Korean War Legacy Project

Claude Charland

Bio

Claude Charland was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada 27 February, 1929.  He enlisted in the Canadian Army as an infantryman in the second battalion.  While in Korea, he served as a platoon commander and led men into combat on numerous occasions.  While in Korea, Charland and members of his regiment (the Van Doos) organized hockey games on the frozen Imjin River.  He says that being able to play his countries national sport allowed him to forget about the war for a little while.  After the Korean War, Charland served with the Canadian Army until he retired in 1982.

Clips

Miracle Society

In this clip, Claude Charland describes the economic growth of South Korea as a miracle, and makes the argument that it is very important strategically to the region as a commercial hub.

Tags: Busan,Impressions of Korea,Pride

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4Lv3htu-w&start=340&end=434

Most Memorable Moment

In this clip, Claude Charland describes the most vivid memory he has of his time in Korea, while on the front lines. He describes how he and his platoon led a Korean family down a hill to get food that they had stored before the war.

Tags: Food,Front lines,Living conditions,Physical destruction

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4Lv3htu-w&start=640&end=822

Living Conditions

In this clip, Claude Charland describes how hard it was to stay clean while serving on the front lines.

Tags: Cold winters,Depression,Front lines,Living conditions,Physical destruction

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4Lv3htu-w&start=2250&end=2348

Share the Wealth

In this clip, Claude Charland describes how the troops would share with everyone any goods that were sent as part of a care package. This story speaks to the camaraderie of which Claude Charland remembers so fondly from his service.

Tags: Food,Front lines,Letters,Pride

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4Lv3htu-w&start=2408&end=2441

Hockey

In this clip, Claude Charland remembers how he and other troops played ice hockey on the frozen Imjin River during January. The games were organized around teams from different regiments, and were set up as a round robin tournament. He refuses to admit his team lost a game, but seriously speaks about how playing the national sport of his homeland allowed for him to escape the reality of war for a little while.

Tags: Imjingang (River),Cold winters,Living conditions,Pride

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4Lv3htu-w&start=2488&end=2760

Letters

In this clip, Claude Charland details the different people with whom he would correspond during his time in Korea. This includes a discussion of how there were certain things that he could only write about with certain companions. For instance, with one pinball he could discuss the war, but would not do that with his letters to his mom or girlfriend back home.

Tags: Front lines,Home front,Letters,Living conditions,Pride

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4Lv3htu-w&start=2760&end=2932

00

Share this Clip +


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uj4Lv3htu-w&start=0&end=0

Photos

Claude Charland

This is a photo showing Claude Charland before leaving for Korea.

Claude Charland

Mistake - Please Delete

Video Transcript

my name is Claude Shaolin cacl2 de
00:07
chillon ch AR la and d alright and
00:15
that’s all French well this from French
00:18
Canada let’s put it this way yes yes
00:20
what is your birthday my birthday is 27
00:24
febri 1929 so you born in the year of
00:29
great depression exactly on the Great
00:33
Depression year yes where were you born
00:36
I was born in Montreal Montreal yes so
00:40
tell me about your family siblings when
00:44
you were growing up how was it and how
00:48
many brothers and sisters and your
00:50
parents and a lone child first of all
00:52
and since it was the hard times I was
01:00
fortunate to be educated first of all at
01:05
what we used to call an organization
01:06
that was called a kindergarten mm-hmm
01:09
which was run by nuns wow so you a
01:12
candidate regarder that’s yes
01:14
kindergarten and from that point on of
01:21
course I was a border for many years and
01:24
in that sense I never missed not having
01:28
sisters or brothers because there were
01:30
brothers all around the little sisters
01:33
all around so I grew pretty well in a
01:37
gregarious type of environment rather
01:39
than a lone child at home from from
01:46
kindergarten which at that time included
01:50
let’s say primary school grades then I
01:55
went to a college called mohsen week
02:00
college in Montreal now in those days
02:04
the term college applied to secondary co
02:08
secondary
02:11
graduated college now it is the
02:16
structure at that time was about like
02:19
that most any college of it in other
02:22
terms was also a scientific type of
02:26
either way to spell that name of the
02:28
college mon-sun t-mo st. week mount st.
02:31
Louis oh my own st. Louis Matt Moore
02:35
salary college melasma same with which
02:39
was run by the Christian Brothers by the
02:41
way and it was there let’s say their
02:44
their supreme type of level of type of
02:50
organization in Montreal and of course
02:52
competing with the classical colleges at
02:55
that time if I’m trying to explain the
02:57
system at that time and it was a
03:02
bilingual oriented because he had been
03:05
first of all founded by a Irish Catholic
03:09
community in 1888 so it had you know it
03:15
had some history behind it and of course
03:19
the tripe of bilingual organization
03:23
behind the college allowed us to learn
03:26
English and become partly it’s not fully
03:29
bilingual by the time we finished our
03:31
studies there what did you study what
03:35
was your night adapt did you have a
03:37
major I eventually majored in arts art
03:41
and eventually went to Norris de
03:43
Montreal and studied in industrial
03:45
relations after that so really I was not
03:48
scientifically oriented if we when they
03:51
described that but more arts oriented or
03:55
more in those days they used to call
03:58
them you know the like the type of law
04:02
medicine and so on the type of
04:07
orientation towards long-term careers in
04:10
that sense yes
04:12
let me ask this question so you are very
04:15
well educated at the times and did you
04:20
learn anything about Korea in those days
04:23
no living you well educated well well
04:27
educated of course we knew about Asia
04:29
but whether we we never identified
04:32
anything that was like Korea in those
04:34
days you know we knew where Asia was
04:36
winner was China was India and other
04:41
types of country Japan’s but it was
04:44
rather superficial you know it was
04:46
really far far away of course being
04:50
being of a background of French origins
04:57
me because I was French speaking but you
05:01
know that the orientation was the word
05:02
Europe and at the time i was there i was
05:06
there from the period of early january
05:11
52 to almost end of September’s 52 i’m
05:17
talking in korea right so the war was
05:22
still going on of course it had gone
05:25
into let’s say the type of war of
05:27
patrols as we call it these days and
05:30
very stable type of organization on the
05:34
front line but to get to know the
05:37
country I couldn’t say I knew the
05:40
country at all well Korea I had the
05:44
chance to go back twice lately and it’s
05:50
a i call it it’s a miracle society if i
05:56
can use that term because the comparison
05:59
is so is so wide so so large sewing so
06:04
improved you know when you come from
06:06
ruins to what is now an industrial
06:09
technical highly technical know-how
06:11
country exporting all over the world
06:17
almost having a great influence into the
06:22
distributions of goods and and
06:24
commodities throughout Asia
06:26
and when you know historically speaking
06:31
you think in terms of what to sign was
06:34
now Busan is it’s become you know I
06:41
compare I tried to compare listen in the
06:44
back of my knowledge with what used to
06:46
be bare root as the hub of the
06:50
Mediterranean and now I am tempted to
06:55
say that not sale but Busan and south
07:00
korea are becoming the hub of Asia in
07:04
the distribution of goods and whatnot
07:07
and and the exchange of comics with
07:09
commercial exchanges and so on trade and
07:12
so on when when did I go back I went
07:18
back to Korea on what they called a
07:20
revisit program as many did sure sure
07:24
yes and that and that was an april two
07:29
years ago 2014 yes and there and then I
07:37
went back not too long ago which was
07:39
last fall for the military world games
07:41
which was hosted by of course Korea and
07:46
when I say Korea I’m talking in terms
07:49
all the time a South Korea okay so i was
07:54
fortunate to be invited us to be part of
07:57
the Canadian delegation as a Korean
08:00
veteran to the world games were
08:03
represent yo accompanying the canadian
08:05
athletes and the delegation to the world
08:08
games which gave me an opportunity to go
08:11
back to the cemetery in busan and let’s
08:16
in perspective have a chat with some of
08:18
my old platoon guys who were their
08:20
social contrasting pictures of korea in
08:25
1950 no it’s well i’m trying to find a
08:35
word to express that
08:40
it’s it’s all ah you know when you say
08:44
ah that’s what it is it’s ah you know
08:50
it’s everything is moving at such a fast
08:53
pace and when I think in terms of what I
08:58
see now what I’ve seen lately in Korea
09:03
is not only the fruit of of the
09:08
investments that were there because I
09:11
you know everybody realizes that there
09:13
was a lot of help given to Korea to
09:15
rebuild and so on but it’s the way that
09:21
this help has been handled in the
09:24
reconstruction of the country and and
09:28
the commitment of the people in the
09:31
resilience of of the people of Korea
09:34
because if you compare this with other
09:37
areas in the world where help is is
09:39
provided then nothing happens or so
09:43
little happens and you’re looking for
09:45
where the funds have all gone and so on
09:46
this is another case in this is you know
09:49
this is an example that can be quoted
09:52
across the whole world as to how these
09:55
people have come up over a period of 60
09:58
years beyond and let’s face it Canada
10:02
could learn a couple of lessons
10:06
you know we thought we were part of
10:09
close to being become of the eighth I’m
10:12
far I think you’re gonna beat us there
10:14
so thank you well sure sure but there
10:19
but this is why when you look back as a
10:23
soldier who participated in there that
10:26
you came back and someone there left
10:27
there and the families that were
10:30
disturbed and so on there is one
10:33
expression that I use when I see what
10:36
happened is that quote unquote it was
10:39
worth it one day an old man and his
10:44
family all dressed in white with their
10:46
black hats and so on and there a frames
10:49
on their back arrives in the platoon
10:52
position and it was hard to communicate
10:57
so I asked for interpreter to come right
11:00
to my platoon position we were having
11:03
breakfast and the best thing I could do
11:04
at the time was to see while we’re
11:06
waiting for the interpreter because I
11:08
wanted to know what the hell they were
11:09
doing there they had no business in
11:11
terms of our task right now to be there
11:15
so we said okay fine let’s share
11:18
breakfast with these people my gosh they
11:20
must be hungry and so on so so we got
11:23
together you know on the reverse side of
11:25
the position and so we shared you know
11:28
whatever we had you know what chocolate
11:30
you know so on and there was what seemed
11:34
to me at that time for generations in
11:36
that group of about 12 people too too
11:41
little too late almost baby zuko nawaki
11:44
they could hardly walk and finally we
11:48
found out that these people wanted to go
11:50
down in the huts down below because that
11:52
was their place and that’s where they
11:56
had hidden food that they wanted to
11:58
retrieve from you wanted to retrieve the
12:00
food that they had hidden in the
12:03
serpentine you know that that the
12:07
heating system of these huts his
12:09
underneath the floor and he put the fire
12:11
at one end and it goes out the other end
12:13
they had hidden food inside these things
12:16
and they wanted to recuperate
12:19
and it was you know what do I do about
12:23
this this was complete daylight and you
12:28
don’t want to expose people you know
12:30
going in down in front of the hill
12:32
complete daylight and expect these
12:34
people were dressed in white no and I
12:40
said ok we’ll go two hours no more and
12:44
we accompany you and after two hours you
12:48
do your thing and you come back with us
12:50
and to see the change of in the face of
12:55
the people when we said go we accompany
12:59
you we could take down through the
13:01
barbed wire whatnot so on and they did
13:04
their thing and they brought back bags
13:06
on their a friend soon and they went
13:08
away happy as hell and that was one of
13:15
the contributions that stayed with us
13:19
and that if you’re asking me you know
13:21
what do you remember of the that’s what
13:24
I remember most of Korea as far as
13:27
meeting the Korean people are concerned
13:29
people to people right and especially
13:32
those people who were looking for food
13:34
at that time you can imagine so that
13:38
part of the experience was was something
13:41
you never forget I can still see in my
13:44
mind sitting on the reverse slope and at
13:47
that time not only this I had to thanks
13:50
on my position which allowed us extra
13:53
ration Armstrong you know extra goodies
13:55
eating goodies so we share that with
13:58
them but then you say okay so your focus
14:05
I’m going back home and that’s it and
14:07
you hope that something good will come
14:10
out of it eventually and it did as we
14:16
said at the beginning it did you know
14:18
let’s face it it was as I say again it
14:22
was worth it it was worth it what kind
14:26
of men are you now after the going
14:30
through this war
14:32
is there any change is there any impact
14:34
upon you and your life well it changed
14:38
me maybe I let’s say as a young as a
14:42
young young i should say young man there
14:51
okay okay a young man to a full grown
14:55
man the experience in Korea immediately
15:01
immediately because of what the things
15:04
we were exposed to at that time and let
15:08
you think it makes you think now over
15:15
the years while I had the Melissa career
15:18
so 31 years in the service serves me
15:23
well also and that experience of course
15:26
helped me throughout my career and that
15:30
had a good career and I learnt a lot
15:33
from that first experience you never
15:35
forget about that first of all what you
15:38
see what you were but you never forget
15:40
about the friendship that you develop in
15:43
the circumstances that are at times very
15:47
difficult sir concession you come out of
15:49
it together you never forget that when
15:52
we meet at times I still meet at times
15:55
some people that were there at that time
15:57
in fact that corporal at that time was
16:00
decorated as an mm is it not a one right
16:03
now the wrong area and we met at the at
16:09
the second commemoration of the engine
16:13
classic it was by chance and you know a
16:20
very interesting sorry to make it very
16:22
short this guy had come in and my
16:25
daughter had slept at the parking lot
16:28
and this guy asked my daughter where’s
16:32
the door to go to the hockey game you
16:34
know the military akhiyan and she said
16:36
well it’s over there you know follow me
16:38
I’m going he says who are you is she
16:40
says I’m meal inshallah he says what
16:42
Neil inshallah he says is your father
16:45
claude shalna she said yes he says he
16:48
was my platoon commander in Korea and we
16:51
met at that particular incident we had
16:54
not seen each other for 60 years can you
16:57
imagine and can you imagine this know
17:01
that the wreckage well people thought we
17:04
were crazy we have we have to have this
17:06
engine classic hearing canal as a part
17:09
of movie you know it was it was beyond
17:15
any way so that this is what I mean
17:17
what’s left of the people you meet the
17:21
people the friendship you develop their
17:24
they are things that they’re welcome
17:27
they are things that remain engraved in
17:30
your mind and you live with that you
17:33
live with the good side of things but
17:36
try and wipe out the bad side of things
17:38
alright so that’s the backbone of
17:42
contemporary relationship between Canada
17:45
and Republic of Korea you are the
17:48
backbone well and we did give you with
17:50
that yeah let me ask this you here and
17:57
there you talk a lot about these
17:59
importance of this whole experience
18:02
during the Korean War and Andy and and
18:05
what is it the implications for who we
18:09
are who we are now as a friend how would
18:13
you characterize the main legacy of the
18:17
Korean War and the Korean War veterans
18:20
legacy
18:29
it is difficult to see up to up to three
18:35
years ago mm-hmm 2013 from a Canadian
18:42
point of view the Korean War was looked
18:45
at the Forgotten War you mean up to up
18:49
to very recent qualified as The
18:55
Forgotten War as of 2013 27 July is now
19:03
Canada Korean veterans day and and
19:11
that’s it that’s the difference what is
19:14
now well at least we celebrate once a
19:17
year that day it is not yes a resolution
19:29
so that their marketers you know our
19:32
tender right yeah very Korea gave her
19:35
they came for Canada just three years
19:37
ago thanks to Senator of course there’s
19:43
one Canadian who’s of a Korean Air
19:45
origin yep all right and I don’t want to
19:52
interpret her words but definitely the
19:56
way it is is that she felt she has felt
20:01
great let’s face it she’s a senator
20:03
Canadian senator but because of her
20:06
background and because her family was
20:08
part of it she has the feeling that she
20:13
owned something to this country mm-hmm
20:16
and she really once she got in a
20:19
position to do it she did it and from
20:24
all of us are hatched to her because at
20:27
least we have an official day
20:29
recognizing that there was a ward Korea
20:31
and there were Canadian veterans from
20:34
Korea and now it is you know that’s it
20:38
now down that’s the time
20:40
of legacy from this part now legacy at
20:45
the other end well you know it’s a
20:49
contribution and a contribution as heart
20:52
is a part of many things we’re not the
20:55
only country that provided troops to at
20:58
the time of the Korean conflict and this
21:03
is shared as a legacy and we also
21:08
appreciate the question of the fact that
21:10
we have these programs that bring
21:14
veterans back to Korea that bring their
21:19
families immediate and now even
21:22
grandchildren are participating in
21:25
programs to go back there to see it at
21:29
least try and understand because this
21:32
gap you know from 53 to 2013 it was 60
21:38
year gap good god let’s face it i would
21:42
like to make we said before that before
21:46
at the beginning that we went to korea
21:48
we knew nothing about korea all right
21:51
and then we were exposed to a devastated
21:56
country and then 60 years later you know
21:59
there’s no comparison I look at that now
22:04
now I can look and even not now but when
22:08
we came back you know the importance of
22:10
the strategic location of the peninsula
22:14
of Korea and that brings us very quickly
22:19
you know to the years and and centuries
22:23
of back and forth influences whether
22:32
they came from China whether they came
22:33
from Japan and whether they came from
22:35
the Australians or the algae or or the
22:38
Filipinos or
22:40
but this this is a unique place because
22:44
it is so important strategically that
22:47
everybody is interested in it and I
22:53
think that now right now Korea has found
22:56
a way to handle this and this by opening
23:01
themselves to all those who are
23:03
interested in Korea and making sure that
23:11
they do it in a good way and they may
23:14
they make it as something positive for
23:17
the people of Korea it’s not well that’s
23:29
the next step so let me go back to the
23:33
point where that you are what were you
23:35
doing watering the college when the
23:37
criminal broke off yes I was still at
23:40
university when it broke out and while I
23:45
was at university I had joined a program
23:49
that was called the COTC Canadian
23:52
Officer Training Corps yes canadian
23:55
Officer Training Corps yes and this was
23:59
a program whereby students and listed in
24:05
this program and let’s say on the good
24:08
side were were assured of a summer
24:11
employment for three years to help them
24:15
pay for their studies and at the end
24:19
qualified and one of the branches of the
24:22
of the forces and mine was the infantry
24:26
school and
24:34
while we were there I recall that in
24:37
nineteen fifty was we were in our third
24:41
year of graduation year from the COTC
24:44
and the war had started in Korea and
24:47
while we were doing our third phase the
24:50
infantry school and they were forming at
24:54
that time the 2nd battalion oh the y al
24:58
vento jumeirah Jima at the same time as
25:01
other regiments were you know forming
25:04
their regiments in order to provide the
25:08
ground troops for the Korean requirement
25:11
so you are always you need exactly well
25:15
I’m going to carry on with this this
25:17
particular thing so I was an officer
25:20
cadet there in my third year and which
25:23
was a last year to become to become
25:26
let’s say commissioned and we were
25:28
called upon during this end of the
25:31
summer 50 to go to Val Cartier to help
25:36
the training of recruits that were at
25:40
the time they were forming the 2nd
25:41
battalion y al vento jumeirah Zuma
25:45
alright because we were French speaking
25:48
and this is a french-speaking regiment
25:50
right and of course at that time it was
25:55
left-handed colonel des trois who became
25:57
later on the Chief of Defence Staff who
26:00
was forming the unit to prepare it to go
26:04
to Korea eventually so this is how we
26:07
got in contact with our first knowledge
26:14
of the Korean War and it was in nineteen
26:17
fifty some of my colleagues joined the
26:23
battalion right there we were about the
26:27
twelfth that had been called back to
26:28
called in to Val kotse at the time to
26:33
help you know the training of recruits
26:35
at that time and some of my colleagues
26:38
joined the battalion at that time but I
26:41
went back to university for further
26:43
studies and disaster real relations and
26:45
then in my case
26:47
it is after the summer of 52 that I
26:53
joined and went to Korea yes where do I
26:59
left for Korea I that this is very fast
27:03
by I joined an October and left for
27:06
Korea in November 51 now because of
27:13
course where did I arrived I arrived
27:18
then my gosh in Korea near Incheon they
27:21
were near Incheon at the time if I
27:26
recall the airport I think it was K 14
27:29
something like that yeah k 14 was you
27:32
read about Korean situation at the time
27:34
that you were leaving for korea no i
27:38
must say that no no wait the the main
27:44
purpose of the rush at that time when i
27:47
joined was that the battalions have been
27:50
deployed had been deployed already all
27:53
right and in the case of my regiment the
27:55
2nd battalion they were about to reach
27:57
the six months commitment the sixth
27:59
month commitment and it did want to have
28:02
the whole thing changeover in one shot
28:05
all right it’s normally nor normally it
28:09
would be you know a 12-month a 12-month
28:11
type of commitment but they had thought
28:14
at that time that it would not be you
28:17
know the right strategy at that point as
28:19
far as the canadian forces were
28:20
concerned to change the whole thing at
28:22
one time so i was part of the first wave
28:26
to get the korea in terms of or to be
28:30
sent to Korea in terms that some of the
28:32
people who were deployed there could
28:34
make it back home for Christmas and I
28:41
was not in Korea for Christmas I was in
28:43
Korea just after Christmas personally
28:47
what do you said you ride in Korea in
28:52
November November yes no not in a
28:55
notorious we arrived in the Far East and
28:58
in Japan at that time the first the
29:01
first stop was in Japan and we had beef
29:06
now rectify what I said before first
29:09
stop was in Japan and we had a place
29:12
where we went some from environmental
29:15
training in the hills in Japan in order
29:19
that we could prepare who would be ready
29:21
for Korea it was a question of two weeks
29:23
and that was it so much so what happens
29:26
do you have to eat and where did you go
29:28
I what I went to join my battalion were
29:35
the battalion was in the reserve at that
29:38
time when I joined it and you want the
29:43
front Lionel but we went straight the
29:47
battalion was in reserve but we got
29:50
there and three weeks later we were back
29:52
to the Santa John valley yes I was a
29:59
platoon commander left that what they
30:02
call it a lieutenant yes left-handed yes
30:06
the two pips at that time tell me what
30:10
did you do at the front line what was
30:12
the typical duty I was lucky i’d like to
30:22
put everything in perspective because
30:24
there it is part of my introduction to
30:27
dust the front line as i said i joined
30:29
the battalion when the battalion was in
30:31
reserve in early january all right and
30:35
we have been waiting some way back and
30:39
we were almost not the only one where we
30:41
were about 10 officers who then young
30:43
officer should say were who had been
30:47
despatched for relief to relieve people
30:52
who were already deployed there to come
30:54
back as i said before and my I joined I
31:00
joined the battalion as platoon
31:03
commander number 5 platoon commander
31:05
with five latude be company at that gun
31:09
he used to call them Baker company
31:11
rather than
31:11
breville and and at that time dextrins
31:17
had just left turn electrons had just
31:19
left the command had been replaced by
31:21
Colonel remedy Colonel Valley
31:26
fortunately when I reach my platoon the
31:30
platoon commander was one of my ex cadet
31:36
training we train we had trained
31:39
together and he was one of the Ditka the
31:42
officer cadets who had joined a
31:43
battalion when we were first called back
31:46
to Valkyrie and his name was Pierre
31:48
Shambo and there was a big difference he
31:50
was 62 and I was five or so but I knew
31:55
him very well now and what struck me
31:58
more as I first came in as decide the
32:01
platoon sergeant and of course when I
32:02
met the Archaea Shambo he never told me
32:06
you was my platoon commander you know
32:08
I’m the time that we were bringing back
32:11
from from point A to vote to go to point
32:13
B and my platoon sergeant was my first
32:17
instructor in 1948 and his name was Alex
32:24
to set an exam to set a new brunswick ER
32:27
and I looked at him and I said Alex
32:31
you’ve had it you did it to me now
32:35
you’re gonna get it now but that wasn’t
32:38
me that was as a joke it was it was a
32:41
very interesting meeting because at
32:44
least I knew the sergeant which the
32:48
introduction was not too bad with know
32:50
where would be with the troops and then
32:55
we declared of course on the line and
32:57
now you ask me whether it is now know
33:00
that the war becomes static and the
33:02
question was the control of the no man’s
33:05
land now the distance between the two
33:08
blinds and well dig night operations
33:16
mostly
33:19
mostly I should say at the time I first
33:21
joined and my first Patrol I was
33:25
ambushed that was my what you call mo
33:30
more bad times of fear in French as we
33:32
say and and thank God that we we could
33:40
get out of it but that was my first
33:42
experience and I was not the only young
33:45
officer who was exposed to this type of
33:49
experience right off the bat at that
33:54
time and fortunately we were able to
33:59
come back I’ll five wounded and one of
34:03
my corporals got military metal
34:05
decoration because of his action that
34:08
particular night you were not only nope
34:12
not me IFI wooded though I had five
34:15
wounded three who couldn’t walk and we
34:17
were a little far away the sammich on
34:19
Valley you know was wide valley and
34:21
we’re almost right but at this the
34:24
bottom of the hills wheres we were
34:26
supposed to go up but we were ambushed
34:29
at the bottom not to tell about war
34:33
stories but you know at night when it
34:35
spits dark and this happens you know I
34:40
mean it looks like an eternity and it
34:44
was about three minutes engagement than
34:46
it was hand-to-hand fighting and handle
34:49
to her and that people scratch in the
34:52
face oh yes when people well we had the
34:55
same purpose the opposing troops wanted
34:59
to get a prisoner and we wanted to get a
35:01
prisoner so it handled into a stalemate
35:08
so eventually we could come back and in
35:11
fact we were so close there’s there was
35:14
a river town coming along the sandwich
35:17
on Valley and some of the fighting took
35:20
place almost in the river the guys were
35:22
in
35:25
up almost to their to their belts in
35:28
told me what engine river yeah well I
35:31
don’t recall the name of that river in
35:33
that Valley whether it was a river that
35:36
was dropping into into 2d Angie yeah yes
35:40
okay but it was all along the valley
35:42
okay and mostly closer to the food no to
35:49
i should say the north korean chinese
35:50
type of defenses that they was two wires
35:54
okay so that was my first experience as
36:00
and of course that established also the
36:05
type of relationship a Christian
36:08
commander wants to happen with his
36:09
people because up to that point you know
36:12
the guys I was commanding had been there
36:15
for six months Oh Dean you above it and
36:17
I was a new guy it was very nice you
36:22
know I look good look it’s one but it
36:27
was not a question you’re having to
36:28
prove yourself but this is where they
36:32
recognize whether you had it or not or
36:35
they accepted it or not before this
36:42
particular incident it was left an
36:48
enclosure LA and after it was more you’d
36:53
nuh which is a connotation very very
36:57
different you become theirs and they
37:02
become yours and after that of course it
37:07
carried on and i should say fortunately
37:11
i never was that bushed again but i did
37:15
about what 14 sorties the time i was
37:18
there of one type of another but never
37:20
encountered in the enemy after that oh
37:23
that’s
37:26
last people through shelling yes but
37:31
they’re in different places what did you
37:34
hate it most during your service in
37:37
Korea what did I hate most the bugs box
37:45
the bugs yeah what on his face if we
37:48
were Riven we were living in holes in a
37:51
mountain yeah and in spite of the fact
37:57
that you tried to remain clean all the
38:00
time you first of all you did not
38:02
possible we didn’t have the facility and
38:05
the abscess platoon commander it was
38:07
even worse because platoon commanders
38:09
were called at that time subalterns yeah
38:12
okay and that’s it you’re a subtle thing
38:14
so learn your trade and do your thing
38:17
and don’t complain on your own and
38:20
that’s it you know but that’s alright
38:24
was part of the game and we knew it
38:26
would be like that that was no surprise
38:27
at that time the type of you know they D
38:30
the mentality about how things were
38:32
handled of course if we go back to
38:35
industrial relations it was not
38:37
negotiable but that’s all right that was
38:44
the real hard part about it I must say
38:48
having to live in those type of
38:51
circumstances and not being able to not
38:54
being able to at least refresh yourself
38:57
and so on because the summers were very
38:59
hot the nights were not too bad but the
39:02
winters were bearable during the day but
39:06
very very cold at night did you have any
39:09
heating well we manufactured our old
39:13
legal stoves not know it all it’s it the
39:20
let’s say the imagination or are the
39:27
people find resources in circumstances
39:32
that this is no bar have all right
39:35
so you know we build little stoves
39:38
inside those those big holes in the
39:41
mountains can’t you know God cans making
39:47
the pipe to go down to cut the fumes out
39:50
and so on and took a known it was beyond
39:53
what we did just just like that just to
39:57
make it and people were very resourceful
40:00
in finding ways to to beat what you had
40:04
to beat whatever it was but there were
40:11
other things like loneliness no of
40:15
course everybody was lonely that there’s
40:16
no doubt it cannot hide that but we got
40:21
mail we got little parcels from home and
40:24
we used to share that amongst ourselves
40:26
and that was let’s say that’s great this
40:30
sharing the same you know one word that
40:32
we got the boxes it was a party share
40:36
that being able that was good part of it
40:41
hating it there was psychologically
40:46
there was one very difficult situation
40:49
that that lasted once the peace talks
40:51
started and the lines were there and and
40:58
the objective was to control the
41:00
no-man’s land as and as time went by the
41:02
peace talks were not progressing fast
41:04
enough you know he said well you sent
41:07
guys out and and you received the shells
41:10
and so on and you know ye at times you
41:13
start to question itself you you look at
41:15
these guys you know dragging their
41:17
decisions or are we becoming impatient
41:20
in the sense that we’re taking now a
41:23
chance while these peace talks are going
41:27
on that there was a river that was
41:30
freezing now we didn’t know the weather
41:33
was that severe in you know in the
41:35
winter and then of course wonder when
41:39
they offer to the authorities found that
41:40
out they say oh let’s get some equipment
41:42
and especially since you know we were
41:46
battalion was in reserve
41:48
Don lead a battalion the brigade was in
41:50
reserve at that time in January well do
41:53
you know that’s really lost the whole
41:55
thing so we had you know as you know a
41:58
quick type of a Robin competent what we
42:01
call a Robin competition between between
42:04
the units there that could that could in
42:07
fact we had enough equipment for eight
42:10
teams and no for four and four plate in
42:16
the morning and four and four played in
42:18
the afternoon so if you’re lucky you had
42:20
you got fresh equipment in the morning
42:22
and warmed up equipment in the afternoon
42:24
sir but that’s all right nobody
42:26
complained about that and what an idea
42:30
what an idea of ice skating in the
42:33
middle of war in imaging with the engine
42:35
room unbelievable and that’s amazing
42:37
it’s not only those who were
42:38
participating you know there they are
42:41
pictures about this where you have this
42:43
rink on the engine river and and the
42:47
audience all the spectators around it
42:49
from all the units because these guys
42:52
were safe that’s the reserve area right
42:54
at that time yeah sure sure and they
42:59
filled it i would say they fill the
43:01
auditorium boy for whatever it was but
43:04
on both sides on both sides of the river
43:07
at that you know the cheering one side
43:10
and so on but that that that one thing
43:16
is something that kept kept your mind
43:20
away from all all you know the things
43:23
you didn’t like or whatever because when
43:25
you were there you forgot about
43:26
everything and you were really some time
43:28
back home because you were only ice
43:30
skating and playing your national game
43:33
did you play yourself yes I did yes I
43:35
was part of the well on one of the
43:38
pictures I was a right winger very small
43:42
at that but however but it was good fun
43:46
and this is why we have in collaboration
43:49
now since since 3 years ago in 2013 the
43:55
inauguration of the agent classic
43:59
started here in
44:01
three years ago under the auspices of
44:06
Senator Martin by the way and the first
44:11
commemoration was on the on the canal
44:14
here rideau canal in Ottawa which
44:19
launched this whole thing and now what’s
44:21
really carried on later on enjoy in
44:24
partnership with the senator and the
44:26
embassy and Colonel joy and all this and
44:29
very enthused about this whole thing and
44:32
of course the the the two teams that are
44:38
represented in this particular
44:40
competition are the paths and event dues
44:43
the Patricia’s and the Whale vanduzee
44:46
majima because those were the two teams
44:50
that eventually you know fought for for
44:52
the cup really ever I mean engineer
44:55
Ebert yes yes so you are not just among
44:57
band do but it was between between yes
45:01
cpcri and oh yes it was a brigade type
45:05
over an hour see also the RCR divide
45:07
those so who won hey what was the score
45:10
well we claimed that we never lost ah is
45:16
that true or not yeah okay that’s it
45:21
right but no because because there
45:25
wasn’t not only the three infantry
45:27
regiment that had a team the artillery
45:29
had one and then there were other units
45:32
that did not have say that the manpower
45:36
or whatever the size to to compete as a
45:40
team so what we’re meeting
45:43
nationally-ranked they got together no
45:45
no no they were strictly Canadian we are
45:47
we have you didn’t invite Americans to
45:49
join you I don’t I can sir we didn’t
45:52
advise that that was from my point of
45:56
view you know a real real pick-me-up
45:59
time what else anything that balance
46:02
that your spirit at the time well must
46:09
be in a letter letters on your family
46:12
well you were married at the time no I
46:14
was
46:15
good boy and I single boy did you have a
46:17
girlfriend back home I had a girlfriend
46:19
back home and we correspond it but not
46:22
only one girlfriend responded with me or
46:25
back no varied by dress I had what we
46:28
call a pen pal yeah another girl that
46:31
was a new PA the platoon commander I
46:36
replaced and when he went back home we
46:39
organized this type of exchange with
46:40
this particular girl and that helps
46:45
quite a bit yeah tell me he honest when
46:48
you receive the letter from the girl how
46:53
is it like in the middle of war in Korea
46:55
Noah no man’s land how is it is it does
47:01
it help you actually does it help you
47:06
the more rural yes it what the fact that
47:10
you got some letter from somebody that
47:12
helps you but that helps you that helps
47:14
you but you have to think about this
47:17
friends you know beyond you’re rich and
47:21
you don’t you don’t know where how long
47:23
you’re gonna last there and don’t don’t
47:26
don’t that doesn’t that make you feel
47:28
more miserable no didn’t make me feel
47:31
not know that receiving news from home
47:35
or news from somebody that my first
47:42
girlfriend of course didn’t know where
47:43
it didn’t know about Korea happened the
47:45
second one knew about Korea because the
47:47
person a person i replaced knew her and
47:49
that must have explained to her but she
47:51
knew about some of the circumstances of
47:53
how we lived and so on but I got
47:57
correspondence also for my mother yep
47:59
and my mother you know it had a group of
48:04
mothers around around where she lived
48:07
not the silly mothers of soldiers but
48:10
mothers and you know this is why I you
48:14
know I regularly got you know those big
48:16
boxes of goodies to do choice chase
48:19
amazing and to participate and spread
48:22
birthday with it I just wanted to to
48:24
conform with you about more details of
48:26
this joy of
48:28
leaving the letters from your your yes
48:31
acquaintances definitely there’s no
48:35
doubt about that that you get that and
48:39
of course that changes your
48:40
concentration you concentrate on that
48:43
that takes you out you know for about
48:44
15-20 minutes or more and then then
48:48
you’ve got to sit down and reply so so
48:52
did you leave Korea in the sep tember of
48:54
1952 yes yes just for eight months yes
48:59
in Korea yeah in Korea uh-huh when you
49:03
when you left Korea did you did you
49:09
think about Korea future or did you have
49:13
any mind about Korea I think that be
49:18
honest no no well first of all as I say
49:23
you know it was devastated that’s what
49:25
this way and and the best way to
49:27
illustrate that is that while we were in
49:31
Korea we were entitled to go on rest and
49:33
recuperation okay rest occupation there
49:36
was no place in Korea to have that so we
49:38
were sent to Japan all right re are so
49:41
on R&R; the other thing that happened
49:46
when I was in Korea near Civil there was
49:49
k 14 which was an Air Force Base Marissa
49:55
creampie obeys well and I had been sent
49:59
there on a photo interpretation course
50:01
well on the second time battalion was in
50:05
reserve I was sent there and that
50:09
changed my mind completely you know the
50:11
aspect was very very different but you
50:17
know although the Americans and
50:20
everything that they could the goodies
50:22
they usually carry with them was not the
50:27
same thing now when I left Korea really
50:32
the focus was getting back home
50:35
absolutely right yeah I know in fact you
50:40
say well thank God I made it and I’m
50:41
going to
50:42
home and that’s it it was an ex Paris
50:46
pecially with me you think its terms in
50:47
North 20 a 22 year old guy who has
50:52
commanded man in action at that age and
50:56
gone through experiences that very few
51:00
people at that time of my age I gone
51:04
unless they were part of you know the
51:05
military organization that was deployed
51:07
there and experience that you know it
51:10
was it was a gathering of feelings a
51:13
gathering of knowledge ‘as a gathering
51:16
of interpretation of what people are
51:18
like or what we would be like or what
51:20
changes them this is what you really got
51:24
inside you coming back home now the one
51:33
thing that you hope was done that would
51:37
change korea you hope that when i was in
51:41
a semi Chandrayaan on the line that the
51:44
savage on right in front of the sammich
51:45
on valley at the bottom of the hill was
51:50
a little village or taco you know i got
51:55
15 huts used to call them huts because
51:59
you know it was a friend of korea you
52:02
know thanking thanking us we’re up of
52:04
course you know we’re fortunate in this
52:07
country that even in in wellman we can
52:12
talk about the two world wars short
52:15
people were affected because they had
52:17
people deployed and died and so on
52:19
foreign countries in that but we never
52:22
suffered directly from from these types
52:28
of
52:32
situation to don’t whisk wish to have
52:35
and our mentality is that we are as
52:41
secured and so on everything is fine and
52:44
whatnot unless you’ve been deployed to
52:47
do something and it’s not only you know
52:52
the people the ground troops or whatever
52:54
you were talking about the Navy the Air
52:55
Force of the one who have participated
52:57
in these in these awards won any other
53:03
points that I didn’t ask you anything
53:07
that you want to leave to this interview
53:12
well I think we’ve touched it there’s
53:16
two things that I really as far as an
53:20
individual as far as I am concerned is
53:22
the resilience of the Korean people is a
53:27
lesson and secondly why do you think
53:31
that they are resilient I think it has
53:36
to do with years of history centuries of
53:38
history I think it has to do with that I
53:43
think it has to do with the when I say a
53:47
hundred years it may be a thousand year
53:50
of history alright so and of course we
53:54
talked about where it is and how did the
53:58
interest of everybody towards there was
54:00
a peninsula okay the the other thing is
54:04
that one must recognize speaking for
54:11
myself quite sure it’s so it is the same
54:15
with many other people who have
54:17
participated in the war in Korea whether
54:19
Canadians or others is the the
54:24
appreciation shown by the Korean people
54:32
towards those who have helped them come
54:35
out of it I’m taking this as an example
54:38
all right we have a tulip festival well
54:41
during the Second World War the crown
54:43
people from Holland or netherlands of
54:47
the cone came here survived as you know
54:50
and so on and as a gift ever since i’ve
54:53
been provided all the tool is required
54:55
to do this festival here in canada as
54:57
it’s become an institution it’s only an
55:02
example but as people say yes thank you
55:05
very much and so on the people in europe
55:08
are also very thankful happens once a
55:14
year notice this attack right now it is
55:18
not the same with Korea’s far as we are
55:20
concerned all right mm-hmm it’s more
55:24
than once a year but years tell you know
55:29
after all let’s face it yes tell change
55:33
change and what is the best change we
55:39
wish that will happen is that both Korea
55:42
would be together that’s about the size
55:45
of it and that takes time and people
55:50
must be patient and their opportunities
55:55
and opportunities as far as I’m
55:58
concerned come from China oh that’s a
56:02
good interesting point interesting point
56:06
I need any other well thank you for the
56:12
Korean people for having given me the
56:16
chance to go back to us