Veteran Stories:
John Kolanchey

Army

  • 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment in Korea. John Kolanchey served with the battalion during the Korean War.

    Canada. Department of National Defence / Library and Archives Canada / ecopy
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"The thankfulness and the greatness of the Korean people, how they treat Canadians when you go over there, it makes you feel really good."

Transcript

You know how soldiers kind of shout and everything else?  The Americans shouted at one of us, they said, “It's about time you Canadians came!” And one of our loud-mouth guys said, “You know we blew a bugle in 1939, you never answered until 1941.  And we blew a bugle again in 1914.  You answered in 1916.”  He says, “We're a few hours late and you guys are complaining.”

A young person from Saskatchewan, his name was Peters.  A very nice gentle, young man.  And he had blond hair and he was one of the first killed.  And I really felt bad, you know, for him.  Such a nice person. And eight years later, I met his uncle in Edmonton [Alberta] and he didn't even know him – and I explained, “Oh,” he says, “that's my brother's son.”

One of the things is, that you come from – everything is different when you get there.  It's just like a nightmare.  Just like waking up in a nightmare sometimes.  Everybody's different, but I know one thing, anxiety attacks – A lot of guys had, you know some guys had to change pajamas in the middle of the night.  After, when I retired, my wife said to me, “What are you going to do? You can't sit around the house.”  I said I really would like to help the guys and I became a chaplain, with the Christian Missionary Alliance Church, to work with the veterans.

We felt we did a terrific job, because if you look at – most of us went for a revisit [to South Korea].  When you see the prosperity and the way the nation come up, we really felt we did something there.  The thankfulness and the greatness of the Korean people, how they treat Canadians when you go over there, it makes you feel really good.

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