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Arrival in Korea

Heroes Remember

We went to British Columbia. From there, we went across to Seattle, and we left on the Marine Phoenix. That was a troop ship, held about five thousand men on it. And we were on there about twenty four days. And we landed at Yokohama. It still didn’t seem like we were going to war. We got to Yokohama, we stayed there all that day. We left that night. We went to a place called Inchon. Then it started to get scary. We had to get off the boat, and we were all packed up. We had all our stuff and everything on. They said, “Okay, over the side, down them ladders.” You know, you see on those ... that’s good, we got down there. We got in those landing barges. Then we start knowing. And we went up on shore. They said, Okay, everybody off.” Instead of everybody going that way, “everybody was pushing back this way. Nobody wanted to get off, because in the movies, you see them, they’re getting killed when they’re running off there, and nobody wanted to get off. And then we got on a train, cattle train we called it. We travelled that night, dark, couldn’t see the country. Woke up in the morning, and I looked out and, jeez, I wish I was home. I don’t want to be in this place. What a desolate looking place. It was at a place called Wijambu. We got off there, and we turned around, and we had to walk up to the front lines. Damn Americans and Aussies going by in trucks, getting a drive and everything, and we’re walking in the mud. We left here in March. We got there in April, 1952. And we got there, and we marched up through the mud, and everything. And when we got in the front lines, our 2nd Battalion, we were relieving them. You know what they did? Come right in. Said, “Here, this is this, this is that. See you! Goodbye!” Never said nothing about what was over there, nothing. They just wanted to get out of there. And so, here we are, stuck in there, and the front line is right over here. We don’t know what’s going on. Don’t know a thing that’s going on. They never told us nothing. Just say, like, there’s a hole in the ground. Like you know, they dug their own holes. Never said nothing to us. And we were in there at nighttime when they started shelling. And the dirt’s falling, and that. And you’re sitting in there worried if you’re going to live. One fella said, “Don’t put your head outside, you might not have it.” But you got used to it.

Mr. Niles talks about landing in Korea and the cold reception they received from the troops they were relieving.

Joseph Allan Niles

Mr. Joseph Allan Niles was born December 15, 1932, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the oldest of four children. His father enlisted for service during the First World War, but was released for medical reasons, and found work in the dockyards. Mr. Niles grew up in downtown Halifax, and at age fourteen, he left school to work as a labourer, working on many buildings in the Halifax area. Mr. Niles enlisted on May 4, 1951, at age 17, with the Canadian Armed Forces in Halifax. He became part of a Special Force with the Royal Canadian Regiment, serving in Korea. He commenced his basic training in Camp Petawawa, Ontario, and completed his advanced training in Camp Wainwright, Alberta. In March 1952, Mr. Niles left for Korea, first travelling by train to British Columbia, then to Seattle, Washington, where he boarded a troop ship to Japan and Korea. Mr. Niles took part in fighting patrols and saw action on the front lines in Korea. After his one year tour of duty was completed, he volunteered for an additional three year term in the army, and remained in Korea until the end of October, 1953. He was discharged from the Armed Forces in June, 1954, and settled in Montreal where he found a job with the railroad. His employment later took him to Truro, Nova Scotia. Mr. Niles died in the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in Halifax, on April 30, 2007.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Joseph Allan Niles
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Royal Canadian Regiment

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