Veteran Stories:
Joseph Frank Audfroid

  • Korean civilians with a tank in the background. Photo taken in 1951.

    Joseph Audfroid
  • Photo of Joseph Audfroid.

    Joseph Audfroid
  • Photos of Joseph Audfroid. Page one of a ten-page memory album detailing his experiences in the Korean war through text and photographs. Full album available in the Memory Project Image Gallery.

    Joseph Audfroid
  • Photo of Joseph Audfroid. Page 2/10 of a memory album detailing his experiences in the Korean war through text and photographs. Full album available in the Memory Project Image Gallery.

    Joseph Audfroid
  • Page 4/10 of Joseph Audfroid's memory album detailing his experiences in the Korean war through text and photographs. Following pages are available in the Memory Project Image Gallery.

    Joseph Audfroid
  • Photo of a Canadian soldier holding a Bren gun (a light machine gun) in Korea.
    Page 5/10 of Joseph Audfroid's memory album detailing his experiences in the Korean war through text and photographs. Following pages are available in the Memory Project Image Gallery.

    Joseph Audfroid
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"And I said to myself, “What did I get into?” [laughter] It was quite a shock to see all the damage that was done."

Transcript

Camp Borden [military training facility in Ontario] for some and then Fort Lewis [Washington] in the United States for the rest.  And then from there we took a ship in Seattle, I believe it was, and they took us to Japan.  From Japan… we were there a week or two, I guess.  And from there they flew us to Korea, and I was there in… let me see now… in Korea, I was there in April 1951.

I remember that all the… it was a city and the buildings were all down.  Most of them… the bridge was down.  Everything was screwed up.  And I said to myself, “What did I get into?” [laughter]  It was quite a shock to see all the damage that was done.

Other than that, they put us in transports from… Well, we sat down and we were having a meal, and there was a bunch of young children there.  And they were bumming, and they were five, six years old, four years old.  So we give them most of our food.  I remember that.  And it was hard to see them like that.  You don’t see that around here, so… I was always impressed with that, what a war can do.  I think I was beginning to realize what was going on.

We climbed the mountain and our first time there, it was late in the day, and we were up on top of a mountain, I remember that.  And it started to rain, and thunder and lightning.  And lightning hit three or four boys, and it was dark.  I remember we were laying on the ground, rain pouring down.  And it rained most of the night.  The lightning struck those four, and we had to carry them back off the mountain.  I don’t know if they ever made it alive or… so far as I knew, they were talking to the… but they were pretty bruised up from the lightening.  And that was my first day that I remember.  It could have been a week later or week before, or… I don’t know.  It’s something burned in my mind, so…

In October, I don’t know if it was the first or the end, I was wounded in action. I was in an explosion.  And I was following a tank, I remember that, and there was a lieutenant right next to me and he went down.  But we didn’t stop. Somebody was going to pick him up.  And I was behind the tank and the first thing… I was in that explosion, and I don’t remember how I got back to the field hospital. Anyway, when I woke up I was there.  And I might have been awake before that, I don’t remember anything that happened for a while.

And they… I remember that I looked at myself, and I had blood on my chest and my arm, and it’s quite… It looked worse than it was, let’s put it that way.  But I heard a doctor saying, “Turn him over and see if it went through.”  I didn’t know what they were [laughter] talking about, but I said, “It must be me.”  So they turned me over, and I heard one of them say, “No, it didn’t go through.”  Well, I was very relieved.  It was something that’s just stayed in my memory.

And from there, well, they cleaned my wounds and they must have kept me there four, five, six days, I don’t know.  When they seen… they treated me for infection and there was no infection, so they sent […] and then I went back to the frontlines again.  They were surprised to see me ‘cause they thought I was dead.  When they left I was laying on my back, and blood coming down and… to them, I might have been dead. [laughter]  But that was the worst part.

I went out on… one patrol in particular, we got… it was in a look, and I said that’s the patrol I was on.  What happened there, I was… they made me a corporal, and they were short… I was with my own platoon, but the other platoon was going out, so they come and got me to go with that platoon.  I didn’t know a soul who I was with and we got in a couple of firefights, and we had a hard time.  And I… we were lucky to get out alive ‘cause we had taken a prisoner, he was in a forward position and we ran over that position.  They were after us from behind […].

Anyway, we got him out of the trench, and they put him on a stretcher and they carried him.  And, all the time, they were behind us.  And I don’t know how we got out of that, don’t ask me.  I know we got over to our lines and we got the prisoner.  That’s about all.  They told me he lived and he gave them information.

So I think that’s one of the times that they got to… on a night patrol, they got a Chinese soldier ‘cause they’re so dig in in their positions, I could… you could look over… from where we were we could look over and watch them walking around.  We were that close, you know, that’s… you knew they were Chinese soldiers, so… Anyway, we climbed the mountain, and we got a prisoner and nobody got hurt. We got back.  It gave us a good scare.

 

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