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Initial Setup for the Artillery

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Initial Setup for the Artillery

I remember we were… I’m not sure if we were right or left now with the American First Cavalry Division. We were there First Cav I remember that. And after we were there a few months the British and the Australian, New Zealanders and the Indians and the Canadians, we formed the First Commonwealth Division. We served most of our time under the heading of the First Commonwealth Division. After we got there and we got straightened away, the first thing you had to do, you had to dig in your artillery piece and fill up all the ammo cans with clay and sort of build yourself a protection around and then so many fellows on the gun would build a bunker then to sleep in and we took the canvas off our tractor trailer, the trailer that pulled the gun and we used the tarpaulin off the tractor trailer for a roofing for our bunker, you know, you dig in and fill up with clay and then you put the canvas tent over to sleep in. Just as you got everything all settled away you’d probably be firing for maybe half hour and then they would say cease fire and the target is eliminated or something like that and by the time you got straightened away and started to get a bit comfortable the sergeant major would come along, “Cease fire, limber up, prepare to move!” You’d have to do it all over again. And then one position to the other position, all during the summer now we had quite a few moves like that but when the bad weather, cold weather came on, the line, the Chinese were in the war then. They weren’t particular about moving any more than we were so they sort of straightened out front and became stagnant during the winter. So moving then was very little in the winter but during the summer when we were there we moved quite a lot around. We were actually, artillery see is a supportive unit for the infantry so we had to follow the infantry; wherever they went we were there with them. Our biggest worry was well we had artillery well they had light artillery too and what you call bazookas and they knew where we were by the same token our officers knew where they were too and once you fired the gun well they got your position and then probably during the night they had a little spotter plane, Big Chick Charlie we called him.

Mr. Mercer speaks about being part of the First Commonwealth Division and his regiment’s responsibilities for setting up camp.

Leslie Mercer

Mr. Leslie Mercer was born June 24, 1927 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Being a child of the Great Depression, he went to work at the dockyard at a very young age. He was too young to volunteer for the Second World War but when the Korean War broke out he was quick to join with the Special Force. He became part of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery as a bombardier. After spending a year in Korea, Mr. Mercer returned to St. John’s, Newfoundland, married and raised a family.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
November 10, 2015
Person Interviewed:
Leslie Mercer
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
United States
Royal Canadian Horse Artillery

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