Korean War Legacy Project

Tommy Clough


Tommy Clough grew up in Blackpool, England, and joined the British Army Royal Artillery in May of 1945 at only 14 years of age. He recounts how he knew little about Korea prior to shipping out on a five and a half week voyage to Korea and recollects his first impressions of Korea, describing the poor conditions of the refugees he saw. He details several encounters with the Chinese, the use of napalm, and the lead-up to his capture. He describes his experience as a POW, his escape attempt, and the treatment he received by the Chinese, and he speaks at length about his living conditions and happenings in the camp. He recalls the day they were informed that the war had ended for them and communicates the disbelief he and others shared over the news. He is proud of his service and comments on his return visit to Korea and the progress it has made since the war.

Video Clips

Landing at Busan

Tommy Clough recounts how he knew little about Korea prior to shipping out on a five and a half week voyage to Korea. He recollects his first impressions of Korea, sharing that there was a stench in the air as they neared the shoreline. He remembers a United States African American band playing as they disembarked the ship and recalls South Korean women dressed traditionally and handing out apples.

Tags: Busan,Civilians,Cold winters,Impressions of Korea,Prior knowledge of Korea,South Koreans,Women

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Chinese Enter and Refugee Recollections

Tommy Clough remembers advancing with his unit up to Pyongyang and within sight of the Yalu River. He shares that he and fellow soldiers began to wonder what was going on when they say American soldiers and Korean refugees coming back rather than advancing. He recounts how the Chinese had entered the war and crossed the Yalu River, forcing the Americans to retreat and causing the Korean civilians to flee. He comments on the poor conditions of the refugees.

Tags: Aprokgang (Yalu River),Pyungyang,Chinese,Civilians,Front lines,Poverty,Weapons

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Transporting a Wounded Chinese Soldier

Tommy Clough offers an account of transporting a wounded Chinese soldier. He recalls his unit's location at Hill 327 and remembers that a moaning noise was identified coming from no man's land. He recounts that they were cautious at first as they thought it might be a trap but shares that the moaning was coming from a wounded Chinese soldier. He details having to transport the wounded soldier to receive medical treatment and shares how he convinced the driver to continue the journey rather than killing the wounded soldier on the way.

Tags: Seoul,Chinese,Front lines,Pride

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Napalm Usage

Tommy Clough recounts the usage of napalm during the war. He recalls one particular battle where United States forces dropped napalm on a nearby hill covered with Chinese soldiers. He offers a historical tidbit on when napalm was developed and shares how it was a terrible explosion to witness. He admits that he can still hear the screams and smell burnt flesh despite how many years have passed.

Tags: Chinese,Fear,Front lines,Physical destruction,Weapons

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Value of Life

Tommy Clough chronicles the lead-up to his capture. He details catching up to his assigned officer and advancing towards a hill only to find Chinese soldiers looking down at them with a machine gun. He recalls that he lifted his rifle on instinct and shot one of the Chinese soldiers. He shares that after he and fellow soldiers reached the other side of the hill, they were surrounded by the Chinese. He recounts being taken to the spot where the soldier he had shot earlier lay and of how little the Chinese seemed to value life.

Tags: Chinese,Fear,Front lines,POW,Weapons

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Escape Attempt

Tommy Clough recalls his escape attempt from a Chinese POW camp. He shares that he and his friend, Dave, gathered their kit and waited for the roll call one August night. He recounts making it to the bushes near the river, and right as they were about to cross, he remembers hearing the cock of a gun. He details lights coming on and whistles sounding as they were recaptured. He describes how he was handcuffed and locked in an outhouse for roughly six weeks following the attempt.

Tags: Chinese,Fear,Living conditions,POW,Weapons

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News of the Ceasefire

Tommy Clough describes the day he and fellow POWs were told that the peace treaty had been signed. He recalls gathering in the center of the compound and the Chinese surrounding them with fixed bayonets. He relates that he was confused about what was happening as he listening to a Chinese commander. He shares that they had been told the war was over for them and that he and others were hesitant to believe them. He recounts how they heard cheering from the American compound shortly after, and he states their cheering was confirmation.

Tags: 1953 Armistice 7/27,Chinese,Living conditions,POW,Pride

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