>> Hello. My name is Arthur Campbell. I went to Korea in February 1952. I left for Korea in February. I landed in Korea in March of 1952. It took us a month to get from our camp in Ottawa, Ontario. It took us a month to get over to Korea. They put us on a terrible ship. It must have been made in Japan or China back in the day because it broke down halfway across the ocean.
>> The ship broke down?
>> The ship broke down.
The big propeller stopped propelling, so thank God it had a little propeller on it, which kicked in, but consequently because we used the little propeller, it took us twice as long to get us across the ocean, which was not very nice. It was not very nice, but we made it. We landed in Japan. We stayed at the dry docks in Japan for about 3 days until they finished the ship. Then we went on to Korea. I liked Japan. It was very nice. It was occupied at the time, being so close to the Second World War. They didn’t know it was still occupied, and the occupation troops that were there were Australian, nice guys, big. They were all 6-foot-2, 6-foot-3, but they had the bad habit of thinking that the occupied Japan, that we weren’t allowed to touch anything. Excuse me. I won’t be vulgar, but we were all young guys, and we liked girls. So we would go to the dance hall.
You would buy a ticket, and the ticket would allow you to dance with a girl. We spent a lot of money on tickets. I did. Then, while you’re dancing, a big Australian would come along and say, “I’m cutting in,” and, “No, you’re not.” So we had a lot of arguments with the Australians, but we still had a girl. Then we moved on to Korea, and it was terrible. It was terrible. People were poor. The cities … It was awful. It was the most … I shouldn’t be doing this. I never went back. I had two or three chances to go back, but it just bothered me so much. I’m not over yet. When you were talking when you first come in, you were talking about … because of the troops that were there, United Nations, not just Canadians, United Nations, and because of them, you, your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles are here now. That’s true. That’s very, very true because the amount of children, fatherless children, wonderful ladies that were just doing anything to keep their kids. It was terrible. So I’m proud. I’m happy about that, but I’m not going to get into anything as far as the terrible things that happened.
I can’t do it, and I won’t.
>> Then how about, so back here in Canada, you’re very active in the Association. What are some of the things that you’ve been doing as part of the Association to ensure that Canadians don’t forget?
>> What I have done, because I am the youngest, and thank God I’m still in fairly good physical condition, and I’m one of the few in the club. Now, Dave and I are both very good. Dave is an organizer. He can get things moving. Excuse me. I, on the other hand, am more of a hands-on type of guy. I can set up meetings. I can set up our picnics. I’m like a babysitter to most of the guys that can’t move, like I’m taking care of Ken. Ken and I are dear, dear friends. I pick him up, take him home. I take care of him. I’m sure you know that he has a little problem with dementia, and so yes.
What I do is humanitarian things, really. I love the guys. They love me. We get along together, and if I say to them, “Hey. We’re going to the Wall of Remembrance in July,” and this is January, “When?”, “19th of July,” “Okay.” They’re ready to go. I’ll make sure there’s transportation for them to and from and things like this. I’m not one to … I’m just one of the guys that can still help.
>> You’re the one behind the scenes that may move things.
>> I guess you could say that.
>> Yes, because there’s an organizer.
There’s a planner, but somebody has to do logistics.
>> Well, you said that it’s very painful for you to think about and remember it and even visit Korea because of the horrors that you’ve seen and witnessed in the war, but it is true that Korea still has not achieved peace. What do you think about that? What do you hope, maybe?
>> Well, I’ve heard that it does, so I’m terrified that that freaking idiot that they’ve got running North Korea, the little fat guy. All he talks about is bombs. I don’t like that. I don’t like him. We’re too old, but I’m telling you, if they need an instructor, there’s a lot of guys are capable. I’d go back in a blink of your eye. I would go back.
>> For to fight for Korea’s peace.
>> As an instructor. I couldn’t climb one mountain, not unless you got me a big billy goat that could carry me.
>> So you, as an instructor, you would leave your family even now to go back.
>> Right now, I have 13 grandchildren …
>> … eight grandchildren, five great-grandchildren. My wife, God bless her, she passed away in 2008. She was a little girl, 4-foot-11, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, Italian, black, black hair, brown, brown eyes, body … Oh. She was gorgeous, and then she had a stroke through diabetes. God, but thank God, she didn’t suffer. So to answer your question, I’ve got a family. I’ve got my kids, but they’re all grown up. They don’t need me anymore. They don’t need me anymore. They visit. They feed me. They phone, “How are you, Dad? Come on down Sunday,” which I do after church. I always drop in and see. But when the day comes that you’ve got no one that depends on you, really you’re taking up space. After my wife passed away, it was terrible. It was terrible, and yeah. I’d go back. I would go back. I’ve got too much involved in that country, too much of me. There’s too much of me still there. When I come home, yeah, I wasn’t the same Arthur that came home as the Arthur that went. Okay, sweetie?
>> I love you.
>> I love you, too, and you made everything … you and the thousands like you made it worthwhile.
>> Thank you.
>> Okay. Love that.