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Captain (Retd) Arthur Lortie

Captain Arthur Lortie is a man of honour and integrity. He served in the military for 32 years, including serving in the Korean War with the Royal 22nd Regiment. His military career allowed him to travel to numerous locations, which greatly impacted his life.

Quebec City, Quebec


Korea Cyprus Egypt
Arthur Lortie




  • Germany


  • Korea
  • Cyprus
  • Egypt

Arthur Lortie was born in 1932 into a family of 8 children in Quebec City. He remembers spending time with many service members as a young man during the Second World War. He attended Morissette school until grade 9 and later became an apprentice press operator with a newspaper for three years. The Korean War had broken out and he felt a desire to do his part. At age 18, he enlisted as a private on 28 February 1951, together with three of his brothers. Arthur and his younger brother completed their recruit training at Saint-Jean d’Iberville. Their military adventure continued in Rivers, Manitoba, where they were sent for an intensive parachuting training course.

“When you’re 18 years old and you’ve just completed your parachuting course, you feel so proud.”

Arthur and two of his older brothers were deployed to Korea in November 1951 as reinforcements for the Royal 22nd Regiment, which had just suffered significant battle casualties. They flew from Vancouver to Alaska, the Aleutian Islands and Japan. Before travelling to Korea, Arthur and his fellow soldiers completed their combat training in Haramura. He survived his trial by fire by crawling under barbed wire through machine gun fire, grenades, mortar attacks and artillery fire. This difficult and intense training gave him a preview of what was awaiting him. He arrived in Korea by boat in Busan and travelled by train to his position further north, in the Seoul area. He had a defensive position facing the enemy with his platoon in C Company. During the day, his duties included helping to reinforce the trenches and repairing barbed-wire fences. At night, he took part in contact patrols, observation patrols and reconnaissance patrols. His section participated in raids behind enemy lines. The hardships on the front lines led to the development of great friendships, team spirit and comradery among the soldiers.

“For six months, living in the trenches, in a hole, where the only communication is with the guy next to you [ …] in your dugout, there’s a certain team spirit, a comradery that exists that becomes really strong. The guys really came together—this is what helped us get through the hardships.”

After the Korean War, Arthur Lortie was posted to Germany, where, together with four of his brothers, he received a unique and highly rewarding opportunity. He then served in Cyprus and in Egypt, rising through the military ranks. He was in charge of 10 officers and 39 men. From infantry soldier to captain, he got to see both sides of the coin. He had two careers: as a non-commissioned officer and an officer.

As he reflected on his military career, Captain Lortie said that there was nothing he would change. For him, education is the way forward. He encourages young people to enlist because the discipline that he gained in the Armed Forces was an asset throughout his life. He explained that it is important to understand that, once you are in the Armed Forces, you need to know how to give and how to accept.

“For me, Remembrance Day means the memories of what I experienced, what I saw, the friends I lost. It’s the young people today who are on a mission. Today, missions are still very dangerous.”

In July 2023, Arthur Lortie was a member of the Government of Canada delegation to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War armistice.

Arthur Lortie (left) holding a snake in Korea, in 1952.

With courage, humility and pride in his service: Captain Arthur Lortie is one of our Canadian veterans. Discover other stories.

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