William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

HEROES UNSUNG – AT THE BATTLE OF KAPYONG

Michael Czuboka served with the Pats at Kapyong
he tells us that being, under attack, was no fun
Aussies and Gloucesters by hordes were forced to their knees
after being human-wave attacked by those Communist Chinese!

For a whole 48 hours they fought on that hill
surrounded by attackers making kill after kill
Michael did not think that he would survive
but he and some fellow soldiers, they came home alive!

These PPCLI HEROES of fifty-five years ago
celebrated that anniversary – though their steps are now slow
In Shilo they all attended their anniversary mess dinner
Mike sat at the head table – as an Honoured Kapyong Winner!

Holding At Kap-Yong 24th - 25th April 1951 by
Holding at Kapyong, by Edward Fenwick Zuber. Copyright Canadian War Museum (CN 90041). This painting depicts embattled Canadian troops during the Battle of Kapyong, 24-25 April 1951. The Canadians managed to hold off the enemy until supplies and reinforcements arrived. Their valiant effort ensured the success of an important U.N. operation.

Author’s Note: Congratulations to Michael Czuboka and to all surviving heroes of Kapyong and all battles of the Korean War. Your Canadian comrades who lie buried in Korean and Japanese Soil were honoured at the Anniversary Dinner held at Camp Shilo on the 21st of April 2006. May they all rest in Peace: At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

Letter: My Visit to Shilo for the Kapyong Anniversary
April 23, 2006

To: MWO K.L. Lewis, 2 PPCLI, Shilo.

Kevin:

I am writing to thank you, once again, for your hospitality, and that of your Commanding Officer all of your colleagues, at the Battle of Kapyong 55th Anniversary parade and mess dinner at Shilo on April 21, 2006.

I did not expect to be seated next to Lieutenant General Crabbe at the parade or at the head table at the dinner with Lieutenant-Colonel Sharpe, and certainly felt very honoured by my placements. Although I have a hearing disability, I understood and enjoyed the conversations that I had with my dinner companions. The suite that I occupied later that evening, as a result of your kind arrangements, was very comfortable.

Probably the most exciting 48 hours of my life took place at the Battle of Kapyong on April 24th and 25th, 1951. We were surrounded by the Chinese Army and I honestly did not believe that we were going to survive. Fortunately, we did survive, but the British Gloucester Battalion, a few miles to the west of us, was almost totally wiped out. The Gloucesters only had about 56 men left out of an original 900: the rest were killed or captured and many did not live through their captivity. The Australians on our immediate right at Kapyong also had many casualties. I had a grandstand seat and watched the Australians being attacked. Then it was our turn to be attacked and things got serious.

I told one of the reporters that interviewed me on Friday afternoon that, in my opinion, 2 PPCLI, like other units in the Canadian Army, is like a family to present and former members. Although I left the army and 2 PPCLI a long time ago, I have always followed its activities over the years. All of you are in many ways like members of my family. I did indeed find a home in the Army, and I have never forgotten the lessons that I learned while in 2 PPCLI.

I was very impressed, Kevin, by the way in which you conducted the mess dinner. You appeared to be very efficient and well-organized. I enjoyed the food and many toasts, but had to shorten my sips after a while because I remembered that I had to drive back to my quarters. I am of Ukrainian origin, and not Irish, and therefore can’t handle too much liquor. It was all very nostalgic and a lot of fun. I am forwarding a copy of this message to Joyce Smit, the Commanding Officer’s Secretary, and trust that she will present it to him for his information.

Thanks again for everything.

SH 800313 Pte. Michael “Mike” Czuboka
2 PPCLI (1950 – 1954) and later,
TH 81471 2nd Lieutenant Mike Czuboka