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that was a very high death rate. There was 27,000 Canadians fought in Korea, 591 died there. Not near as high a death rate as the French. My husband was a Korea War vet.

That's so neat to hear about your husband. Very thankful for his service. Canada and Korea have a very good relationship now, but at the time they were strangers with just humanity in common.
I think if we look at frontline soldiers only, Korea was fairly rough for everyone.
From what I understand, the French came over in one group and pretty much all served in the front lines (and sometimes were trapped behind enemy lines). All the auxiliary and logistics from the professional army were involved in other wars. The French soldiers in Korea were fighters who wanted nothing to do with preventing colonial wars of succession.
In Canada's case, there were no other wars going on at the time and they were able to deploy a lot more of their armed forces, many in supporting roles. I know several large Canadian ships showed up and quite a few Canadians involved in the Korean War would never went near the front lines. One of my older relatives was a cook on one of the Candian vessels, a necessary but quite safe job.
That isn't to say Canadians didn't see combat (as I'm sure you know). I watched a video, that I believe is available on Youtube, about Princess Patricia Light Infantry. They saw some very fierce combat in the Gapyeong region. There is a memorial near there, too. I've been to the area a few times, but I've never actually been to the memorial. Maybe next time I'm around there, I will have a look.

That isn't to say Canadians didn't see combat (as I'm sure you know). I watched a video, that I believe is available on Youtube, about Princess Patricia Light Infantry. They saw some very fierce combat in the Gapyeong region. There is a memorial near there, too. I've been to the area a few times, but I've never actually been to the memorial. Maybe next time I'm around there, I will have a look.

My husband was PPCLI 2nd and fought at Kapyong. He went over in 1950 attached to an American unit until the rest of the Canadian force caught up. He was wounded twice, scheduled to be sent home and then redeployed. He often joked his papers were sent home more times than he was. He lost a boyhood friend the day after he was shipped home.

A lot of the Canadian deployment was fraught with politics. The Canadian public didn't want to see their military in another fighting war so soon after WW2 which was why Korea was called a 'Police Action' .. something the Korea War Vets didn't get reversed until the late 80's. As Frank put it, "they told me I was going to a police action. I thought that was cool being police in a foreign country. Then they started shooting at me. I knew it was war."

All the Canadians who went to Korea were volunteers. Frank and his buddy volunteered some what under duress of their own making. The story was they were out into mischief one evening. A beat cop tried to collar one of them and they knocked him down and took off. The cop knew who they were and the next day rounded the two of them up and gave them a choice, join up or jail.

That's the battle I was talking about. The soldiers in PPCLI 2nd were definitely all heroes, and it seems like your husband was one of them. Thanks for sharing this very interesting story. You know the history a lot better than me. It always amazes me how many people I run into who have such personal stories about the war even though it happened so long ago. It's just so overshadowed by WW2. It was a lot more like the Eastern/Russian Front of WW2, a very personal war.
I do remember learning about how it was controversial, not in the way wars in the Middle-East or Vietnam are seen as unjust, but the western powers were fatigued. Few knew a thing about Korea and some were even confused because it was a Japanese colony during WW2. It didn't help that the South's regime at the time was pretty nasty, too.

There is a good chance I've read the name of his boyhood friend on the statue I saw at the UN Cemetery and in the credits of some of the documentary films I've seen.

I don't know if you watched it, but my favourite Korean movie about the war is Taegukgi, there are a few others I like, but they either look at a very different side of the war or are hard to compete.

Life in Korea during the 1950s wasn't easy. Some of my wife's older relatives have incredible stories of struggle and survival. When her father passed away, I spent a lot of time with his older sister who was telling me how she raised him alone because their entire family was killed in the war. Child labour was welcomed because it meant you didn't have to beg to get food. She managed to save enough money to put him through school.

His buddy's name was William Fowler aka Billy

I've not seen that movie. Is there an English version or one with subtitles?

It's an often forgotten aspect of war, what the civilian population goes through. I used to do school presentations at Remembrance time. One year we decided to focus on talking about civilians in war as we had several members of the Legion branch who were children during the war. We had England, France, Belgium and Holland covered.

I usually introduced topics with a question and answer format to gauge how much awareness the children had. I still chuckle at the response of that one.

me: So, war ... we all know about the soldiers fighting in war. A battle is happening in an area, the soldiers are fighting.. planes, artillery... all that stuff. BUT, what do the civilians in the area... people like you and your parents.. what do they do during all that fighting?

child: They go to the next county

me: oh.. well, that's a thought. Go away from the fighting. So, how do they know where there is no fighting?

child: they can find out on the TV

me: well there were no TVs then and often if there was fighting there was no power to run them. Tell you what. Why don't we talk to people who were your age when the war happened and they were right there where the fighting was.

That go to the next county floored me... it was all we could do not to laugh. Simplicity of childhood.

I will have to look for his name next time I visit the memorial.

The movie has English subtitles. It's very popular and was big budget for Korean cinema, so pretty much any Korean over 30 would know of it (Taeguki is what they call the national flag).

I think a lot of Candians are detached from the civilian impact of war because no modern war was fought in Canada. It would be refugees or more recent immigrants who most likely have these stories closer to heart. It hasn't entered the national conscious or it was something that was escaped from. Mostly we just hear about rationing or women entering the workforce impacting the homefront.

It is good to remember and educate the younger generations about these things. I'm fairly detached, and by your story it seems to be getting even worse. Even their grandparents have no direct family experiences with the wars now.
The pacific war was mostly an American story and by far the majority of Canadian education and experience is focused on the European Wars. Maybe with changing populations this will be different.

The legion does some neat work educating people in ways career teachers cannot. Have any of the people you know ever been back to Korea for a memorial service or a visit? I'm sure they would barely recognize Kapyong these days. It's all forrssted now, there is a huge annual Jazz festival. It's a popular tourist spot for South East Asians in particular, who love visiting a place called Nami Island.

This June is a pretty big anniversary, so I am excited to see what they have planned. I really hope this virus won't ruin the ceremonies. Anyone who fought would be quite old now, but they ate still organizing a lot of stuff.

I don't know why this post is not in Trending my friend.
So many brave souls died voluntarily for a just cause.
But mankind will never learn and one can only wonder what the future holds for the two Koreas.
A great post here indeed!
Blessings!

I think your prediction worked! =P Thank you.

Looking on the bright side, they have tested no nuclear weapons or long-range missiles recently. It's so surreal being in probably the only free place on Earth where protests don't happen when Donald Trump shows up. The hopes and dreams the Koreans have for his interventions to succeed are bipartisan.

Glad for you.
Donald certainly likes you guys and it's a good thing.
I have recently read that they are test firing short range missiles.
Maybe just to try to scare the USA off.
Russia will have to show that they really stepped away from communism, as the world is watching Putin. In his favor is that he is an Orthodox Christian. We really hope and pray that all works out in peace between the two Koreas.
Blessings!

The test-firing of missiles is nearly continual.
I'm pretty sure China (and to a lesser degree Russia) just gives North Korea these things because fireworks are always a good distraction. He hasn't fired anything really nasty and is just being annoying.

China is deeply involved because North Korea is an important historic buffer state. They also are generally mean to all their neighbours. I don't think that the government is capable of any moral decision making. Party first.
Russia is similar, but not quite as bad as they were when the USSR was still around. North Korea is more of a distraction for them. I don't like Putin, but he does seem to have some positive values, especially compared to the Chinese state. He also has bigger fish to fry on the other side of his country and his people are a lot freer.

Peace would be nice. I'm not sure if other powers would permit unification and I'm not sure if the North Korean government wants peace. The regime fears punishment but is relatively safe if they listen carefully to China and avoid annoying the USA too much. However, normal people want peace. South Koreans aren't all that afraid as they have gotten used to it. But it is sad to see and hear about the nightmare their cousins in the north are living through.

Remember the Berlin wall my friend? Families crying on both sides?
Remember the Roman Empire? The Ottoman Empire? The mighty Egyptian Kings?
Just a few examples how the world works through the ages and I do believe that one day the north and the south will be united.
Whether by war, peace or other means I do not know.
Sooner or later it will happen.
Blessings!

I do hope you are right.
I just hope when it happens it is united under Korea and no some outside force. True governance is self-determined.

There you go my friend. And you guys definitely don't need outside fingers in your pie. The thing must be sorted out between the two Koreas, and by nobody else. In the old colonial days, Portugal was in a war against Spain about colonies in Africa, England was at war with the Boers to claim the gold in our mines, and you can read in history how many countries had agendas whenever they became involved in "peace" offerings in other countries.
We pray for you guys.
Blessings

Thank you for remembering and honoring the veterans of that war with your writing and awesome photos! ROKs are bad ass too!

It's a topic I really like.

ROK Military is definitely a lot more capable now after all that economic development and training.

Here is a picture of the current president when he was in the special forces. He had at least one very unique frontline experience.
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A long time ago I was in an area where a ROK compound was close nearby. They'd light things up every now and then.

I've always lived in the city and they don't play with fire around urban areas anymore. In leaner times, civilians used to swarm the USbases to collect spent rounds for scrap. Dangerous business.
I do live a few km from a ROK airbase, on the flight path. I used to be closer. Those little fighters are quite noisy.
Fortunately it is not a main airbase.

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o love these blogs and to read about the wars we thankfully werent part of. This may holiday we will go to france and visit some was memorial sites. We saw the 1917 movie and thought we live close by and need to tell the kids, these times can never be forgotten. great share , well written i see you love writing about it and also telling the story

I do like covering these topics and there are a lot of memorials around. With so many nations involved, there are a lot of stories.

The Dutch were involved as well. I don't know much about their involvement, but it seems they were involved in a few battles and have some memorials, too. I found this

I've always wanted to see some of the sites in France and a few in Russia, too. These places are pretty much the only destinations you can go to where people aren't trying to sell stuff.
I haven't seen 1917 yet. I should get around to watching it.

 4 months ago Reveal Comment