Ben Cripps at The Memory Project event in Miramichi, New Brunswick, November 2012.Ben Cripps
"So needless to say we had to eat some canned rations, canned food for a while. The kitchen was all blown to hell."
We didn’t know nothing. We got there, it was shortly before dark. We didn’t even have a chance to really to have a look around to see what it was like.
But after we were there, we were in what they called “the bunker.” And, Corporal McNulty,* if I remember right, he come running in the bunker got us out in a hurry – he said we're being attacked again. But we didn’t see nothing. A patrol or something was spotted. But that’s what I remember about that, I know I was terrible scared.
We had a patrol out that night. And they run into – well, they claimed there was a battalion, eight or nine hundred men. And they were coming up – some of them got wounded. And there was seven or eight of us. Each grabbed a stretcher there, two of us to a stretcher, to go out and pick up the guys that were wounded. But we never got there. We couldn’t get there.
One night, we're going down through a little village. It was dark. And I could hear singing. “You Are My Sunshine,” you know. So we just got curious – we went right in, the old shack – a little old woman there, singing “You Are My Sunshine,” in real good English.
I seen something one night, it was right across the valley. Somebody with a flashlight sending signals out over across and getting them back from the other side. Now who was doing it, we don’t know. Never ever, ever found out.
I remember [Hill] 187 though, that happened to come to me here about a year ago. I said, “Oh god, I said, I remember 187. I guess I do.”
One morning, it was just breaking day, and I looked to my left with the big glasses, it was the English troops there. And at the foot of the hill was all nice fancy boxes, gifts and everything, like Christmas. They were running down to get them, see what – they were empty of course. And then the Chinese start shooting at them. They just wanted to let us know how close they can get to us.
This was on a hill that I was on, there was only – there was only about 27 of us up there, 26-27 of us. You'd almost think it was an outpost or something.
One day, this was in the late afternoon, I believe. I was in the observation post at the time, it was my shift. And right behind the hill, was our kitchen, where we ate and everything. Two shells come in. One shell struck the centre, killed the cook. Patty Redmond** was his name. And, wounded seven or eight people. And this fellow by the name of Curly Downs,*** he was a medical corporal, and he was treating – running around treating the guys – hurt himself, too. But Patty Redmond, he got killed outright. He was from Halifax. So, needless to say we had to eat some canned rations, canned food for a while. The kitchen was all blown to hell.
*Corporal Robert R. McNulty, 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment
**Lance Corporal Patrick Gerald Redmond, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, Killed in Action 22 April 1953
***Lance Corporal William Malcolm Downs, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment