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Hill 355


Anchor: During the First and Second World Wars, Canadians acquired a reputation for running in where others fear to tread, for holding their own even when overwhelmed and attacked from all sides, for persevering when others fail. The work of our troops on Hill 355 substantiates that reputation.

John Tupper: The Americans were on 355.

Sheridan "Pat" Patterson: It got overrun and they lost it.

George W. Elliot: I was sent over to see if I could help them at all and it was just a slaughter house. You couldn't help them. The bodies everywhere.

Jim McKinney: So then they called for the Canadians to come back in and take it again.
(Soldiers in battle)

Paul-Émile Pomerleau: 355 was the largest mountain around for 20 miles. The RCRs were there.

Jean-Paul Savary: The Chinese had arrived the previous night. They were at the foot of the mountain.

Joseph Niles: Stayed there all day until the following night.

Jean-Paul Savary: They attacked at 7 pm, just at dusk.
(Cannons loaded and firing on enemy)

All the artillery had been synchronized, cannon by cannon, on the mountain. The fire was so intense that we couldn't separate one explosion from another. I don't know how many thousands of shells were fired there. It was just one continuous explosion, with all cannons firing at the same time. That's when things got going for real.
(Soldiers setting off cannon fire)

Paul-Émile Pomerleau: It came down on us like rain.

Jim McKinney: I heard the screaming and hollering and bugles blowing and it was kind of scary, even sitting on the next hill. So I can imagine what the RCRs felt when they were attacked that night.

Jean-Paul Savary: Then we got orders to engage because the hill was just to the right of us and we were able to engage them properly where the troops were. So we shot at least 15,000 rounds that night. Those cannons, I tell ya, they can really spit them out. They were firing spurts of 25 rounds, and then they spotted us.
(Soldiers in battle)

Gérard Dauray: A few of my buddies died there.

Joseph Niles: I think they took about 18 prisoners of war from us. That was the hardest battle we had.

Jean-Paul Savary: On the other hand, there was one thing they didn't know—there was a guy named Harry Pope, who was an extraordinary tactician. He was awarded the MC in Korea. He was there, and he was the one who coordinated all the artillery fire.
(Soldiers on the hills in bunkers)

Jim McKinney: I was on the next hill. So we were actually calling fire down right on top of them because the RCRs were in their trenches, the Chinese were running above the ground.
(Cannons blasting in the hills)

Paul-Émile Pomerleau: It lasted a long time, and they were forced to evacuate the RCRs who were there. And then, they sent in a new battalion.

Jean-Paul Savary: It was a good night's work. It started at around 6 p.m., the sun was just setting, and it lasted until almost 10:30.

Jim McKinney: Whether we killed any of our own people or not I don't know, but we certainly did raise enough heck with the Chinese that they retreated, left.

Raymond Tremblay: It was pretty tough, but they didn't get through. The Americans were running away! Somebody had to do the job! So we did.

Did you know ...

Neither China nor North Korea signed the Geneva Convention of 1949, which binds nations to specific rules of engagement.

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