Aspects of Trench Life

Heroes Remember - Korean War

Aspects of Trench Life

By that time they had set up what they called the James Town Line and the whole deal was that you just prevented the North Koreans and the Chinese from attacking. We were not allowed to attack into North Korea, we had to just hold the line. It was very much like the First World War, trench warfare cause we lived in bunkers. We dug our own holes and we covered them up to keep the rain out and that's where we lived. I think the part that I remember most disliking is the heat in the summer time. Most Korean Veterans will say they remember the cold, maybe because I was raised on a farm in Manitoba, it was cold but I don't remember it as much as I remember the heat. You just, you know, when the temperature got up around 100 to 110, somewhere in there, you just wanted to find a place and not move, some place where it's cool if there is such a thing. Bunkers were cool, most of the time and you just, you didn't, you didn't move. The Chinese didn't bother you during the heat of the day cause they were probably too hot too. So, I think that's the part I dislike more than anything and then during the rainy season everything was wet. You couldn't wear a leather watch strap because it turned green and rotten, anything leather, it would rot. The rats were big too. They were big healthy rats. They were well fed I guess. I think the mice were the more dangerous cause I think they carried a disease. The rats were very large and very shiny, their fur was very shiny so that's a sign of a healthy rat. We didn't have houses. We didn't have even heated tents. We just had a hole in the ground, made our own stoves and that's, and if you could scrounge some gas to cut your diesel with, then your stoves would burn fairly clean but if you were burning straight diesel, then they would carbon up and once in a while explode and blow your stove pipes all apart and everything would be covered with a greasy soot. That was Korea.

Mr. McKinney describes Korea as being like World War One because it was trench warfare. He goes on to discuss what it was like in the bunkers – excessive heat or rain, rodents and fickle stoves.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
James McKinney
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
1st Field Artillery Regiment

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