Hospital reader and Lady Almoner – POWs 17

To read on Rememberance Day

Green Writing Room

All through spring and summer of 1943 starving and diseased POWs from the up-country railway work camps (in Thailand) trickled south to the bigger camps such as Chungkai. Barry reached this camp in July 1943 and was soon fit enough to do some work.

My first and simplest job was basically as a storyteller or rather reader. I would take a likely book from the camp library and sit down on the end of a bed space in one of the sick huts, and read a chapter or two. Then I would move down the hut, twenty or thirty yards, and read the same piece to another lot of sick men. This was judged to be a useful employment, so I was never called on to join a maintenance party.

In October the two parts of the railway, Thailand and Burma, joined up at Konkuita and from then on sick and…

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Correspondent’s View – 2

Great writing

Pacific Paratrooper

5 September 1951, the North Koreans moved from Bloody Ridge to the 7 mile long hill known to the Americans as Heartbreak Ridge, just 1,500 yards away. A month long battle that would cost the U.S. 2nd Division 3,700 men. Below are two more articles written by Korean War correspondent Rafael Steinberg as he witnesses some of the action involved.


By, Rafael Steinberg

WITH THE SECOND U.S. INFANTRY DIVISION, Korea, Sept. 28. – (INS) – When it began, there were many men, and they all said they’d rather live than be heroes.  But when it was over, there were many heroes.  The heroes who didn’t live through it were carried to the road in trucks that were seldom too large for the load they were given.  Those who lived, staggered off “Heartbreak Ridge” like fugitives from a nightmare.

They had fired…

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On a lighter note…

Post no. 425

Pun intended of course yesterday if you have read post no. 424 on this blog paying homage to veterans.

I know I won’t make friends with some people.


Click on the image at your own risk…

This is the link again to that lighter note. 

And this is the comment sent from the person who sent it to me yesterday.

Hi Pierre,

Thank you for this interesting and important article from the Huffington Post. I forwarded it to all my email addressees.

It is sad and depressing to see ‘how low’ our supposed democratic Government of Canada has stooped.

You can bet all the ‘politicians’ will be at the Canada’s Cenotaphs on the 11th of November with their hypocritical heads bowed vying for the opportunist ‘Photo Op’.

I plan to turn my back when the politicians speak and lay their wreaths. 



To learn more about our Minister of Veterans Affairs

Click here.

It does not hurt to have a little controversy once and a while before November 11th.


Click on the poppy


Lest We Forget

This was sent my cousin Joe who lives in the U.S.


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Jeopardy Question:

On Jeopardy the other night, the final question was “How many steps does the
guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns” —-
All three contestants missed it! —

This is really an awesome sight to watch if you’ve never had the chance.

Very fascinating.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

1. How many steps does the guard take during his walk across the tomb of the Unknowns
and why?

21 steps:
It alludes to the twenty-one gun salute which is the highest honor given any military
or foreign dignitary.

2. How long does he hesitate after his about face to begin his return walk and why?

21 seconds for the same reason as answer number 1

3. Why are his gloves wet?

His gloves are moistened to prevent his losing his grip on the rifle.

4. Does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time and, if not, why not?

He carries the rifle on the shoulder away from the tomb. After his march across the path, he executes an about face and moves the rifle to the outside shoulder.

5. How often are the guards changed?

Guards are changed every thirty minutes, twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year.

6. What are the physical traits of the guard limited to?

For a person to apply for guard duty at the tomb, he must be between 5′ 10′ and 6′ 2′ tall and his waist size cannot exceed 30.

They must commit 2 years of life to guard the tomb, live in a barracks under the tomb, and cannot drink any alcohol on or off duty for the rest of their lives. They cannot swear in public for the rest of their lives and cannot disgrace the uniform or the tomb in any way.

After two years, the guard is given a wreath pin that is worn on their lapel signifying they
served as guard of the tomb. There are only 400 presently worn. The guard must obey these rules for the rest of their lives or give up the wreath pin.

The shoes are specially made with very thick soles to keep the heat and cold from their feet. There are metal heel plates that extend to the top of the shoe in order to make the loud click as they come to a halt.

There are no wrinkles, folds or lint on the uniform. Guards dress for duty in front of a full-length mirror.

The first six months of duty a guard cannot talk to anyone nor watch TV. All off
duty time is spent studying the 175 notable people laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

A guard must memorize who they are and where they are interred. Among the notables are:
President Taft,
Joe Louis {the boxer}
Medal of Honor winner Audie L. Murphy, the most decorated soldier of WWII and of Hollywood fame.

Every guard spends five hours a day getting his uniforms ready for
guard duty..


In 2003 as Hurricane Isabelle was approaching WashingtonDC, our US Senate/House took 2 days off with anticipation of the storm. On the ABC evening news, it was reported that because of the dangers from the hurricane, the military members assigned the duty of
guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier were given permission to suspend the assignment. They respectfully declined the offer, “No way, Sir!” Soaked to the skin, marching in the pelting rain of a tropical storm, they said that guarding the Tomb was not just an assignment, it was the highest honor that can be afforded to a service person. The tomb has been patrolled continuously, 24/7, since 1930.

God Bless and keep them.

I’d be very proud if this reached as many as possible. We can be very proud of our young men and women in the service no matter where they serve.

God Bless America

I did not know that!


More information here

On a lighter note…?


Click here.

A Correspondent’s View

About the Korean War, the Forgotten War…

Pacific Paratrooper

I was recently the recipient of newspaper articles written by Korean War correspondent, Rafael Steinberg.  My original intention was to extract notes of interest from these items to include here, as they fit into the timeline of the war.  But – these particular pieces struck me as so well-written, such an exact depiction of the scene, that I knew I had to receive permission to reprint, in full, as it appeared in the Dallas Times Herald, 4/13/51….

Bowling Alley

Sparsely Settled, Isolated Valley Explodes Into Korea War Hot Spot

By: Rafael Steinberg

On the Central Korean Front, April 13 (INS.) – For nearly an hour a sparsely settled, isolated and almost picturesque river valley exploded into one of the hottest front line sectors in North Korea.

In the Pukhan Valley, above the 38th parallel, in an area that up to this week had been untouched by war, 60 U.S…

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The Liberation of Marlag and Milag Nord – Part 1

Jim L’Esperance and Herman Sulkers were prisoners there.

Click here.

Someone else was also there. His name was Gérard Tourangeau, Able Seaman.

AB Tourangeau died this year. His niece has written a comment on the French version of this blog.

She wants to contribute to that blog.

J’aimerais savoir si mon oncle faisait partie de votre équipage car ma tante étant décédée, elle a légué des objets de l’époque de la guerre à mon fils qui est rendu à 20 ans maintenant et qui là me semble prêt à lire et à apprendre sur le sujet. Moi je me souviens un peu, mais il me manque des renseignements. Le livre sur le bateau a été légué au fils de mon oncle pouvez-vous m’en référer un. Il se nommait Gérard Tourangeau et m’a raconté lorsque le bateau a été attaqué et lui avait été brûlé au visage car lorsqu’il est ressorti à la surface, il est ressorti dans une flaque d’huile en flammes. Il m’a parlé de la guerre que très tard dans sa vie. Surtout de l’Allemagne. On en a su que très peu. 

Je sais une chose vous êtes des hommes et ou vos oncles pères et autres parents sont des hommes fiers et remarquables…


image 3

She wants to know more about her uncle.

She found the right person!

Click here.

Athabaskan sinking 1944

Patrick Maguire Where Are You? Part 3

Sometimes we never find out why.

Why did Patrick Maguire got his discharge papers since the war was still raging on? Did he want to become a pilot.

I know where he was posted in Canada.

Patrick Maguire training in Canada

First he was posted to No. 7 B&G School in Paulson, Manitoba.

Paulson Manitoba

Patrick Maguire arrived in Paulson on December 10th, 1943. 

No.7 Bombing and Gunnery School was a training base for bomb aimers and air gunners. Patrick Maguire trained there as an air bomber or bomb aimer.

Patrick Maguire training in Canada Patrick Maguire UT Air Bomber

He had a very good character and got an A in proficiency. Patrick Maguire was then transfered to No. 7 A.O.S. in Portage La Prairie on March 25th, 1944. 

No. 7 A.O.S, was an Air Observer School.

Patrick Maguire Portage La Prairie

To learn more about No. 7 A.O.S, you can click here.

Patrick Maguire was there until May 4th, 1944 when he got his discharge papers still having good record marks.

What does his service record show after that?

Patrick Maguire posting datesHe is struck of strength from No. 7 A.O.S. on May 5th, 1944 and he is taken on strength at 7 P.R.E. on the 25th of May. He most probably left Canada by a ship leaving Halifax. His record shows he is still an air bomber on appointment. From 7 P.R.E. he went to No.9 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit which was based at RAF Penrhos. He arrived there on September 5th, 1944. 

RAF Penrhos was operational from 1 February 1937 to 21 October 1946 for armament training, air observer, bombing and gunnery schools (Wikipedia).

That’s not a pilot training school.

From there he went to 14 O.T.U. on  January 23rd, 1945.

14 O.T.U. was formed in April 1940 as part of No. 6 Group RAF Bomber Command at RAF Cottesmore to train night bomber crews. It was disbanded on the 24 June 1945 (Wikipedia).

What about 14 O.T.U.?

To be continued…