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Anxious to Serve his Country

Heroes Remember

Anxious to Serve his Country

I grew up mostly during the Second World War and radio was the big thing. And I can remember the family, it’s like an old movie I suppose. And I can remember the family were all sitting around the radio in the front room with dim lights. And the program would be perfect because we could only listen to it and conjure up in our mind and, of course, each one of us conjured the image that suited us. So the programs were perfect. And the one program that was so outstanding, I remember I can still feel a degree of emotion. I think it was on Friday nights but that’s not important. It was a Second World War story of a Canadian Lancaster Bomber crew and the heading of the program was, “L for Lanky, Come in L for Lanky!” And, of course, the sounds effects of the engines, the engines of the Lancaster Bomber and the fellows speaking on the intercoms with each other, it was magnificent. I didn’t like school very much. I don’t think I was a very good student. Mathematics was my weakest. And, of course, as an artist if I get creative with the numbers, the answer is wrong, so what did I have, you know? I learned to read very quickly. The war was over. We grew up during the war. By that I was thirteen years old the very day the war ended, the 7th of May and what a birthday gift. Privately inside ourselves, by that I mean boys my age, we were sorry that it ended so soon. Not because we wanted people to die anymore. But we didn’t get a chance to show that we were men also. And, of course, you can imagine the propaganda during the Second World War. If you weren’t in uniform you didn’t exist almost, you know. When the Korean War came out suddenly we had a chance to show that we too could be a man, propaganda. And I had to join the paratroopers. I was 136 pounds and they apologized. It took 3 or 4 days to enlist right downtown, Sherbrooke Street in Montreal and they called me, the public selection officer or somebody called me in and he said, “I’m sorry Mr. Zuber but we cannot allow you to goi into the paratroopers because you don’t weigh enough.” I guess the parachute wouldn’t function properly sort of thing. And I looked at him and said, “Surely to God they are not going to put me out of an airplane in the first week, they’re gonna have me there for a while, could they not put a few pounds on me?” And he looked at me and he thought that was brilliant and he said, “That’s good!” And they let me in. I must say I was reflecting the psychology of growing up in that war atmosphere. A little footnote if I may interrupt myself. On the troop ship crossing the Pacific to go to Korea, we went first to Japan. And we were coming into Japan and I was one of the few people that was up on deck about 5 o’clock that morning on this old liberty boat troop ship, it was crowded but early in the morning you would get a bit of space up on the deck and there was only two or three of us I think up there. And as we approached the Japanese Islands it was misty. Not foggy but misty and a little island appeared, nobody on it, a couple of maybe trees. And as we were getting closer we are heading for the Yokohama Harbour. I will never forget this. I suddenly was overwhelmed with a terror and intellectually I knew what was happening to me so I was like two people at the same time. I was marvelling at how I was reacting but the reaction was terrifying. All those bloody posters depicting the Japanese as buck tooth, big glass villains because that’s how they were depicted during the propaganda of the Second World War I was going into their home base. I was honestly terrified. It must have lasted for, I don’t know, for five or ten minutes. My intellect finally woke me up and got me out of it. But it was a terrifying, terrible experience as we are coming into that spooky early morning fog of the mist of the Japanese Islands.

Mr. Zuber shares in detail his eagerness to volunteer for Korea even as the reality of war appears terrifying!

Edward "Ted" Zuber

Mr. Edward “Ted” Zuber was born October 16, 1932 in Montreal, Quebec. As a child, he was born with the gift of painting. Although not enthralled with school, Mr. Zuber did graduate and then went on to Queens University (Fine Arts). When the Korean War broke out in 1950, he was adamant to enlist and serve his country. He became a parachutist with the 1st Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. Arriving in Korea in 1952, he took on the role of sniper spending much of his time on the front lines. During this time, Mr. Zuber produced many drawings and, upon returning to Canada, presented thirteen of his canvas collections to the Canadian War Museum. Presently known as the unofficial war artist for Korea, Mr. Zuber’s paintings have become very popular. His painting “Freeze” has been unveiled in honour of the 65th Anniversary of the Korean War. Mr. Zuber has great pride in his service during the Korean War and is honoured to have been recognized for his artwork. Present day, Mr. Zuber finds himself in his studio continuing to paint the images of his wartime experiences, images that never seem to go away. Mr. Zuber resides in Kingston, Ontario with his wife and family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
May 23, 2018
Person Interviewed:
Edward "Ted" Zuber
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Royal Canadian Regiment

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