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Living conditions on the hill.

Heroes Remember

Living conditions on the hill.

We had two men to a bunker. A bunker means from your trench, at least my bunker, you walked up one step which was probably about 11 or 12 inches high, and then you walked down four into the bunker where two of us could sleep. In between us, I had my Bren machine gun pointing at this door, which was a blanket. If you could scrounge better, it would’ve been tarp or something, or put one of them in there. This was a plain grey blanket. So, we keep that on the door because we had a password every night. We went by password. Sometimes a password would be ‘Deep Well’, I remember that one. ‘Rosie’, ‘Jeannie’, we used women’s names mainly and that password didn’t work, you know, friend or foe, it didn’t - that’s it! That’s the password. Interviewer: So at this stage, in the Korean War, the lines had become static, the men had dug in on either side of ‘No Man’s Land’? Yeah, they were dug in way better than we were. They were, would you believe they had 20 foot bunkers? We were somewheres within a mile and a half - a mile to a mile and a half - in various places across from us. We could aim the sight of the machine gun but no use of using it. We didn’t, but sometimes we did. We felt so free sometimes that we thought, “everything’s fine”. We had rules; no walking on the hill, only in the trench, you know. The trench led into a bunker, from a bunker into another trench into another bunker and that’s the way it was there. Everybody had a little bit of work to do, had a little bit of work to do everyday - fill up sandbags and bag your trench, put a cap on it. We had a candle, candles for a light if we had to, but we didn’t use them. We had two big chocolates. They were a meal within itself for a week, in case it got hot on top, you know. Interviewer: In other words, if it became… if the people bringing food up could no longer bring food up to you because of enemy action, you were to eat this chocolate? That’s right, yeah.

Mr. Schreyer describes bunker conditions on the hill and about the rules that were adhered to regarding passwords and “no go” areas on the hill.

Henry Schreyer

Mr. Henry Schreyer was born August 30th, 1923 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was raised on the family farm in Beausejour, Manitoba where he lived through the Depression of the 1930s. Mr. Schreyer left the family farm and moved to Ontario where on Aug 6, 1941 he decided to join the Canadian Forces. His first choice was the Canadian Navy but, because he would have had to return home before they would take him, he joined the Canadian Army and was taken into service right away. Mr. Schreyer did his basic training in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba and soon after was assigned to the Royal Canadian Engineers. He trained in Victoria, BC before travelling across Canada for deployment to Europe and active duty. He was part of the D-Day landings, served throughout the Normandy campaign, and spent time with the army of occupation in Germany at the end of the Second World War. Mr. Schreyer was released from the Canadian Army and travelled quite extensively, working in a variety of different occupations; farmer, mover and “beating the rods”. In 1952, Mr. Schreyer re-enlisted with the Canadian Army and joined the Royal Canadian Regiment. He served as an Honour Guard on Parliament Hill for the induction of the First Canadian Governor General. Mr Schreyer served as a volunteer in the Korean War. His journey took him via Japan to Pusan, then north to serve on the Jamestown Line. During his service, Mr. Schreyer was wounded and transferred from the front lines. Eventually, because of his injuries, he decided to leave the Canadian Army. After his service, he went back to his earlier occupation as a mover. He took up a career in packing and receiving and then as a transport driver.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Henry Schreyer
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Jamestown Line
Royal Canadian Regiment

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