Haven't You Ever Seen A Man Die Before?

Heroes Remember - Korean War

Haven't You Ever Seen A Man Die Before?

Interviewer: So can you explain to me what it's like to be in combat, in the mountains of Korea? There is no explanations for that. Interviewer: Is there a specific time that comes to mind about some action, can you share that with us. Well we, that time I was telling you, we were, we had finished with these nuns and this, these children, if you will, and we're going up the hill and there was some trees, I remember, they were very few and far between ‘cause they'd get blown away you know, they used them for hiding and stuff. And we came up this hill and this friend of mine, he was from Nepal, Manitoba, and he says, and of course he swore like a sailor you know, and he says "Look at that guy" and I didn't, I hadn't even seen him and he was sitting up against the tree and he was Canadian and I think he came from a place called Pictou, Nova Scotia. And he'd been what we called it stitched, and they, the Chinese they had a machine gun, and he was just stitched across here. And he was trying to fill these holes so that the blood and everything wouldn't come out with grass and dirt. And I looked at him and this native kid looked at him and he says "You okay?" And then he started to swear, and he says "You never see a guy die before?" and I said "No." But somebody had been there ahead of us, you know he had, he had a blood cross on his head so somebody had given him morphine and.... Interviewer: Did he survive? Oh no, no he died before we got off that hill. That's where they picked him up at. Interviewer: So putting the mud in the wounds, was trying to stop the bleeding? Yeah, and there wasn't as much blood from him, but there was a lot of plasma, white, clear stuff you know. It was coming right through his shirt and he didn't have a jacket on, just a shirt. His rifle was sitting on the ground upside down with the bayonet stuck in the ground. I guess that's supposed to tell you that he's on the way out, I don't know. Interviewer: So he knew. He wasn't the only one we saw, but I remember him better then anybody else, but when he said "Didn't you ever seen anybody die before?" and no I didn't. But after that we seen lots of people, lots of guys get it, you know.

Mr. Reitsma recalls coming upon a dying soldier who had been 'stitched' with bullets.

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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