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Frank Bewley was born in London, England in 1931. He grew up and had an interest in the military, so he joined the Royal Navy in 1948. Throughout his interview, he shares what it was like during his service, including traveling to many different countries. He explains how he knew very little about Korea and really only learned about it from servicemen who had been there. However, he was soon sent to Korea and served on the HMS Glory. He remembers what life was like on the aircraft carrier and what it was like to prepare for Korea. He also recalls how he felt when he lost the pilot assigned to his squadron. Frank Bewley is proud of his service.
John Boyd was born in England and he was called up to join the Army as a Signal Officer for the 28th British Commonwealth Brigade and he was sent to Korea in October 1952. During his one-year deployment, John Boyd's Brigade fought to maintain the Jamestown Line which is a strategic set of land from Kimpo and the Yellow Sea to Kumhwa and Seoul. John Boyd used a variety of machines to maintain communication including Morse Code, superheterodyne receiver (radio receiver), and a Wireless Set No. 19. Fire was a constant enemy during his time in Korea, but he enjoyed the help from other countries including America, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. He describes the living conditions, his duties, and the experience of traveling.
Charles Bull was born in Bury St. Edmunds, England. When he turned seventeen years old, he joined the Navy and never went back to his hometown. He was in the British Navy for 27 years. As a leader of the Korean War Veteran Organization, he sent Korean War veterans back to Korea for over 20 years. Charles Bull joined the Navy even though he didn't really know about Asia. It was a different world for him after he joined the military by taking care of yourself, cook and feed your fellow soldiers, and working with boats. He was first stationed in the drafting office and then he was stationed to the HMS Kenya with the British Navy. Throughout the war, Charles Bull wrote in pay ledgers to provide sailors with their payment each month. The few times he landed in Korea, he was able to see the terrible conditions for the civilians and soldiers.
David Carpenter joined the Marines in 1949 in England. He was a Marine for seven years. During WWII, his father was stationed in Scotland helping to run a military hospital. His brother was in the Royal Artillery and the Fleet Air Arm to support the Allied war effort. He volunteered for the Marines in 1949 because he did not want to go into the Army or Royal Air Force. He recalls that training was difficult because if you were not strong enough to be in the Marines, you would be back-squaded, and this really motivated him to stay in 561 squad. During his training, he had to cross rivers on ropes, do nine mile speed marches, rock climbing, and thirteen mile training with only a compass. Once he entered the commando operations in Korea, his job was maintaining weapons to help defeat the Chinese.
Bernard Clark was drafted into the Commonwealth Forces in 1951 and served in the Korean War. The British Commonwealth Forces included Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and India. When he was drafted into the military, he did not know where Korea was located. It took four to five weeks in a ship to get to Busan, Korea, and then he went beyond Seoul by train. During his time at the front lines, he lived in the trenches, fought along side troops from around the world, and faced many new fears in his life. He suffered a loss of friends while in Korea, and he had to deal with these losses as a young man. He was able to revisit Korea after the war, and he compared his time there in 1951 to the present time.
Tommy Clough grew up in Blackpool, England, and joined the British Army Royal Artillery in May of 1945 at only 14 years of age. He recounts how he knew little about Korea prior to shipping out on a five and a half week voyage to Korea and recollects his first impressions of Korea, describing the poor conditions of the refugees he saw. He details several encounters with the Chinese, the use of napalm, and the lead-up to his capture. He describes his experience as a POW, his escape attempt, and the treatment he received by the Chinese, and he speaks at length about his living conditions and happenings in the camp. He recalls the day they were informed that the war had ended for them and communicates the disbelief he and others shared over the news. He is proud of his service and comments on his return visit to Korea and the progress it has made since the war.
Richard Davey was born in Beccles, Suffolk County, England. When he turned fifteen, he left school and became an apprentice. At the age of eighteen, he started his national service and boarded the HMS Asturias (a troop ship). Upon arriving in Pusan, he was greeted by a band and began his time in Korea working in Headquarters Royal Artillery (HQRA) passing radio messages from the frontline near the Pintail Bridge (a floating pontoon bridge) built across the Imjin River. Throughout his service in the Korean War, he worked on maps for the main part of HQ with the Canadians, Australians, and Americans. As a radiomen, his job included radioing map locations to track Chinese artillery, hot looping telephone wires to HQ during The 3rd Battle of the Hook, and documenting the British prisoners of war (POWs) that were released after the armistice was signed in 1953. In 2001, he was able to return to South Korea and compare and contrast Korea in 1952 with the present time.
Gerry Farmer was born in Bethnal Green, England, in 1933. He was a kid during World War II and was conscripted in 1951. After a short basic training, he took a boat for five and a half weeks until he arrived in Korea at age nineteen. He served at the Battle of the Hook and was wounded when he volunteered to drive a jeep which was hit by a mortar round. While in Korea, he heard Michael Caine mention he was going to be an actor after the war as the young men were talking about what they were going to do upon returning home. He revisited Korea in 1981 and was impressed at the transport and buildings compared to when he was there during the Korean War. He remembers the Korean people were grateful for his service. He emphasizes he went to the Korean War as a boy and came out a man.
Peter Ford was born in the borough of Waltham Cross in London, England, in 1932. As a young man, he and his friends would pick up shrapnel from the bombs that were dropped on London during World War II. He left school at the age of fourteen and secured a job at a Co-Operative cabinet factory in Enfield. He worked there until he was "called up" for service in the Royal Army Services Corps in 1952. After training as a driver, he received orders to go to Korea. During the War, he was assigned to the 26th Field Ambulance Unit of the 1st Commonwealth Division where he performed driving duties that included resupplying rations as well as the evacuation of wounded soldiers.
Michael Fryer was born in 1933 in London, England, then moved to the town of Nayland, where he spent most of his childhood. After he left school at fourteen years of age, he began an apprenticeship at a boilermaker factory. When he turned eighteen in 1950, he signed up for three years in the Royal Army, then received basic training at Gibraltar Barracks. Having had experience in working with electrical lines and circuits, he was sent to receive eight weeks of bomb disposal training in 1951. He was deployed to Korea in 1952, and was attached to the Royal Engineers after arriving in Busan. During his one year service in Korea, he participated in the Battle of the Hook. He was rotated home in 1953, and returned to live in Nayland.
Edgar Green was born in London in 1931 and enlisted in the British Army in 1949. He was stationed in Hong Kong when the Korean War broke out and was part of the first British land troops to arrive in Korea. He reflects on his first impressions of Korea and recalls the stench of human waste as they drew nearer to the dock in Busan. He recounts how they only had tropical clothing when the temperature dropped to forty degrees below zero and shares that the Americans brought them parka jackets. He is proud of his service and expresses his desire for Korean War veterans to be recognized.
Geoff Grimley was born in Wolverhampton, England. His father was in the Navy during World War I, and after his service, his father bought a pub which is also where they lived. He does not recall learning about Korea growing up even though he earned a school certificate in geography. After he received his "call up" papers for the Army, he was sent to Catterick in early 1950 to train as a signalman. He recalls his first impressions of Korea as he passed through Seoul, witnessing downed telegraph wires and burning T-34 tanks. He spent seven months in Korea in the signals office and was involved in the Battle of Kapyong.
Dennis Grogan grew up living with his grandparents in County Down, Northern Ireland. Throughout his coming of age, he developed a love of aircraft because of seeing planes flying in and out of a United States Air Force Base located near his home. He left school at the age of fourteen to become a cycle mechanic for two years. At age sixteen, he landed a three-year apprenticeship in the Royal Air Force, where he learned to excel in the mechanics of various types of aircraft. During his time in Korea, he worked as an Aircraft Technician (Mechanical) on a variety of planes, including the Auster. He discusses why he is proud to have been a part of the Korean War legacy, and the issue of little acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by Korean War veterans.
Keith Gunn served in England's military during the Korean War. He recounts his time spent in both Japan and Korea, detailing his duties charging and delivering batteries to differing stations. He offers a view of what his living conditions were like while there, sharing his thoughts on the positive impact the Korean War had on Korea. He emphasizes that the Korean War should not be a forgotten war due to its impact and existing as the first major United Nations effort. He is proud to have served and shares his thoughts on the importance of teaching about the Korean War.
Alan Guy enlisted in the British Army in 1950 where he served as a Staff Sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He recounts his arrival in Korea and details his placement in a field hygiene section. He describes the health education he provided to soldiers in order to prevent malaria and frostbite. He offers accounts of situations he found himself in following the cease-fire. Following his time in Korea, he continued to serve in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was deployed to the Suez Canal in the later 1950s. He discusses revisiting Korea and his surprise at the modernization he saw upon return. His testimony includes a detailed account of his service at the Suez Canal.
Brian Hamblett left school at age fourteen and shares how he did not learn anything about Korea growing up. He went to Korea in 1950 and served in the British military manning machine guns in his platoon. Reflecting on his memories, he more fully realizes the horror of what he experienced. He describes the winters being so cold that the guns were unable to be cooled by water; rather, they had to use glycerin. He recounts stumbling onto a Chinese soldier in a foxhole who ultimately set off his own grenade, injuring himself. He further describes his horror at the use of napalm and what life at Camp I was like where he was held as a prisoner of war. Despite the terrible events he experienced during the war, he has returned to Korea several times and is quite taken aback by the sincere gratitude of the Korean people for his service.
Albert Harrington served in the infantry of the Royal Regiment of Scotland during the Korean War. He was drafted and sent to Korea where he fought on the front lines. He recalls his arrival and details his typical duties as a soldier while there. He recounts the Second Battle of the Hook in November of 1952 and explains its significance. He speaks highly of South Korea's developments and shares his thoughts on the current conditions between North and South Korea. He concludes with a message to younger generations of his sympathy and well wishes for the Korean people.
Having grown up as a child in London during World War II, Steven Hawes developed a mature view of life at a very early age. After serving in the military in Germany, he volunteered to go to Korea, arriving after the fighting had ended. He explains how he didn’t know much about Korea, having never been taught about it in school. He recalls the smells and sites of the shambles Pusan after the war. Steven Hawes also articulates what he believes were the views of the British on the war itself. When he is asked to reflect on the progress that Korea has made, he notes that it is remarkable how the Korean people were able to seize the opportunities they were given and become a leader in the world today.
Harry Hawksworth volunteered for the British Army in 1947 as an eighteen-year-old. He was trained in Northern Ireland and was sent to Bermuda for his first assignment. After returning home, he was sent to Korea to fight in the war starting in 1950 with B Company, Gloucestershire Regiment from Pusan up to the Yalu River. When the Chinese joined the North Koreans at the Yalu River, he was forced to retreat back to the Imjin River. He recalls how he and fellow soldiers, while dug in at Hill 144, had to fight many Chinese assaults until they were told to retreat to Hill 235 with A Company. His regiment members, with no bullets remaining, were taken as Chinese prisoners of war (POWs) to Camp Changsong where they were detained from April 1951 until the end of the war in July 1953. After surviving many camp escapes, Chinese brainwashing, and starvation, he and others were released across the Freedom Bridge at Panmunjom (the 38th parallel).
Stuart William Holmes was born in Yorkshire, England, left school at the age of fifteen, and found himself interested in pursuing a military career. The British military would only take a recruit once he was seventeen and a half, so he joined as soon as he was of age. Learning to fly, his experience in basic training as well as his instruction in flight school varied depending on his instructors. One such experience involved a lack of training in how to taxi which culminated in crashing into another aircraft. Once in Korea, he frequently flew over the Korean, Chinese, and Japanese coastlines to assess the weather. Stationed with Americans as well as Australians, he describes the unique situation of watching Americans drink tea while Australians drank coffee in response to their own opinions on the decency of the beverages available. He explains his lack of fear during his flights and attributes this to the hubris of youth; he felt then that no one would dare attack the British Empire.