Veteran Stories:
Rod Middleton

Army

  • Lt. Rod Middleton, 2 Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), 12 Platoon, D Company. April 1951.

  • Bath parade. Imjin River, Korea. July 1951. Lt. Brian Munro and Lt. Rod Middleton (right).

  • Teletype message to Rod Middleton's parents, informing them that he had been wounded in action by a Chinese grenade during an attack on Hill 532, March 1951.

  • Rod Middleton has been a museum volunteer at the PPCLI Gallery, Museum of the Regiments in Calgary since 1989, and is proud to memorialize the fallen of his regiment.

  • The Hall of Honour was created in 1990 to honour the PPCLI war dead of WWI, WWII, the Korean War and peacekeeping operations. The names of 1,803 soldiers are enshrined.

  • Letter of Appreciation from the Korean government, recognizing Rod Middleton's service in the liberation of South Korea, June 25, 2000.

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"I'm not sure who was more surprised, he or I, but he stood up to fire at me with his rifle, the... luckily for me it jammed. I was attempting to shoot him with my pistol but my pistol jammed."

Transcript

My name is Rod Middleton. I served the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry during the Korean War.

I enlisted in the summer of 1950, was assigned to the Patricia's. We trained in Wainwright, and moved by train down to Fort Lewis, Washington, and departed by US troopship to Korea, leaving on the 25th of November and finally arriving at the port city of Pusan in South Korea on the 18th of December. Long sea voyage. Because of the time we spent at sea we required a further six weeks of conditioning and hardening and moved about fifty miles to the north of the port of Pusan to a place called Miryang where we trained. Deemed fit for action, we were assigned to the 27th British Commonwealth Brigade and served with them up until July when we finally reverted back to the Canadian Brigade, which did not arrive in theatre until May of 1951.

I served as an infantry platoon commander, and some of my experiences included mounting attacks on several Chinese features, and my most memorable experience was probably an attack that we mounted on Hill 532 on the 7th of March. The Chinese had heavily defended this feature with bunkers, trench systems and so on, and despite our best efforts and heavy casualties, we were not able to take the hill that day. My own account of the battle reminds me of crawling down a Chinese communication trench - these trenches were about eighteen inches wide and about eighteen inches deep - and meeting a Chinese soldier head on at a turn in the trench. I'm not sure who was more surprised, he or I, but he stood up to fire at me with his rifle, the... luckily for me it jammed. I was attempting to shoot him with my pistol but my pistol jammed, because earlier in a bunker clearing incident I had changed magazines and I guess I caught up a bit of mud on the end of the magazine which caused it to jam. I very quickly cleared the action and dispatched this young soldier and then I was faced with the prospect of having to climb over his still warm body and proceeding further up the trench, and that is something that has lived with me to this very day.

Later in that action I was slightly wounded, evacuated to a mobile army surgical hospital where I only spent a day and then I returned to new duties. I look back on the Korean experience as a very exciting time of my life. I regret the loss of the soldiers, comrades, but I think having returned to Korea in 1998 I can see what a prosperous, wonderful country that is today, not the war-torn, treeless, bomb-scarred, shell-scarred terrain that I left. You know, I enjoyed my time in the service. I served for another twenty-odd years, retired finally in 1976. Thank you.

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