Ted Adye served with 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), the first army unit to see action in the Korean War. He recalls an infamous incident in which his unit came across American soldiers killed during their sleep in February 1951 and also the Battle of Kap’yong in April 1951, at which 2 PPCLI helped push back a Chinese assault. Mr. Adye’s service in Korea ended when he was injured during an enemy attack that followed the heavy shelling of 2 PPCLI’s positions from 10-13 October 1951.
Please be advised that Memory Project primary sources may deal with personal testimony that reflect the speaker’s recollections and interpretations of events. Individual testimony does not necessarily reflect the views of the Memory Project and Historica Canada.
Content warning: This article contains content which some may find offensive or disturbing.
We loaded into deuce and a half [2 ½ ton] American trucks, a whole company of them and they moved us up to the front. And that took two or three days. We stopped at night and we only, as I recall, moved in daylight and I think it was the second day up, we were on a road, it was sort of like a, what we would call a country road, it wasn’t a highway. And there were bodies and whatnot and at first, we thought, oh, a bunch, you know, kind of laughed, a bunch of the enemy. But then somebody got the word back to us, no, they were Americans. And it was a troop that had been overwhelmed in their sleeping bags the previous night and weren’t able to defend themselves, they didn’t have any lookouts out, nobody on watch. And so that was quite a shock.
This is wintertime, we would advance in fighting formations if there was enough space but if there wasn’t, we would just be long lines of troops climbing the hills to get up onto Hill so and so,. For the most part, we got to those positions and the enemy either wasn’t there or had just vacated. We could tell sometimes whether they had been there just shortly before or hadn’t been there for quite a while. They used a lot of garlic in their food and we could smell it. Even though they weren’t there, we could smell the garlic. So we knew that they had just gone.
It was the night of the 25th [April 1951] that we were attacked, the battalion as a whole were attacked. In fact, the third RAR [The Royal Australian Regiment] were also attacked. They were attacked before we were but then they came and they attacked us. And Dog Company, which was up on higher ground, and a little bit further away from us, took the brunt, the main brunt of the attack. So they were the ones that called down our own artillery on top of themselves to drive the enemy out and it worked. And strangely enough, not one of our own people was hit by any shrapnel from our own artillery. Amazing.
Our position, Able Company, we were in the middle and a bit south of the side of that or the top of that hill. And except for I think one of our platoons, the rest of our company wasn’t attacked. But we were ready of course. I was with company headquarters, so sort of protected in the middle. But I remember one thing of that night, my buddy and I, I can’t remember his name, we had our slit trench and we were looking south and it was a fairly light night, and I forget whether the moon was up or not, and we could see these things in a slope down ahead of us. And they moved. Or we thought they moved. When daylight came the next morning, it was tree stumps.
In October of 1951, I guess it was the whole brigade moved west, because we’d been more central east for pretty much of that whole year. Except in the summer, we’d been over on the Han River defense line. Anyway, we moved west and as I say, our battalion positions were not that far away from Panmun Jom. And the night of the 10th, the enemy put in a big attack, a fairly big one, and the RCR [The Royal Canadian Regiment] were on our left and I think the Van Doos [a nickname for the Royal 22e Régiment] were on our right. And there was a lot of bullets flying and there was all kinds of stuff flying that night. And I took a bullet through my right lung. That was the end of Korea for me.