What's Your Story

That time we dropped our rifles and picked up hockey sticks during the Korean War

In the midst of the Korean war, on the banks of the Imjin River, Dennis Moore felt a surge of Canadian pride, not just through service but in playing hockey.

'That day many people saw Canadians in another light.'

Dennis Moore in 'my last hour in the "hills"' of Korea, 1950s, and recently at a reception commemorating the battle of the Imjin river, 'the same river we played that game of hockey in 1952.' (Dennis Moore)

In the midst of the Korean War, on the banks of the Imjin River, Dennis Moore felt a surge of Canadian pride, not just through service but in playing hockey. Throughout 2017, we're asking Canadians, "What's your story?" Sixty-four years after the fighting in Korea stopped, Moore, of North Bay, Ont., shares his.

My Canada: Two words only, but with much power in them.

Pride in my Canada truly started in Korea in 1950-52. I was a soldier.  

For 98 per cent of my 13 months in Korea, I represented my Canada with much pride while holding a rifle; the remainder of my time with the same pride while holding a hockey stick.

'The Patricia Team. Very proud to be part of a great bunch of brothers.' (Dennis Moore)

My regiment was the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Fifteen members of our team were lads from each province and, at that time, one foreigner from Newfoundland. I believe I am that last living member.

We played the French Regiment, the Royal 22 R "Van Doos," in January 1952 on the frozen Imjin River in the middle of the war. Our front line positions and the "bad guys" were a mere five minute Jeep ride to the north.

The spectators (lined up along the shoreline and up the slopes) were from many countries including Korea (civilian farmers).  My pride was instantaneous the moment we left our "dressing tent" and stepped out onto the ice. It truly moved me.

Dennis Moore and the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in a game of hockey, January 1952, on the frozen Imjin River during the Korean War. 'That is myself right of net,' says Moore. (Dennis Moore)

The world knew the Canadian soldier as a fighting man. That day many people saw Canadians in another light. They saw that regardless of a war going on, if Canadians wished to play our game of hockey, we played and let the chips fall where they may.  

That was not bravery on our part, that was pure unadulterated pride in being Canadian.

What's your story? What defines Canada for you? Is there a time that you were proud to be Canadian, or perhaps a time you felt disappointed? Is there a place, person, or event in your life that sums up what being Canadian is to you? Tell us at cbc.ca/ whatsyourstory.


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