Bren Gun

Heroes Remember

Interviewer: Well, can you describe a Bren gun to me? Tell me everything you remember about the Bren gun. Oh, I know that you could rapid fire with it, and it was pretty accurate. And you could, you know, you could spray quite an area with it, or you could designate a complete straight shot. Interviewer: Was it a, a long gun, short gun, Heavy, light? What... It's heavy. Interviewer: Yeah. Describe to me physically, what it looked like and shape of it and all that. I know nothing about it. Well, a Bren gun is a . . . It's, it's normally on a tripod. It's a fairly long gun and it has a magazine on it, and so when you pull the trigger, you can either fire one or you can fire ten, just by holding the trigger. So, you have a chance of kind of spraying around the air like this, or shooting as a, as a direct target, but . . . Interviewer: Did it have kind a mean kick to it or was it smooth? Oh, if, if you didn't hold it right, yeah . . . was a mean kick, yeah. You had to hold it pretty solid to your shoulder. Interviewer: And like some machine guns, some of them you're really only meant to have short bursts. Yes. Interviewer: Tell me about that. Were there limitations to the Bren gun? Not really. There was no limitations to it, but as long as you, as long as you had rounds in it, you could fire it. Interviewer: Now, I would imagine that firing a Bren gun at minus 20 degrees would be different than firing it in the summertime? Oh, yes. Interviewer: Tell me all about that. Well, your hands were cold you know, and you, you can, you can fire a Bren gun. There's heat from a Bren gun. Not a whole lot of course, but there is heat. And you could fire it. But in the summertime, it was a whole lot different. In the wintertime, you were down on your belly and, and you were cold, but you had to do it. That was it. That was your job. You did it. Interviewer: You wouldn't have wanted touch the metal would you, on that, when it was that cold? Just . . . Well, you did. You touched it, but . . . You didn't want to maybe, but you did. The triggers were metal and you had to pull ‘em, so if you, if you were fortunate enough that your glove would fit in there, then you were fine. Interviewer: Did your glove fit in there, or did you have to take your glove off? I've had it on and off.

Mr. Gowing describes the attributes of the Bren Gun.

Gerald Edward Gowing

Mr. Gowing was born in 1931 in Listowel, Ontario. At the age of nine, Mr. Gowing was taken in by the Stratford division of the Children's Aid Society because his mother had passed away and his father was unable to take care of him. Looking for adventure, and to take part in something with purpose, Mr. Gowing joined the army in October 1950, requesting to serve in Korea. Sent to Calgary, Alberta, for basic training at the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) barracks, he was only there a few weeks before shipping overseas in January 1951 as reinforcement Bren gunner for the 2nd Battalion PPCLI. Mr. Gowing saw heavy action in Korea, including the Battle at Kapyong (Hill 677) for which the entire battalion was later presented with a Presidential Citation medal, the highest award granted by the United States, outside of the US. Reluctant to return to Canada, Mr. Gowing left Korea in May 1952, after his tour had ended. He left the military in November of 1952, but returned in November of 1955, to serve as a signaller for three years before being discharged for good.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Gerald Edward Gowing
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
Bren Gunner

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