Korean War Legacy Project

Amitava Banerjee


Born on October 1, 1958, Brigadier Dr. Amitava Banerjee is the son of Korean War Veteran Lieutenant General Asoke Banerjee. The Lieutenant General was born on January 2, 1926, in Darbhanga, India, and passed away on January 22, 2018. He earned his medical degree in 1948 from Prince of Wales Medical College, Patna. Medicine and military service are not new to the Banerjee family, as the father of Asoke, Captain AN Banerjee, was a medical officer in the British Army and fought in Mesopotamia (Iran) in the early 20th century. In 1949, Asoke became a Lieutenant in the army, serving in Korea from November 1950 until June 1953 with the 60th Para Field Ambulance Unit and specializing in radiology. After the war, Asoke became a pathologist (AFMC Pune), joined the Royal College of Physicians in 1966, commanded the medical battalion 406 during the Bangladesh War, and served as a medical administrator in Jammu and Kashmir. His final appointment was Director General of Medical Services in June of 1983. Both father and son served together in the Medical Corps of the Indian Army before Asoke retired.

Video Clips

Biography of His Father

Amitava Banerjee shares about his father Asoke's background and experience. His father was a footballer and was selected to play on the Indian team for the 1948 Olympics; however, he declined to go since it was his last year in medical school. After finishing school, he was commissioned in 1948. He joined the 60th Para Field Ambulance Unit as a Lieutenant in 1949. He served in Korea from November 1950 to June 1953. He was awarded many medals and later became a pathologist. He had 38 years of service and passed away at age 92 in 2018.

Tags: Pride

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Service in Korea

Asoke Banerjee was a medical officer in Korea from 1950-1953. He used to look after the ADS, the advanced dressing station attached to many of the battalions on the front lines. Amitava shares some correspondence his father wrote. His father recalls Korea being very cold, especially as they moved towards Pyongyang. Once the Chinese began their advance, his father's unit moved south towards Seoul. His father was working in a large hospital associated with the United States MASH hospitals.

Tags: Daegu,Pyungyang,Seoul,Chinese,Cold winters,Front lines

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Photos and Awards

Amitava Banerjee shows a picture of him and his father, Asoke, while they served in the Indian Army together. They served together for three years. He speaks of his father's awards and shares a citation. He discusses the status of his father's pictures.

Tags: Letters,Pride

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of Transcribed Material]


I:          It’s May 3, 2022, the capital city of incredible, India, New Delhi.  My name is Jung Woo Han.  I am the President of Korean War Legacy Foundation which has more than 1, 600 Korean War veterans’ interviews from all over, including now India, so that we have 22 countries Korean War veterans interview will be completed.  We are doing this to preserve your memory, I mean, your father’s memory, right?



A:        Yeah.

I:          Cause you look, you seem to look too young to be Korean War veteran, right.

A:        Yeah.

I:          And we want to honor your father’s service for the Korean War.  But at the same time, we want to make this interview and videos available for teachers in the History classroom in India and all over the world so that they can keep talking about the Korean War that your father and others fought for 70 years ago.


That’s how we want to make the Korean War not forgotten.  It’s my great honor and pleasure to meet you, sir.  And thank you for coming.  Please introduce yourself.  What is your name, sir?

A:        Uh, my name is Brigadier of Dr. Amitava Banerjee.

I:          You have two titles.

A:        Yeah.

I:          So, what do you mean by  Brigadier?
A:        I have served in the Army Medical Corp. of the Indian Army.  I was commissioned in 1983.

I:          Yeah.


A:        For three years, I served in the same battalion as my father, that is [60] Para field Ambulance.

I:          Wow.

A:        Then after, I went on to service in the various other units of the Indian Army.  And I [UNINTELLIGIBLE] in my normal time in 2018.

I:          Brigadier and Doctor.

A:        Brigadier and Doctor. I’m a specialist in Radiology.  And I have a total of around 35 years in the Army Medical Corp.



My initial three years as I mentioned was as a paratrooper, joining 60 para, and I have a total of [Unintelligible] 57 jumps from four different types of aircraft.

I:          Amazing.  So, you are in continuation with your father’s legacy.

A:        Yes.  My father was quite insistent that my first unit in the Army Medical Corp. should be the same one that he was commissioned in,  that is 60 Para field Ambulance.



I:          So, tell me, what is your birthday?

A:        My birth date is 1st October, 1958.

I:          August, what?

A:        First October.

I:          Uh huh.

A:        1958.

I:          Fifty-eight.  So, you are now

A:        Sixty-four years running.

I:          Sixty-four.  You look very young, sir.

A:        Thank you for saying so.

I:          Please introduce your father.  What’s his name, and spell for the audience because nobody knows yet from this interview about your father.


A:        Okay.

I:          Tell.

A:        My father’s name is Asoke Banerjee, Asoke Banerjee.

I:          Spell?

A:        Er,

I:          Yeah.

A:        Jee.  I repeat again.  Asoke Banerjee.



I:          Asoke Banerjee.

A:        His, Banerjee. Asoke Banerjee.  He was awarded with the PBSN and the Vir Chakra which he was awarded in 1951 in Korea.

I:          Um hm.  So, tell me about his birthday.

A:        Okay.  I can refer to a few notes.  He was born on 2nd of January, 1926 in Darbhanga which is

I:          Spell it.



A:        Darbhanga is Darbhanga.

I:          Yeah.
A:        And my grandfather was Captain E. N. Banerjee.

I:          Uh huh.
A:        He was also a medical officer who had served in the British Army from 2015 – 2025.

I:          Um hm.

A:        And he fought in the first World War in Mesopotamia.

I:          Mesopotamia.



A:        That time, Mesopotamia,  now Iran.

I:          Iran.  Yes.  Tell me about how your father actually,  when he got into the Army, Indian Army.

A:        Okay.
I:          And what did he do during the Korean War?  So, I will not interview, but you can go on, tell me about the whole life of your father and stories of your father in the Korean War.



A:        Okay. I will start by giving a little biography on my father, his entire career.  Then after I will comprise my talk and perhaps on his time with the 60 Para field Ambulance from 1950 – 1953.

I:          Excellent.

A:        So, as I said, my father, he did his MVPS, his medical graduation from Prince of Wales Medical College, Patna.

I:          Uh huh.


A:        And he was commissioned in 1948.  He was a renowned footballer, and he was selected for the Olympic, Indian Olympic Football Team in 1948.  However, being his final year in medical college, he declined to go.  He joined 60 Para field Ambulance as a Lieutenant in October of ’49.



I:          October ’49.

A:        Nineteen forty-nine in [Godasko].

I:          Um hm.

A:        Sixty Para field Ambulance in those days was located at Godasko.  And he went to Korea with the 60 Indian Field Ambulance as it was called at that time from November ’50 to June ’53.

I:          November ’52.

A:        November 1950

I:          Fifty

A:        Five.



A:        June 1953.

I:          So, he was there for three years.

A:        He was there for the entire three years.

I:          And as a Lieutenant.
A:        As a Lieutenant.  But when he got, he picked up his rank, then he was as a Captain.

I:          Wow.  So, three years.  That’s a long time.

A:        Yes.  It was his entire service. It was during the Korean [ININTELLIGIBLE]  And during this time, he was awarded the [Mansion and Dispatchers and Nikterone], the Vir Chakra medal for his acts of gallantry during the Korean War which I will come to later.



And the rest of his [UNINTELLIGIBLE] I’ll be very brief; he was a pathologist when he came back.  He was a pathologist from, registered in pathology, did his MD Pathology from the Armed Forces Medical College Pune.  He did his MRCP from Edenborough in 1966 and joined the Royal College of Physicians.  He served in various appointments in the Indian Army in various units.



And he commanded the medical battalion, 406 medical battalion during the Bangladesh War.  Thereafter, he served, he also attended the National Defense College.  He served two tenures in Administrative Force in Jammu and Kashmir.  And finally, he was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva medal and he assumed the appointment of Director General Medical Services in June ’83.



In his [UNITELLIGIBLE] in January ’86.  This, in brief, is his biography.

I:          Very great stuff to know.

A:        Twenty-eight years total service, his.

I:          When did he pass away?
A:        He passed away on 22 January 2018.

I:          So, he died 74, 84,

A:        Ninety-two.

I:          Ninety-two.



I:          So, let me ask this question.  Did he tell you about his service as a Korean War veteran?

A:        He, not only did we exchange, but he told me a lot of stories during his Korean tenure.  But in the early ‘90’s, which I will show later on, he had a lot of correspondence with a few of his patients.



Of the Korean War, in the Australian Army and the British Army.

I:          Did he serve with them?
A:        No, they were his patients in the Korean War.

I:          Patients.
A:        So, they corresponded with him, and I’ve got those letters with him and their names which I will come to.  So that was his, and we discussed, we used to often remember how cold and the circumstances which they had to endure I those days when they first reached Pusan in November ‘50.



I:          Can I call you first name?

A:        Please do so.

I:          Amitava, you know that India doesn’t teach about the Korean War, right?  In the school?
A:        Yes.

I:          And your father’s correspondence with his former patients in the War is going to be fantastic stories to share with the students, young generations in India and all over the World and also young generations in Australia.



So, would you please scan those and share them with us?
A:        I’d be delighted to.  As a matter of fact, when I show you those, there was a lot of cross correspondence in the 90’s, between ’92 to ’95 after he [Unintelligible].  And they used to send questionnaires to him about Operation Tomahawk and activities of 60 Para.  And he used to send questionnaires to them that after they recovered from the 60 Para, the wards in the 60 Para walked out, where all did they go, and where all did they serve?



So, there’s a lot of cross correspondence which is available which I will show you.

I:          So, he worked as a Pathologist?
A:        Pathologist was when he came back from Korea.

I:          I see.

A:        At that time, he was just a medical officer.

I:          Medical officer.  Okay.

A:        Medical officer who used to look after the ADS, that is the Advanced Dressing Station which were attached to the various battalions facing the enemy.



I:          Please introduce some of those correspondence.  That

A:        Yeah.  I will come to that.  His [Unintelligible] the General [UNINTELLIGIBEL] had seen them off at [Rauchi]. And they arrived on 20th November at Pusan.  It was at Daegu where they were first housed in a school building.



A:        And Daegu, it was, as he mentions here, it was extremely cold.  And the US 8th Army was already there and heading for the, and then the 60 Para were asked to move towards Pyongyang.

I:          Pyongyang?
A:        Yes.



They were accommodated at Pyongyang in the reception camp.  And on 4th December 1950, they received orders now to move South from Pyongyang because of the advance.

I:          Yes, all Chinese.

A:        Yes.



This was where he describes, I will read in his own words, at the station, there were thousands of South Koreans with small baggages and innumerable children waiting to go back to South Korea.  They looked terror stricken, miserable, numbed by the cold, and it was extremely difficult helping them.  There was no civil organization to help with that evacuation at that time.  And we did all we could.



Their train reached Seoul, South Korea on six December 1950.   And thereafter on 15 December, General Robertson, commanding the British Commonwealth Forces visited their unit.  And then they were divided into their various surgical teams, their dental team and their advanced dressing station with the medical officers.  The rear group moved by train back to Daegu, and the others were deployed with the 27 British Commonwealth Brigade.



This is, he’s got the entire history written down. I will show you his diaries.  But I’m just reading excerpts.

I:          Yes.  Briefly

A:        Yeah.
I:          Because then we want to scan that so that people will have access to it.

A:        Access to it.  The, he was, after, for a long time, they were with the rear detachment in Daegu.



A:        And as I mentioned, offering their services to the local population as well as the British Commonwealth Troops.  They were given a 200-beded hospital provided by the Provincial Police and for their families.  The patients, both battle casualties and medical cases, they were all scattered on the floor.  That is from where they started.


And then they gradually built up.  And then after, he goes on to describe how they also associated with the American MASH hospitals.

I:          MASH.

A:        Yeah.  By that time, the River Han had frozen.  And it was at this stage that Operation Tomahawk, the commanding officer, Colonel E.G. [UNINTELLIGIBLE] had offered their services for Operation Tomahawk of the 8thArmy of the Airborne Division.

I:          Um hm.



A:        And on 21 March 1951, a surgeon of the combat team visited the unit at Daegu and requested for their surgical teams to join them in the Airborne operation.

I:          So, after that, they moved up to the 38th Parallel, right?
A:        The forward detachment, this was on one side, the surgical teams going with the Airborne Operation.  The other side the forward detachment.



In the meantime, you’re absolutely right, had moved north to the 38th Parallel called the Line Kansas.

I:          Um hm, Kansas Line.
A:        Yeah.  They were called the Kansas Line.  And this was secure with a fair amount of casualties.  On the 17th of April

I:          Not many people know about this.

A:        Yeah.



I:          Nobody, especially in India.  And it’s a shame to be honest with you.

A:        Yeah, but this is a history and there are quite a few.  As a matter of fact, the surgeon, Major General Ramaswamy, he is also no more, he was the one who went with Operation Tomahawk, and he also has written his memoirs.

I:          Can you explain Operation Tomahawk for the audience please, just briefly as much as know.



A:        Yeah.  The 8th Army, the aim of the Operation Tomahawk was to cut off the retreating Army of the North Koreans and Chinese.  They were a few enemies at the desert zone.  They were chased off. Casualties were few.  But the serious ones they could not keep them at the forward station.



They had to send them back to the rear.  The detachment of the field ambulance moved along with the elements of the 187 RCP.  And they had opened up the underground operation theater there.  And thereafter, the 8th Army and 187 RCT made a special tribute to 60 Para for helping them out during this Operation Tomahawk where they were cutting off the rear of the enemy.



I:          Excellent.  So that’s how they cut off the logistical lines so that.

A:        Yeah.

I:          The enemies are incarcerated.

A:        They were contained.

I:          Yes.

A:        Without their logistical supplies.

I:          Exactly.  So that’s the 60th parachute, 60 parachute ambulance unit contributing to that Operation Tomahawk.

A:        They contributed by sending their surgical team and medical officers to the Airborne Division which were executing this.



I:          Excellent.

A:        Yeah.

I:          But, uh, Amitava, please, do you remember anything that’s still in your head about things that your father told you about his service as a Korean War veteran?

A:        Okay.  So, I will just, uh, at this stage, I think it is appropriate for me, this is a photograph of my father and myself.

I:          You’re reading my mind.

A:        In, this, yeah.  This is in 1985.

I:          Uh huh.



When I was commissioned as a Captain in 60 Para, and he was attending as DGMS Indian Army.  This was at the dropping zone in Agra.

I:          Wow.  He’s, he looked very handsome.  I feel like he looks like Gregory Peck, the American movie star, huh? And you look very thin.

A:        Yes.



I:          Can you hold it again?  I want to take a picture.

A:        Yeah, please.

I:          Yes, a little lower so that I can, yes.  Excellent.  Thank you.

A:        And at this stage, I will just, he was awarded the Vir Chakra for his action.

I:          What does that mean?

A:        The Vir Chakra is the third, in order of priorities, the third gallantry award they do which is given in the Indian Army during times of war.



And I think it is appropriate that I just read out his citation.  So, Captain Asoke Banerjee was in charge of the Casualty Clearing Force at Maryang San in Operation Commando from third to eighth, October 1951.  His task during the operation was to collect and evacuate the wounded from the First Royal Northumberland Fusiliers and the Third Royal Australian Regiment.



On the fifth and sixth October particularly, this officer had to treat and evacuate more than 150 casualties.  Though his casualty clearing force was often under heavy shell fire from the opposing areas, he worked without any regard to his personal safety and tireless lead and their skillful medical aid to the wounded and  speedily arranged their evacuation.  The way the officer carried out his duties during this operation was very commendable by his calmness and courage, his devotion to duty and professional skill, he saved many lives.



It is for this listing on, between third and eight October 1951, my father was awarded the third highest Gallantry Award, that is the Vir Chakra.

I:          Spell it.

A:        The award?
I:          Yes V

A:        Vir

I:          R.

A:        Chakra.

I:          Vir Chakra.

A:        Yeah, that’s it.



I:          That’s an honor.  And that’s why you need to scan it

A:        I will have this sent.

I:          Available for your children and grandchildren okay.

A:        So, as I had mentioned earlier,

I:          The letters.
A:        Letters and as I mentioned, all his photographs  are in the National War Museum with his

I:          In Korea?

A:        In Korea.  With his certificate of donation, uh, having the privilege from your country to visit that place, I was very honored to find it right in the middle of the 60 Para section,



And this is the certificate which was given to him.

I:          Excellent.  That’s great.  So, he gave all the documents to the War Memorial?
A:        Absolutely.  It comprised of newspaper articles in the English newspapers.  This is what he gave, the album itself with the pictures.  A few pictures of [Ground Guard and Godasko] before the battalion left.



Most of the pictures were taken by the other Vir Chakra award winner, Brigadier N. C. Das.  And it has a whole lot of newspaper clippings and radio announcement made in the English newspapers in India at that time about the 60 Para in the Korean War.

I:          You don’t have copies of those?
A:        The entire original is with the Korean government.  It was his Excellency, the Ambassador had given another copy of that which in 2016 while I was posted as a commandant in [Lokno],



My father gave it to the N C. Center Records and School where in the Army Medical Corp., it will be preserved.

I:          Preserved.
A:        Yes.

I:          So, if we can scan all those.

A:        Yes.

I:          I can make a special page on our website about your father.

A:        Yeah.

I:          If you provide those historical artifacts scans for me.  And we will have a special web page so that everybody can learn from your father, okay?



A:        Okay.

I:          You promise?

A:        I, as I said, one of them is in Korea.  The other is with the N.C. Center.  It has been handed over to the Indian Army Records.  So, it’ll have to go through an official channel to get that album now.

I:          Yes.  And I’m going to meet with the Director of War Memorial in Korea as soon as I go back.

A:        Correct.

I:          I’m going back to Korea May 6.

A:        Right.

I:          And I’ll ask them to scan it for us.



A:        That is, because those are the original articles and photographs.

I:          Excellent.  Would you introduce one of those correspondence?

A:        Yeah.  I will just show you a few more photographs which we have kept.  This is my father at that time.

I:          At that time.  Beautiful.



A:        And these are, of course, various photographs.  You’ll have to come closer.

I:          Yeah.

A:        Of the Korean War, the location of the areas, some of the visiting

I:          I will take a picture of these.

A:        All these, the Generals, my father, and correspondence

I:          Yes.

A:        With the British as well as the Australians, and there are, of course, photographs of my father.

I:          I’ll take a picture later, okay?
A:        Okay.

I:          Yeah.
A:        Most relative.



So now you wanted the correspondence?
I:          Yeah.

A:        Okay.  This we will show at the last.

I:          It’s a mobile museum.

A:        Yeah.  That’s right.  It took me a couple of days. This was another photograph which has come out in the calendar this year which you had published.  They got the initials of my father wrong.  But this is my father treating the casualties with, which I had mentioned just now.



I:          So, it was published by the MVPA, right?

A:        Yeah.

I:          Korean government.
A:        Correct.  And, uh, letter of appreciation. Yeah.

I:          Finally.

A:        Okay.  So, one by one, there’s a gentleman called Mr. John Smallridge, New South Wales.



I:          British soldier.

A:        Australian.

I:          Australian, okay.

A:        Now he is writing on 12th of June 1992, and he gives his details. I remember we would leave these chaps because.

I:          What’s his name again?

A:        Mr. John Smallridge.

I:          Can you spell?

A:        John, I think it’s Smallridge.  Smallridge.



I:          Okay.

A:        He mentions the wounded were carried downhill to the ambulances, passed through the battalion RAP and then to 60 para field ambulance. I remember these chaps because of their kindness and great lengths they went to make us comfortable.  Then from there on, he says how he gives the description of how he has been transferred and various correspondence at that time.


That is ’92 with the other commanding officer and member of 60 para field ambulance.  They had exchanged various questionnaires as I had mentioned earlier.  And the entire, their history from Operation Tomahawk, like in this one aircraft #29, Colonel [Drungrage] Major [Rangaswami] [Mack Orderly Lipsing] ambulance orderly [Rahm Austry].  Aircraft #30 Captain A.K. Bossal, [Mack Orderly Ramsudman] [Mack Orderly Munglithrow]



So, and the entire operation with their cross notes have been mentioned in these letters.  This was possibly for also their own obligations in Australia because he goes on to mention the various officers, Captain Douglas, RAMC [Arimor] of the Southern Highlanders, Sergeant Cooper, various photographs and all they exchanged.  Then [Captain R. Martin, Ahrens Z. AMC, audible 16 [UNINTELLIGIBLE].



I think this was a part of the New Zealand forces also.  I’m not really certain of this.  But the initials and abbreviations show that.  So, this is the various correspondence and letters which he had sent.  This is all in the mid ‘90’s for, on the Korean Conflict with very specific details about the awards won by their troops as well as what all the participated, who all, you know, suffered casualties and were treated by 60 Para.



I:          That will be very interesting correspondence that we can analyze and make it available for everybody.

A:        So that in brief was this, and we have these two photographs which are very precious to me because



The first photograph shows the officers of the 60 Para when they left for Korea.

I:          Yeah.
A:        This is at [Godasko].

I:          Can you just please, a little bit, yes, so that we don’t have a reflection from this.

A:        Yeah.

I:          A little more, yes.

A:        Okay.
I:          Yeah.  And

A:        The second was photograph is the party of officers in [Gelanz] from 60 Para on their return in July 1953 to India.



I:          Hold it up a little more, yes.  And then hold it right there.  Let me zoom.  A party of officers in [Gelanz] from 60 Indian field ambulance.

A:        Yeah.

I:          On return from Korea July 1953.

A:        Absolutely correct.

I:          That’s amazing.  Hold it.  Freeze.



A:        Thank you.  Like I say

I:          Thank you.  That’s why we need to do this, okay?

A:        And this one is very special.  This is the actual diary of my father in the Korean War in his own handwriting.

I:          Amazing.  Show it to me.

A:        So, all what I read was later on typed by my better half when he used to dictate to them.

I:          Open it and show it to me please.  Hold it up please, yes.



A little down.  Yes.  So, I think we need to transcribe this

A:        So, this was his, this diary has, in addition to his own daily this thing of how cold, etc., it also has things which he packed for himself, extra pair of shoes, extra pairs of socks, mints.



Then like on 6th of 12, he has ridden transport station for the jeep, one station wagon, 15 casualties, you know, daily notes on a day-to-day basis throughout the three years.  This is the original from

I:          Do you have grandchildren or children?
A:        No, we lost out son a way back.

I:          Oh, I’m so sorry.

A:        In 1980, 1990.

I:          I’m sorry.  Somebody needs to transcribe it, and we need to scan those things, too.



A:        Okay.

I:          You know, that’s what really incorporates.

A:        So, I talked, I should show you this like, it is from this what I read out in the initial pages.  He had taken the relevant parts and made it into a history of his stay with 60 Para during the three years.  Where the initial notes are from this diary.

I:          Yeah.  Excellent, sir. Nice, I really admire you that you have maintained all of your father’s legacy in a very ordered way, consistent way.


And I want to ask this question because we don’t have much time.

A:        Yeah.
I:          I want to ask you this question.  When you were growing up and in the high school and you are also very intellectual, served in the same unit, you hadn’t learned anything about Korean War when you were in high school, right?

A:        No.  As a matter of fact, uh, you’d be surprised what I, in our school as well as during service in the Army,



We have learned naturally more about our western neighbors and our northern neighbors and our battles with them, right from 1947 onwards.  Of course, when you go to the U.N. section of it, like I myself have served for 1 ½ years in the Republic, Democratic Republic of Kabul, in the U.N. section of it, the Korean War has a very high place.



Because of all the U.N. missions sent during the Korean War, the maximum gallantry awards were won bv the Indian troops in a U.N. mission.

I:          But when you were in high school when you didn’t learn anything about Korean War in your curriculum.

A:        No.

I:          But you still knew that your father served during the Korean War, right?  How did you feel about it?  Your father served there and healed so many people.  But History book doesn’t talk about those.



A:        One must understand India is a vast country.  And from our time of independence, we have fought numerous wars.  And in these numerous wars, whether it is, as I said, with our western neighbor Pakistan or with the Chinese, we have lost countless troops and very great battles have been fought in which our armies have come out absolutely just as victorious.



I:          Yeah.

A:        So definitely those are the ones still which have made it, to answer your question, have made it to the schoolbooks.  I would by no means say that the Korean War was smaller.  But definitely it is not yet in the textbooks of the children in schools in India as of today.

I:          Yeah.  That’s why we are doing this.  That’s why my Foundation made this curriculum book.

A:        So nice of



I:          In the United States.  Show that to me please to the camera.  We wanna make Indian version of it based on your father’s diary, pictures, and correspondence.

A:        Right.
I:          If you provide those materials to me.  And that, I am confidently saying to you that that’s going to be the best way to preserve your father’s memory because I don’t think War Memorial in Korea make all those albums and pictures and your father’s artifacts in digital way.



We need to make a digital way so that we can preserve it permanently and make it available to anybody in the world at any time anywhere.

A:        I would agree with you on that point.  It is not only neither in Korea.  Even  in a, let us say, in our Army Medical Corp. Museums.  It is not digital.  The copy of the same album is kept in the AMC records [Lokno].


But it is in its’ physical form, not the digital.

I:          So, I had a talk with General [KENDU] who was at the Golden Park fighting against Chinese introduced by the First Mortars Chairman Therodia

A:        Yeah.
I:          And I’m trying to have access to the data, I mean, the documents that the 60 Parachute Ambulance Unit has in [UNINTELLIGIBLE].  And I really want to have access to your father’s material today.


A:        This, as I mentioned very clearly because you see, in 2016 when my father was ailing, and he wished to give away this photocopy album with his things.  And we were actually debating whether to give it to the unit or to the but why it was given to the AMC records because the AMC records have a museum in Lockno where the AMC for 250 years worked with the Army Medical Corp has done with the, in the British Army or by itself.


They have kept there.  So, because the unit keeps moving.  So, it is more prominent there.

I:          Did your father revisit Korea after he came back?
A:        Oh yes.  He went twice.
I:          And have you been to Korea with him?

A:        We, no I didn’t go with him because at that time, I was in operational areas while serving with the Army Medical Corp.  I went at a later date in 2015 with my wife.



I:          And so please tell me about what your father saw when he made a visit to Korea?
A:        Yes.

I:          Compare to 1950 to ’53.

A:        Well, I remember he went in if I’m not mistaken, 1995.

I:          Um hm.
A:        Was the first.  And 2005 or 2003 was the second visit.  So, the first visit I do remember.



He came back, and he said that you know, it is, he said I couldn’t recognize it.  All the places

I:          He what?
A:        He could not recognize it.  He said it’s like a phoenix coming out of the ashes.  He said when we had left, the railway station, the railway yards, the schools, wherever we had, and half-broken buildings had you know, worked, served the people, everything was gone.



And in its’ place was a phoenix-like city which one could not imagine that such a small country like the South Korean Republic has built in these so few years, means from where they have come and where they have gone.  He was most appreciated.  He says the dedication of the people as well as their leaders would come out from that state where they are today is absolutely phenomenal.


There’s no

I:          Amitava,

A:        Yeah.

I:          Korea was able to build their nation again because your father was there for three years to heal the Korean people and other soldiers.  But unfortunately, we don’t talk about it here.  I wanna challenge that.  I’ve been doing this for 21 countries.

A:        I believe so.

I:          I am doing this with the British.  They already published the British version of their curricular book.

A:        Okay.



I:          Romanians are publishing this year.  My Foundation funded them, funded all of them.

A:        Okay.

I:          I will do it in India.  But you have to help me.

A:        Definitely.  We will definitely  help you.

I:          You promise, don’t you?

A:        That I promise.

I:          And I documented you, right?
A:        Yeah.
I:          I have a witness here.

A:        Yeah.  You’ve got two witnesses.

I:          Okay.  So Amitava, you’ve been to Korea 2015, right?

A:        Right.

I:          Tell me what you saw, and what do you know about Korea now?



A:        We were taken, I was most interested the day they took us to the demilitarized zone.  And it was very impressive to see the areas, the Han River which, in the diary, my father has described so many times that they could just cross over it, how they walked over the ice.  So, you know, these small, small areas, the 38th Parallel, to see it actually rather than to just read the lines, it was, and the rest of the city of course.  It was amazing.



It was actually amazing.

I:          So, you know that Korea is very small country.

A:        Yes.

I:          But now it’s the 10th largest economy in the world and one of the most substantive democracies in the world actually.

A:        Yes.

I:          They know how to put their President into the prison.  Two of them were there, and so, in India is literally the head of in terms of the whole size of the economy because you are so big country.



This is the legacy of your father. And let’s talk about those, okay?
A:        Yeah.
I:          Yes sir.  What would you say to the Korean people?

A:        So, I have friends

I:          Remembering your father’s memory.

A:        I find their dedication, whatever little I’ve seen of them, you see, I’ve had interaction with them in my years of service because I’m also a member of the Korean Radiologists Association.  And they have held a lot of talks here with our Indian Radiological and Imaging Association.



So, when they come to know that my father is a veteran, we naturally extend a little more notes and of course, we had a conference recently in [Banglo].  Your Samsung has come out with the latest CT and ultrasound machine.  So of course, it was a totally professional interest from my part.  But we find it amazing.  They take various concepts ahead.



If I may say so, like Samsung earlier, they just show phones.  The same phone today, he shows me the digital image for a radiologist.   So, I find that technology advancement is amazing.  There’s no other word for it.

I:          Amazing. I wish I had more time with you.

A:        Yeah.
I:          But the thing is, other descendants are waiting.

A:        Definitely.

I:          So, we have to end sometime soon.  But the thing is, my Foundation also hosts World Congress of history teachers from 20 countries.



This is how we believe that we can continue the legacy of your father and other Korean War veterans so that teachers can keep talking about it.  Otherwise, those materials will be buried.
A:        Absolutely.

I:          Somewhere before we all die, right?
A:        Absolutely.

I:          We need to put that into curriculum book and train our  History teachers.  That’s what we are going to do.  And I’m going to host a conference, World Congress, sometime in New Delhi or Pune or Mumbai.



I wish that we could have all of you witnessing in front of History teachers from other countries, from Denmark, from Great Britain and communicate and talking about the role played by the 60 Parachute Ambulance Unit of India

A:        Yeah.

I:          And Custodian Force who repatriated the Prisoner of War.



A:        The 60 Para, it is from the Korean War that they were given the term as the Airborne Angels.
I:          Airborne Angels.
A:        And that name has stuck till today.

I:          Thank you so much for coming with very well-organized history and artifacts of your father, Asoke Banerjee.

A:        Thank you.

I:          Amazing person and amazing Indian and amazing Korean War veteran.

A:        Thank you, professor.


I:          And I really thank you for your time and sharing your father’s story with your also.
A:        Thank you.

I:          As a very honorable Indian Army retired.  So, thank you again, sir.

A:        Thank you, professor.  Thank you so much.