Veteran Stories:
Edward Russell Murphy

Army

  • 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in Korea, 23 April 1951. Edward Murphy served with the battalion during the Korean War.

    Government of Canada
Enlarge Image

"So we found one. We hung him."

Transcript

Charlie Company, went ahead of us, and they were the attacking force.  And they attacked this hill and come under very heavy fire.  And I think there was nine killed in – out of that company, in that attack.  And then, Charlie Company pulled back and Able Company was advanced, so we had to go up and - we went up to get the wounded or, we thought there must have been some wounded there, but there was none, they were all dead.  And they were all - their clothes were all stripped off of them.  It was February, and I didn't appreciate that and I thought that they would fight under the Geneva Convention, seeing as that B.B. Brown* had a big pack on his back with the Red Cross on it.  But they shot him and I made the - actually the whole section – made the resolution that if we came across anybody, North Korean or Chinese, that had Canadian uniform on, would hang them.  So we found one.  We hung him.  And, I don't regret doing it.  I guess he had a family, I don't know.  I didn't ask him.  Couldn't talk to him, anyway.  I couldn't speak his language and he couldn't speak mine.  I didn't appreciate him wearing Canadian uniform, so.

Lieutenant [Brian] Munro seen these Japanese – or Chinese – retreating from this position and Fairservice** was our best shot.  So he told him to go up and snipe at these retreating troops.  And somehow, they seen his muzzle blast, or whatever it was, and anyway, they opened fire on him.  It travelled up his rifle and into his eye, right just below his eyeball, to the back of his head.

And, he screamed and hollered that he was wounded, and I dropped my rifle to go up and get him, and Munro said, “Stay where you are.”  And I said, “I'm not staying where I am,” I said, “a friend of mine is...” So I ran up and we pulled him back down, so they couldn't shoot him anymore.  And called a MA,*** medics, and they came and fixed him up and carried him out.  But, he died.  When I lost Fairservice, that really bothered me.  He was killed on the 19th of April [1951] and Kap’yong was on the 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th.  So, he hadn't been out of our thoughts that long.

When I went back on 2004, that was when we went to Pusan [South Korea], that was the first thing I did when I went to the cemetery.  I went over to the curator and asked if he would give me the location of the Canadian burial plots, because I had a couple of fellas in my section – in Unit 27 [Korea Veterans Association of Canada] that had brothers killed over there and they wanted pictures of the graves.  So, they gave me a location of all these places and we just walked over to them, the wife and I.  We took pictures of them and, Fairservice is right there amongst them, so I was happy with that.

*Private Bruce Borden Brown, killed in action in Korea, 1951

**Private Robert Burns Fairservice, killed in action in Korea, 19 April 1951

***medical assistant

Follow us