Intermission Stories (11)

Sgt. Brian Cooper & Cpl. Ron Walker  on Hill 111 just after the armistice

Sgt. Brian Cooper & Cpl. Ron Walker on Hill 111 just after the armistice

 

Corporal Ron Walker enlisted in the Royal Australian Regiment at the age of 17, July 1951 in Perth, WA.  Both of his brothers were veterans of the Korean War.  Having fought on Hill 159, in the “Bowling Alley” and Hill 111, Walker’s vivid memories in his memoirs  are the songs of the times: “Jumbalaya” -Teresa Brewer, “Moving On” – Hank Snow, “Vaia Con Dios” – Doris Day… and also the American band at Pusan playing “Waltzing Matilda.”  But here we will remember the poems he wrote that express more emotion than long stories are capable of ______

Hook area, Korean War

Hook area, Korean War

KOREAN LAMENT

Just over the Manchurian border, Korea is the spot,
We are doomed to our lifetime, in this land that God forgot.
Down with the snakes and lizards, down where the men are few,
Right in the middle of nowhere and a helluva way from home too.
 
We swear, we sweat, we grumble; it’s more than we can stand,
We’re not a bunch of convicts, but defenders of our land.
We are soldiers of an active force drawing our monthly pay,
Defending our people and country for thirty three bob a day.
 
Living on our memories or our lovin’ waiting gals,
hoping that while we’re away, they haven’t married pals.
The time we spent in the Army, the good times that we missed,
Boys, we hope the draft don’t get you, for God’s sake don’t enlist.
 
Now when we get to heaven, St. Peter will surely yell:
They’re REOS from Korea Lord and they’ve see enough of hell!
2RAR trench collapses after bombardment

2RAR trench collapses after bombardment

 
 
A KOREAN HILLSIDE
 
There is blood on the hills of Korea,
’tis the blood of the brave and the true.
Where the nations they battle together,
Beneath the banners of red, white and blue.
As we marched o’er the hills of Korea,
To the hills where the enemy lay.
 
We remember our general’s orders,
Those hills must be taken today.
So forward we went into battle,
Our faces unsmiling and stern.
For we know as we charge that hillside,
There are many who shall never return.
 
Some thought of their wives and sweethearts,
Some thought of their mothers so fair.
Yet others who plodded and stumbled,
Were softly saying a prayer.
There is blood on the hills of Korea,
’tis the cost of the freedom we love.
May their names live in glory forever,
While their souls rest in heaven above.
 

Ron Walker continued to serve in the military after the armistice, including the Bomb Search and Disposal Squad in Brisbane.  He was discharged on 1 July 1957.  This story was taken from Korean War Online.com.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Farewell Salutes – 

Robert Braid – Wilmington, MA; US Army WWII

Edward L. Callahan – Sherman, TX & Los Angeles, CA; US Army, WWII

Signal Corps Regimental Colors

Signal Corps Regimental Colors

Anne Heller – Brooklyn, NY & Santa Fe, NM; US Army Signal Corps, WWII (WAC)

Lloyd Hammel, Jr. – Oregon; US Army, WWII, PTO, Forward observer, Philippines & Korea

Raymond C. Hersey – Guelph, Can.; PPCLT Regiment, Canadian Special Force, Korea

John Krembs – Chicago, IL; US Army, Vietnam

Colin J. Meale – Whangarei, NZ; Service # 42/114919, WWII

James T. Robinson – Jupiter, FL; US Army WWII

Bernard G. Sykes – Norwood, MA, US Navy, Korea

John Wiltshier – Aukland, NZ – RNZAF, Squadron leader & RAF (Ret.)

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on April 14, 2014, in Korean War, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 61 Comments.

  1. Happy Easter to you and your family GP. Ralph 😀

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  2. Thankfully, back in those days, a lot of our soldiers were writers of verse.
    Through their words their storys are told, a picture in every line.
    Ian

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  3. Thank you for stopping by, I do not always comment as I would be repeating myself, you write with such interest, all of your post are enjoyable reads. Do you sometimes wonder how we can continue to do this “writing thing” day after day. Keep writing so we can keep reading, you are a storehouse of information. Ann

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  4. I know there is no way to truly feel what these men felt in these circumstances. But these poems gave us a glimpse. Thank you for sharing them.

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  5. Very enjoyable post. I’m sure Cpl Walker suffered for his poetry and you’re right his emotion comes through in his writing. Loved the photo!

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    • I was surprised when I found it (different site than the article), you would think when the armistice came, there would be a lot of jumping and yelling; yet here, 2 buddies sit and toast to the truce. Remarkable men these are.

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  6. The poets have an unfair advantage – they’re often remembered for far longer than some of the great warriors!

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    • I think they help to remember. Just as I told Jon, Flanders Field hit me in grammar school and is the main thing I remember from that class, but at least I remember. After that (especially at my age), my curiosity takes over and I check back into those things. It might be easier for people to remember a poem rather than a hundred names? [did I explain?]

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  7. Always interesting to see works of poetry that come out of war, whether In Flanders Field or these works. Thanks for sharing them.

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    • Very good reference, Jon. Flanders hit me when I first heard it in grammar school! That poem is one that will always be hard to beat. It was when I first realized what the men were going thru – no matter what war! Thanks for commenting about it.

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  8. I particularly like the first poem as it is so laced with Aussie references and humour. As with old photos (from which I glean a lot about people’s lives), these snippets of the past give so much more insight into what soldiers lived through than any more formal history can.

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  9. Dear GP,
    as I said before your blog is better than any history book and I admire you for being able to provide all this information in different form from photographs to ads and poems.
    Yes, our joined blog is working very well and it is much more fun and effective as well working together.
    I wish you a great week as well.
    Here it’s warm and sunny for many days now and the barometer says it will stay like this.
    Sunny Easter to you
    Klausbernd

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    • Thank you very much, Klausbernd. I am so glad “the people on the other side of the pond” are also interested in these Pacific stories! We are sure warming up here in Florida, our spring has definitely hopped away just in time for Easter. Hope you have a fabulous holiday yourself.
      Love to all, gpcox

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  10. Reblogged this on Foundations of The Twenty-First Century and commented:
    Very interesting Series. Thanks, GP!

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  11. An interesting poem. I never thought of it, snakes in Korea and lizards what kind. I know in World War Two snakes were a problem in the Pacific. Were there snakes in Korea? Lizards? Were they a problem? I always thought of Korea in the winter as a real enemy to our guys. How many of our soldiers died because of the winter?

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    • I’m afraid I can’t answer your questions off-hand. I like your curiosity – maybe a visit to Wikipedia is in order?

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      • mamushi,[2] or Japanese mamushi,[3] is a venomous pitviper species found in China, Japan, and Korea. Although I found there are some species of snakes in Korea who can kill, I found no evidence of casualties in Korea during the conflict of snake bites.

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  12. Thanks for sharing these poems!

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  13. I was moved by his poems, his anguish clear. Yet, he did his duty for his country and I am happy to see him in the photo. I zoomed in on it and saw appears to be Johnson’s Baby Powder and something that looks like Ar*** Ginger Nuts? Another good post to fill in the blanks, gpcox.

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    • Thanks, Koji. He sure has a baby face to go with the powder, doesn’t he? There was also a letter to his mother in the article, but I felt the poems said it best. 😕

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  14. His poetry brings to mind “Charge of the Light Brigade” and “Killer Angels”. Both put emotion and humanity into war–or reminded us civilians it was an integral part.

    Thanks for these.

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  15. Wow, what beautiful, moving poems. They convey such emotion. Thanks for providing, GP! Hope you have a wonderful week! 🙂

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  16. Great post GP. The poems say so much and they certainly did go through hell. Thanks for dedicating this post to the Aussie soldiers.

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    • Well, Norma, they fought as hard as anyone else and deserve all the credit they get! So, glad you enjoyed the poems; I felt they could say it better than I.

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  17. The verses are heartful and moving.

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  18. The soul amidst the battlefields of harsh, strange land – yes, an Aussie bloke can bare it all for us and he did in these poems. Loved them, even if I am partial to our Aussie slang 😀

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  19. “There is blood on the hills of Korea,
    ’tis the cost of the freedom we love.”

    That’s why we can’t forget. Thanks for continuing to share these stories.

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    • Dan, can’t tell you just how glad I am that you and so many others are enjoying these stories of men who worked so hard for us. Thanks for taking the time to say so.

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  20. Always love your ‘Aussie’ intermissions. Coming soon from me for 25th April is the Battle of Kapyong.

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  21. Great snap of the two mates enjoying a celebratory beer! Thanks also or sharing the two poems.

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  22. “Now when we get to heaven, St. Peter will surely yell:
    They’re REOS from Korea Lord and they’ve see enough of hell!”
    Those are great lines, aren’t they?

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