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Dangerous Teens

Heroes Remember

Those little kids, they just, they followed you everywhere because they knew they were going to get a pair of socks, or something to put over their hands, or anything to wear, something to eat. Interviewer: You were a kid yourself and here kids... Well we were kids yeah, but these were little kids you know, 7-8 years old. Anything that... Anything, that's a terrible way to put it but, if a kid was 14 or 15 you just made dog gone sure that he was ahead of you all the time. And your machine gun never came off of, on safety, it was ready to go at any time. Interviewer: Is that right? And I was machine gunner all the time I was there so you... Everybody wore white, you didn't know who you were talking to because white was their mourn, their, like we use black in our country here, they use white. And everybody was dressed in white, even the little kids, but the teenagers were the ones you had to fear.

Mr. Reitsma recalls feeling pity toward the children that would follow the troops looking for handouts, but not letting his guard down.

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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