You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
by Art Johnson

When we were told about the proposed raid we were to take part in, "C" coy was located on hill 187. The plan was for 7 platoon, Lt., Bauld, to lead the assault and drive the defenders underground, then eight platoon, Sgt., Mazeral, was to follow up and the section leaders job was to toss phosphorous grenades down the holes and bring the enemy up at our place and then the section would take them prisoner if possible. We were to have postal mail bags to put over the prisonerís heads and tie around their waists to make it easier to control them. Nine platoon under Lt., Ritchie, was to follow up and relieve us of any prisoners or wounded. I remember that one of nine platoons Corporals was to have a reel of white tape on his back to lay from the bottom to the top of the hill in order to mark the route out. The Pioneers were to build a temporary sandbag bridge across the stream out in front of the forward platoon so we wouldnít make a noise splashing through the water. The Bofors were to be brought up from the bridges to fire us up to the top of the hill and then the moonlighters would turn on their lights so we could see what we were doing. We were also told that all the section leaders would be debriefed. An engineer officer Lt., Johnston was also to come along to study the enemy trench system; itís funny I donít remember being told which hill we were going to attack but I always thought it was 166. Years later I found out it was 110 or was it 113?

The company went back to an area a few miles behind us a day or so before the raid to rehearse our roles (Les Peate of Esprit de Corps Magazine recalls seeing us; he was in the British Army at the time). Would you believe that nine platoon got lost in broad daylight and went up the wrong hill, not a good omen.

The rehearsal was a precursor of the real thing because everything that went wrong on the rehearsal went wrong on the raid and then some; also somebody got the brainy idea that we would leave a sign in Chinese at the top of the hill after we were finished. The Pioneers made up a nice sign with a background of Regimental colours and Chinese characters that said "YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YETí.  It would have been nice had it worked. We started out just after dusk to meet a group of Pioneers at a sandbag crossing they had built for us at a small creek but we missed each other. Proceeding across the valley we came to a village that we started through. I can remember this noise every once in a while and thought we may as well have brought the Bugle Band with us. Finally I came across the cause of the noise; it was a drawer from a chest of drawers laying across the path and it was being tripped over every so often.  My first thought was to move it but then I thought  maybe itís booby trapped and what the hell they have heard us by now and a little more noise isnít going to make any difference. Seven platoon was leading with eight to pass through once they established a hold on the top. In the first exchange of fire between seven platoon and the enemy one man was killed, a young fellow named Gautier, from St. Catharines area of Ontario. In rapid succession all the section leaders were hit, it is a good thing there were some good Lance Jacks there or it might have been a worse fiasco. While all this was going on at the top of the hill the "O" group was hit by a 25 pdr that dropped short causing some wounded including CSM Doran. The FOO with us immediately had the 25 pdrs stop firing and this just left the Bofors firing us in with tracer for the final assault, after which the moonshiners were supposed to turn on their lights to assist us. I can tell you there was a bit of sweating going on as Maj. Holmes radioed to keep them from being turned on.  If  he had not been successful it would have been like shooting ducks in a barrel for the Chinese. Amid all this confusion we were looking for nine platoon to take the wounded off our hands but just like in the rehearsal they went up the wrong hill. Seven platoon withdrew through eight with Lt. Bauld being the last man down and then we withdrew to the bottom of the hill where Maj Holmes was directing traffic out to a rendezvous in the middle of the valley. I got my section together and we picked up a chap named Black from seven platoon, he had a slight wound on his head and could walk without any problem. When we arrived at the rendezvous I got my section down behind a low dike and faced up the valley towards 355. Maj. Holmes arrived and started organizing things He asked for any NCOs from each platoon and I sang out for eight platoon. Just then we came under machine gun fire from the valley floor and at least three more were hit, one of the signalers was hit in both arms, McAleery his name was, he came from Newfoundland, two others including Cpl. Norm Lambert got stitched across the guts. I immediately returned fire with my Sten and the firing stopped; now I thought they will mortar the dickens out of us. Once again Maj. Holmes quickly got things organized and we moved out of there. I went over to McAleery to help him, he couldnít get up on his feet .I told him "Look,  Iíll hold you around the waist and you crawl." We started, I took one step and tromped on one of his dangling arms, I won't repeat exactly what he said but the gist of it was just stand me up you idiot and Iíll walk ,so I did and he went with someone else. I looked around for anyone else and seeing no one followed after. When I reached the next rendezvous it was in a gully or a dried creek bed, the mortars had just started coming in at our old spot so I dived for cover and who do you think I landed on? Why good old McAleery of course. I wasnít one of his favorite people before that night and things sure didnít improve between us when I landed on him. I then disentangled myself and peered over the rim of the gully and heard someone calling for assistance to help bring in more wounded, so I went out and ran into Doug Fulton and Lt. Johnston of the engineers, along with the FOOís signaler.  They were carrying one of the eight platoon chaps who had been stitched across the guts. Lt. Johnston had both the wounded man's legs over his shoulders and Fulton and the signaler, who was much shorter than Fulton, were on either side of his shoulders. I took the signalerís place and gave him my Sten so he could escort us. That was the last I saw of either of them. When we were about a hundred yards out from the gate and tiring fast when we saw this white form come boiling out from the hill towards us;  it turned out to be CSM Tracz clad in a white tee-shirt with his KSC porters and some stretchers. I had hoped at that point we would have been relieved but no such luck, but it was easier with a stretcher and four people carrying. Before reaching the gate we again ran into the ubiquitous Maj. Holmes directing traffic and shortly after that were relieved of our load when more KSC porters arrived on the scene. After going through the gate I was checked off the list and stopped to have a chat with the chap doing the checking. We were talking  when one of the cooks came by, Beer  was his name, he said he was going out to give a hand with the wounded, about five minutes later he limped back in with a piece of shrapnel in his leg, he had become one of the wounded.

Arthur Johnson was born in Toronto, 1929 and lives in Scarborough, Ontario.  He is married with two children and nine grandchildren.  Art served with The Royal Canadian Regiment, 1st and 2nd Battalions, C Company.  He was severely wounded 12 August 1952 on Hill 355.  He is  a member of KVA Unit #57.


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