Andy MacKenzie

Only one Canadian airman was taken as a prisoner of war during the Korean War: Squadron Leader Andy MacKenzie. He was shot down over North Korean territory — actually by a squadron mate — and taken prisoner. He was transported to China where for two years he was held in solitary confinement and subjected to torture.

His captors tried to wring a “confession” from him that he had flown into Chinese airspace and been shot down. Finally, MacKenzie realized there was only one way out; he fabricated a story and “confessed”. He was released in late 1954, two years after his capture and almost a year and a half after the armistice was signed.


F/O Joan Drummond, an RCAF flight nurse (left), and USAF nurses watch medical attendants care for a wounded soldier.

A vital aspect of Canada’s contribution was the return of Canadian and American wounded, who were supported by nurses from the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

RCAF flight nurses were trained at Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama and then participated in three month tours of duty carrying out medical evacuations (medevacs) from the South Pacific. Although they did not serve in Korea itself, some 40 Canadian flight nurses were involved in nearly 250 medical evacuation flights from 1950 to 1955, bringing the wounded and injured from Tokyo through Honolulu and back to North America.