John Melady is a veteran writer on military history and space exploration. His many books include Pearson’s Prize, Canadians in Space, Star of Courage, and Heartbreak and Heroism. He lives in Egmondville, Ontario.
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We fought in the war, too, Eh???June 16 1999
- Published on Amazon.com
Listen, eh....Korea was Canada's forgotten war, too, eh? Melady wrote this book to point out that Canadian troops fought in those rice paddies and on those ridges, too. 516 Canadians died as a result of the Korean War. The book is more than battlefield stories. In sweeping prose Melady covers the post world war II tragedy of Korean division; how Maj. General Hodge hurt the process of rebuilding the south; and the desperate, sometimes comical, sometimes heroic, ROK resistance in the wars' early hours. Back in Canada, Melady shares stories of the rush to enlist..one fella with a scar from his neck to to his naval who claimed it was for an appendectomy; another guy in the medical corps, who told the psychiatrists he liked to go out at night and strangle sheep. But by far the most intriguing story is that of the mysterious Dr. Cyr, aka Fred Demara. From March to October 1951 this fellow masqueraded as Surgeon-Lieutenant Cyr and practiced medicine (admittedly often by stealing a look at a textbook or soliciting help from other medics) on the Cayuga for six months, even managing to pull one of the Captains teeth. Eventually, the real Dr. Cyr, back in New Brunswick, happened to read a story about himself in the newspaper. The ruse fell apart shortly afterwords. Still, the book is not all jest and off-the-cuff irony. Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry fought gallantly and tragically at Kapyong-ni in early 1951, preventing a breach in the UN lines and perhaps the fall of Seoul (again). For this they were awarded the Presidential Citation for 'Outstanding Heroism'-- the only Canadians to ver receive this award. Quite an accomplishment for soldiers who, a few months before, were afraid the War would be over before they arrived in Korea.