Veteran Stories:
Hazen Gauthier

Army

  • Sketch of Hazen Gauthier drawn in Hiro, Japan, 12 April 1952.

    Hazen Gauthier
  • The 1st Commonwealth Division at a rest center, September 1952.

    Hazen Gauthier
  • Hazen Gauthier bought these chopsticks while he was overseas, 1951 or 1952.

    Hazen Gauthier
  • Arm badge worn by military police. Canadians used the term "military police" while in Korea because American troops did not know the word "provost."

    Hazen Gauthier
  • Hazen Gauthier in his uniform (centre photograph), and a series of photographs of Mr. Gauthier and his friends while overseas.

    Hazen Gauthier
  • Commemorative medal marking the Vimy pilgrimage in 1936 when the monument was unveiled.

    Hazen Gauthier
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"All I can tell you about Korea was that it was cold. Bitterly cold."

Transcript

My name is Hazen Gauthier. I presently live in Sudbury, Ontario. Prior to the Korean conflict I had joined the 27th Brigade, hoping to end up in Europe, but unfortunately got on the wrong boat and ended up in Korea and Japan, which was all right. We spent a year or so there. It was great if you didn't get hurt and I didn't get hurt. So it was quite an experience.

I was in the [Canadian] Provost Corps, stationed in Kure, Japan for several months prior to going over to Korea. That was kind of an interesting situation because Kure was a huge port. Many freighters visited the place and we were on security. I met a lot of interesting people – captains from all over the world. We were invited aboard ships and had supper with them at different times. It was much more enjoyable than Korea was, which was a time that I'd like to forget.

I guess when I ended up in Korea I was twenty years old. I'd gone to the provost school in Camp Borden [Ontario] pretty green. When I got over there the first accident I ever got involved in was a truck that rolled down an embankment in Kure, Japan. Three or four British soldiers were killed. I was investigating it with an Aussie – a corporal from Australia. That was the first time I'd ever run into any dead bodies to speak of. That was something that stuck in my mind and still does. It was very impressionable on a twenty-year old kid.

All I can tell you about Korea was that it was cold. Bitterly cold. I remember living in tents, trying to keep the place reasonably warm so you didn't freeze to death. The clothes we wore weren't the best, the sleeping bags were lousy. I remember the British had better sleeping bags than we did, and the Americans had better rifles than we did. If the Canadian infantry had a chance to steal weapons from the Americans, they did. Occasionally we'd have to retrieve them and take them back to the Americans. The .303 rifle was not the best rifle in the world, and the [M1] Garand was a great rifle that the Americans had. The Canadian government really shouldn't have sent our brigade over there with the equipment they had, as far as I'm concerned. They were very poorly equipped compared to the other people from the UN.

 

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