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Clearing A Gap Through the Minefield

Heroes Remember

Clearing A Gap Through the Minefield

For the last eighteen months the war was stagnant. We were on one side, the Chinese and that were on the other side and we were told not to lose our positions, stay there, don’t advance, protect your position, that’s all so but they’d be charging every night or every second night or whatever, I don’t know why they did it because there was nothing gained, you know. And out in front of all the positions, I was attached to the 3 RCR and out in front there were always minefields. In the night time the RCR’s would send out patrols, out in no man’s land, that’s out between the two and they had to go out through a minefield and my job and my two other soldiers was to clear a gap between the minefield so I could pass back and forth. That was my job in the night time to clear that to make sure it was safe for them to go back and forth because in the daytime the Chinese would be pulling in mortar bombs and everything in the daytime and they would destroy the fences, minefield fences and that and we had to make sure it was clear so they wouldn’t be going through the mines. One night we go up in the bunkers about nine o’clock and we wait for last light; that would be when it got dark. That’s when we go out because you couldn’t go out in the daytime we were right in view of the enemy in No Man’s Land. So we wait until dark and then we go on out and do our work to make sure that it is safe. This night we were going up and we were told to stand to! We weren’t going up that night, oh that’s great, you know. That night was the most attack on C Company than any of them in the whole three years. I think it was twenty six Canadians killed, twenty seven or twenty eight or something wounded and eight or nine taken back, captured. The next night we were detailed to clear the minefield because there was a Canadian body out in the minefield so we had to go out and bring it back. So we had to clear the minefield and that had to be done in the night time because, in darkness, pitch dark. And that was something else I’m telling you because we got out in the darkness and we couldn’t take our weapons with us because we had to use our two hands and we couldn’t use a mine detector because there was too much metal in the ground so all we had to use was our bayonets. We on our hands and knees and progging and we’d find a mine and we would clear it with our hands, feel around for booby traps or the trip line and then take it up and then look for another one, you know. And then every now and then the RCR’s would send up a flare that would light up the whole valley. Then we had to stop, go to ground, they call it, just fall down and stay still until that, maybe half a minute or so, minute for that to go out then we’d start again and get down on our hands and knees again and start clearing and then another one might go up. Took us about three weeks I suppose to clear the minefield and bring the body back, part of a body; brought him back in a blanket. We got that done and we went back and we got a rest then for a while.

A night when battle is halted, Mr. England describes the situation when his crew was given the orders to clear a gap through the minefield to recover the dead.

Douglas England

Mr. Doug England was born February 9, 1931 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He was the oldest son of five children and at the young age of ten, he lost his mother and was cared for by his grandparents. Later, in his teenage years, Mr. England joined the Reserves and at the age of 19 transferred to active force. He joined the Royal Canadian Engineers and volunteered for service in the Korean War. After the war, Mr. England returned home to St. John’s and married. To this day, Mr. England volunteers at the local legions with a strong focus on commemorating the Korean War.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
November 10, 2015
Person Interviewed:
Douglas England
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Royal Canadian Engineer
Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO)

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