Regiment. We arrived in Korea on the 23rd of March and we went into the line and we moved into a position that had been occupied by the 1st Battalion, the Royal 22nd Regiment.

My platoon's position was a forward position that jutted out into no man's land and we were there about 13 days. And during all that 13 days we were shelled by the Chinese. However, on the night of the 2-3rd of May [1953], we were attacked and eventually we were overrun. Being such a dark night, it had been decided by the company commander that we would man our defensive position until the moon came up. However, that didn't happen. Eight Platoon, which was immediately behind my platoon, had constantly seen the Chinese doing reconnaissance on their wire that went around the position. It had been decided that night that they would send out a 16-man patrol. We were sitting there when the patrol came through our position. About an hour after they got out, we heard firing from the valley and I went forward to take a look to see what was happening. And I saw that a fire fight was going on and it was with a platoon and some Chinese that they'd bumped into. And they were forming up on either side of the gaps through the minefield and getting ready for an assault.

I went back to my command post, so that I could inform my commanding officer. At the same time, I asked for DFSOS [defensive fire on own position], targets to be fired around my position. I could see that the enemy was moving through the minefield. And I sent my sergeants forward to direct the fire on the left flank of my position. And at that time the Chinese started to really fire an awful lot of artillery and mortars on us. And I asked for the artillery to be fired in closer around the approaches of the hill and this they did.

The platoon were returning the fire. We had mostly Lee-Enfield rifles but we did have a 30-calibre American machine gun and six Brens [light machine gun] which was quite a few for that period of time. However, we looked like we were losing our way in this because the Chinese were really coming in at us and some had already come into our position and hand-to-hand fighting was going on. When we got back to the command post, I asked for artillery fire on my position, as I had said I was going to do. So that fire did come down and it was really a heavy bombardment. And after some time I asked for it to be lifted and went out to see what was happening and there was still an awful number of Chinese dead and wounded. I think this was in the morning time by this time. And I gathered those that I could together and we later went back to 8 Platoon.

 

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