Peter Mansbridge / “Triumph at Kapyong”

This weekend, on Peter Mansbridge’s “One on One” on CBC Television, the topic is “Triumph at Kapyong.” Peter and I chat about this little-known, but ferocious battle and how this book came to be written.

Peter and I have been friends and collegues for over 40 years and have long shared an interest in military history. (His father was a distinguished bomber pilot in World War 2 and took part in the raids on Pennemunde).

We’ve covered together such events as the 50th and 60th anniversaries of the D-Day landings and 50th anniversary of the Liberation of Holland.

Peter has an intense personal interest in military affairs that continues to the present day and he has made several visits to Afghanistan and to the Middle East.

So Kapyong sparked his natural curiosity. Like most Canadians he didn’t know much about it, but it took his interest. and he quickly brought himself up to speed on the Korean War. I  was delighted when he agreed to write a foreword to my book, as did Adrienne Clarkson, our former Governor General and now Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. (It was the PPCLI’s 2nd battalion that fought at Kapyong)

I can relate from personal experience she was extremely popular with our troops during her service as GG. She still is, in fact. Whether with the infantry in Afghanistan or submariners at sea, our people in uniform felt she had a personal stake in their wellbeing. Her attachment to the men and women in the armed forces is real and long-standing. As a young school girl, the brother of her best friend was a PPCLI rifleman who was killed in Korea. So her interest in the distant war there, and in Kapyong in particular, is genuine and deep.

But back to Peter. Over the years we’ve spent many hours relating to each other stories of veterans we’ve met, exchanging tips on books we’ve been reading and sometimes lamenting the lack of much public interest in the story of our nation’s military heritage.

So I hope you’ll watch and enjoy us talking about Kapyong on Peter’s One On One program. It’s an informal conversation between two friends who find a fascination with Canadian stories and Canadian heroes. Kapyong is about the Few against the Many. And when they should have been annihilated, instead they triumphed.

Kapyong is full of  heroes who were for the most part the guys next door. Peter and I found this a compelling tale and I hope you will too.

The program will air this weekend, March 19 and 20 at the following times:

On CBC News Network (formerly called Newsworld):
Saturday 9:30pmET
Sunday 12:30amET, 3:30amET and 11:30pmET

And on the main CBC Television network
Sunday at 12:30pm (local time)

For those without access to TV or the CBC, after the airing  the program is available on CBC’s  One On One website at:

http://www.cbc.ca/thenational/mansbridge/

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About Dan Bjarnason

Dan Bjarnason is the author of "Triumph at Kapyong, Canada's Pivotal Battle in the Korean War." Bjarnason was a television news and documentary reporter for The National at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for over 35 years, He specialized in military history and has worked on documentaries from the Little Bighorn to the Falklands. He now lives in Toronto and can be reached at: danbjarnason@gmail.com
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2 Responses to Peter Mansbridge / “Triumph at Kapyong”

  1. Gary Croker says:

    l am Ray Crokers younger brother . 9 years younger l joined the ppcil # 2 in 1958 and was stationed in Edmonton at that time (stayed in fior 5 years) and he never told me anything about the war. until april of this year one of his sons phoned me and told me about it. THANKS.
    GARY

  2. Gloria Bronson says:

    My cousin Pte.Leslie Merle Robbins, from Bancroft, Ontario lost his life during the Korean War, Nov. 02nd, 1952. He was only 22 years of age. Thank you for remembering these brave young men that “volunteered” their servie and gave their life to give others a better life.
    Your interview with Peter Mansbridge was very interesting. I look forward to reading your new novel.
    Respectfully, Gloria Bronson, Sault Ste. Marie, ON.

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