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Extreme Weather

Heroes Remember

Thunderstorms I'd never seen in my life like that. Interviewer: Can you tell me about the weather conditions? Oh it could rain like you cannot believe. And only once I seen, oh, thunder or lightning ball larger then the chair you're sitting in, and just rolling down and over the hills you know. It burned everything in its road, and it was going away from us, thank goodness. And I remember it hitting an old, oh I think it was a rice hut or something, I know we stayed in there once before that, got lousy out of it, nothing else, and that thing just disappeared, and it was raining like everything. Interviewer: Were you dressed for that? Well you can't dress for that. You have a poncho, you know everybody got a poncho, but when it rained like that you couldn't wear the poncho because you had to throw it over your machine gun, to keep the machine gun dry. So...It, you know it's... Interviewer: Was it cold? Oh, bitterly cold in the winter, bitterly cold. Branches got, oh trees you might get the size of your fist or more frost. Only thing good about it, it didn't last real long, but it was heck when you were in the, standing in the trenches and you were at a Stand To, it was terrible, feet never warmed up. Interviewer: So it was cold? Oh yeah, it was very, very cold. So I say, I don't know how some of these kids made it you know, who weren't dressed. And our biggest problem was we had, we had not the very best of footwear but, so he was. So you put up with what you've got and make the best of a poor thing.

Mr. Reitsma describes how wet and cold it got while he was stationed in Korea.

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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