Korean War Legacy Project

Ernest J. Berry

Bio

Ernest J. Berry served in the New Zealand army during the Korean War. He was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1929. Inspired by the poor treatment of his aunt in a geriatric hospital, he earned a nursing degree. When the Korean War broke out, Ernest Berry was working at a hospital in New Zealand. He enlisted in the New Zealand Army on his 21st birthday. He trained as a medic but officially served in sanitation following artillery units along the Han River. Ernest J. Berry left Korea in December of 1951 after contracting Korean hemorrhagic fever.

Video Clips

Skating Over Dead People

Ernest J. Berry describes traveling by truck from Busan to the Han River. He recalls the unsettling realization that people were paid and encouraged to kill him. Upon arrival, he and his unit found Canadians skating on the frozen river, so the new arrivals joined them. Beneath the ice, he saw the faces of dead soldiers and people peering up at him.

Tags: Busan,Hangang (River),Seoul,Cold winters,Fear,Front lines,Physical destruction

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxBfa1Z8wM&start=555&end=759

"Pronounced Dead, the Continuing Tick of his Watch"

Ernest J. Berry wrote a book called "The Forgotten War" in 2000 to commemorate his experiences. The message of the book is that war was devastating and should be avoided. Invasion is unjustified. Ernest J. Berry describes Korea as a second home and laments the many lives lost in the conflict. He then reads poems from his book, Forgotten War, providing poignant vignettes of the Korean War.

Tags: Seoul,Communists,Depression,Fear,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Message to Students,Personal Loss,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxBfa1Z8wM&start=1739&end=2164

"Luxuries, which we dreamed of"

Ernest J. Berry describes being ordered to move out quickly at one point. His unit encountered an abandoned American M.A.S.H. outpost. He describes his amazement at encountering the luxurious conditions and resources the Americans had abandoned. Ernest J. Berry describes American abundance. When Americans left a camp, they buried their supplies. In contrast, New Zealand soldiers would have to pay for lost socks.

Tags: Busan,Seoul,Civilians,Front lines,Living conditions,South Koreans,Weapons

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxBfa1Z8wM&start=864&end=1201

"I Wanted to Make a Difference."

Ernest J. Berry was deeply moved by his aunt's medical care before she died. He chose nursing to make a difference in people's lives. When the Korean War broke out, though afraid, he enlisted in the army and sailed for Korea.

Tags: Fear,Home front

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxBfa1Z8wM&start=113&end=226

Basic Training and Meeting Refugees

Ernest J. Berry describes the training as a medic at Waiouru Military Camp and sailing to Korea. He knew nothing of Korea. As he arrived, the communists were penetrating southward. He remembers streams of refugees traveling south as well. He explains his first impressions of Korean people.

Tags: 1950 Pusan Perimeter, 8/4-9/18,Busan,Basic training,Civilians,Communists,Impressions of Korea,Prior knowledge of Korea,Women

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxBfa1Z8wM&start=230&end=498

Service in Korea

Ernest J. Berry describes helping in delivering a baby during war. He also describes becaming ill during an attack and was rescued from a foxhole by an American M.A.S.H. unit. He was treated in the M.A.S.H. hospital and flown to Japan, where he watched many soldiers die from what he later learned was a hantavirus known as Korean hemorrhagic fever. Overall, he felt he had to go to help the people of Korea.

Tags: Hangang (River),Front lines,KATUSA,Personal Loss

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJxBfa1Z8wM&start=1212&end=1568

Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

E:        Uh, my name is Berry, Ernest Berry.  Did you say spell my name?
I:          Yes.

E:        Uh, E R N E S T   B E R R Y.

I:          Um hm.  And you have a middle name, right?

E:        John.

I:          John.  J O H N.

E:        Correct.

I:          Yes.  What is your birthday?

E:        Uh, 21st of August, 1929.

I:          So now you are 90, 89?

E:        Ninety, this year.

0:00:30

I:          This year.

E:        In August.
I:          Yeah.  You look great, sir.

E:        You’re very kind.

I:          Oh.  So 89, but you going to be 90 old, and where were you born?

E:        Christchurch.

I:          Christchurch.  That’s where I’m headed.
E:        Oh, okay.

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

0:01:00

E:        Uh, I was one of about eight children.

I:          Eight.

E:        in the middle of them.  There are two of us remain, and I have a sister who is still living in Rangiora

I:          Uh hu.

E:        and she is 92.  And we are the two remainders.

I:          Hm.

I:          Uh, we schooled in Christchurch.  I, uh,

0:01:30

took training in nursing, uh, at an early age and graduated in 19, oh. about 1989.

I:          19

E:        Sorry,  19 [INAUDIBLE]

I:          1948?

E:        1949.

I:          Um.  But why were you interested in that medical?
E:        Uh, because I had an aunt

I:          Um.

E:        who I had to visit in Burwood Hospital in Christchurch.  She was in the

0:02:00

Geriatric wing, and I was horrified at the way the bedsores were treated in those days.

I:          Yeah.

E:        And I wanted to make a difference to, the first time I saw a bedsore on a person was on my aunt, and you could see the whole  of her spine been eaten away, and that, that very  night, she died, and the nurse invited me to supper that night  and said,

0:02:30

suggested I, if I’m interested, I should take this course.  That was a two-year nursing course.

I:          Um.

E:        Which I completed, and that was held in Awapuni Hospital in Palmerston North.

I:          And then after that, what did you do?

E:        After that, I went to, uh, Cornwall Park Hospital in Auckland

I:          Um,

0:03:00

and that’s when the Korean War started.  So I am immediately volunteered to go,  And, and December of that year, we sailed for Korea.

I:          And so before you talking about  that, um, you volunteered?
E:        Yes.

I:          Were you not afraid

0:03:30

losing your life being dragged into the War?

E:        Yes.

I:          You were afraid.

E:        Yeah.

I:          But you volunteered.

E:        Yeah.

I:          It doesn’t

E:        I was afraid on the way over, too. and very tempted to throw it all in.

I:          But you volunteered.

E:        Yeah.

I:          So did you know anything about  Korea or, I mean, did you have any motive

E:        I never

I:          Did you have any motivation to volunteer to fight for a country?

0:04:00

E:        A lot of us, as explained in my book called Forgotten War, which I don’t know, I think you’ve seen, uh, it was maybe at the end of this interview I can give you a copy.

I:          Absolutely.

E:        Um hm.

I:          You can bring it, and we can, uh, video taping it.  But, so you didn’t know much about Korea at the time, right?
E:        I never heard of Korea.  And very few of us had.

I:          Um hm.

0:04:30

So you didn’t know much about it.  You didn’t learn from the school?

E:        Oh, from June onwards in 1950, we were hearing a lot about it, about the atrocities of the, uh, oppositional, of the Communist opposition.  And, uh, so we kept their eye and ear on the  news

I:          Um hm.

E:        and we landed in Manilla,, the Philippines, on Christmas Day.

0:05:00

I:          Uh, where did you, did you

E:        New Year’s Eve, we arrived in, uh, in Pusan which is now Busan.

I:          But did you get any basic military training before you left?

E:        Oh yes, yes.

I:          What did you do, and where did you get it?

E:        I got it in Waiouru.

I:          Um hm.

E:        W A I O U R U

I:          Um hm.

E:        That’s the main training camp in New Zealand.

0:05:30

I:          And?

E:        And, uh, that, that was for about three months.  From the time on enlistment, uh, I actually enlisted in my birthday.  So I was the youngest legally, uh, available soldier, uh.  Many put their ages down so they would qualify to go.

I:          Um.

E:        [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yeah.  They cheated their ages.  But two

E:        But you had to be 21 to, uh, to, uh, volunteer.

0:06:00

I:          Um hm.

E:        And I volunteered on my birthday.

I:          So what was your specialty, nurse, medic?

E:        Yeah.

I:          Medic?

E:        Yeah, medic, yeah.

I:          Um.  So did you get any special training for, for you to become a medic, or you were already overqualified?
E:        Oh, I, I knew all the, the all the Red Cross stuff

0:06:30

from my nursing training.

I:          Um hm.  So you didn’t have to learn much about it.

E:        No.

I:          No.  So when you arrived in Pusan in, uh, what is it, uh, New Year’s Eve of 1950,

E:        That’s right.

I:          did you stay there long?

E:        No.  We stayed there about 24 hours.  Then we were put onto, uh, trucks, and at the time, the, the

0:07:00

invasion from the North of the Communists was reaching the farthest point South, and the streams of refugees coming in our direction.  So we were traveling North.  The refugees were traveling South.

I:          South, yes.

E:        And the, the, the typical refugee training was the old man would go first with those tall [INAUDIBLE] hat.  The, uh,

0:07:30

Correction.  The children would go first.

I:          Um.

C:        The smallest then the largest.  Then the old men.  Finally following

I:          Um.

C:        was the mother.  And the mother had all the household goods strung around her, on her head and one or two babies hanging around her uh, uh, as well.  And that was Korean life as we first saw it.

I:          Hm.  So what did you think about it?  Be honest.  When you see the Korean

0:08:00

people for the first time in your life, and you didn’t know about that country.  What did you think about them?  What was your first impression?

E:        My first impression was that I was stepping back about a thousand years in time, that this can’t be, this can’t be modern,

I:          Um hm.

E:        modern world.

I:          Yeah, that’s true because it was, uh, through the War, right?

E:        Yeah.

I:          And anything you still remember about the Busan when you saw,

0:08:30

saw it  for the first time?  Anything else, smell bad or, about people, how did they look to you, about buildings?
E:        Well it was, it was, it was close to midnight.  It was freezing cold.  We’d just come from the Philippines, from the, the tropics, and as I remember , a stream of, uh, but I suppose you call them prostitutes.  But, uh, [INAUDIBLE] light you could see cause there were no lights,

I:          Um.

0:09:00

E:        uh, prostitute cigarettes.  And,

I:          So there were.

E:        everything was freezing cold.  But we weren’t allowed off the ship

I:          Um.

E:        until the next morning.  And then we were.

I:          So where were you headed with the truck?

E:        I don’t know now. I, I didn’t know then because everything was secret.

I:          Um hm.

E:        We just put onto trucks, and the, the whole,

0:09:30

the following days and weeks were just a kaleidoscope of visions.  We didn’t know what to expect and, uh, we were going from, uh, from light to dark and from gunpoints and [INAUDIBLE].  And what impressed me most

I:          Um hm.

E:        was that for the first time in my life and the life of anyone with me was, were people were suddenly

0:10:00

being paid and honored for killing me, for doing me harm.  Whereas normally, the opposite is the case.  A criminal is one who does you harm.

I:          Um hm.

E:        But now, good ones are the baddest and visa versa.

I:          Right.  That’s the War.

E:        That’s the War.

I:          Um hm.

E:        So I had to very quickly get my head around the fact that

0:10:30

there were half the population that I was headed for, uh, was going to be honored for killing me and doing me harm and visa versa.  And I, and I would be honored for killing them.

I:          But you volunteered for that.

E:        Crazy.

I:          Yeah.  So where did you go?  Where did you arrive?  Did you go through Seoul?

E:        Well I, I arrived eventually at the Hahn River

I:          Um.

E:        uh, almost, a bitterly

0:11:00

cold, clear winter’s night, and it was the coldest, uh, winter on record I think it was.

I:          Yeah.

E:        Uh, and my first impression was getting to the Hahn River, and there were Canadiens there skating in their hobnail boots on the ice of the river.  So we joined t hem, and when I fell over skating, I saw faces looking at me from the ice, GI Joes,

0:11:30

Chinese, Koreans, just goggling at me from inside the ice.  There was a, we were skating on a graveyard.

I:          So you talking about the dead people under the ice, and you saw their face.

E:        Yeah.  The, these are dead people, yeah.

I:          You, you sure that you saw them?
E:        Absolutely.  I’ll never forget.

I:          Wow.

0:12:00

You’re not creating a movie, right, here?

E:        [LAUGHS]

I:          You saw them.

E:        Absolutely.

I:          Um.  What was your unit at the  time?

E:        16, oh, my unit was unique inasmuch as, uh, I was not officially in the Medical Corps..  I was officially, um, concerned, uh, responsible for sanitation.

I:          Sanitation.

E:        Yeah.  Wherever the unit moved.

0:12:30

I:          So what, I mean, what unit did you go with?

E:        One, 16th Fuel Regiment.

I:          Um hm.

E:        of the New Zealand Army.

I:          And what was your rank at the time?

E:        Uh, Private.

I:          Private.  So tell me.  Did you stay in the Hahn River, or did you go up farther North?

E:        Oh, we went, we isolated up and down, made camps.

0:13:00

Being Artillery, we just go, you might say, eight days at  one place, two days at another place, overnight at another place, whatever.

I:          And then where did you end up staying?

E:        Oh, we didn’t, we didn’t  end up anywhere.  We, uh, we didn’t have a home base.

I:          You were constantly moving?
E:        Uh, yeah.  We, we were Artillery.

I:          Yeah.

E:        Not a permanent base.

I:          Um hm.

0:13:30

So then, were there any action, battle, that you witnessed during your service there?
E:        Not very much because Artillery is called Long Range Snipers.

I:          Um hm.

E:        You don’t see a great deal.  It’s all a matter of, uh, number one gun, fire.  Number one, two gun fire.

I:          Um hm.

E:        And, uh, that’s as much as you see.  Uh,

0:14:00

when we, the main action we saw was at Kapyong.

I:          Kapyong.

E:        Or has it totally changed its name now.
I:          When was it?  When did you see the actions in Kapyong?

E:        I don’t remember the dates.

I:          Yeah.

E:        No.

I:          Okay.  And what happened?  Tell me the, describe in details about Kapyong.

E:        Yeah, I’ll tell you in detail.
I:          Yeah.

E:        Uh, there’s, most interesting.  It was, um, I think it must have been mid-summer

0:14:30

because it was hottish.  And, uh, we were told to move in a hurry, a great hurry, uh, to uproot our tents, get everything together and get moving.

I:          So what happened?

E:        So we stopped our, uh, unit, uh, our unit being 12 guns, 162, [INAUDIBLE] 161, 2 and 3 Batteries,

0:15:00

each one with four, four artillery pieces.

I:          Um.

E:        Uh, plus the, uh, Regimental Aid Purse which was for medics, uh, and the, uh, cookhouses and, and the other [INAUDIBLE] and the

I:          Yeah

E:        and the, um, signals operations.

0:15:30

And, so it was after midnight, and we were still moving.  And we were, we stopped at an American, at an abandoned American mortar base which was extremely elaborate, far more elaborate than anything around, uh.  We stopped there, and the Americans

0:16:00

mortar outfit which should really  have been ahead of us, uh, was actually behind us, uh, they, uh, they left with all, all they left their entire big marquee tents

I:          Hm.

E:        complete with beds, refrigerators, portable toilets, all the luxuries that we never dreamed of, and they just walk away and leave it.  And we walked into it.

0:16:30

And I remember about 2:00 in the morning getting up onto a, a strange [INAUDIBLE] or GI’s bed and, uh, his love letters and everything were there.  His watch was there, everything and, uh, all his girlfriends were feathers around the bed and the ice cream in the refrigerator and all these little luxuries which we dreamed of.  And

I:          A refrigerator.  Are you talking about refrigerator there and the ice cream?

0:17:00

There were ice cream and was a refrigerator?

E:        Absolutely.  Sorry?

I:          Was there refrigerator?

E:        Yeah.  Big refrigerator with ice cream.

I:          Wow.

E:        Yeah.

I:          Okay.

E:        They, uh, they didn’t want for anything.

I:          Um hm.  So what happened?  Did you

E:        So what happened there was they also left very significantly a, what we call a half trek

I:          Um.

E:        uh, which carried a trailer

0:17:30

full of medical gear

I:          Yes.

E:        which I immediately took advantage of, and I took over this, this half trek which I gave to another outfit, and the trailer itself was a, a beautiful tent, collapsible, set it on the trailer and it, it was a

0:18:00

virtually a doctor surgery with everything.  They had scalpels and

I:          So must be MASH unit of, uh,

E:        Exactly.

I:          U.S., yes.

E:        Very similar

I:          Yes.

E:        to that.
I:          Yeah, yeah.  And then you evacuated.
E:        I’m sorry?

I:          They evacuated.

E:        They evacuate.  They just left it.

I:          Yeah.

E:        They can ride it off.

I:          Okay.

E:        The interesting bi-point there is if, uh, if a Kiwi lost a pair of socks

I:          Um.

E:        they’d have to replace it, it would cost you six and six [INAUDIBLE] which is big money,

0:18:30

and then to replace a pair of socks.  But a, an American can work, work, throw away his hole, his rifle, his wife, his everything.  Every possession, they could just replace it without, no questions asked.
I:          Yeah.  That’s Americans stand for.

E:        Yeah.

I:          Waste.  And any other action that you remember or episode that you wanna share with us?

E:        Just generally speaking, that brings up the,

0:19:00

the topic of, uh, wherever the America, this went on right throughout the campaign.

I:          Um hm.

E:        Wherever the Americans left camp which they did all the time, go from one place to another, they never take with them anything.

I:          Um hm.

E:        that’s portable.

I:          Because they have abundance of those

E:        Yeah.

I:          those particular items.

E:        So they’d bury them, and on one side of the, uh, America, uh, American camp will be a

0:19:30

line up of, uh, of local Koreans waiting for the Americans to go and United Nations troops, um, Kiwis and Aussies and Turks and so on, waiting on the other side.  As soon as the Americans go, they all go up in their space and dig up all these beautiful rifles and

I:          Yeah.

E:        uh, caps and hops and winter gear, just every you can imagine

0:20:00

I:          Um.

E:        they would dig up.

I:          What about, any occasion where that you worked as a medic and saving soldiers from wounds and being killed?  Tell me about those.  What happened? Where and how it happened?

E:        It was more, more private than anything.  Just for example, one, one night, uh, I was woken right up about midnight.  It was a Korean man and gesticulating what was something, talking about

0:20:30

[INAUDIBLE] my wife, fever.  So, so he was obviously talking about his wife was having a baby.

I:          Um.
E:        But I’d never delivered a baby.

I:          Um hm.

E:        I delivered one that night.

I:          Um hm.  So you did it?

E:        Yeah.

I:          Was successful?

E:        Oh, yes.  I don’t know how, how long it lasted, what age he or she would be now.

0:21:00

I:          And any other episode that you remember, still remember?

E:        Oh, quite a few.  But most of them I’ve sublimated, uh, too nasty to tell about.

I:          Okay, save it.  Um, when did you leave Korea?

E:        I was, uh, I left Korea in early December, 1951.

0:21:30

I:          Um.

E:        Uh, I was settle, there was, uh, we were under attack, and I was in the foxhole, and the, uh, artillery dropping all around us, and suddenly I felt quite ill, but not from the attack.  But as it turned out, uh, the attack finished, and the next thing a MASH

0:22:00

unit came along with two burly, uh, huge American negroes, and they put, rolled me onto a stretcher and took me to a MASH hospital, and I got the hiccups, and they lasted interminably.  And I was taken to this MASH hospital and, uh, my weight gained or, or almost doubled because I was

0:22:30

getting, uh, fluids and blood.  Oh, it turned out to be Korean fever, what they called Korean fever

I:          Uh huh

E:        in those days, uh, which, uh, I was one of the very few who survived.

I:          I see.  So you were lucky to be survive.

E:        Then they, so at the MASH unit, then they  put me on a plane to go to Hiroshima

I:          Um hm.

E:        and Japan, uh, to, uh, a hospital there,

0:23:00

and there I saw many Americans with the same condition being wheeled in and wheeled out shortly later with a sheet over their head.

I:          Um hm.

E:        And I’ll, I’ll be next.

I:          What was the most difficult thing if I asked you to pinpoint only one thing that really bothered you or was really difficult when you were in Korea?  What would you say?

0:23:30

E:        The longer I was t h ere, the, the, the more justified I felt going.  So, uh,

I:          Homesick you mean?

E:        No.  The more justified I felt of going, that it had to be done

I:          Oh.

E:        because,  uh, of the atrocities I saw, I thought if I had any way to help, uh, [INAUDIBLE] than worthwhile.

I:          I see.  What was the most rewarding moments during your service in Korea?

0:24:00

E:        Most rewarding moment?

I:          Yeah.

E:        It’s, a, oh, one of many dark ones which I don’t wanna, I can’t bring up at the moment.

I:          Um hm.  So

E:        way down.
I:          Have you been back to Korea since then?

E:        Uh, in 2012, I was, uh, invited to go back, and I couldn’t believe my eyes that they

0:24:30

the, uh, twelfth century enclave that I had visited

I:          And

E:        is, in, in the 50’s is now streaks ahead of us, centuries ahead of us.

I:          When you left Korea in early December of 1951, had you ever imagined that Korea would become

0:25:00

like this today when you saw 2012?
E:        No.  I still find it hard to believe.  It was a dream.

I:          Uh huh.  Tell me about what you saw there in 2012.

E:        My first impression was the amazing greeting.  The, the people

0:25:30

welcomed us, and I said it was, it was unbelievable.  We thought we just went there and did a job all those decades ago and, uh, the busloads of people, people waving this, uh, we were the best of the, uh, our name on the side, and people were waving from taxies.

0:26:00

And so it just, got so many wonderful

I:          Um.  That really matters to you.  Um.  What about, did you go around the Seoul City?  Seoul City.

E:        Yes.

I:          Yes.  What did you see there?

E:        Uh, you mean the,  uh, old one?

I:          No, no, no, no.  The new one.

E:        Oh yeah.  I saw everything, yeah.

I:          So that’s a, that’s the legacy of your service.  That’s the

0:26:30

good thing came out of your service, right?  You never imagined that Korea would become like this today.  But came out beautifully.

E:        Yeah.
I:          But why is it we don’t teach about it?  Why, why is it that we don’t talk about it, the Korean War here in New Zealand, in the History class?

E:        Oh, too many old

I:          Too many  what?
E:        talk about.

I:          Alternatives?

E:        Yeah.

I:          Why?  It should be the focus because New Zealand came, and the Korea become now 11th largest economy in the world.

0:27:00

It’s stronger than New Zealand.

E:        Oh yeah.
I:          So I think this is one of the best alternative for you to talk about it.

E:        Um.  Right.

I:          Right?
E:        Right

I:          Yeah.  So, and it’s still known as Forgotten War.

E:        I’m sorry?

I:          It’s still known as Forgotten War.

E:        Yes, that’s right.
I:          Yeah, yeah.  What do you think?

E:        It shouldn’t be.

I:          Shouldn’t be, right?  Yeah.  That’s why we are

0:27:30

making this interview into curricular resources, so that teachers can have a material to teach.

E:        Uh huh.

I:          You know, young students can check this interview, and hearing from Mr. Berry who lives in Blenheim, New Zealand somewhere nowhere.  But he’s telling us that  he saw Korea was 12 century medieval, you know, poor country.  Now it’s better than New Zealand.  So when they hear from you,

0:28:00

they will learn from you.  What do you think?

E:        They’re right, yeah.
I:          That’s right.

E:        Um hm.

I:          Next year will be 70th anniversary of the Korean War broke out.
E:        Um hm.

I:          And it sounds ridiculous because it’s been 70 years like this without peace treaty.

E:        That’s right.

I:          What would you say to the Korean people that you remember about the 70t h anniversary?

0:28:30

E:        Well, I can say is well done.

I:          Um hm.

E:        You’ve done the impossible.

I:          Impossible thing, right ?  But you were part  of it.

E:        Absolutely.

I:          Um hm.  Are you proud of yourself as a Korean War veteran?

E:        In my heart I am.  But I, uh, don’t express it.

I:          Um hm.  You wrote a book about your service during the Korean War, right?

E:        That’s right.

I:          Yeah.  Could you show the book to camera?

0:29:00

E:        That’s a proof copy.
I:          Uh huh.

E:        Heavily notated.

I:          So Forgotten War.  You, you used that, right?

E:        Yes.

I:          And what’s the subtitle?  Could you read that?

E:        The subtitle is a haiku.  Or, in Korea it’s for a sea joe, seaside Joe.

I:          Let me read it .  Let me read it for you.

E:        I haven’t got my glasses.

I:          Bulldozers remove the memorial.

0:29:30

E:        Uh.

I:          Yeah.  And so anything, when did you write it, and what is about it?

E:        I wrote  it, I have dates here.

I:          Um hm.

E:        I presume.  You can just  hold the camera, can’t you?

I:          Yeah.

E:        I need glasses.

0:30:00

Thank you.  [INAUDIBLE] 2000.

I:          2000.   And what is about it?  What is the main theme of this book?

E:        The main theme of the book is to, uh,

0:30:30

encapsulate my memories of the entire Korean War episode

I:          Um hm.

E:        uh, from my first inclination to go until I, uh, until the time I, uh, revisited.

I:          Um hm.

E:        Uh, the revisiting time in the book  is [INAUDIBLE] imaginary because I wasn’t

0:31:00

actually invited to revisit until 10 years after that.

I:          Hm.  Uh, any special episode that you wanna introduce to, uh, this interview about your book?

E:        Well, the, the, the, the the actual text of the book is in Korean and Japanese verse.
I:          Um.

E:        Uh, so it’s a very, it’s very short.  But it’s easy to read it

I:          Yes.
E:        Cause it’s dedicated to my extended

0:31:30

family of roughly six billion people as people of the world including refugees, leaders, followers, peaceniks, warriors, politicians, prisoners, wives and orphans and all to whom war is, is inherent as it is abhorrent.  And before we start another one, I ask with Haiku number 116 why?  Why did we go to war, and Haiku number 116 is

0:32:00

not far away, [INAUDIBLE] 116.  Wait.  [INAUDIBLE]  That’s a way for us all on the streets of Seoul.  Seoul, at the time, had very, very few standing buildings, nothing more than one or two stories.

0:32:30

And that’s a, a waif.  A waif is, uh, that’s a, an orphan.
I:          Um.

E:        A child with, with no, no home.

I:          Yes.

E:        And, and the eyes ask why because

I:          Um hm.

E:        that’s a why war.

I:          Yeah.  So, what is the importance, importance of the Korean War to you?  And what, why did

E:        The importance of it to me is that, uh,

0:33:00

invasion or taking over another territory, uh, virtually any, any invasion of any country is unjustified, whether it be commerce or religious or, uh, any other, uh, political faction.  There’s no justification for taking another person’s life.

0:33:30

Or pretend and pretending that is justified.

I:          Very good.  So now you didn’t know anything about Korea before you left for Korea.  But now you are, you, you, you been there in 2012.  So what is Korea to you personally?

E:        Oh,  it’s a second home in a way.

I:          Um hm.
E:        It’s, uh,  it’s something that I’ve, uh,

0:34:00

I feel I have a [INAUDIBLE].

I:          Hm.

E:        Very small.  This are some, one of many thousand.  And when I left the, the thousands of Americans who never came home from that conflict, uh, New Zealand’s role was so infinitesimal.

0:34:30

I:          Is there any other episode or comments that you wanna leave to this interview?

E:        I could read just a couple of random selections.

I:          Yeah.

E:        First light, splitting the horizon, gunfire,

0:35:00

cold nights, cupped in my hands a Lucky Strike.

I:          Um.
E:        It was a brand new cigarette at the time.  I don’t know whether they still make them.  Hill 710, a dusting of snow covers our losses.  [INAUDIBLE] two-hour shifts on camp barometer.

0:35:30

Standing alone in darkness preparing to shoot anything that moves.

I:          Um.    That’s, uh, very powerful.  See, that’s why we, we wrote poem, right?  Yes.

E:        Going to  the movies at an Australian camp, Superman.  Pronounced dead the

0:36:00

contenduring tech of his watch.

I:          Yeah.  Ernest, I think, uh, this is great interview, and it’s worth that I’ve been driving along the all way to, to meet you and to hear from you on your experience of the Korean War.  And we need to make sure that all these things need to be checked out by the young students and teachers

0:36:30

here in New Zealand so that they can learn from you.  And again, I want to thank you for  your service, honorable service and fight for the Nation.  Now because of your service, Korea become what it is today, 11th largest economy and most substantive democracy in East Asia.  I wanna thank you on behalf of Korean Nation, and thank you for this opportunity.

E:        Thank you.,

I:          Thank you.

 

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