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Samachon Valley Patrols

Heroes Remember

Samachon Valley Patrols

And I then actually ended up, with my own platoon, in the line from about mid-August 15, 16, 17 August, somewhere in there, until we came out in about the 2nd or 3rd of November. So it was about half of August, all of October and a few days in November and during that particular time I got my feet wet. You know it was a wet August that I had mentioned. The monsoon season was on, July and August seem to be when the rains come and everything gets soaked and bunkers collapse and trenches fill up. You never seem to be able to get dried out. That period was uncomfortable. September the weather got better. October it seemed to be really very nice. So from mid-August through to November you went from rain to almost summer and fall. Most of that time was spent in the position to the right, the immediate right of Hill 355 or Little Gibraltar, which was occupied by the Royal Canadian Regiment and was the scene of a major battle near the end of October. We were very much part of the target by the Chinese for suppression of fire that may support the RCR in repelling the Chinese attack which was being prepared very early in September and October. There was registration of gun targets taking place throughout September and October for an attack that they knew, the Chinese knew, was going to be made at the end of October. We didn’t know that but there was obviously something that was being prepared for. <br /><br />There was a lot of patrol action going on in the valley, mostly in front of the RCR but spilling over again into us. We spent a lot of time in the valley, the Samachon Valley or Nabouri was a little stream which fed the larger river. That’s what separated us from the Chinese. The distance between the lines at that point were about 1500 metres I guess in front of us. In front of the RCR the lines came a bit closer together and while I’m not terribly familiar with that particular part of the far end of their front, I am under the impression that the lines were quite close together there. But we had to get out of our position into the valley and more or less go in front of part of the RCR position. <br /><br />So we got into a fairly wide, but heavily trafficked area in our valley in attempting to establish outposts, in attempting to set up ambushed in reconnoitring certain positions for various reasons. My experience in the valley tended to be too frequent as far as I was concerned because at one point in time, as I mentioned, I was the only subaltern or platoon commander in a company which should have had three others. And part of the patrol policy during part of that time was that certain types of patrols had to be led by officers. And when you parcel the duties out, you run out of officers if there ain’t many of them. But most of us then have to pick up another turn. Throughout September and October my recollection of that period is that I seemed to spend an awful lot of time out in the valley in one way or another and not much time in my bunker.

Mr. Pitts speaks about commanding his platoon when it was being targeted by the Chinese.

Herbert Pitts

Mr Pitts was born in Nelson, British Columbia in June of 1929. After graduating from high school, he entered a four-year program of the Canadian Services College at Royal Roads, graduating from the Royal Military College in June 1952. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant, in the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians). On arrival in Korea in July, he served for a year as an Infantry Platoon Commander with 1st and 3rd Battalions of Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. He was awarded the Military Cross for Gallantry and Leadership with that Regiment. Mr. Pitts remained in the Forces serving with The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and the Canadian Airborne Regiment. He traveled extensively during his service, retiring as a Major General from National Defence Headquarters in 1978.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
Person Interviewed:
Herbert Pitts
War, Conflict or Mission:
Korean War
Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI)
Platoon Commander

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