STANLEY “SAM” CARR
To mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on July 27, Maclean’s teams up with the Historica-Dominion Institute to tell the tales of seven veterans of that brutal war.
Carr meets ‘the man the Chinese couldn’t kill’:
So we got up to the position and got in and the first thing I did, because you could hardly see where anybody was at this time, or whatever happened, and I asked the Sergeants and they said, ‘Who is out in the listening post?’ I said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘You’re the one who puts them out there.’ ‘No way,’ he says, ‘it’s the platoon commander.’ I said, ‘Well, don’t you normally know exactly what he’s saying?’ And he said…I think he was a little bit shook up because he was another Second World War veteran; we had a lot of Second World War veterans. And I said, ‘Well, did you not go out there to see?’ He said, ‘I’m not going out there,’ because the listening post had got hit, moreso than the main position.
So I went out and I found a chap crawling along a pathway and his name was [Gordon] Manktelow, and I got to him and he had been stabbed 26 times all over – you could see where the marks were, with his own bayonet on his own rifle. But because of the parka that he was wearing, an Arctic parka and that double underneath padding, the 26 marks were on his body but…just broke the skin. And if you ever go back in the Toronto Star, there was an article in there in that era that said ‘The Man the Chinese Couldn’t Kill,’ and they had an article in the Toronto Star about this.
Anyway, I tried to pick him up, and he was six foot tall…and I could smell the gangrene and his whole back was…like, was all shot up because of the pieces of shrapnel that hit him, and he had a grenade in his hand. When I picked him up and got him standing up I said, ‘You can drop that grenade’ – without thinking that the pin was already gone, because I think the idea with the grenade was they gave it to him so he would kill himself, I suppose. So I checked and I was lucky; there was still a pin in. So I tried to walk with him but I couldn’t because he was too tall and his leg was dragging, so I called for the stretcher bearers and we took him out.
The full version of this post first appeared as part of the Historica-Dominion Institute’s Memory Project.