Korean War Legacy Project

James A. Newman


James A. Newman joined New Zealand’s Navy in 1949 and was shipped to Korea in 1950. He served aboard the HMNZS Frigate Hawea from 1950-51.  He left school at fifteen years old, eager to take advantage of any opportunity in life. Unlike most Navy servicemen in the war, he saw action on the mainland, journeying to Seoul and the battlefield in the company of a Church of England clergyman. He participated in a sneak attack along the Yalu River and fought in the Battle for Hill 355. The Battle for Hill 355 took place in October of 1951, was known as the Battle of Maryang-San, and this battle supported the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge. He has remained active, leading veteran groups in New Zealand, and returned to Korea five times since 2002.

Video Clips

Sneak Attack on the Yalu River

James Newman was stationed on the frigate HMNZS Hawea up the Yalu River. He participated in a daring attack along the border between China and Korea. Fighting as a gunner, his ship attacked enemy positions along the Yalu River and took the enemy by complete surprise.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Yellow Sea,Chinese,Fear,Front lines,North Koreans,Physical destruction,Pride,Weapons

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Nobody Argues with Padres

James Newman was sent ashore in 1951. Rare for a Navy man, he was able to see a devastated Seoul and fight on the frontlines. He had rare access due to accompanying an Anglican clergyman.

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

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"Pushing" to Hill 355

James Newman fought in the Battle for Hill 355 or Kowang-san. This battle was part of the larger Battle of Mayang-San, a joint British, Australian, and New Zealand engagement along the Imjin River. He describes his experiences on the frontline where he shared a foxhole with a Korean kid while mortars from the Chinese exploded near them.

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

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Return to Korea

James Newman has participated in five trips back to Korea since 2002. He is very impressed with the modern nation. He feels pride in the accomplishments of the Korean people and his part in freeing South Korea from North Korean rule.

Tags: Panmunjeom,Seoul,Civilians,Front lines,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,Poverty,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea,South Koreans

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New Zealand to Texas Connection

James Newman speaks to fellow veteran Larry Kinard. They talk about their efforts with veteran organizations and share some laughs. He never expected the phone call to take place!

Tags: Home front,Impressions of Korea,Pride,Prior knowledge of Korea

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Video Transcript

[Beginning of recorded material]

J:         My name is James Arthur Newman, and, uh, Newman is spelled N E W M A N.

I:          And your middle name  is

J:         Arthur

I:          A

J:         A R T H U R, and James, J A M E S.

I:          Yes.  In reverse order.

J:         Yeah, in reverse order.

I:          James Arthur Newman.
J:         That’s right.
I:          What is your birthday?

J:         Thirteenth of July, 1933.

I:          Thirteenth of July

J:         July, 1933.


I:          So you are now 80

J:         Eighty-five.

I:          Oo.  You look great, sir.

J:         I feel great.

I:          Yeah.  And where were you born?

J:         Ah, in Hamilton.

I:          Right here.

J:         Yeah, Hamilton, just North of here.

I:          Um hm.  And tell me about your family background when you were growing up, your parents and your siblings altogether.
J:         My father was a farmer.  He had a farm balloted from the First World War.


He went to the First World War

I:          Um.

J:         was in Gallipoli and in France, uh.  And when he came back, he got a balloted farm.

I:          What is that?  Balloted?
J:         Balloted.  Uh, they, he gone into a ballot, and if your name comes out, you get a farm.

I:          Oh, by ballot.
J:         Ballot, yeah.

I:          Oh.  That, that’s how it happened?

J:         That’s how it happened, yeah.

I:          So it’s a kind of lottery system.

J:         Uh, that one was.  But, uh, it


was because nobody had any money.  They couldn’t buy a, um, a, a farm because they didn’t have the money.  So they went into a ballot to, to win a farm, and they paid it off over the years.

I:          So was it for the kind of special treatment to the soldiers returning from

J:         Yes.

I:          Ah,

J:         Yes.

I:          That’s very interesting.

J:         Yes.  That’s, that’s what happened.

I:          So he got it.

J:         Yep.


I:          Yeah.  That was lucky, right?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.
J:         There was a, a, a nice, old estate not far from where he, uh, got his farm, and they broke that estate up

I:          Um

J:         and , a balloted out, and a number of farmers got farms.

I:          Very good.  You have enormous territory here, so

J:         Yes, yes.

I:          What about your siblings, when you were growing up?
J:         Uh, when I was growing up?

I:          Yeah.


J:         Uh, I had two, two brothers

I:          Um.

J:         and three sisters.

I:          So altogether, three boys, three sis, three girls.

J:         That’s right.

I:          Um.  And you were in the middle or eldest?
J:         Yes, I’m in the middle.

I:          In the middle.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Um.

J:         Yeah.  I have two older then me and, and three younger than me.

I:          Um.  Please tell me about the school you went through.


J:         [Mangadepar] Primary School.  Uh, it was a, um, a country school, uh.  And, uh, all the local children went to it, uh, at the primary level.  For high school, they had to go into [Marnesville]

I:          Um.

J:         to go to school.  Uh, they went by bus.  Uh, but, um, no buses at our school, at [Mangadepar] school, uh.  Everybody, they had to walk or go by bike into, into the school.


I:          So did you bike?

J:         No, I walked.  We’re, our farm’s very close to the school.

I:          Ah.  And, so when did you graduate school?

J:         I left school at 15.

I:          Oh, at the age of 15?
J:         I left school at the age of 15.

I:          Wow.  Why?

J:         Cause I didn’t like it.

I:          You’re too honest.  You didn’t like it?

J:         No.

I :         You didn’t want to study at the time?


J:         No.

I:          Ha.  So what hap

J:         It’s, it’s never done me wrong because I have been officer in charge of [Scot] based down the Antarctic.  I’ve been to the Korean War.  Uh, I’ve been in a judicial role for 20 years.  Leaving school at 15 didn’t hurt me at all.

I:          I, at all.

J:         No.

I:          What if you finished high school and become the President of New Zealand?


J:         It’s a fairy tale stuff.

I:          Wow.  That’s great that you, you skipped the school

J:         Yeah.

I:          and now you are one of the most, you know, know, leading judicial panel leaders here.

J:         Yeah.  Oh, I lead the employment tribunal when I retired.  I was leading it.

I:          Wow.  Impressive.  So what did you do, you pick, after you quit the school.

J:         After what?

I:          You quit the schooling at the age of 15, what did you do?

J:         Oh, 15.

I:          What did you do?

J:         Yes.  I , I, uh,


I got various jobs for a, about, uh, nine months period.

I:          Um hm.

J:         And then I decided to join the Navy.  And that’s, at 17, I joined the Navy, uh, 16, sorry, I joined the Navy and, um,  uh, I went into training  for a year, and then at 17 years of age, I went to Korea on HMNZS

I:          HM

J:         NZS


I:          NZS.

J:         NZS Hawea, H A W E A.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Uh, and, uh, so um, went to Korea at 17, went to war at 17.

I:          When was it?  What year was it?

J:         Uh, that was, uh, must have been 1950, beginning of 1950.

I:          So it was after the war broke out, right?


J:         Oh yes, yes.

I:          Yeah, yeah.

J:         We were the second lot of New Zealand frigates to go to Korea, uh.  When the War broke out, [10] of these young frigates went straight away, and we, we came back and, uh, we  relieved them of their duties and they came home, and we went up.

I:          So you are the second

J:         Second.

I:          Do you know Brian Johnson?  He was in the same frigate.

J:         Hawea, was he?


I:          Uh, but he was after ’51 and ’52.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Brian Johnson.

J:         Yeah.   No, he’d be on the second trip to the Hawea.

I:          Um hm.

J:         When we came back, uh, the same ship just went back up again with a new crew.

I:          Right.

J:         Uh, but I do know Brian Johnson.

I:          So

J:         When it was the same, whether or not, I don’t know.

I:          I think it’s, uh, you know him.  He went to Korea ’51 – ’52.

J:         Yes.

I:          So it must have been after you.

J:         After, after me, yes.


I:          But same frigate.
J:         Yes, same, yeah.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yeah.

I:          I did a interview him yesterday.

J:         Oh, did you?
I:          Yeah.

J:         Oh.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Where is he?

I:          I don’t know.

J:         Oh, you don’t know where he lives?

I:          I don’t know where he lives.

J:         Oh, I see.

I:          But he was lost in, in the way, on the way to his home.  So he was kind of upset.

J:         That’s no different from me because I got, my wife and I came out yesterday trying to find this place, and we got lost.
I:          Ah hah.

J:         And, uh, this morning, I went to


about four different roads, and I got lost.  But eventually we came here.

I:          So it’s a [INAUDIBLE], not [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Uh, yeah.

I:          Yeah, yeah.

J:         Yes.

I:          Anyway, so where, where were you in the Sea?  What sea where you were?
J:         Sorry?

I:          Around the Korean Peninsula, you were in the West or East?
J:         Uh, no.  We were in the, uh, [INAUDIBLE] side.

I:          West, right?
J:         Western side

I:          Yeah.

J:         nearly all the time, uh, although on one particular occasion, uh,


this was on the Kaniere, not, which is the second ship, trip I went on.

I:          Yeah.

J:         and we went right up into the Chinese border, uh, with a, an American destroyer I think it was.

I:          Um.

J:         um, and we went up there and, uh, the, the Chinese flew some jets over our ships.

I:          Oh.,

J:         uh.  They didn’t do any damage or anything.  They, they didn’t fire any guns.


I:          Why didn’t they do anything?
J:         Well, we were in open waters.

I:          Oh yeah, right, open waters.

J:         Yeah.  We were in open waters.  We were, we were about 10 kilometers off the shore.

I:          Pretty close.

J:         Um, pretty close.

I:          Yeah.  Why?

J:         I don’t know.  I was just say that I, I wasn’t the decision maker in those days.
I:          Right.  So what was your specialty then?

J:         Um, I had two specialties.  One was radar, a radar operator.

I:          Radar.


J:         Radar operator.  And the other one was deep sea diving.

I:          Deep sea diving.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Wow.  Where did you learn that?
J:         Um, in the Navy, um, the Navy had a good diving team and, uh, uh, you, you start off shallow depths, and you end up very deep water.  The deepest I’ve been is 210’.

I:          Wow.

J:         That’s deep.

I:          Very deep.  How is it like to be in that depth?


J:         Very black.

I:          Black?

J:         Black, no light.  No light coming from above.

I:          Um.

J:         You couldn’t, uh you couldn’t see anything.

I:          And were you not afraid of any sea animal like a shark?

J:         Oh no.  I had, uh, at one stage, on that dive, in fact, because you have stops coming up.  You have to stop

I:          Um.

J:         for about a couple of minutes every so often.  And when I was near the surface,


fourteen, um, porpoises

I:          Yeah

J:         had came and, um, they had a look at me.  Some of them came right up to my face.
I:          Shark?

J:         No, porpoise.

I:          Porpoise.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Um.  And?

J:         You know, they didn’t do any harm.

I:          Uh.

J:         They, they were just inquisitive.

I:          I am so afraid to be in the ocean because [INAUDIBLE] because of this, you know, the Jaws, the movies, you know.  [INAUDIBLE]

J:         Yeah.

I:          I can’t be there.


You were not afraid of anything like that.

J:         No, not afraid.

I:          Pretty good.

J:         Uh, if a big shark came and had a close look at me, I’d be afraid.  But porpoises are, um, quite friendly.

I:          Right.  And any dangerous moment that you encountered during your service in the West Sea?

J:         In the sea?
I:          Yeah.  I mean, when you were in Korea.

J:         Oh, in Korea.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Uh, we had one quite magnificent trip.


I:          Tell me.

J:         And it was, um, with a British frigate, uh, the, uh, I forgot the name of it now, uh.  But the, the Hawea and this frigate went right up the East Coast, no, the West Coast, of Korea and went, uh, in the middle of the night, we went down the Yalu River.


Now the Yalu River, as you know, is Communist China on the northern side

I:          Right.

J:         and, um,

I:          North Korea.

J:         North Korea on the

I:          South.

J:         on the South side.  And we went up that river, the Yalu River about 15 miles.

I:          Um.

J:         And, uh, this was the early hours of the morning. We never received any shots coming from shore, uh.  They were totally unprepared for us

I:          Huh.

J:         and we set


off our guns at about 2:00 in the morning

I:          Yeah.

J:         uh, and we fired as many rounds as we possibly could

I:          Toward what?
J:         Sorry?

I:          Toward what?  Where did you shot at?

J:         Well, we were shooting at, on the Southern shore of the Yalu River.

I:          Why?  Were there any enemies?

J:         Well, I, I, we don’t know because I was on a gun.  We, we

I:          You were just ordered to shot it?

J:         That’s right.

I:          Huh.

J:         And, um, I believe it was for



a, um, a, uh, a, um, a place where they stored all their goods and things like that.

I:          Oh.

J:         That’s what I believe.

I:          Okay.

J:         But whether that’s right or not, I don’t know.

I:          That’s a very rare, um, mission. I never heard about anything that the Navy actually shot at

J:         Yep.

I:          up to the Yalu River.

J:         Yeah, uh, yeah.

I:          You know where Yalu River is, right?

J:         Yeah, between Communist China and

I:          It’s the borderline.


J:         Borderline, yeah.

I:          And nobody, no, no enemies reacted to your ship?
J:         Never, not one shot come our way at all.  We were a total surprise to them.  Uh, it, it was a bit of a surprise to us as well.

I:          Um hm.  So tell me about it, more.  So what happened after you bombed them?
J:         Well, we shelled them.

I:          Yeah

J:         We shelled them.  We had one 4” gun, and we had, um, uh, [INAUDIBLE – named 3 guns], and they all shot.


Uh, as long as we were able to bare on North Korea, they, they used them.  Uh, and they shot, uh, as many rounds as they could

I:          Um.

J:         um, in the, in the short time that they were doing it.  What happened is that we went up, the ships turned around to come back again

I:          Yeah

J:         and then they fired.

I:          I see.

J:         Uh, they didn’t fire on the way up there, um.  They fired after they turned around and came, started to come back again.


I:          Uh.  Was damaged?
J:         No damage.

I:          Not at all.

J:         Not one

I:          Nobody, nobody killed.

J:         Not one shell came in our direction.

I:          Ha.

J:         And that must have been

I:          So they are basically very defenseless.

J:         Um.  We were up there

I:          Um hm

J:         I think they might have changed their mind after we left.  Yeah.

I:          That was very special.  Uh, when was it, 1951?


J:         That was, uh, be, 1951.  Yeah, uh, very early in ’51 I think.  Um, ’51, yeah.  Around about that time.  I couldn’t tell you the exact date.

I:          Um hm.  Any other episode?
J:         Uh, yes.  Uh, on the Hawea, uh, four of us including the padre got off up the Hahn River estry

I:          Oh


J:         Uh, and they put us on shore, uh, with a, um, a, a, a Korean, um, boat, just took us ashore.  And we stayed the night with the Americans in a observation post

I:          Um

J          Um, and then we got across the river, the Hahn River which was frozen at the time, on a tank, uh, alligator tank, uh.


and then we went to a, um, an American, where they had a number of tank mount need guns, and they were firing at the, uh, North Koreans.
I:          Um.

J:         Uh, and then we got, hitched a ride from there into, um, Busan, not Busan, uh, Seoul.

I:          Seoul?

J:         Seoul, yeah.

I:          Seoul.

J:         We hitched a ride into Seoul.  And we stayed the night there.

I:          In the ship or in the shore?
J:         No, no, no.  We were on the shore.

I:          Ah.


J:         Yeah, on the shore.  We left the ship.  We left the ship.  And we stayed the night in Seoul and, um, uh, the padre arranged for a, a, a vehicle to take us all around Seoul and have a look at what damage had been done.  And the only thing that wasn’t damaged was the railway station.

I:          So you saw, you saw Seoul in 1951.

J:         Fifty-one, yeah.

I:          Wow. It’s a,


also rare experience for a Navy crewman

J:         Oh, yes, yes.

I:          to be in the land

J:         Yeah.

I:          and be able to see how Seoul was at the time.
J:         That’s right.

I:          Give us a very details of what looked like at the time of Seoul because we, you know, not many Navy actually had that chance.

J:         That’s right.

I:          And young students want to hear from you.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Well, the only area we saw that wasn’t damaged at all was the railway station.

I:          Um.

J:         Uh, nearly every other street was, uh,


damaged in some way.  Some of it had major damage.  Other, um, slightly less damaged.  But all were damaged, with the exception of the railway station.

I:          And when you saw those things, how did you feel about Korea?  I mean, did you know anything about Korea before you went to Korea?  You didn’t learn anything from Seoul?

J:         Didn’t, didn’t even know where it was beforehand.


I:          Hm.

J:         You have to remember I left school at 15.

I:          Yeah, right.  So what did you do until 15?  You didn’t study much.  You didn’t know where Korea was.

J:         I didn’t like the teachers.

I:          You wanted to teach, right?  So you didn’t know nothing about Korea, and when you see that, the capital city of Korea is completely devastated,

J:         Yeah.

I:          what were you thinking?  Be honest.  What were you thinking?

J:         I thought it was terrible, um.  The fact that, uh,


the, the civilians, uh, especially.  They had no say in anything.  Uh, the Army virtually was in control, uh, of Seoul, uh.  The civilians had very little to say, um, and all  they were worried about was living from day to day, um.  One of the most poignant things I’ve ever seen was a family of, of Koreans.  We went from, from Seoul,


we went up to the front lines.  And on the way up, we saw this family.

I:          What do you mean?  You stayed one night in Seoul and then you went up to North?

J:         Yes.  Went up to the front lines.

I:          Were you able to do that?

J:         Oh yes.

I:          What about, I mean, were you able to do that or just

J:         No, no.  We, we, we wanted to do it.

I:          Okay.
J:         We wanted to go up to see the New Zealand, uh, Army.  So we, we just, uh, arranged for a, uh, transportation. We had a padre with us, so nobody argues with padres.


I:          Yeah.

J:         He was the boss.

I:          Yeah.  Father.

J :        Yeah.  No, not, not a father.  He was Church of England.

I:          Oh, okay.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Church of England, yes.  So you went up to, where?
J:         We went up to, uh, uh, I know that Hill 355 wasn’t far away because I went up it, uh.

I:          Really?

J:         Yeah.  Um, we went to this place where the New Zealand Army was, uh, and


they, they had guns.  They were, had, uh, artilleries.  And they were in charge of that.

I:          You’re not writing a novel now, right?  You were really up to Hill 355.

J:         Yeah.

I:          As a member of Navy crewman, you had that chance.

J:         Yes.

I:          This is hard to believe.

J:         Well, it’s true.  I

I:          Do you have a picture?
J:         Oh, I, I, I actually, sorry. I, I meant to bring a little piece of shrapnel

I:          Oh.

J:         When I was, uh, going up, I,



I was asked if I wanted to go  to Hill 355, and I said yes, please.  I wasn’t allowed to, but I still went.  Uh, I, I disobeyed orders and, uh, went and got on this, uh, Jeep and, uh, we went up the hill.  And to get to Hill 355 from where the New Zealand Army was, you had to go across some flat land, and you could see the


people working in the fields, uh, about a kilometer away.  And we were told later on, some of those people would be uh, uh, working for the North Koreans.  Anyway, when we got up the hill, uh, the Jeep turned around, and we got out to have a look around,  and within a, within a minute they started to mortar, the North Koreans started to mortar the hill

I:          Um.

J:         And, uh, I got in a hole, in a foxhole, and there was a little Korean


kid in there as well, and I, I shared the foxhole with him while the mortars kept coming.  And one mortar, uh, went not very far from us, exploded, and a piece went past my ear and into the bank.  And I dug that piece out, and I’ve still got it.

I:          You are the only Navy crew that I ever heard that you were in the foxhole


J:         Yes.  I was the only one to get in the foxhole.

I:          What was your rank at the time?
J:         Uh,  [INAUDIBLE] seaman, uh, yeah, [INAUDIBLE] seaman.

I:          So pretty low.

J:         Very low.

I:          You were at the bottom

J:         Yes.

I:          And then you were, but still you were able to do all these things.
J:         Yep.

I:          Yeah.  So you were lucky to be with the padre.

J:         Yes.  The thing is, if you don’t ask, you don’t get anywhere.

I:          Exactly. You  have to knock the door.

J:         You have to, you have to be brave and ask people to, if you can do something.


I:          Um hm.

J:         And we did that.

I:          I think because you were able to do because you didn’t get much education.  [LAUGHS]

J:         Quite possibly.  It didn’t worry me.

I:          Yeah, right.  You know, why, why do we worry, right?

J:         Yeah.

I:          Yeah.

J:         Yeah.  So that’s what you did, and then when did you come back to the ship, frigate?

J:         Uh, frigate, uh, we were away about 10 days in total I think, from memory, uh.  But we


went down, when, when we came back from the front lines,

I:          Um.

J:         we went back to Seoul.

I:          Uh huh

J:         And then from Seoul, we got on the train to Busan,

I:          Wow.

J:         and then we got into Busan, and we had to [brudge] a ride from the Australians, uh, who were flying, uh, DC3’s, uh, on Korea trips, um.  And we, so we [brudged] a ride back to Japan.


We landed on

I:          What do you mean?  You are not, you didn’t go back to the ship?
J:         Yeah.  Well, the ship was back in Japan at this stage.

I:          So you fly from Pusan?
J:         We fly, flew from Pusan.

I:          Fly from Pusan

J:         Um, yep.  To, to the Inland Sea.  There was an airfield on the Inland Sea or very close to it, and we landed there and then got a ride from there to our ship which was in Kurae


I:          You, you, it’s hard to believe.

J:         It’s true.

I:          Oh, how many of you were doing that,

J:         There, there was

I:          padre, one padre, right?

J:         padre and three others, and I was one of those three.

I:          So it was kind of special occasion.
J:         Oh yes.  Very special.

I:          arranged for the padre

J:         right, by the padre

I:          By the padre.

J:         Uh huh, yeah.

I:          You were, you were lucky.

J:         I was lucky.  Of course I’m lucky.


I:          Oh.

J:         I’ve been lucky all my life.

I:          So on the way down to Pusan through the railway, what did you see?  How was Pusan?

J:         Oh, uh, Pusan, um, some damage, uh.  But people were walking around and, and weren’t too concerned about, um, uh, the immediacy of war.

I:          Um.

J:         Uh, we, we had a, a good look around.  We went to the,


one place we went to was the fish markets.  And that was amazing.

I:          Why?

J:         I’ve never seen one before.

I:          How did you feel it?  Be honest.

J:         Sorry?

I:          Be honest.  When you see that fish market, what did you think of it?

J:         Oh, it was great because, uh, the fish was, was, some of them must have shown me around.

I:          Wow. And after you returned to your frigate, what happened?  Did you come back to


Korea and see or

J:         No, because when we, this was our final trip, uh, on that particular frigate.  And when we got back to Kurae and got back on the ship, I think it was about two or three days later, we left for Hong Kong to come home.

I:          When was it, 1951 or  ’52?

J:         No, ’51.

I:          Month?

J:         Sorry, 1951.

I:          What month?  Late winter or summer or

J:         Oh.


Well, it wasn’t, uh, cold cold.  Um,

I:          Autumn?

J:         It must have been Autumn, but I think, uh, yeah.

I:          Yeah.  Um, have you been back to Korea?
J:         Yes, many times.

I:          Oh, what, what occasion?

J:         Uh, I’m,

I:          Show it to the camera please.  Yes, what does it tell?


J:         I’m the Vice Chairman of the International Federation of Korean War Veterans Association.

I:          Uh huh.

J:         And I represent New Zealand.

I:          Did you meet American counterparts?
J:         Yep.

I:          Do you know of anybody there?

J:         Not, I can, I can picture one guy in, in my mind.  But I can’t tell you his name.

I:          Larry Kinner?

J:         Yeah.  Yeah.  It was, uh, Larry, yeah.

I:          Larry, do you know him?

J:         Yeah, yeah I know of him.

I:          Ah.

J:         I met him.

I:          He’s. he’s very good friend of mine.

J:         Is he?


I:          He’s been very, very supportive of this project.

J:         Ah yes, yeah.

I:          Oh yeah.  He’s very good friend of mine.

J:         Oh, good.

I:          Yeah.  Maybe I can call him now.

J:         Yeah.  Yeah.

I:          So when were  you, when were you back to Korea?

J:         Well, I’ve been back, uh, I think, uh, five times.  Five?  I’ve been back, uh, one, two, three times for that.  And I have had two revisits.


I:          Revisit.  And when you see Seoul again when , uh, in 20th century, right?
J:         Yeah.

I:          Or 21st century

J:         Well this, 21st.  Ah.  I think the first time I went back was 2002.

I:          Okay.  So tell me.  When you see the Seoul, you could feel the difference


between Seoul you saw in 1951

J:         Oh yeah.

I:          and

J:         Yes, yeah.

I:          Tell me the details, how different, what did you feel about it, and so on.

J:         We stayed in, um, a hotel, uh, out of town a bit.  It was, uh, forgotten the name of it.

I:          Ambassador Hotel?

J:         Uh,

I:          [INAUDIBLE] Ambassador or

J:         [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Uh.  Whatever.

J:         Yeah, whatever.


Uh, but we stayed there.  There’s now a huge multi-story building alongside it.  It, it goes up about 100 stories. It’s massive.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Uh, and that was almost completed the last time I was there, uh.  But I was there, uh, on that trip, on that one.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Um, my wife and I have been up there, uh.  We both went to Kapyong


  1. We both went to the hut where the negotiations were done for the, the Peace Treaty for the, the Peace Treaty, uh, the, the cease fire.

I:          Pam, Panmunjom.

J:         Panmunjom.

I:          Um.

J:         Uh, my wife, um, was able to step over the line and say I’ve been to North Korea.

I:          Yeah, right.  So when you see that modernized Seoul, what did you think about it?


J:         Oh, I thought of the, the Korean people must have grabbed everything by the hand and said let’s go because there’s so much difference between when we were there in  1951 and now, this is five years ago, uh.  A huge amount of difference.  Multi-storied buildings for housing, uh, and you go, we go, went down the river


and saw all these multi-story  house, and there are so many of them you could hardly count them.  But marvelous what they’ve done for the people.  Uh, the business area was modern.  Uh, you had the under, under, um, under pavement shopping area, and it was great.  They, they, they, the Korean people have really tried


to, to get back to normal, and the, uh, they made tremendously, tremendous, um, uh, advances from what it was when I was there.

I:          When you left Korea, did, did you ever think that Korea become like this today?  Eleventh largest economy in the world.  Did you ever think that Korea would become like this?
J:         I knew they were going to be a, a, an economic, uh, powerhouse.


I:          Why?

J:         Because of the people, the attitude of the people.

I:          Hm.

J:         Um, their attitude was not to give in, to try and find a way out.  And they were very successful in that.  And, um, the results show that they were successful.

I:          Um.  But still known as Forgotten War and not, not much being covered in our


History textbooks here in New Zealand either.

J:         Um hm.

I:          Why is that?

J:         Well, I’ve got several books on the Korean War.

I:          Yeah, right.

J:         But, but I was involved in it.

I:          There are tons of books about Korean War, but not in our curriculum much

J:         No.

I:          and there are not many lesson plans.

J:         That’s why it was called the Forgotten War I think.

I:          Um hm.

J:         People were sick of war after the first, uh, second world war.  They, they were



absolutely sick of, of

I:          And this is the, the curricular resources my Foundation

J:         Oh, yes

I:          published in the United States.

J:         Yes.
I:          It’s about Korea’s place in teaching World History.
J:         Yes.

I:          So we are, what we are trying to do is to connect with the teachers in New Zealand

J:         Yes.

I:          and writing curriculum like this so that they can teach about Korea and the war that you fought for.

J:         Yep, yep.

I:          And that’s what we are trying to do.

J:         Well, that’s good.


Yeah, it’s, it’s essential that people understand what happens in wars.

I:          Um hm.

J:         and what happens to the people that are involved in the war, what happens to the civilians, what happens to the Armed Forces?  It’s essential that they understand what’s going on, uh, because if they do understand, maybe that will lessen the chance of war again.

I:          Yeah.

J:         They, but they’ve gotta understand what, what happened.

I:          Um hm.

J:         Yeah.

I:          And I have never


done this kind of thing before in, during the interview.  I’m calling Larry Kinner.

J:         Oh yes, yes.

I:          He’s in Texas

J:         Yep, yep.

I:          I hope that he answers the phone.  If so, you’ll be able to talk to him

J:         Yeah, yeah, yeah.

I:          Larry?

L:        Hello.

I:          Larry?
L:        Hello, hello

I:          Larry, thig is Jung Woo.

L:        Okay.  Can I call you back?

I:          I am calling from New Zealand



L:        From New Zealand.

I:          and I am interviewing one of your friends, James Newman.

L:        Oh, yes.

I:          Could you talk to him?

L:        James Newman.

I:          Yeah.  Talk to him.

L:        Yes.

J:         Hello, Larry.  Jim Newman.

L:        Well, hello Jim Newman.  I’m glad to hear from you.

J:         Uh, I never ever thought I’d talk to you again.  But  I’m very, very glad

L:        [INAUDIBLE]

J:         very, very glad that I can now.

L:        Yeah.

J:         Yeah.


L:        Well, how are things [INAUDIBLE] going up there?
J:         Well, uh, I’m still the Vice President of the, of the [INAUDIBLE] of the IFKWVA, um.  But, um, we’re trying to get a, one last meting in 2020, what’s this

I:          2019 now.

J:         2020, and if we can get a meeting in, we’ll be very, very happy.

L:        [INAUDIBLE]

J:         And that would be the last meeting of the [INAUDIBLE]


And, and how are you keeping anyway, my friend?

L:        Oh, we’re doing just fine.

J:         Well, that’s

L:        We’re still, still going pretty strong.  Our National Organization is still going, still strong.

J:         Yeah.

L:        But we’re losing a lot of the, a lot of our veterans.

J:         Yes.  Same here, my friend.  Same here.

L:        Yeah.


J:         Our, our KVA branches, uh, is slowly dying out because, um, there’s nobody to look after them any more.

L:        Yeah.

J:         But however, that’s life.

L:        Yeah.  Well, are you doing okay?
J:         Yes, I’m doing fine.  Um, we’ve, um, I’m not 85 and, uh, I’m one of the younger ones who went to the Korean War.

L:        Well, that’s very good.  Well, is Jung Woo helping you out?


J:         Oh yes, yes.  He’s been interviewing me for about half an hour.  Anyway, I’ll

L:        Well, that’s wonderful.

J:         I’ll give you back to him, Larry and, uh, look after yourself, my friend, and I’ll remember you.

L:        Okay, Jim.

J:         Bye bye.

L:        Yes, I do remember you well.

I:          So, how’s Betty doing?

L:        Well, we just had the, another treatment today.


But everything’s going okay.

I:          Great, great.  You know, I just happened to ask if James know any, uh, American representative when he was in Korea, and he’s, you know, I, I asked your name and he said just instantly recognized it.  So this is the first time I ever doing international phone call in the  middle of a interview.

L:        Well, that’s wonderful.  He was one,


Jim was one of my favorite [INAUDIBLE]

I:          Yeah.  I think he becoming my favorite, too.

L:        Yeah.  Well, that’s great.  Well, is everything going well with you?

I:          Yes, everything going very, very well, and I think we are going to the same thing that publishing curricular resources in New Zealand.  And I had a meeting with, uh, scholars and professors here, and they want to do it. So I think I can fund those


projects, and if so, then we’ll have another book published in New Zealand about  the Korean War and its legacy.

L:        You are doing so well it just makes my heart pitter pat.

I:          Yeah.  Thanks to your support, and say hello to Betty.  She’s always in my mind, and I gotta go back to the interview, okay?

L:        Okay.  Thank you for calling.

I:          Thank you.  Bye.

J:         See you, Larr y.


L:        K.  Bye.

I:          This is wonderful, isn’t it?

J:         I think it’s mar, marvelous.  Yeah.

I:          So.

J:         Here’s the last meeting.

I:          Um.

J:         of the KVA, the New Zealand KVA.

I:          Okay.

J:         That’s the last  meeting.

I:          Yeah.  Last meeting.  That’s sad.

J:         Yeah.

I:          Um.  Okay.

J:         That was in 19, uh, 2016.

I:          Um.

J:         Yeah.

I:          So you know Elaine?

J:         Yeah.


I:          [MYERS] in the VA Office?  Wellington?

J:         No.

I:          No?

J:         Not, not personally, no.

I:          Okay.  So tell me, James

J:         Yes?

I:          Tell me about the legacy of the Korean War and legacy of your service.  What is your legacy?

J:         I think my legacy of my service in the Navy was, um,

I:          related to Korean War.


J:         Yeah, related to the Korean War, um, was the fact that we were able to go to a war and assist a country not much bigger than ours, our own country and to, uh, allow them to make up their own mind rather than have it made up for them by, by a dictator.

I:          Um.


J:         Uh, nobody likes dictatorial, uh, actions, uh, and the Koreans are no different from the rest of the world in that regard.
I:          Um.  Next year will be 70th anniversary.

J:         Yes.

I:          Do you have any special message to the Korean people about the war you fought for them?

J:         Yes, the 70th anniversary is an outstanding time to remember what happened during those


morse, years of war, from 1950 onwards, um.  It, it was not nice.  It was a terrible time for the Koreans, uh.  They have come out of it probably better than any other country in the world, uh, come our of it and, uh, they fought all the way to better themselves, and that is good.

I:          Um.  Are you proud?
J:         Oh, I’m very proud of  my service in Korea.  Yeah, extremely proud.


and here.  This is

I:          Explain it to me.
J:         This is a, a, a, when I lived in Auckland

I:          Um.

J:         we used to invite, my wife and I used to invite the Korean people out to our house and to have lunch with us and, uh, uh,


this is some of the people that, well, most of the people who came out on a, one particular day.  We flew the Korean flag, uh.  I have the, uh, Counsel General there

I:          Um hm.

J:         The Counsel General was, is here

I:          Yeah.

J:         Um, there’s the Counsel General, and I’m alongside of him.  But, uh, there’s a good mixture of Korean people and New Zealand, um, uh, Korean vets, and we used to have some marvelous times together


I:          Um.

J:         and, uh, but they would come, come out to our house, uh, two or three times a year.
I:          Very good.  James, I wish I had more time to, to talk about it.  But you had a very rare experience

J:         Yeah.

I:          as a, you know, Navy.

J:         Yeah.

I:          You were able to see all those Hill 355, Seoul, Pusan, and that’s why, that’s why you could give me the very good witness


J:         Yeah.

I:          what happened to Seoul City

J:         Yeah.

I:          and you revisited Korea several times

J:         Yes.

I:          and compare it

J:         Um

I:          with the Seoul that you saw in 1951.  So that’s great.  It’s my great honor and pleasure to meet you again, sir, and thank you for sharing all those stories

J:         That’s right, my pleasure.

I:          and we are trying to make this into curricular resources for our History education.

J:         Yes, yeah.

I:          I think that’s the best way to keep your legacy

J:         Yes.

I:          permanently in our educational system.

J:         Yes, yeah.


It’s important that you do.  It’s a very important not to forget the past.

I:          And this time, New Zealand more than 15 interviews will be done.  So it will be much stronger than Australia.  Great.

J:         Okay.

I:          Thank you.

J:         Thank you.


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