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Wounded by our own Bloody Grenade!

Heroes Remember

Wounded by our own Bloody Grenade!

We were living in tunnels. We had finally adopted some of the good sense exercised by the Chinese. They didn’t use bunkers like we did. A bunker basically was a hole dug in the side of the hill and the front wall happened to be built up with sandbags and then you put beams of wood, steel if you had them but that was very rare. And then you put sandbags and whatnot and then you built a roof then you put broken rocks on the top of the roof so that if a mortar came in it would explode, hit into the rocks rather than go through and kill you inside. During the August monsoon period all of these bunkers were washed out. Well the Chinese lived in tunnels. Of course when our aircraft went over and bombed them, all they could feel was a little thump way up there. We lived in tunnels on The Hook position. And I did most of my work as a sniper during the daylight but it was a night time war but you couldn’t go out and expose yourself in daylight, you’d be killed. So it was night time. This was one of the reasons why this particular painting was chosen to commemorate the 65th Anniversary because if there was one thing the Canadian soldier did in Korea, it was patrol. Every night we had patrols out, killing patrols, snatching patrols to keep the prisoners, just intelligence patrols, all kinds of them. I was sleeping in the tunnel that night and a couple of reinforcements had been sent up, five or six fellows in the last few days and one of them killed themselves with priming a hand grenade down in Charlie Company’s area. A hand grenade, it would come in a box with the grenades but a separate tin can with the fuses and you’d take a base plug off, a big bolt, take it out of the bottom, put in the fuse and load the spring. And the handle, people are aware it’s on a hand grenade is attached to this spring loaded striker. Anyway you put the base plug back in, put the pin in and the grenade is primed. And when you throw the grenade you take the pin out but hold that handle. And when you throw it, the handle flies off, the striker goes down and there’s a three or four second fuse before the explosion. So this fellow had been sent in, in my case that night to prime a box of grenades. So he came in and the little tunnels, they were only about three or four feet high and then we’d have a bit of an open pod where maybe four or five guys could sleep. I was in there and I was sleeping in my sleeping bag. I would sleep at night because I wanted to do my work during the day. He came in and he sat down on the other side of me about that far from me and he was priming the grenade. In that bunker or excuse me in that tunnel, were two South Korean labourers wth a pick and shovel. They were exending the tunnel. The tunnel did not have an exit which was bad because if we got hit in there with a flame thrower we would all die because there was no where for oxygen to get in. That would have been dehydrated instantly. So these two South Korean labourer fellows were quietly digging away. The man in charge of them was from the Engineers and he was sitting there under one candlelight, reading a book. I remember it was The Perfume Garden. That was a no-no in those days. And he was this and this fellow Dougie Rayner, I don't know why I remember his name, he was allowed, he was a signaler and he was allowed to come in to have a cigarette because you couldn't smoke in the trench, of course, and he was sitting right beside me having a cigarette and the painting I did show this fellow coming in with grenades. Well he sat down over here and he's priming the grenades and he slipped. The bloody striker went down and hit the fuse. All he had to do, he's got three or four seconds, all he had to do was throw the stupid grenade down the tunnel. We purposely built the tunnels with angles in them so the blast couldn't travel too far. But no he left the bloody grenade there, that far from my bum and he ran. He got out, the grenade went off. Tore the head off one of the South Koreans. He was killed instantly. The other Korean died beside me on a stretcher at the regimental aid post. I got the shrapnel all through my leg and buttocks. Dougie lost the back of his foot. The engineer had his leg broken in two places. And that's my big war story, wounded by one of our own bloody grenades.

Mr. Zuber provides great detail about an incident where he got wounded and the surrounding circumstances.

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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