Elburn Duffy served in Korea as part of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment from 1951-1952. With a strong desire to serve his country, he tried to join the Canadian Army during World War II but was too young and did not have his parents’ support to allow this. He saw action in the Battle of Chail-li. In addition to his recollections of the battle, he has strong memories of the conditions of Korea when he was there, particularly of the children. Beginning with its creation in 1986, he became an active member of Cornwall’s Korean Veterans Unit.
Recollections of a Revisit to Korea
Elburn Duffy shares he returned to Korea in 1987 as part of a trip sponsored by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs. He recounts how, during his revisit, he noted tremendous changes between the Korea of 1952 and that of the country over three decades later. He recalls they visited Taegu, Suwon, and Uijeongbu/Seoul. He explains the pride he felt being a part of something that helped the people of Korea.
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We Knew Why We Were There
Elburn Duffy remembers leaving Ft. Lewis Washington in early April 1951 and arriving in Busan by the end of the month. He notes they did not stop in Japan as most other servicemen headed to Korea did because their arrival was at a time when troops were desperately needed. He recalls the shock of the total desolation of the country and in particular the state of the children.
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Engagement at the Battle of Chail-li
Elburn Duffy recalls the Battle of Chil-li as being the first major battle he was involved in once in Korea. He shares how Chail-li was a target because it was a transportation hub in the region and a step along the way in capturing Chorwan's dam and power station. He remembers his company, D (Dog) Company, was ordered to go up one hill with B (Baker) Company taking another and A (Able) Company being held in reserves. He recalls that while the plan was a good one, the weather that day did not cooperate, so the outcome was not as they had hoped.
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My Life was on the Line
Elburn Duffy recalls several incidents from his involvement in the Battle of Chail-li where lives were in peril. He explains that as a soldier they never caught enough sleep. He offers details on what their daily lives were like while serving in Korea.
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[Beginning of recorded material]
E: Elburn. E-L-B-U-R-N Duffy, Elburn Duffy .
I: What is your birthday?
E: Twenty-ninth of February in 1928.
I: Twenty-eight. So one year before the Great Depression.
E: No. We grew up, oh yeah, okay. I
I: Nineteen twenty-nine, right?
E: Right, yeah.
E: That was the mall, big Wall Street, uh, collapse.
I: Where were you born?
E: Cornwall, Ontario.
I: Could you spell the place:
E: Yes, Ontario.
I: Okay. tell me about your family when you were growing up, your parents and your siblings.
E: Okay. My father’s name was Paul Duffy. He was born in Ireland. My mother was Theresa Lozol
I: Um hm.
E: and she was born in St. Elena, New York.
I: Um hm.
E: We had, uh, nine, there was nine of us in the family. I was the second oldest
I: Second oldest.
E: Girl was older than I was.
I: Hm. And what school did you go through?
E: Okay. I went to St. Columban’s, uh, West School, and then I went to
Gonzaga Senior School, then I went to Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School.
I: Um. And tell us about the life around the time of Great Depression. It’s been really hard for everybody. How was it to your family?
E: Very hard. Like, uh, there was no welfare per say. [INAUDIBLE] you worked for your money. My father, he was only 5’1”,
and he worked in the city doing whatever they needed him to do. And in the winter, we used to have a great big snowstorm, and sometimes the banks were 10 – 15’ high. So they’d have steps, you know.
E: But going to school, if you got the strap at school, you got it at home.
E: Oh yeah. But we were taught respect.
I: That’s right. So when
did you graduate high school?
E: I didn’t graduate high school because the war come on. I have to say this. Uh, I went to high school at 11 years of age.
E: Yeah. We had one, two, then four, six, eight and then high school.
I: Jump into the high school.
E: Yeah. I was too young really.
I: You must been very good student.
E: They thought so.
I: Ah ha.
E: Anyway, at age 14, the Depression was over.
We had nothing, so I went to work. I made $6 a week at the first job. and gave it to my mother.
I: Six dollars a week?
E: A week.
I: So with the $1, what could you buy at the time?
E: I never had a dollar. I gave it to my mother. I got $.25 for me. But
I: What did you do with that $.25?
E: Saved it. I had no place to go.
E: Because during the, after the Depression,
then when we got old enough, we went out, and my mother knew when to pick the strawberries, when to pick the raspberries, blueberries. We went up and picked all that stuff, wild garlic. We all helped out.
I: Yeah. It, it’s, it’s been very difficult times, yes.
E: Oh yeah.
I: to everybody.
E: You know what? I never envisioned me seeing the parts of the world that I have because we never left home. We didn’t have no car, no nothing.
I: Um hm.
E: My wife had a car at 16.
I didn’t even have a bicycle. I couldn’t afford one. I worked in a hardware store first. Then I worked for a guy in a, he had a chip stand that made hot dogs, hamburgers, stuff like that. He was a very good man. He was a Lithuanian, and I was, went to work for him after school. He bought me a bicycle that cost $5, but he took $1 a week off. I, I got a licking every week because my mother wanted the other dollar.
I: So what was your dream at the time, what did you want to become?
E: A lawyer.
E: Not a liar now.
I: Uh, so what happened to you? How did you become involved in the Korean War?
E: Okay. I joined, I tried to join the Army in the Second World War, but I was too young. My parents, I did join, but they came and got me out. So when the Korean War come up,
I, oh pardon me. I joined the Air Force. I was in there from 1946 to 1947, and when they started to cut backs they gave us a discharge.
I: Um hm.
E: Then when the Korean War come up, a bunch of us went down and joined. I took some of my training at Petawawa
I: When, when did you join?
E: Nine, uh, August 6, 1950.
I: August 6, 1950.
I: You volunteered.
E: We were all volunteers.
E: Every war Canada’s ever fol, fought in, they’ve been volunteers.
I: Right. Where did you get the basic
E: Petawawa primarily, and then we went up to Fort Lewis, Washington. Then we sailed on those luxury liners, you know, to Korea.
I: Um hm. Before you go into the details of this departure, I want to ask this question. Did you know anything about Korea before?
E: Not a thin. I didn’t even know where it was. It was a little side.
We went back in 1987.
I: Nineteen eight-seven.
E: Yeah. When I left in ’52, there was hardly any buildings standing in Seoul. There was only one bridge across the Hahn River.
I: Um hm.
E: And Kimpo was just a little grass strip. When we landed in Kimpo, I forget how many, uh, landing strips they have. But I
felt very proud.
I: What did you see in 1987?
E: A modern country.
I: Tell me details.
E: Well, I, I was totally surprised. In fact, there, there’s nine of us from Cornwall went over, and we were totally surprised at the fantastic results that you people have done over our efforts. You had six-land highways between Seoul and Pusan, or I think they call it Busan now.
But tall sky scrapers, modern hotels. And while we were there in, in Korea at the airport in, uh, Pusan, we had to be, we were going down to a cemetery, and there was bumper-to-bumper traffic. We were sitting near the front of the bus, the guy pulled over in the other land. He said don’t worry. Big sign says very important people, yeah.
The cars were coming at us. That was emotional, though, at the cemetery. We lost six guys from Cornwall. We laid a wreath at every one. Didn’t bother me then. Then I looked up and I seen the guy start walking away.
I: Who invite back to Korea?
E: The Korean government.
I: So it’s the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.
E: Right. I just had to pay her airfare.
Then we went to Hiroshima, Japan then Hong Kong.
I: So that’s nice to be back to the country where you fought. But you didn’t know anything about it, right?
E: Not a thing. When we landed in Pusan, about five miles out you could get that smell, you know, the fertilizer? We traveled to the front in their little railway. We stopped at Tong, Taegu, Taogong, Suwon, Uijeongbu which is now part of, uh, Seoul, aye?
I: You’re very good to remember all those names.
I: But let me ask this question. When you decide to volunteer for the Korean War, what was your reac, I mean, the reaction from your family?
E: Well, by then I was 22. So they weren’t too happy, but I went.
I: Um. Why did you decide to volunteer for the war? You might lose your life.
E: That’s a possibility.
E: I never even thought of it. Don’t forget. When you’re young, you’re gonna live forever. Right?
I: You thought that you were immortal, right?
E: Yeah. Well, I had a few rough times over in Korea. But, uh, I’m here.
I: When did you depart the Fort Lewis? Can you remember?
E: That was in November. Oh, we left Fort Lewis in April, April ’51.
I: Of 1951.
E: Right. And we landed on the, uh, I think it was the 29th of April in, in Pusan.
I: Did you stop by in Japan?
E: No, no. We went right through to
I: Right through.
E: Yeah. But don’t forget. That’s whenever they needed the troops aye.
E: That’s after trying to commit there was a thing.
I: That’s very exceptional because most of them stopped by in Japan and replenished and go to Korea.
E: Yeah. No, we went right through.
I: Huh. How long did it take? About two weeks, more than two weeks?
E: Yeah, roughly two weeks.
I: How was the, the travel
E: Well, it
I: in the ship?
E: We ran into one big storm, and I made the mistake of taking the highest , uh,
E: Yeah. Well, it was a, what did they call it? Hammock.
I: Hammock, yeah.
E: I said I’m willing to be [INAUDIBLE] no, oh boy. What a mistake. All the smells come up.
MALE VOICE: Was the ship all Canadians, or was there Americans on it?
E: No, there was Americans and Canadians.
MALE VOICE: Americans and Canadians.
I: How was the relationship between American and Canadian soldiers in the ship?
E: Well, they thought we were nuts for volunteering because they were all, they were all, what did they call it?
MALE VOICE: Draftees conscript.
E: Yeah, yeah.
I: When you arrive in, uh, Pusan April 29 of 1951,
I: describe in detail the scene that you saw, the scenery, the buildings and the people.
E: Total desolation.
The thing that kept bothering me more than anything was the children. They were starved. We put our garbage out, and they’d come out and they’d, with little cans and then take it out, you know. And the first night I got in Pusan, I went out and got, uh, a little drunk. So I put in KP the next morning. My job was
I: What is KP?
E: Kitchen patrol I think they call it.
E: Aye, Bob?
MALE VOICE: Kitchen police.
E: Police, okay. I had to
MALE VOICE: [INAUDIBLE] potatoes.
E: Yeah. Well no. I, uh, had to clean, steam clean four garbage pails out, and the other five were there. And somebody come out with a cigarette it went into that one. The clean food went in here. Then we had to take it out to the road. Now the kids were there half naked. They didn’t have clothes and all that. And the American camp was on the other side of the road. So this big Negro fella come over and he spit in one of these
[INAUDIBLE] and they drove them. I got a licking after that. I had black eyes and that. But the thing is, I said to them after, I said you people should not be the ones that pick on these kids. I said you’re picked on in the States. They put a white line down the middle of the road after.
E: But it wasn’t the kids fault. It’s, uh, and then when we left to go to the front lines, we had
I: But what were you thinking to yourself when you see this miserable
E: Then we knew why we were there.
I: Tell me. Why were you there?
E: To make a better country hopefully. Don’t forget, we were young, full of dreams, and we came from a country that respected each other. And, uh, sure we were poor, but nobody ever had to go in the garbage.
I: Yeah. You went through Great Depression as you mentioned,
I: But you never looked for empty cans.
E: No, there was always ample food like, uh, people grew great big gardens. I don’t know if they did around your place, Bob. Everybody’d help themselves with permission of the person that had the garden, you know?
I: So from Pusan, where did you go? How did you go, and any episode? Please tell me.
E: Okay. We had to march about 10 – 12 miles to get to, uh, a railroad, uh, depot.
And on the way there, they told us not to throw anything away. So we had choc, you’d probably throw the chocolate bar away. I landed up at the front line with just my uniform. Everything went to the kids.
E: And I wasn’t the only one.
I: You know, actually in the Bible when Jesus left for a long journey, he, you know, and then came back and he
divide the whole people in two, left and right. And he said that to, to his right you gave me some thing to eat when I was hungry. You gave me the water when I was thirsty, and you came to me when I was in prison. And these people say back to Jesus saying when did I do that? When did we do that? You never been in prison, and he said when you did to the least, you did it for me.
I: And I think you did it for the Korean people.
E: That’s right .
I: Maybe you didn’t have any consciousness about it.
E: Until we landed.
I: Yeah. That’s in Matthew.
E: Oh. He’s good at the Bible.
I: So anyway, from Pusan, where did you go?
E: Well, I went to the train, then, you didn’t go too far. You tried to travel at night , Taegu, Taejon,
I: Um hm.
E: Suwon. Then Uijeongbu. From Uijeongbu, we had marched up to the front lines.
I: Where in the front line? Do you remember?
E: Well, our first battle with the Chaylie, so
E: Chile, is that how they say it?
E: We always said Chay. But, uh, that was in North Korea. So I feel that our lines were called the Jamestown line. That’s what it ended up eventually, yeah.
I: Jamestown, okay, okay.
E: But at the time, it wasn’t a line. Then we got there, we had to, uh,
build our bunkers and our trenches. And unfortunately me and my buddy, he’s dead now, he died the second time over, John Mihan from St, uh, Steven, New Brunswick. We had to dig into one of the mounds, you know, where the burial?
E: We threw the bones out, and that’s where we stayed. That’s why Korean veterans have many ail, ailments that others didn’t have.
I: Oh, I see. So you dig in bottom to the tomb.
E: Well, just part of it.
E: And the reason for that is, Bob would understand the field of fire, you know. You try to get them so they covered the whole area. And we didn’t think nothing of it.
I: Um hm.
E: There was no trees around or nothing. But we scrounged wood to make our bunker. You put the wood across the top, put sod on top, put more ground
MALE VOICE: Elburn, could you talk about the Battle of Chili itself?
E: Okay. Dog Company
I: So, by the way. What was your unit?
E: Second Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment.
E: Yeah. We, are. Number 12 Platoon, number 12 Section, Dog Company.
I: Um hm. And what was your specialty, Infantry or
E: Yep. I was a Burn gunner
I: Bra, okay. So tell me about that
E: Okay. We went up
I: When was it, how was it, what did you do?
E: It was in May. God, I forget the date. Bob, do you remember?
MALE VOICE: Fifty-one, early 51.
E: Yes, on the fourth or fifth, something like that. I know just after, no. It’d be probably about the 15th because we traveled up. We landed. Some time in May, okay? And Dog Company, we were given the thing to, to go up, they had one hill.
Baker Company had another. Able was in reserve. But it was raining cats and dogs.
I: Um h.
E: Oh, I mean raining. They should never have done it because of the fact that the weather was contrary. We had no support of artillery. You had no air to cover. And anyway, we got cut off. We seen the guys walking down the other side of the hill. But everybody had ponchos on. So we waved at them, they waved at us. Then they cut us off.
We were pinned down. And, uh, my job was to try and take one of the machine gun things they were firing at us. So they all started firing, and I moved about 15 – 20’, and I put two or three mags in, and then the firing stopped. Whether they got, I hit them or not, I don’t know, and I don’t care. I don’t wanna know. So eventually we did get out.
I: How many were? Can you, what, can you remember?
E: Well, that was the whole battalion. Ooo, it’d be roughly 600 guys I would think.
I: You mean the Chinese?
E: No, no. Oh, the Chinese.
E: We don’t know how many. You couldn’t count them because you couldn’t really see them. Able Company attacked them from the rear, and that’s whenever we were able to get out.
I: So why is this Charly battle important?
E: Okay. They wanted to take Charly because of the fact that it was a
center point for railroads and highways. So if you controlled that, you controlled a whole, big area.
I: Oh. So that was transportation hub.
E: Charly. And the Charwon was not too far away. There was a, a damn there and a power station. And the idea was to try and take Chile so we could take Charwon.
I: Um. Yep.
E: So, you know, it was a well planned. But the thing is, the weather did not cooperate.
I: It was May but raining so hard?
E: Oh, they, yeah. It was two days of rain, you know, and, and don’t forget when you’re walking up those hills, for every step you take, you slip back half. Did you grow up in Korea?
E: It’s all hills, ain’t it?
I: Yes. Seventy percent of our territory is mountain.
E: Yeah. Well not mountains. They’re hills.
I: I’m sorry about that.
E: They’re hills. They, they’re not compared to the mountains of what we have.
E: Like 357 was three hundred fifty-seven millimeters which is what, 1000 feet?
I: So any episode in the Charly Battle that you remember that it was kind of dangerous, very dangerous that you might
E: We had one, one guy killed. And we had this guy Pool. He was a medic. He, we had four wounded. He went and picked them all up. He got wounded every time. He was recommended for the Victoria Cross.
I: Um hm.
E: Our Captain at the time was Red Hamilton. He recommended it. Rockingham recommended it. Oh, Keen I think first. Keen, then Rockingham, and the General in charge of the British Forces in Korea, we did fight under the British, aye, he recommended it. And then they get to, uh, Tokyo, uh, a Limey General over there said we don’t give that medal to the Colonials.
E: He was scheduled to come over to see Korea, and he was advised not to cause we’d have shot the son of a b.
I: Um, when did you leave Korea?
E: May or April, April 29, 1952.
I: On the day that you arrived in Pusan.
E: Yeah. Well, they tried to keep you 12 months, but sometimes that overshot.
I: So in addition to the Battle of Chile, where were you and tell me about the typical day of your duties around the time that you were in Korea.
E: Okay. The biggest thing in Korea, we never got enough sleep. Two hours on, two hours off from sun up, sun down to sun up. And then in the daytime, we were always putting more concertina wire on or if the Chinese had come through, we’d have to go down and help lay mines, uh.
And we had a lot of patrols. I, uh, had one experience on a patrol. We were going out on a listening patrol, me and my buddy. He had the radio, I had the gun.
I: What was your rank at the time?
E: I was a Corporal today, a private tomorrow. Little, little incidents. Anyway, we’re out in this
I: Okay. Well, I’m going to ask about that.
I: But please, go ahead, that patrol that you wanted to talk.
E: Okay. It was a listening patrol. And a 90-day wonder came up, and he had been giving us instructions. This was in February. So we went out, and we picked a position where the Chinese generally came. We’re out there about 10 minutes, and he called out how’s everything going out there? I said sir, stay above for the radio and we’ll be able to report if we got in line. About 20 minutes later he hauled up and I said get off the f…ing radio.
I said I’m shutting off. And I said when I got something to report, I’ll report. He filed a complaint against me, and we got in front of Red Hamilton, he said to me, Duffy, I don’t know what happened, and I told him. He said did you do that? He said yeah. He said you’re going back to Japan with my recommendation. Go back to Canada and learn how to treat the troops.
E: My life was on the line because the sound carries for miles.
MALE VOICE: Tell him the 90-day wonder [INAUDIBLE] Tell Jong Woo what 90-day wonder is.
E: Well, the one pipper,
the second lieutenant
MALE VOICE: Brand new junior officer
MALE VOICE: didn’t know how to deal with the troops.
E: Yeah, you know what I mean, Bob. But, uh, and, uh, we had another incident in the lines there. Laird Moore, did you ever know him, Bob?
MALE VOICE: No.
E: Anyway, he was another 90-day wonder. And Red Hamilton like to go down at the bottom of the hill and have a couple every night. So we never bothered with him. But we had the password. We were there for a purpose.
But this guy stepped in front of Red and said password. He said get out of my f…ing way, he said, or I’ll clean your clock. And he said, said it again. I just turned my back. I was Corporal of the Guard that night . All I heard was bam, bam, bam, bam. He broke two arms, and he broke his jaw. He was in Korea one day, and he was, and to make it, uh, a joke of it, in 1988 when they had the National Convention with the Korea Vets, who sits across from me but, I didn’t know him
cause I’d never really seen him. He says I’m Laird Moet. He says I had an incident in Japan, and he says I wasn’t there too long when they start shelling, and I kept a straight face
I: So you are tough man.
E: No, no, no. Hey, you do what you have to do. And another time on patrol, my wife was with me there in [INAUDIBLE] also. This young guy comes up about 4:00 at night just when it’s getting dark. It’s in,
uh, February or March. So he puts the thing on, and I was in charge of patrol. We go out. He gets wounded. A six-man patrol. So two guys gotta help carry him back. We got him back. He comes and sits beside me in, um, Montreal and he says Corporal Duffy, you remember me? I says nope. He said you saved my life. I’m looking and I’m saying what?
His wife come over, you know, she said yes, and thank you. I said when did I do that? He said while I was on patrol with you and he said, uh, I come in late and, uh, I said well I didn’t know you. My wife says to me how come he knows you and you don’t know him? I said he reported to me.
E: I think Bob, you know what I’m saying.
E: Well, that was one good experience.
I: So have you thought that why am I here in this country?
What am I doing here in the middle of those difficult times?
E: Never gave it a thought. We were there to help. That’s it.
I: That’s it?
I: What other, the thing that you hated most during your service in Korea?
E: Well, as I said, we landed in the front lines in May, and the first shower I had was in August. They took us down. They burned our clothes, shaved us,
deloused us and all that. And then the next shower I had was when I went to, uh, Tokyo, Japan or New Year’s Day. I visited all the historical monuments and all that stuff, you know, went to church. My wife doesn’t believe that.
I: So you must been very smelly, no?
E: You didn’t notice it because you’re living with it.
I: Were you able to write back to your family?
E: Oh yeah. We wrote letters.
I: What did you write, and did you write to your girlfriend at the time, your wife?
E: No, no.
I: You didn’t?
E: No. I didn’t want to
I: Bad boy.
E: get too serious.
E: I didn’t want to get serious.
I: So whom did you write to, and what did you write?
E: My mother. My mother.
I: What did you write?
E: Just, uh, normal things. Like you never told her anything bad that happened, just that, you know, things are going good. It’s sunny today or it’s raining today. And one thing about Korea,
we used to go down to, to Echelon once in a while. The Red Cross was here and, uh, Sally Ann was over here. The Red Cross would sell you one piece of paper, one envelope for a nickel. It wasn’t a nickel. But Sally Ann, take what you want.
I: How much were you paid?
E: Actually, the Canadian Army, the Private was the highest paid in the world at that time, $99 a month.
I: Oh, that’s pretty high.
E: Oh yeah.
I: Canadian dollar, right?
E: And don’t forget at that time our dollar was worth more than the American dollar.
E: They never give it to us when we went to the States, though.
I: Private is the lowest rank, and you were paid $99, right?
I: So what did you do with the, I, it wasn’t actual money. Was a scrip, right?
E: No, they, any money that we got there was scrip. But I sent my money home to my mother.
I: All of it?
I: All of it.
I: Very nice.
E: I was, I was a good poker player. I made a bit of money.
I: You played poker.
E: Well, is it, that’s not a sin.
I: I know. But you made, how much money did you make?
E: Oh, four or five hundred dollars.
E: No, no. God, no.
I: Whole time?
E: Well, we only got back to the Echelons once in a while. And that’s when you were in Reserve Company, too. I think Bob’ll know what I’m talking about. But, uh, most of the time, when you were in the front line, you didn’t go anyplace.
I: So you did play poker, and you made $500.
I: Um. So what did you do with the money?
E: Well, when I went to Tokyo, I spent some of it.
I: R & R.
E: Then I got another R & R in February, on my birthday, Red Hamilton, again, he called me down. I had lost my stripes, and there was no such a thing as CB. So I said, he said you know why you’re here? I said no.
You’ve no idea? I said no. I lost my hooks a couple of days ago. I said you can’t take them away again. He said you’re going to Inchon for four days. I says I’m broke. He said we took a collection up, $423. They gave me orders. I’m not gonna say what they were. But I went to Inchon for four days.
I: Um. So you return to Canada, and when you left Korea, have, had you thought about the future of this country that you fought for?
E: We were hoping for the best. I mean we didn’t see enough of it, let’s be honest. I only got into Seoul once.
I: How was Seoul?
E: Oh, bombed out. Only the Imperial Palace seemed to be, uh, not bad. But, uh, the rest of the country was desolate. Even the farms. They couldn’t, uh, the rice paddies.
They couldn’t get into them for a while. And see when we went back to Korea, we were up near Panmunjom and, uh, they were taking the rice out of the field and hitting it on the road. Little guy came over and wanted my wife to work. I said go to it, and she wouldn’t go. I was being nice, though.
I: So you really didn’t have any thought about the future of that country, right ?
E: When I first
I: I mean, you were glad to be in one piece and returned to home, right/
E: That’s right. That’s what I just gonna say. I was glad to be back. And then on May 3, 1953, my buddy that I slept with and one of our friends from Cornwall got killed, and I felt real bad about that. But I kept in touch with the news, what’s happening in Korea.
And in 1986 we formed a Korea vets unit in Cornwall, and a man by the name of Mae Young Nam, he was in the Navy at the time, he became the military attaché, I believe, here in Canada. he showed me pictures. That was the first that we had seen, and that’s why I wanted to go back to Korea to see it for myself.
I: When you return, who was there to welcome you?
E: Oh boy, there was a whole slew of them.
I: Was your wife there?
E: Oh yeah, yeah.
I: What did you say to her? What did she say to you?
E: Not too much really. She was just looking around. We went to the Idiwan, too, for shopping.
[Camera and time changes]
I: Who are you?
D: Dinan Duffy.
I: Dinan Duffy. And what is the relationship to this gentleman?
D: My husband.
I: Ah. How long?
D: Oh my gosh.
E: Sixty-three years in November.
I: Did you know him when he left for Korea?
D: Oh yes.
D: We were raised pretty well together. We were neighbors.
D: Or we’re married.
I: Hm. But was it serious, the relationship before he left for Korea?
D: Oh yes.
I: He said no.
D: We all chummed together when we were teen, you know, growing up.
I: Uh huh.
E: And we worked together.
D: And we worked together as well.
I: Um hm. So you were very close to each other?
D: Oh yes.
I: So tell me about , be honest with me.
When he decide to leave for Korea, what was your thinking?
D: Well, I was kind of sad. I hated to see him go.
I: Uh huh.
D: Oh yeah. Well, it’s like everybody else. I missed him an awful lot.
I: Right ?
I: Yeah. Must been hard for you, right?
I: Did you write him when he was in Korea?
D: Oh yeah, I wrote to him.
I: Um. Did he write back to you?
D: No, not as fast as I hoped he would.
I: Oh. Duffy, you have to behave, okay?
E: Well, I had more than one fish.
D: You tell me that now, aye?
I: So when did he return, did he talk about the war?
D: Uh, yeah. Yes.
I: What did he say? What did he say about the war?
D: Oh well, I don’t know, all kinds of things.
I: Tell me one, give me one example. What did he talk?
D: Well, it wasn’t like at home that’s for sure.
I: Um hm.
D: He had good days and bad days over there.
R: I’m Ruth Ann Duffy. I’m, uh, the eldest daughter
I: Eldest daughter.
R: Um hm.
I: Okay. And you drove today, right?
R: Um, I drove from Eastern Ottawa.
I: Any conversation you had with your father and mother on the way to this interview?
R: Well, we didn’t know exactly what to expect. We just come to be with dad. We didn’t know we were going to be part of the interview. But, um, sitting here listening, we learned a lot of things because over the years, dad has told us a few things, but he, we never knew to the full extent how much.
I: Hm. That’s the point t hat I want to talk because
I: The Korean War has been regarded as Forgotten.
I: Why do you think that it’s been the case, so forgotten?
R: I don’t, I don’t know why, why it should be, uh, forgotten and not revered as the other wars. I have no idea why.
E: Even our own government forgot about us until 1995 when they give us a Volunteer Service medal, and we were the only truly volunteer service group there.
C: My name is Carol
C: Carol Duffy
I: Yeah, so you are the second daughter?
C: I am the second oldest, yes.
I: Okay. And you are the one who drove from the Cornwall, most of it.
I: Thank you very much. Really I really appreciate it.
C: Well, it was my pleasure. It was our pleasure really.
I: Did he talk about the war to you?
C: Um, growing up as kids, um, no. But dad was always quiet.
Um, we never brought our friends home too much cause he wouldn’t, you know, you, it was hard, you know, like he’d be reading all the time or, you know, busy. But, um, I remember when I was a kid my mom would say go and wake your dad up. I did that one time, and my dad used to sleep with the pillow over his face and his arms like that.
and, uh, so anyway I, the first time I went to wake him up, and as soon as I woke him up, the pillow went flying, and his fist came up to hit me. So anyway, after that when we went to wake up dad cause he was working shift work, uh, we had to yell from the, the doorway of the bedroom to get up. It’s time to get up. And yes, I also experienced, um, he was walking down the hallway in the house
and I was behind him and he must have heard me or something and yeah, he turned around quickly, you know, um, I spooked him. And so I remember that very, very clearly.
I: Yeah, that
C: And after that, um, he just wasn’t really wanted to talk about the war. We didn’t know much at all. As we got older and dad got involved more with his other Korean buddies
C: and, you know, sitting around while they’re talking I, I’ve,, I’ve been
educated about what actually went on in the Korean War, yeah.
I: Um hm.
C: Yeah, yeah.
I: See, that, around 1980’s, that’s the time that the Korean economy really, really taking off
I: and rich to the level where that we can join the OECD
C: Um hm
I: And that’s when the American Korean War Veterans Association was formed, in 1985 in New York City, I mean New York State.
I: That’s the first. So it does come with the rise of the Korean economy and democracy and the attention going back to the Korean War.
I: You know? So you heard what your father has witnessed today. What do you think? After you hearing from him, what do you think?
C: Well, first of all he’s left out a few things that I’ve heard around tables.
C: But, uh, anyway, um, I, I’m just very, very proud of my father for what he did. And I’m very proud that he’s passed it on to us children now. We understand what he went through. We understand why he was so quiet as we were growing up as kids. But he was a great father. He always provided for us. We never went without anything.
I: Um hm.
C: And, uh, it gave me as well as my siblings, we all, um, grew up with a, a sense of honor for those who fought in the war, the Korean War and, uh, even today, like no matter what war, you have to have honor for those who
I: Um hm.
C: who are participating. And I remember my dad saying once, you probably don’t remember this, when he,
they were at the Legion with some buddies talking and that, and one of them asked him if he would go back and he said if I was younger, I definitely would. I wouldn’t think twice about it. He went through a lot of hardship and things that he can’t even talk to us about now because we wouldn’t have, we wouldn’t understand.
So you have to appreciate that he keeps it to himself and, um, no. Um, I think we’re all very proud of him, and he’s the greatest dad we could ever have.
[End of Recorded Material]