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North of the 38th

Heroes Remember

Trenches, bunkers and that to protect you from mortars and SP fire and stuff like that. They became very elaborate, and that. We could not use any of the trenches that they had dug because they were too small. The bunkers and that, I mean, they, they were like moles, I mean, they thought nothing of digging 400 feet back into a hill. Just a small opening with an occasional, an occasional opening larger, like a small room and stuff like that. You know, they, they were very, very big diggers, and that. Interviewer: So the fortifications that you men would construct would be dug outs, large rooms? Yeah, well, not large. Probably a dug out would be from here, enough where you could sleep a section, half a section at a time cause it was always a half a section on, and that, ten or eleven men. So it was always half and half on guard half on stand to, half on sleeping. Interviewer: What would the roof be constructed out of? Usually out of timbers, cut down trees, and, and then, sand bags, if you could get them, and, and dirt. Interviewer: Were these fortification lines normally on high ground? Oh Yes. Interviewer: And the valleys in below would be No-man's-land? That's correct. Usually, you were, you would try to place your trenches on the forward slope looking down and then you'd have a, a, a trench, a communication trench going back and your dug out or bunker, as such, would be on the back slope to protect you from artillery fire and that. Interviewer: And at the same time, your artillery would be on the backward slope of that hill as well, or on the far side. Oh no, they'd be way back further. They'd, they were usually five miles back, or so. Interviewer: The tanks that you would have forward, would they be Some of the tanks, sometimes, yes, they'd dig them in, in a hull-down position just at the top of the slope so that they had a field of fire for their, for their heavy guns and their machine guns.

By late summer of 1951, the PPCLI had moved north of the 38th parallel and the fighting had become a static war. Mr. Nickerson describes the fortifications that were constructed at this point in the war.

Ray Nickerson

Mr. Nickerson's father was a farmer and Veteran of the First World War. Mr. Nickerson was the second youngest of 10 children. Three of his older brothers served in the Second World War. He left school at the age of 16 and enlisted in the army with the PPCLI. His parents were not happy with this. After enlisting, Mr. Nickerson went to Curry Barracks in Calgary for basic training. He did his advanced training in Curry and in Wainwright, Alberta. In November 1950, his battalion was told they were going to Korea to serve with the U.N. force. Mr. Nickerson saw action near Pusan, Seoul and at Kapyong. While in Korea, Mr. Nickerson was wounded by a land mine. He was hospitalized for nine weeks. After his recovery, he returned to the front . Mr. Nickerson's tour of duty ended late in 1951 and he returned to Canada. He remained in the Canadian Army until his retirement in 1968.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Ray Nickerson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)

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