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He Laid Down And Died

Heroes Remember - Korean War

He Laid Down And Died

We had you know, films and training exercises had given us an insight into what we could expect but nothing of the magnitude that occurred there. And we got off at, onto a landing craft in Pusan and boarded a train that took us up to, I can't remember the jump-off spot. But, prior to that train taking off, we were told, prior to boarding that train we were told that there would be civilians lining the tracks and that we were not to throw food to them or, you know, chocolate bars or rations like that, and we didn't have a great amount of that stuff but we did have candy bars or chocolate bars. We got on board that little train and, remember this was winter now, early or mid-December I believe, and all along the tracks were civilians alright, but children. They were kids and they ranged from three or four years old to however, you know, early teens. Hard to tell with children, but they were in varying stages of starvation and freezing to death and dying. I remember throwing a candy bar to this one child and he was looking directly at me and you could see hope in that kid's eye, that maybe, you know, these guys will, can help me. So I threw him a chocolate bar, and he grabbed that chocolate bar but before he could do anything with it, stronger members of his people around him, other youngsters, took the bar from him and this kid, he didn't struggle, he just laid down and died. He had enough strength left in him to take that chocolate bar, but I could see that, I can still see him, he.... I guess the thing that gets me about all of this is that the last vestige of hope this child had was, these guys on this damn train and their bloody chocolate bars that we were told not to throw to them, and when he lost that chocolate bar, hope was totally gone.

Mr. Ferguson gives a touching description of the destitution and starvation among the children, one of whom touched him personally.

Luther Ferguson

Luther Ferguson was born in Mayview, Saskatchewan on October 23, 1933. He describes himself as being “unworldly, poorly educated and having low self-esteem.” Mr. Ferguson felt that the Army offered him the best opportunity to both further his education and improve his life. He enlisted in 1951, and soon found himself a combatant in the Korean War, where he served in the infantry. Mr. Ferguson’s accounts lean heavily on the psychological impacts of training and warfare, and the devastation experienced by the civilian population during the Korean conflict.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Luther Ferguson
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Royal Canadian Regiment

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