Veteran Stories:
William Mossip

  • Korean interpreter "Johnny" Kim (seated) and William H. Mossip, in front of I.R.C.R Intelligence Bunker. Photo taken in October 1952.

    William H. Mossip
  • William H. Mossip holding an "enemy burpgun", an automatic weapon used by the North Korean troops. Photo taken in September 1952.

    William H. Mossip
  • Graveyard in Korea. Photo taken in October 1952.

    William H. Mossip
  • Wounded soldiers being evacuated by helicopter in Korea. Photo taken in October 1952.

    William H. Mossip
  • Photo of a Korean "Momma-san" carrying a baby. Photo taken in Korea in July 1952.

    William H. Mossip
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"These were consecutive photos that the cameras took... you could feather the edges and paste it together and get an actual three-dimension view of the territory of the picture. And you could sometimes pick out gun emplacements and different objects on the Chinese side."

Transcript

When I came back from there, the corporal that had been in the I-section [intelligence section] was… he had contracted some disease, and he’d been evacuated to Japan.  And the I-officer [intelligence officer] at that time was Lieutenant Peterson.  He got… he brought me in the I-office.  That would be in September… September 1952.

For one thing, I could handle a typewriter.  And I was… I would receive reports from one correspondent in each company monthly about the action that had taken place.  And I would type those reports into the war diary.  Another thing I did was, I was sent on an air photo interpretation course at the 1st Marine Division* headquarters.  The Americans took air photographs continually over the lines.  And we got copies of them, but nobody knew what to do with them.  That’s why I was sent on a course.

When I came back, they taught you how to… these were consecutive photos that the cameras took.  And you could feather the edges and paste it together, and get an actual three-dimension view of the territory of the picture.  And you could, if you… sometimes pick out gun emplacements and different objects on the Chinese side.  It was pretty hard to do because they… they were well camouflaged.  But that was another job that I had.

You would have a mosaic of overlapping pictures.  And you looked at it through a stereoscope.** And, of course, it would give the field commanders there, the patrol… the type of area, the geography, so what land they were going to cover if they were on patrol.

It wasn’t the company commanders.  They just picked… I don’t know how they did it, they picked one… a private or somebody in the company to do it.  They would keep track of the patrols that went out and where they went.  And they would keep a… how many shells or mortars that landed in their area, that kind of thing.

When we actually were on [Hill] 355*** that was also called Little Gibraltar, the Chinese attacked there on the 23 October.  And, prior to that, there was heavy concentration of artillery and mortar fire, especially on the forward position where there was a tank buried there, and that tank was knocked out.  And then the Chinese attacked on the 23 October.  And they overrun the first forward company, Baker [B] Company.  Then they were… the division artillery was called down on that position.  And Dog [D] Company, which was the reserve company, counter attacked and drove the Chinese off.

Well, there was… there was a weapons… at TAC [Tactical Air Command] headquarters what… I was there with the CO [commanding officer] signaller**** and the RC battery driver,^ and a […] Patricia’s driver,^^ and we manned the weapons pit beside the I-office.  Actually, we just sat there and ducked because there were artillery shells coming in to that area.  They would lob in the odd shell, and just keep your head down, but they… that night they lobbed a lot of shells in… the support company was right beside us.  And I remember I was in the bunker, and the ground started to shake, you could tell… the shelling.  My instructions were to go from my bunker down, and this weapons pit was just outside the I-office.  The other guys had the same instruction… if anybody came through there, we’d… nobody came through though.

 

* 1st Marine Division is the oldest and largest marine division in the United States Marine Corps; it served with distinction during the Korean War, particularly at the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

** A stereoscope permitted aerial photographs to be viewed like a 3D image.

*** Hill 355 was a main feature for Canadian troops at the Korean frontline and the site of fierce battles with enemy forces in November 1951 and October 1952.

**** 25th Canadian Infantry Brigade Signal Squadron.

^ Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), 2nd Armoured Regiment.

^^ Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.

 

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