Canada Toronto (4)

>> My name is Chester Brennan. I joined the [INAUDIBLE] went to Korea in 1951.

>> What do you most remember about it?

>> Lots of things about it, really. I remember riding the train from Busan up to near the 38th parallel. I remember it being hit by bullets, windows blowing out of it, and my first year was on Hill 355, and then, from what I understood, that my unit was at the point with the line going across Korea, and it was a very important position. If they got behind us, they got behind everybody, so we really worked hard to hold that position, and I was in a few real tough battles up there. We had an old post call back from [INAUDIBLE] that was it pretty hard during the day by the North Koreans, and I went over there at 3 o’clock in the afternoon and rescued three live guys, went back out and found three buried guys, and rescued them as well, all in the same afternoon, in broad daylight.

>> You have so many medals.

>> Yeah, it seems like every time I turn around, somebody is giving me another one, and I went from 31255, Hill 355, and I was moved from there over to a place called the Hook. I was on the Hook for 2 or 3 months, and I was in a couple major battles there, and then I moved to 187, and we had a terrible couple of battles there. We lost 40 of our boys in one night on 187.

>> And there’s a Korean War memorial, Wall of Remembrance, and I know there are names of those who were killed in Korea engraved.

>> I have them all listed on my briefcase, every one of them.

>> I saw that. I saw that, and you must recognize a lot of the names there.

>> I served behind the lines, where I knew all those guys. I was on 355. About 10 o’clock in the morning, we had a guy on the stretcher by the name of Bradshaw. We had a [INAUDIBLE] on the front, and the corporal, he was on the front, a lance corporal on the back and me on the back, and a shell hit the [INAUDIBLE] and killed three of them. I got blackened but didn’t get hurt, so somebody was looking after me, I guess. I don’t know.

>> Well, I’m sure God was looking out for you, and you see the names on the walls, and they all died, but you see South Korea, the prosperous nation that she is, and Koreans all over the world know, whether Korean Canadians, Korean Americans, like me, we’re so grateful. What do you feel when you see that?

>> See?

>> Korea, Koreans, what do you feel?

>> Well, I was there, and it brings back memories, brings back memories of what I did, what I went through. I’ve been decorated several times by the presidents of Korea. I did that big [INAUDIBLE] the big stone downtown [INAUDIBLE], and I went to … They called me to a big special meeting in Toronto with Korean people. They decorated me with that, and it really … It’s something else, really.

>> What do you hope for the future of the Korean people, or …

>> I hope they don’t go through it again. When I was there, there was nothing for them. Seoul is not the Seoul that I went through there, and there was kids with no clothes. People come along and beg you for something, to give them a pair of socks or something, and they were … They had nothing that they needed. They needed clothes, and it was a very sad situation. The only highlight I got at all, there was a little boy, we called him Willy, RCR Willy, and I was with him when he was just smaller than him, and he came to Canada with me, and he’s in Canada now. RCR Willy is what his name is. He’s in Canada, and he was just a little guy, and we rescued him. He was all by himself and nobody to take care of him, so we took him with us, and he’s in, I think, he’s in Ottawa here, a little Ottawan [INAUDIBLE] RCR Willy.

>> How did you guys meet again?

>> We just happened to run into each other, and I just got talking. When I heard his name, I said, “Kid, are you RCR Willy?” “Yeah.” He said, “I know you.” “Yeah, I know you, too.” We rescued him. We named RCR Willy because I was RCR, Royal Canadian Regiment, we named him RCR Willy. He’s in Canada somewhere now, in Ottawa somewhere.

>> And he kept his name?

>> What?

>> He kept his name Willy?

>> RCR Willy.

>> Wow.

>> Yeah, he’s in Ottawa somewhere.

>> That must have been very emotional.

>> What?

>> That must have been very emotional.

>> Oh, yeah, yeah, he was quite a little guy.

>> Well, I can guarantee you there are many, many Koreans all over the world enjoying the freedoms and success that we are thanks to your sacrifices.

>> Mm-hmm.

>> Thank you.

>> Yeah.