Veteran Stories:
Phillip Neatby

Army

  • Soldiers at the Sasebo Replacement Depot, Japan, on their way home from Korea.

    Mervin Cashman
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"So we got to Korea and I was charged with taking command of all of the white Greyhounds [M8 Armoured Car] in Korea to form a reaction troop to bolster, at short notice, components of the line that were being attacked."

Transcript

The third phase I spent with the Strathconas [Lord Strathcona’s Horse Regiment] which was varied. I was very fortunate in my experience there, because the way the Strathconas operated was the CO [commanding officer] told you what he wanted done and then disappeared. So for example, one of my jobs at one point - the CO came in and he said, “You were born on a farm?” I said, “Yes, I was.” He said, “You know hay when you see it.” I said, “Yes I do.” He said, “Fine, you go to Wainwright at noon and you have a month to get a hundred tonnes of hay. The Strathconas had a private riding troop of 18 horses. So I didn’t know anything about prairie wool which was what horses and cows ate in the Prairies. I had no resources. I bummed a ride up there. I scrounged transportation from the militia. I got the hay cut for a share of the harvest. I got the hay – this is pasture hay – it’s not cultivated hay. And then I had the hay bailed – another share. But that’s the way the Strathconas operated. You were given a job and you were expected to carry it out. If you had a question, you asked it. So… at the end of that I applied for commissioning. Unfortunately, they lost my application and so I didn’t get picked up until November.

Now in 1950 they had just formed, the composite squadron for service in Korea. Also, they anticipated continuation and there was an expansion of the army to meet the reinforcement problem of Korea I suppose. But following along behind it, of course, was the NATO expansion. All of the people who had joined as lieutenants, post-war, were promoted to captain so the [armoured] corps was without lieutenants. So I and Eddie St. Laurent got posted to the armoured corps school and never went to the regiment at all. So I spent two years there. Then at the end of 1952 after a lot of fulminations, I was in fact sent to the Strathconas arriving in January of 1953 and was posted to Victor Jewkes’ squadron, C Squadron, which had just come back from Korea. And I taught recruits again. Then I was picked up in March. I was told that I was going to Japan in an administrative post.

So off I went, embarked from Seattle and as luck would have it, I was on the same boat as A Squadron, Lord Strathcona’s Horse and I was a slave of the Canadian commander, the commander of A Squadron, so I became the boat adjutant; Marsh [Wright] ran bingo. But we got to Japan and John Bell is expecting me and he’d been on the wagon for some time and as soon as I arrived he decided to indulge his predilection for alcohol. And, lo and behold, there was no file for either Marsh Wright or myself so off we went to Korea and John Bell lapsed with his hangover.

So we got to Korea and I was charged with taking command of all of the white Greyhounds [M8 Armoured Car] in Korea to form a reaction troop to bolster, at short notice, components of the line that were being attacked. In the beginning of June they discovered our file and we went back to Japan. So I ran two – I don’t know whether you need all this detail, but anyway a whole bunch of administrative jobs - officers messes, the men’s canteen. I was messing officer. I sold booze for the [messes].

In November, I got changed over with Peter Foy and went back to Korea as commander of 3 Troop. The war was now over and the problem was to keep the troops busy and alert because the situation was still tense.

 

Interview with Phillip Neatby - FCWM Oral History Project
Accession Number CWM 20020121-087
George Metcalf Archival Collection
© Canadian War Museum

Entrevue avec Phillip Neatby - Projet d'histoire orale du AMCG
No d’accession MCG 20020121-087
Collection d’archives George Metcalf
© Musée canadien de la guerre

 

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