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Might As Well Fight For The Army

Heroes Remember

Might As Well Fight For The Army

Interviewer: It was 1950 and you hear that there's trouble brewing in Korea. Yeah, it was all, in all the papers and everything. Interviewer: And that the Canadian government wants to send soldiers. Yeah they, then, well in 1950 when I joined, of course the papers were full of the government looking for people that would join up, and I was working for Canadian National at the time in Hope, British Columbia, and of course they went on strike. So they put a bunch of us on a bus and we had to go to Vancouver, stand in a picket line. Well sometime during the night a fight broke out, and a good friend of mine he says, "Well, if I gotta fight I might as well join the army" so I said "I'll go with you." So we went to Jericho Beach. That was the end of railroading until I came back. Interviewer: So that was how you chose to join. Yep. Then I wondered after, well maybe I would have been better off on the picket line but, no it was okay, it was alright, they treated us pretty good. Interviewer: Did you know at that point what you were getting yourself into? Oh good grief no, never, oh no. Probably if we would have known back then, I'm sure we would have stayed away from Jericho Beach, but that's just the way it is, you know. And I'm certain that there was no patriotism there because we didn't, I didn't even know what the word meant, never mind being patriotic, you just went for something to do. Maybe glory, who knows.

Mr. Reitsma recalls how he and a friend joined the Army following a scuffle at a strike in Vancouver, BC.

Stuart Reitsma

Mr. Stuart Reitsma was born into a military family in Lacombe, Alberta, in 1928. His father served in the Second World War , and two of his brothers also served in Korea. Before joining the service in 1950, Mr. Reitsma worked with the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railway (CNR). While participating in a CNR strike in Vancouver a fight broke out. Mr. Reitsma and a friend enlisted the next day, deciding if they were going to fight, they'd sooner do it in the Army. Soon after completing training, Mr. Reitsma was shipped overseas to Korea. During his year there Mr. Reitsma survived continued heavy action at the front line, a fact he attributes to the excellent training he had received. Returning to Canada after his tour ended, Mr. Reitsma received his discharge in August of 1952. He returned to work with CNR before accepting a position with Alberta Government Telephone which he held for 26 years before retirement.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Stuart Reitsma
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry
Machine Gunner

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