William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

F’N CLAP CRAP

I tink dis is a lot a crap
dese records about who’s got de clap
Canadians fought in de front line
wen in Korea dey did dere time

an end of dreams because it seems
the new f’n Canadian War Museum
has put very little on display
to honour members of the KVA

The AIRBORNE dey don’t have VD
just murder pictures for all to see
This f’n museum sure don’t represent
the members of our Regiment!

The taxpayers paid for this f’n Taj Mahal
that is run like a civvie would run a mall
there is nothing right about it at all
re the KVA[•] and AIRBORNE who served us all!

Author’s Note: F’n is the abbreviation of the Irish word Ficken sometimes mispronounced by Infantry Senior NCO’s as friggen – then there is the civilian version and you know what that is: Flippin.

Korean Vet News: May 11, 2005
Dedicated to the sacrifice and indomitable spirit of Canada’s Korean War Veterans

“Contrary to what the popular historians have claimed, the Canadians did not perform particularly well in Korea.” (p. 77).

Billy Willbond: F’n Clap Crap
The arm badge that more than 30,000
Canadians wore with great pride
Very nice thing to put into a book about Canada’s gallant infantry in the Korean War, don’t you think? It’s an extract by a reviewer from a book written by a Department of National Defence, Defence Policy Officer that was published in 2002. The research staff at the new Canadian War Museum must like that book because they extracted the following from it for public display in the Korean War exhibits: “414 – the number of cases per thousand, per year of venereal disease in Canadian forces in Korea”

What in the world is going on in Ottawa? Is there any reason to put such a terrible allegation on public display in the new Korean War exhibits that are supposed to commemorate our contributions during the Korean War? That allegation, lifted from a single book implies that 41.4% of all Canadians who served in Korea contracted a venereal disease!

Isn’t that patently absurd? If you served in an infantry battalion, did 414 men in your unit contract VD? Think of it? Did 15 men in your platoon contract it? For other units like artillery, Strath Squadron, supporting corps units, do the math yourself. According to that outrageous statistic 41 percent of your comrades who served in Korea with you contracted VD!

Aside from the absurdity of the numbers that appear in the same book that says we did not perform particularly well, why in the world is there any mention at all of such sensational trivia by supposed military history professionals who are charged with accurately telling the story of the involvement of Canadians in the various wars and military missions?

Posting such a lowly, sensational allegation in a modern museum will assuredly have a most hurtful impact upon our families and loved ones and perhaps even inspire taunting from others. What a message for our grandchildren and great grandchildren who go through the place looking proudly for the artefacts that remind Canada of their grandfather’s or great grandfather’s role in the Korean War!

KVA Canada President Les Peate reports that he has asked the chief historian at the museum if there is any mention of VD in the World War One or World War Two exhibits. The response was “no”. The terrible reference is made only in the Korean War exhibits.

When asked for the source of this amazingly insensitive public allegation, the historian cited the book referred to above! Is that how well paid and supposedly well trained historians do their job when they are putting together an exhibit that is supposed to reflect with accuracy Canada’s role in a major war… to extract a sensational reference from a single book?

Any newspaper reporter who took a story to his editor which had such widespread, hurtful implications and then told him his attribution was a single book likely would find himself writing up obits or marriage blurbs or something of that ilk. He would have proved that he was not a competent, trustworthy reporter. If he was just trying to state a sensational, hurtful statistic without being able to examine the source or even understand the significance of it with respect to the lives and performance of those involved – its relevance – then the reporter might be very close to committing another terrible breach of journalistic ethics.

It’s called working with a sense of pre-existing malice – the proof of which is dreaded by lawyers who defend news media against libel charges. Proof of malice multiplies the monetary award for injury and damages a judge or court might award and it is also grounds for an additional punitive award.

We do not allege or even suggest that misfeasance exists on the part of the staff at the Canadian War Museum or that they have worked with a conscientious sense of malice or have committed class actionable libel. However, those are the implications that a competent editor would have to consider in the situation suggested above. Aside from that, it’s just plain stupid to extract sensational trivia from a book and put it on public display! Stupid and terribly insulting!

Our troops were rough and tough – they had to be and frankly were trained to be – but by and large they were also upright and moral and represented virtually every trade and occupation in Canada. They came from every part of Canada; every part without exception.

Sure, rotten apples get into the barrel. But did you tolerate any of them? Weren’t the objectionable, reprehensible sorts who got through the recruitment screening squared away by those who served with them – those not of that ilk?

The Canadian infantry never gave up ground, the Canadian artillery – RCHA and RCA – was superb and fired for many foreign units as well as Canadian, the tanks of the Lord Strathcona’s Horse performed exceptionally well – as at Chai-li in 1951 for instance – the support from the Royal Canadian Engineers, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, Signals, Service Corps, RCEME, Ordnance, Dental, Postal, Pay – it was all excellent and provided under extremely hazardous and harsh conditions.

The conduct and action of the units that served in Korea in the post armistice period was no less sterling and creditable to Canada.

After the war the Veterans returned to towns and cities and farms in every province of their country. They returned to their families, or they married and formed new ones, and they have been exemplary in their conduct and contributed much to the development of our Canada!

Some, of course, are buried in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan, or in the Commonwealth Cemetery in Yokahama. Some were buried in unmarked graves on the field of battle and some were lost at sea. Their service in the Korean War needs to be recorded properly in their country’s military history. There are so many fine things to say about them – that have never been said – that disparagement within the Canadian War Museum is intolerable.

It must be corrected. For the dignity of our Country, for the memory of those who fell, for those who have passed on since the war ended and for our families.

And dare anyone really say they did not perform well? Tell that to a young section leader whose men came under attack in five separate waves in a major battle in 1951. Thrice wounded he refused to withdraw his men or leave them. Against his orders and protests he finally was carried to a slit trench in another section’s area. He smoked part of a cigarette, blood streaming down his cheeks, and died within the minute. When the platoon withdrew, virtually out of ammunition, and fought the enemy with bayonets and rifle butts to break out, a young soldier from Ottawa charged the enemy alone instead of giving ground. His platoon sergeant threw his bayoneted empty rifle like a spear at one of the enemy soldiers.

One thin young man who weighed about 120 pounds scrounged up ammunition from fallen comrades for his Bren gun. Of his own volition, although twice wounded in the previous attacks, he stayed behind and covered the withdrawal of the men of his platoon. The next morning, when the position was recovered, comrades found him, too weak to stand but still defending them with his Bren gun.

Most of us know of acts of heroism; “extraordinary things done by ordinary people,” as the museum theme goes – and refusal to give in to the enemy, and personal sacrifice to maintain the honour of Canada, were some of them.

We will remember them!