Ronald Yardley served aboard the HMS Belfast for two years during the Korean War. The ship actually had Chinese staff aboard picked up in Hong Kong, a British colony at the time, despite fighting the North Koreans aided by China. Ronald Yardley describes his basic training, including the option to quit and go ‘home to mommy’. He explains that the cold was so pervasive that soldiers were nervous to touch the upper parts of the ship for fear of losing a limb. The Belfast’s primary mission was shore bombardment firing its 6 inch guns more in its two years in Korea than it had fired in all of World War II. Ronald Yardley describes that the hammocks the men slept in aboard the ship would rock and launch them out of their sleep from the 6 inch guns the ship had firing throughout the night. Since the war, Ronald Yardley has worked to preserve the Belfast as as war museum.
Home to Mommy
Ronald Yardley explains his basic training into the Royal Navy. He describes a commanding officer coming into the room and declaring that anyone who wanted to 'go back to mommy' had twenty four to decide that he wanted to do so. There was one gentleman who did ask and he was sent home with his things.
No Idea Chinese Were Fighting With Koreans
Ronald Yardley describes his surprise to discover that the Chinese were aiding North Koreans during the Korean War. He explains that everyone assumed they were coming only to fight North Koreans. He describes that ultimately they discovered that the Chinese were playing a rather large part in the war.
The Whole Picture Changed Dramatically
Ronald Yardley describes the intense cold upon arriving in North Korea. He explains that temperatures went thirty degrees below zero. He describes that no one could touch the upper parts of the ship for fear of losing that hand from freezing to the metal.
What Made It Worse
Ronald Yardley describes sleeping in hammocks aboard the HMS Belfast when the 6 inch guns of the ship would fire. He explains that the blast would cause soldiers to be lifted in their hammocks and then dropped. He also describes how the entire ship would turn to the side whenever the guns would fire, then settle back into the ocean.