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War isn’t always honourable.

Heroes Remember

War isn’t always honourable.

As a pioneer officer I was involved, I guess, in a world of tricks. We uh, tried to booby trap the approaches, I looked after the mines on the front. We developed all sorts of

Soldiers laying down mines.

devices. There was a feature in front of our position called “Guerty” and Guerty was sort of a triangular shaped hill and it had a re-entrance from the Chinese side coming in. And the Chinese used to come in there and they come up to the top, they’d fire on our advance platoons and when the platoons

Soldier gives order to fire and large gun shoots into hilly area.

returned the fire, they would jump down in the re-entrance and you couldn’t get them. We couldn’t get them with mortars or artillery because the mortars would have to fire over the top of the hill and come straight down, so I was given the job of going out and doing something about this. So what I did was I got a bunch of 81 millimetre mortars and we taped a slab of gun cotton on each one, put a primer in, etc. We carried these out and we lined this re-entrance with them. Then we ran wires back up to the forward platoon and the guy had a battery there and the idea is when the Chinese came into that re-entrance all we had to do was touch these wires to the battery and of course that would explode the mortars.

Soldier ignites mortar by touching wires to battery as explosion goes off in the dark of the night.

And he did the next night and we sent a patrol in, I guess the following night and they found some Chinese boots with feet, legs still in them, you know, so it worked and the Chinese never came back, I guess they figured that somehow or other, we’d ranged a mortar in there. But we were always doing things like that. People, I think, have difficulty understanding that war is very uncivilized, very uncivilized. And people say afterwards, “Well, isn’t that terrible” or something like that. Well it wasn’t at the time, you know, they were the enemy.

Mr. Bowen describes his role setting booby traps for the enemy. He describes in detail eliminating an enemy stronghold on a hill nicknamed ‘Guerty’.

Gerald Bowen

Gerald R. Bowen was born in Ottawa, Ontario on October 13, 1925. He attended Lisgard High School, and was a paperboy. His family had prior military experience. His uncle had served in the Air Force and his father in the Army, later becoming an historian with the Department of National Defence. Mr. Bowen enlisted in the Navy where he became a telegrapher, serving aboard a Royal Canadian Navy frigate on convoy duty in the North Atlantic until the war ended. He left the service for a brief time and re-enlisted in the Canadian Army, where he became a paratrooper and a specialist in sabotage. He later served as a peacekeeper in Cyprus. Mr. Bowen’s extensive experience in the Canadian military offers us some very informative and perceptive anecdotes.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Gerald Bowen
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Royal 22e Régiment
Pioneer Officer

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