Korean War Legacy Project

Noel G. Spence


Noel George Spence served in the New Zealand Army as an artillary reapirman during the Korean War. He was born a year before the beginning of the Great Depression in 1928. He was stationed along the 38th parallel serving in an artillery regiment and was tasked with servicing and repairing large guns. Repairing the guns meant dislodging artillery shells that did not fire. These malfunctions could have ended his life at any moment. While in Korea, he had frequent interactions with the Korean people and children. He is a veteran of both the Korean War and Vietnam War.

Video Clips

Conditions for Korean Children

Noel G. Spence describes his duty driving trucks of waste. He recounts how desperate Korean children would come to the dump to find supplies. He remembers how Seoul was captured and re-captured many times and how people were in desperate conditions. He recalls that the "lucky" Koreans had boxes for houses, clothing from soldiers, and scraps for food.

Tags: Imjingang (River),Civilians,Food,Front lines,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty,South Koreans

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Dangerous Job

Noel G. Spence recounts the dangers of his job working with artillery where he serviced twenty-five-pound artillery. He explains how repairing the guns meant a shell did not fire correctly which required him to work around live ammunition that could explode at any moment. He describes how there was no fixing a stuck anti-aircraft gun.

Tags: Fear,Front lines,Weapons

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In Retrospect

Noel G. Spence addresses why he fought in Korea. He discusses what fighting meant to him and how it saved South Korea. He expresses remorse about the shelling of the enemy. He recalls how on the night before the signing of the armistice, the Allies used up their shells as they did not want to be responsible for live artillery shells.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,Chinese,Front lines,Modern Korea,North Koreans,Pride,South Koreans,Weapons

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