SUMMERSIDE – Art Hiscock spent 14 months on foreign soil, fighting in what’s been referred to as the Forgotten War.
On Friday, the Summerside man, along with fellow Island Korean War veterans, will gather in the city to recall the sacrifices made and to mark the 59th anniversary of the war’s ceasefire, a war that claimed more than six million civilian lives.
“It wasn’t recognized as a war for 50 years. It was a peace action,” said Hiscock. “Finally, the Government of Canada, in 2003, recognized it as a war. A lot of Korean veterans were somewhat disappointed. We had 516 Canadians killed over there. That’s not a peace action.”
The Grand Falls, N.L, native enlisted in 1950 and was eventually posted with the 519 Squadron where he served three years, including his 14 months spent in Korea.
He never fired a gun in battle but had the dangerous job of removing partially exploded landmines and clearing sensitive minefields.
“We were in the final stages of the war,” said Hiscock of his time in Korea. “It was something like the First World War — hills on each side that were manned. Activities were patrols at night. In other words, it was not a mobile war. It was hills on each side, manned by North Koreans and Chinese on one side and South Koreans and the UN troops on the other side.”
After eight years in the military, Hiscock got a job with an engineering consulting firm in Moncton before moving to P.E.I. to work in government in 1967.
He still stays in contact with fellow Korean War veterans from the region, many who are coming to Summerside for Friday’s event.
Veterans from all conflicts, Legion members, those currently in the Canadian Forces and air and sea cadets are encouraged to gather at the Legion at 10 a.m. to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the Korean War ceasefire.
At 10:30, a parade will leave the Legion and end at the Memorial Square cenotaph where wreathes will be laid in memory of the eight Islanders who died in the war.
At the cenotaph, Doris Gallant will lay a wreath in memory of her late brother, John Earl Watson, the only Summerside soldier killed in Korea.
Following the parade, a reception will be held upstairs at the Legion. Storyboards will be on display, telling the stories of some of the Island soldiers who fought.
The entire event is being co-ordinated by local volunteers and the Memory Project Speakers Bureau. At luncheon, a representative from the Speakers Bureau, which connects veterans with organizations looking for individuals to speak about their experience at war or other conflicts, will make a presentation.
Hiscock is a member of the bureau. He feels it’s important for veterans to share their stories so that the sacrifices made are not forgotten.
“The main reason for it is for veterans to pass onto young people some of their experiences. They should know what has gone on both in the Second World War and the Korean War.”