Korean War Legacy Project

Bruce W. Diggle

Bio

Bruce W. Diggle is from New Zealand, and he joined the Army in 1952. He saw action on the frontlines of the conflict as a member of the second wave of the New Zealanders. From his civilian experiences as a surveyor, he was assigned as an artillery surveyor which allowed him more freedom of movement than the average servicemen. He took many photos documenting his time in Korea including photos of Pusan, Seoul, civilians he met, Hill 355, and surrounding positions on the frontlines. After his service in the Korean War, he married in London and returned to South Korea years later as part of the Revisit Program.

Video Clips

Picture Time

Bruce Diggle shares photos he took while in Korea. He shows photos of his travels from Pusan to Seoul through the countryside. His photos show the low level of development of Pusan and the destruction of bridges along with the city of Seoul itself.

Tags: Busan,Hangang (River),Seoul,Civilians,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty,Pride,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beCjjTOAUKQ&start=1090&end=1516

Hill 355 and the "Apostles"

Bruce Diggle shows the famous Hill 355, also known as Kowang San. The British Commonwealth forces fought for possession of Hill 355 during the series of battles that corresponded to the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge to the east. The North Koreans were positioned on three smaller hills that the Kiwis nicknamed the Apostles - Matthew, Luke, and John. He took pictures of the North Korean positions during a truce.

Tags: 1951 Battle of Heartbreak Ridge, 9/13-10/15/,Gangneung,Imjingang (River),Fear,Front lines,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Pride,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beCjjTOAUKQ&start=1518&end=1947

Departure and Revisit

Bruce Diggle left Korea in 1954 by ship and went to London. In London, he met up with his soon-to-be wife who left for London when he left for Korea. They were married upon his arrival in London. He returned to Korea with a revisit program offered to New Zealand veterans. He is very appreciative of South Korea's efforts to bring veterans back and is impressed by the development of South Korea since the war.

Tags: Civilians,Impressions of Korea,Letters,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Poverty,Pride,South Koreans,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beCjjTOAUKQ&start=2100&end=2430

Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

 

B:        My name is Bruce Whyte Diggle.  Bruce is B R U C E.  The Whyte is strange.  It’s W H Y T E.  And the surname is Diggle.  D I G G L E.

I:          What is your birthday?

B:        Twenty-three, ten, 1927.

I:          Twenty seven?  So how old are you now?  You are 90

B:        Ninety-second year this year.

I:          92.

0:00:30

You just look a 62.

B:        Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

I:          Wow.  What is the secret of your health?

B:        Ah, might be a little Scotch in the evening [INAUDIBLE]

I:          [LAUGHS] Every day?  What is your favorite Scotch?

B:        Uh, Now I like to, um, Drambuie or, uh, Actually Drambuie is, is the one I like.

I:          What is it?

B:        Drambuie.  It’s a sweet

I:          Ah.

B:        Very, very sweet and

0:01:00

I:          My favorite Scotch is Blend Ranchy.

B:        It is?  Well good.

I:          Wow.  You really look young.  I didn’t notice that you are over, 92?  My goodness.  Where were you born?

B:        March,

I:          Where?

B:        MASTERTON  in

I:          Could you spell it?

B:        M A S T E R T O N which is about, um,

I:          Masterton.

B:        and hour and a half’s drive from here from the [INAUDIBLE] Airport.

0:01:30

I:          And tell me about your family background when you were growing up.  When you were a child, your parents and your sibling.

B:        Uh, well, I had rather a strange dad.  The, um, it was because my family or my parents, um, we were walking right straight into a, um, a, a mess, slump.

0:02:00

Um, and people were losing their jobs in all directions.  And

I:          Because of the Great Depression, right?

B:        Yes.

I:          Yeah.

B:        And my, uh, my father, um, was fortunate right up until about 193, about 1933, and, of course, he lost his job and was lucky enough in the, somebody he’d been with in the first World War,

0:02:30

um, owned a business system in, um, in Wellington here, and, uh, so we moved to Wellington in 1933, um, and moved here to, finally to a place Nyland Bay which is, uh, one of the suburbs here, the Seaside suburbs, um,

0:03:00

went to school there, um, went to a technical college, um, started off in the drawing office as a draftsman, um, ended up with a, uh, engineering degree, um,

I:          Engineering degree?
B:        Um hm.

I:          Wow.  That’s very impressive.  When was, when did you receive the engineering degree?

B:        Oh, don’t, don’t ask awkward questions.  I can’t remember that.

I:          How old were you then?
B:        No.  It wasn’t, it was, um,

0:03:30

the latter part anyhow.  The last, last 10 years while working night I suppose, I ended up with doing more office work and research and [INAUDIBLE]

I:          I see.  How many  brothers and sisters did you have at the time when you growing up?

B:        I have, I have no brothers and no sisters.

I:          You were the only child?
B:        I was an only child, yes.

I:          Wow.

B:        So, um, and I’ve managed to survive since then.

0:04:00

I:          [LAUGHS]

B:        But I, I, you know, I’ve had a lot of interests in things like, uh, I like fishing and trout and sea fishing

I:          Aw.

B:        um, which I enjoy.  I’ve managed to do a little bit of shooting, um, and, uh, a very keen tramper, um.  My wife and I, we’re both trampers and we did things like, um,

0:04:30

bike trips, um, like down the South Island in 19, 1938 or something

I:          Um hm.

B:        and all the roads were unsealed and I, but uh, yeah.

I:          So when did you join the military?

B:        Uh, 1952, on Christmas so I got a, I got a note to say that, um,

0:05:00

turn up in [INAUDIBLE] camp, um.  I’d missed it before that, and was rather a strange thing.  I was all getting ready into camp, and another final medical

I:          Um.

B:        and they said oh, but you’ve got crowns on your teeth.

I:          Ah,

B:        And we don’t, we don’t like you going overseas with crowns and, cause if they break, there’s no real true dental thing there, and well I said

0:05:30

well, what’s the answer?  The answer was well, if you want, um, have your teeth out and have, uh, false teeth, um, or

I:          And you were allowed to go?

B:        or part false teeth.  So that put me back for almost 12 months then cause, um, said you’re going with the first, first

0:06:00

contingent. and that was going what they called the, um, Replacements, um.

I:          So then when did you join the Army?

B:        So that was, as I said, Christmas.  And before that, I hadn’t, uh, I hadn’t had anything to do with the Army at all.

I:          So you actually joined the Army Christmas time of 1952?
B:        Yes.

I:          Good.  And where did you go to get the  basic military training?

B:        Linton Camp to start with.

I:          Um hm.

B:        Then did a survey course down at, um, Burnum,

0:06:30

and then we came back up to [WAOOROO], um, and waited to, uh, to get our transport to, uh, to Korea.

I:          But did you know anything about Korea at the time?  Did you learn anything from school about Korea?
B:        Not very much actually about Korea.  The, the division of it at the end of the war, um, and the fact that the Japanese, um, some of the terrible things that happened there.

I:          Um hm.

B:        So I knew a little bit about it.

0:07:00

But my, my own feeling was that we had, I supposedly something, um, developed in the world which was going to be, um, a peace keeper of, of everything, um.

I:          Ah.  So

B:        When you think of it in the, u m, with, so the,

0:07:30

the United Nations, um, was really part of the key to it, um.  I knew quite a lot about, um, first World War, my father had been in that, um.  Second World War, all my relations, but I missed the, um.  I was 18.  That’s why I had to go into the Air Force, um, and all the training is ceased here.

0:08:00

Um, I belonged to what they call Air Training Corps. when I was in college, um.  But, um,

I:          So when did you arrive in Korea?

B:        Um, summertime mid-’52.

I:          No, no.  Fifty-three.

B:        No.  Um, got there, I went in the camp here ’52, and I was three months or something, um,

0:08:30

and then we went to Korea.  So it’s mid ’52, um.

I:          But you  told me you joined the military around the Christmastime of 1952.

B:        Yes.  Then I

I:          Fifty-two

B:        I did my training.

I:          And then so you should be ’53.

B:        No, it was fifty, Chris, uh, the new year was, was 1952, and that was when I went into camp,

0:09:00

and it was mid ’52

I:          Got it.

B:        that we, uh,

I:          Got it,  got it.  So you joined the military only 1952

B:        Yes.

I:          And so you arrive in Korea, uh, May?

B:        Mid 1952.

I:          Right.  And where did you arrive in Korea?  Pusan?

B:        Um.  No.  In fact actually, we, um, we went to Uakuni, and then from Uakuni to, um, Kimpo

I:          Kimpo.

B:        Um.

I:          So you flew.

B:        Yes.

0:09:30

Um,  I actually, I flew out from New Zealand, too.

I:          Um hm.

B:        I had a fine boat from, uh, Auckland to Sydney and then Sydney up through

I:          What was your specialty?
B:        Well, they called it an Artillery Surveyor.

I:          So what is that?

B:        It’s,

0:10:00

I:          Because you have a engineering degree, right?

B:        Um.

I:          So the military might have focused on your skill and, and professional knowledge.

B:        Well, at that stage I, I didn’t have an engineering, uh, all I had was I’d been in a drawing office, um, and, uh, organizing a lot of, all that type of thing.  So, uh, yes.  That was part of the fact about,

I:          Yeah.

B:        um.  I mean I had done survey in civilian life.  So, um,

I:          Very good.

B:        I felt comfortable when

0:10:30

I:          So tell me about what does artillery surveyor do?

B:        Well, it, when the Regiment is moving, um, beforehand you got Commanding Office has to decide where he’s going to, uh, locate his, his Regiment, how he’s going to, um, settle up, um, and the, the protection valleys and anything

0:11:00

else which he has to decide on.  So your surveyor comes through and, um, produces an exact spot of, of where you are

I:          Um.

B:        And then that’s transferred from there, down to your gunners and your [TIKAX] take over

I:          Um.

B:        and they use that as what we call, um, gun aiming points.  So, um, but it means that

0:11:30

surveyors in general, um, had a lot more movement, um, around the country or freedom of movement, um, and takes a lot of the people that were on the guns, um, and one person that’s before me [INAUDIBLE] I mean, and he, he had a, he was a sig, um, and they moved around quite a bit, too.  So, uh,

0:12:03

I:          So what kind of equipment did you use to survey those places for the next move?
B:        Well, actually co, cor, crude, um, instruments, um.  You’re making me think now.  Um, they were called actually directors, um.  And in effect, the, the accuracy of the surveyor wasn’t really good, wasn’t that accurate, um.

0:12:30

I think we used to say that, as long as we could put a spot in the ground which was, um,  three meters square or something, uh, we were doing extremely well.

I:          Good.

B:        But, um,

I:          So you did like a [INAUDIBLE] in, in Korea.  In Korean history, there are the technician who understand the landscape, [INAUDIBLE] configuration and the location of waters and

0:13:00

mountains and so on so that they’d find the right place to build a house, things like that, right?
B:        Yes.  Well, we were very lucky in the fact because we had the, um, National Geographic, I think, had done a survey.

I:          Um.

B:        Japan had done a survey previous to that, and most of the, those control points which they had set up were good.  The Americans had, uh, produced absolutely first-class

I:          Um hm.

0:13:30

um, maps of the area.  So in effect, um, once you drove to an area, once you’ve been in the survey group, you could almost say well, I’m there.

I:          This is it.

B:        Um, well there are two maps ready, uh, puttering around.  But, uh,

I           I like that.  What was your rank at the time?
B:        I was only, I was, I had no rank.  I was just a gunner.

0:14:00

I:          Gunner.  You did

B:        [INAUDIBLE]

I:          But you did play important role, right?

B:        Hm?

I:          So you find the place for the whole, whole, you know, the

B:        For the Regiment.

I:          Yeah.  Regiment.

B:        Yeah.

I:          Yeah, so that’s very important role.

B:        Well, it was, the initial part of it.  But as I say once, once we had decided on a particular spot, then the tech acts of the Regiment

I:          Yeah.

B:        then took over, um,

0:14:30

from what they call this gun, gun aiming called GIP

I:          Um hm.

B:        and

I:          And then what did you do?

B:        Well that, that was one of the beauties of it, um, that we were a little bit freer than, um.  Bu then we still had, um, we did have certain duties.  But then

I:          What kind, as a gunner?

B:        Hm?

I:          As a gunner?

B:        No, not actually truly as a gunner, um.

I:          Then what did you do, actually, after you decide

0:15:00

where to go, what did you do?
B:        Well, we used to do a lot of wandering around and having a look at areas and, and

I:          So basically were free man.
B:        I was very free, and, uh, what happened was that when we got into a static position, um, that’s why as I say the Commanding Officer, um, or the two IC actually bloke, um, and, uh, he was, um, he had these

0:15:30

huge, huge number of, um, aerial photographs, um, and, of course that, that was part of my civilian work.  So I said to him well, can I make up some mosaics and, uh, so I made up a mosaic for him and uh, the CO saw it and the CO said I want one of those.  So I ended up, they call this tech part, um, which was a brigade headquarters,

0:16:00

um, liked and, and, uh, I did map work and, and, or one or two other things for

I:          What was your unit?
B:        Sixteenth field.

I:          Sixteenth Field Regiment.

B:        Um.

I:          And do you have a company or platoon that you belong to?

B:        No.

I:          No.

B:        No, no.  Well I, I, it was known as a, laughily known as the CO’s tech party.

I:          Um hm.

0:16:30

Where were you in Korea?  Were you in Seoul or you were in the front line?

B:        No.

I:          You were in the front line, right?
B:        Yes, I got up onto the front line, and, cause from there, we used to have what they called Ops, and so the opportunity to go up there caught off and doing a little bit, a little bit of quiet surveying and, and recognition of some of the, the points

0:17:00

from aerial photographs, and.  So that part of it was quite good.  The, um, but I, uh, I spent,, uh, one of the first things when I got over there, um, we had a, what they called a film unit

I:          Um.

B:        And, uh, somebody said to me uh, bloke who runs, runs the film unit, um, is going on leave.  Can anybody operate a

0:17:30

16 ml, projector.
I:          Wow.

B:        And I said, um, you know I can cause I’d always taking the attitude if you, uh, if, if somebody would ask you to do something, you, you do it it, if you can because there’s a chance of getting somewhere else.  So from that, I ended up by going down to Pusan of all things afterwards and doing a, uh, a course on their, on 16 ml. films projection.  So that gave me

0:18:00

I:          So you learned there in Pusan?

B:        So that gave me a chance.  Then, then to, that’s what Pusan looked like at.

I:          Show it to the camera.  Show it to the camera please.  Wow. That, show that, show that more, more please.

0:18:30

So that’s how Pusan looked like.
B:        Yes.

I:          And what’s down in the, it’s a bridge?
B:        Yeah.  Well on the way from Pusan to Seoul, the partisans have got in apparently and, um, destroyed the, um, the rail system, um, and that was after it had been replaced.

0:19:00

Where was it?

B:        It was at, uh,

I:          On river?

B:        No, only about 30 or 40 miles north of, um, Pusan.

I:          Oh.

B:        So um,

I:          Um.

B:        the, um,

I:          So did you learn how to filming?

B:        Uh, well I

I:          In Pusan?

B:        No.  I just kept, but, I mean, this is what the, what the countryside was like when I, uh, going, going back up to, um, Seoul

I:          Um.

0:19:30

B:        um, and, uh,

I:          What’s down?

B:        Uh, your recognize something in Seoul itself?
I:          It’s Seoul or Suwon?

B:        It’s in

I:          Seoul.

B:        the

I:          Capital city.

B:        Yes.  Uh.

I:          Yeah, it’s, uh, South gate, right?

B:        It’s the South gate as if I knew I was gonna say it was the Northeast gate but, uh,

I:          Oh, North east gate?

B:        I don’t know.  I’m only guessing there.

I:          I don’t, I, I cannot tell.

B:        You, you should know where it , not me.

0:20:00

But, uh, I mean, I know it was the only bridge, um, over the, um,

I:          Hahn River.

B:        Yes.  Um, but frozen up.

I:          Yeah.

B:        My, uh, that was part of Seoul, um, devastated, and I think probably those are the, the memories that I have of, um, in particular career, um.

I:          Did you take that photograph?

0:20:30

B:        Yes.  They’re all mine.

I:          You have more pictures?
B:        Yes.

I:          In home?

B:        But the, that was one of the Korean, um, servicemen home on leave for a couple of days with his, with his child, um.  The other one

I:          Um.

B:        that is one of the most fantastic things I’d ever seen of, um, if you

0:21:00

mention, um, beer cans all being opened up and made into a sheet of corrugated iron, and this is innovation, and it’s something which fascinated me in Korea, and it still does because when I picture what, what the city looked like,

I:          Uh huh

B:        and when we did a revisit there,

0:21:30

but, um, well I mean, seems like that we’re, um, you know, I understand if they had done that with the Japanese, they’d have had their head cut off or, um,  but, um, ah.  The types of things.  See, in New Zealand, we didn’t have the same change of climate as you got with your, um

0:22:00

so you went from frozen to, to mud and slop

I:          Um hm.

B:        And flies. The system we used for, uh, data flying, um, find our way around were called tech signs, um, houses 44 which was 16th Field, um, I don’t know who, uh,  and you asked me what we did on, when we weren’t

0:22:30

actually truly surveying, um, we went back over some of the old, the old survey spots, and there was a little village, um, I know I can find, um, Mun, [MUNSANLI]

I:          Munson?

B:        Yeah, does that ring

I:          Munson.

B:        Yes.

I:          Yes.

B:        Well, it’s just on the eastern side of that

I:          Um.

B:        in a little village there.

0:23:00

and of course the, the young children, um, were absolutely fascinated, um.  So we got that sort of thing, um.

I:          When did you see those children, what were you thinking?
B:        Hm?
I:          When you saw those children, what were you thinking?

B:        I don’t know.  Um, I think we just enjoyed actually, um, the fact that they were enjoying us.

0:23:30

We couldn’t speak the same language but, um, the particular little girl there, she set out to us, sat in a jeep, um, and just sat at the wheel there.  And, and the grin on her face was, um, absolutely fabulous.  But, uh, uh, well that, that’s, just purely to, to show the it did snow there, um,

0:24:00

although snow wasn’t, um, wasn’t particularly, um, uh, it’s not a very good one but it’s, uh, some idea of how we, um, how we set ourselves up and we, um, uh, I suppose you gotta get onto, uh, what we call warries, and that was up on, uh, leading up to an area called, uh, was 355.

0:24:30

I:          Hill 355?
B:        Yeah.

I:          Yes.  So you were there on Hill 355?
B:        Oh, yes.  Uh, the static position  of the Commonwealth of, went from, uh, 355 which was up in the northeast corner

I:          Um.

B:        but it came back down through the Sunchon Valley, um, almost to the Imjin,

0:25:00

and that was in, in a, well, British Commonwealth, Frontage

I:          Um hm.

B:        Um, I don’t, uh, I don’t think that would, that would, um, photograph very well.  But, um, but

I:          Where are those?
B:        It’s typical of what the, uh,

I:          Hill 355?

B:        Yes.  It was from 355 and the, um,  and the funny little

0:25:30

white thing there

I:          Yeah.

B:        was, the day of the, the, the truce

I:          Oh.

B:        the North Koreans, um, and that was their position, um, put out this sign, um.  The area of going from 355 was, was not on a, there, there were four, Matthew, Meek, Matthew, Luke and John,

0:26:00

um, and it was the, and that was the Apostles, um.  And

I:          What, what, tell me again.  Why that was named as, uh, Matthew, why?

B:        Yes.

I:          Why?  Who  named it?

B:        Matthew, Mark and

I:          John.

B:        Don’t know what

I:          Luke.

B:        You got me confused now.

I:          Matthew, Mark, and Luke

B:        Yes.

I:          and John.

B:        The Apostles.

I:          Apostles, yeah.

B:        Yeah.

0:26:30

I:          Could you explain what is that again?  Who wrote  that?
B:        Well, what it was was if you got, um, uh, let’s see if I find a better one, if you got, um, a high point which was 355

I:          Yes

B:        um, and from that, you had a series of three, um,

0:27:00

or four humps.  We’ll call them that, um, going away to the, uh, to the north, north west.  So the 355 dominated it .

I:          Um hm.

B:        And, and the North Koreans were on the Apostles.  So they  received a, uh, more than a fair share of, um,

I:          So they named

B:        you wouldn’t see that.

0:27:30

But, um

I:          So they named it as a, Apostles?
B:        We, we named it as Apostles, yes.

I:          Named what, the Hill 355?

B:        No, the, the three, three hills leading down from, we, we had 355 and, um, the North Koreans had, um, the Apostles.

I:          Ah.

B:        And that was, they were very, very close situations.  So

0:28:00

I:          So the, the hills that North, occupied by the North Koreans were called Apostles.
B:        Yes.

I:          Why?

B:        Um, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John

I:          Why?  Why did you, why

B:        So in your, in your, um, in your Bible you had the, uh, the three Apostles and how that, how that came about I don’t, I don’t honestly know.  But, um,

I:          Bruce, this is my book.

0:28:30

B:        [LAUGHS]  No.  Is, is t hat what, how did you come by a name like that?
I:          Can you show it to the camera?  That’s the Gospel, and it’s, uh, Mark, Matthew

B:        Yeah that’s it

I:          Luke

B:        Yeah.

I:          and John together.

B:        Um.

I:          So it’s old Biblical text, all Biblical text.  I didn’t add anything.

0:29:00

But I made it into one so that you don’t have to read four different books.  It’s all one about Jesus.

B:        Oh.  Love that, lovely.  Well in that case, um, you might want to, um, I don’t know.  What else have we got?  I, uh, uh, when the one

0:29:30

That was a, so that’s, that was going out to actually the, another, another feature right beside it, 159

I:          Yeah.

B:        um, just as

I:          159 hill?

B:        Yeah.

I:          Hill 159.

B:        Yes.

I:          So you been to many different hills.

B:        Yeah.  Well as I say, I, um, as a surveyor, I was, I was fairly lucky and one, once I,

0:30:00

once I came, became part of the CO’s, um, party, it meant to say that I was reasonably free, um.  I did, uh, some line work, um, cause I knew something about maps and things like that.  So, um, that was, again, the, um, they had sent [INAUDIBLE] tanks up there, um, and they

0:30:30

used to just dig them right into, into the ground, uh, for their protection and just use them as, as

I:          Um hm.

B:        guns.  They, um, uh, I went towards, um, present when the, um, prisoners were returned, um.  So that was, um

I:          Where was it?

B:        Um, what you call, I think, the Bridge of Peace.  Is it?

0:31:00

I:          Oh.

B:        And

I:          Bridge of No Return.

B:        Yes.

I:          [INAUDIBLE] yes, yes, yes.

B:        so that, um,

I:          So you were there, too?

B:        Well, I went  there  and, um, I was lucky enough to see some of t he, uh, that was some of the, um, North Koreans bringing, uh, getting ready for repatriation

I:          Uh huh.

B:        The, um, uh,

I:          So those are the patients of North Koreans.

B:        Yeah.

0:31:30

I:          Prison of war.

B:        The, um, I think probably one of the things that fascinated me, too, in temperature, um, we used to go down to, I think about -18.

I:          Um.

B:        But then, um, so that was Imjin just starting to freeze over.  So, uh,

I:          That’s Imjin River.

B:        Yeah.  The, uh, and of course there was always, once the truce was signed,

0:32:00

um, we had a, um, a police camp right beside the Imjin and so we even  managed to swim in it.

I:          Um.  That’s how you took shower then.

B:        Yes.  But, um, no.  I, um, as I say, I, I was very lucky that, um, I managed to, uh, to get around quite a bit.

0:32:30

That bridge, um, was demolished.  I, I was, I came back, um, on one of the Revisit programs.

I:          When was it?

B:        Um, it was the, um, a bridge they called the Pintail.  We called it the Pintail.  Actually Americans built it before the

I:          Where was it?

B:        On the Imjin

I:          Imjin River

0:33:00

because the, um, the British Commonwealth, um, uh, we were all on a, a area which was virtually, um, the southern boundary and was the Imjin.

I:          Um hm.

B:        So you were on top, you were only, uh, but, um, then, as I say, because I was, um, able to, uh,

0:33:30

move around a fair bit, um, I saw some of the, uh,

I:          That’s how Korean farmers harvesting.

B:        Yes.

I:          Rice.

B:        And, uh, some of the villagers in the back

I:          Yes.

B:        Um,

I:          You have, uh, wonderful pictures.  But Bruce, I wanna ask some questions, okay, because we have a little

B:        [INAUDIBLE] in time, yes.

I:          limited time, and we can scan the picture later, okay?

0:34:00

B:        Yeah.

I:          But I wanna ask some questions.  So you saw this, when did you go back to Korea?  When did you go back to Korea?

B:        Nineteen, to be quite honest, I, I’m not certain.  But I, I can tell you this, that it’s, it’s one of the few countries that have ever shown any acknowledgement to where the New Zealand troops have been

0:34:30

I:          Um.

B:        in the system where now you have a Revisit for all the countries that, uh, took in the Korean War, um, and it, well, this is something which I have always appreciated very, very much.  I managed to take my wife, um, and we spent, I think, eight or 10 days, um, and, uh,

0:35:00

I:          When did you go back?  What did you feel about the change?
B:        Uh, well I, I’ve just, um, it was weird actually gob stopped, um.  You  might not know that one.  But anyhow, um, it means that you’re really, really astounded and now when I get some of the publications, um, or used to, some of the publications, um, and I see some of the other, uh,

0:35:30

movies of, uh, what’s happened in Korea, well, I just, um, it, it, I just, I find it hard to believe that, uh, in relation to our own country, um, we’re, um, boy, the development.  But that, that’s what I’m saying about in some of these photographs because even in those days, um, people set out

0:36:00

little stalls on the side of the road, um, and things which, um, here, here they came by the other [INAUDIBLE] and, and does some of that, um, nobody really tells anybody, and it’s like little, um, little cast models and things like that that were all made, um.  We used to take, um, 25 pounds of shells down to Seoul, and they got swapped, um, for, um, for something, um.

0:36:30

I:          When did you leave Korea from the War?
B:        Nine, it turned into nine, no.  The beginning 1954 because, um, I’d been engaged, um, before I left New Zealand and, uh, my wife had, um, and I had, still had what we call itchy feet.  We wanted to go touring,

0:37:00

and she went to London, I went to Korea, and we sort of said on the basis of if we ever met up again in the world, um, we’d get married.  So, uh, I managed to, um, hold off a little while, and I got a discharge, um, to UK which meant to say that I went from, went back on the British, um, troop ship, um, and, uh,

I:          So you were married at the time?

B:        met up with the wife back in London and got married.

I:          Oh.

0:37:30

B:        So we were married in London

I:          Wow.

B:        And, uh, so that was enough

I:          That’s a story.

B:        Yeah.

I:          So did you write letter back to her when you were in Korea?
|B:       Yeah, we, you know, she, she was, she moved to London about just, just before I went to Korea actually, and we sort of made up our minds

I:          Did she serve in, in London or what did she do?

B:        Oh, no.  She, she was actually a, um,

0:38:00

she was actually quite a, a highly skilled person with a, she had a tremendous memory for stuff and, uh, she worked for a, um, a, um, a book company or some form, form there, um.

I:          Um hm.

B:        I can’t remember who it was now.

I:          Yeah.  But anyway

B:        Her, her brother was there, too, so it was

I:          Yeah.  So when you left Korea in only ’54, did you ever think that Korea would become

0:38:30

like this today?

B:        No.

I:          Why not?

B:        Well, in some respect when I say no, I’m wrong there.  She probably, I, I did think because as I say to you, I was always fascinated with the innovation, um, when I was there, um.  And when we did the Revisit, of course, well, that, that was a, a, a tremendous, um, growth.

0:39:00

And of course now looking at it, it’s just, it’s hard to believe that, um

I:          Um hm.

B:        it’s, um, it’s still the same city.

I:          Yeah.

B:        Or country.  But I mean, it’s, the, the terrible thing really was that, um, Korea’s had a pretty rough, rough road for a great number of years when you think of, um, the, how the Japanese treated people, um, and, uh,

0:39:30

on, Chinese didn’t treat them much better to start with, uh.  And, uh, to, to, to  have developed for what they are, is, is quite  fabulous really.

I:          Fabulous.

B:        Well any, you know, if you look at any other country in the world and, I, I must admit, um, not been took uh, over, what’s the name?

0:40:00

But anyhow, um, yes.  I, I, I am very impressed, and as I said to you, particularly, e, even acknowledgement of, of, of New Zealand, uh, involvement in the War, um is, is still being recognized, um, with Revisit and, which, as I say, [INAUDIBLE] I don’t know of any other country which has ever made any, any interest at all in that direction.  So anyhow,

0:40:30

I:          It’s been a pleasure to meet you sir, Bruce, and nice to hear, uh, from you about what you did actually during the War and all the wonderful pictures that shows the real stark contrast between the Korea in 1952, ’54 and now, right?

B:        Thank you.

I:          Yeah.

B:        Yes, yes

I:          Yes.

B:        And it, it’s, it is quite fabulous and, I mean, the, these are just a little collection which I, because I wasn’t certain what was gonna happen

0:41:00

this morning, and I thought well I might have to talk to something.
I:          Yeah.

B:        Um.  So I thought well I

I:          It was great that you bring this, and I would like to scan those pictures, okay?  So please work with, uh, VA of this here.  But I wanna thank you for your service, and we will make sure that this going to be edited and will be uploaded into Internet  so everybody will watch what you said today, and also it’s going to be used as a curricular resources

0:41:30

in the classroom in New Zealand, I promise you.

B:        Oh, lovely.  Oh, no, no.  well, this is what I’m saying. Um, it is, it’s quite tremendous, and the, and the fact the, um, I mean I, I’ve been very, very fortunate, um, and I, I very,  our, uh, Ambassador in New Zealand and to your Ambassador. um, Ambassadors because

0:42:00

we’ve had a whole series of them. I’ve always been, uh, very generous to work towards them and society and, uh, our numbers have now got down so low, though, that, um, uh, yes.

I:          Great.  Thank you so much.

B:        I thank you.

 

 

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