Veteran Stories:
Gwylym “Bill” White

Army

  • 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry in combat area, Korea, 23 April 1951.

    Government of Canada
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"We were unsung bums right from the slums, some people said we were crazy, others said we were lazy. We were Big Jim Stone's Patricias."

Transcript

[Sings] “We were unsung bums right from the slums, some people said we were crazy, others said we were lazy. We were, we were Big Jim Stone's* Patricias.” Big Jim Stone was a brilliant commander in the field. Brilliant commander. And he looked after us very well. My dad served under him in the Second World War and he was known as “Blood and Guts Stone.”

We weren't ready for battle when we arrived in Korea. What made us ready for battle was in training in the rice patties in the Mureung Valley and using wartime tactics, and then finally at the end using live firing exercises with live, live bullets. And then he [Stone] had a battalion rehearsal and he was happy with it. But, I guess it was 48 hours before we were committed he put on a movement order and we got ready.

As far as I'm concerned, Captain Mills called in the artillery [at Kap’yong].  He was the company commander. He had the authority and he called in artillery on us late of the morning of the 25th [April 1951] because they feared that we were going to be overrun and he called in artillery all around up our position. And the New Zealand regiment, they never dropped any that close to us. They were close but we never got any in our position but they were in front of us. And we got some, where I was I could see HE [high explosive] bursts just off to my left and to the front on this ridge and on the other ridge on the right flank. The other, you could see it over there. When the HE went off it made quite an explosion. And they fired off all their HE and the last, I would say 10 or 12 rounds, was white phosphorous smoke. You get white phosphorous on it and it burns you to death. And the Chinese thought then, we understood that they thought we were going to have an attack. We were going to attack them and they pulled out. And sometime in the morning we were relieved by an American company. It came in and took over our position.

The only ones we hated were the North Koreans. They were brutal. The reason I say I hated them was that when we first went into action, I was Number One on a Bren [light machine] gun and the lance corporal in charge was on a Bren gun. Somehow or another they had crept in when he was on, on watch and we were sleeping, and they hauled him out and they took all his clothes off and mutilated him. I saw his body when we went out to look for him because we knew that something was wrong, found him – a young kid by the name of Hanson – and his body was mutilated. That's when I got the hatred.

*Lieutenant-Colonel Jim Stone, commanding officer, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Regiment

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