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Bren Gun - Deadly, But Not As Much As A Grenade

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Bren Gun - Deadly, But Not As Much As A Grenade

Like I carried a Bren all the time, and I think we had 27 rounds in that mag and there was always a number two with you so your forward pouches were full of mags all the time and you hung a grenade on the edge of it for backup. But I think that machine gun was probably the best piece of equipment they had over there. Interviewer: Powerful? Well yeah, it was a 303 round as well, but it, it was a wicked machine yeah, was a good machine. Noisy. Interviewer: Did you have to use it? Pardon me? Interviewer: You used that quite often? Oh yeah, yeah, I should tell you that the one time I used it and at, I just got sick. We were going, we were moving frontwards, forwards if you will, and came across a hole in the ground. Well it was in, into the hill and the guy that was in charge there he says "Well throw a grenade in there," you know, "might be, maybe some Charlie might be in there". And I said, "Well I can't throw a grenade, I used them this morning." and I said "Give me one of yours." And "No," he said "I don't got any either," so he says "Put a burst in." The door was covered with a blanket, army blanket, wherever they got that I don't know. So I put a short burst through the door and all I could hear was kids screaming, Oh... So, you know if we had put a grenade in there, you can figure it out yourself you know. And the kids came out, there was oh 8 or 10 of them, and there was three nuns in there and they couldn't speak English they were, all they could speak was French. And one of the guys, we got a guy there and he started talking to them and they were hiding, of all the places in the world of hiding. But it was warm in there, and it was made so that shrapnel couldn't get them or anything, but if you'd have thrown a grenade in there, somebody would of got hurt. I never left that, I, I can see them kids coming out of there yet, you know. Interviewer: So were they looking to you, a soldier, for protection? Oh yeah, then all they do is look at your badge, you know, we had no hard hats. Mine is in the pacific somewhere where they told us to get rid of them. And they look at your hat, and of course they're not scared. But we weren't with them very long until somebody came, I think it was some provo guys came and picked them up, took them back to a place called Ch'orwon, I think that's where the orphanage was, quite a ways away. Interviewer: So they were orphan children? Yeah they were all, they all came out of that orphanage.

Mr. Reitsma explains how excellent a weapon the Bren gun was, and recalls an instance when he almost killed some civilians with his.

Stuart Reitsma

Mr. Stuart Reitsma was born into a military family in Lacombe, Alberta, in 1928. His father served in the Second World War , and two of his brothers also served in Korea. Before joining the service in 1950, Mr. Reitsma worked with the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Canadian National Railway (CNR). While participating in a CNR strike in Vancouver a fight broke out. Mr. Reitsma and a friend enlisted the next day, deciding if they were going to fight, they'd sooner do it in the Army. Soon after completing training, Mr. Reitsma was shipped overseas to Korea. During his year there Mr. Reitsma survived continued heavy action at the front line, a fact he attributes to the excellent training he had received. Returning to Canada after his tour ended, Mr. Reitsma received his discharge in August of 1952. He returned to work with CNR before accepting a position with Alberta Government Telephone which he held for 26 years before retirement.

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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