Adventure in No-Man's Land

Frans Goossens was a Sergeant in the Heavy Weapons Company and is a veteran of the Battle of Haktang-Ni. He was personally entrusted with the mission of rescuing Lieutenant-Colonel Cools after a catastrophic night patrol.

"At the beginning of the year 1952 we had taken a defensive position on the Imjin. There was a no-man's land of about 2 km that was heavily patrolled by both sides. In theory we had 7 rows of barbed wire and therefore a phone was of course connected to the HQ from the Heavy Weapons Company to which I belonged. At a distance of about 200 m, microphones were placed also connected to the Platoon commander of the HW Company. It happened that a senior officer wanted to make a trip with a night patrol, and during it, contact with the patrol was lost. The commander of the HW Company was designated to find a volunteer to find the officer. The Company Commander asked me, Sergeant Goossens, to do that, and I accepted. I asked two men of my platoon to accompany me and we left. I can tell you that without a city’s lights, night is very dark! We said the password as we passed our furthest Observation Post. Adjacent to those speakers I left the 2 man behind with clear instruction for all eventualities and went on alone. But where to look? I did get the expected path of the patrol without that senior officer which had moved on, but there was nothing more I could do with this. After 500 meters of wandering, I was tired and started to call the misguided man's name.

I called moved and called again and after half an hour I heard two shots, I ran toward the sound called again and when a shot rang up on the slope, the officer came down and we went back to our defense. After we passed the first row of barbed wire, the officer took command and gave me a scolding because I was only carrying the official armament (only .45 automatic) when the trip began. He came back safe and I got a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of gin for my walk up there in no-man's land."

Sgt Frans Goossens
Heavy Weapons Company.