Wales – Cardiff Maindy Barracks

Veteran Stories

>> Hello, everybody, from inside the Maindy Barracks. I'm in Wales, so you can see the Welsh Regiment flag over there alongside the UK, so you can show, yep. Well, I am going to take you inside the officer mess hall inside. You can zoom out. So here's the picture. It looks pretty old, but I've just finished interviewing at least nine of the Korean War veterans. There are 12 here. Where's Grandpa Brent? Okay. Yay. Grandpa Brent said something that really ... >> Can I get through? >> Oh, of course ... that really ached my heart because he said ... What did you say? >> I said, "Thank you very much. You're the first person to say, 'Thank you.'" I've got it in print. I've got it here. You're the first person to say, "Thank you for your service." >> Everyone, as a young person, that breaks my heart, so let's please, please, please make a note to, when you see a veteran, right, thank them because it means a lot to you. >> It means a lot. >> Yes, and it means a lot for me to meet you, and I was so happy because I really, I was hoping and praying for one, and God showered me with 12. Thank you. [ Chatter ] >> ... for 62 years. >> Aw! >> They never liked it. >> And thank you. Muah. I'm also very proud to say, the daffodil pin because, well, daffodils are the national symbol. >> And that's social in the club, I tell you. >> So I'm very happy, and some of them, I gave this heart, okay, so, yay, and look at his tie, "Korean veteran." So I'll show you inside as well. Thank you so much also for your interview. [ Chatter ] >> We just had lunch. Oh, you have to say, "Hello." >> Yeah, we said, "Hello," earlier, not again. >> He was so articulate. I thought he was a professional broadcaster. He was so good with this interview, so thank you so much, and you brought a lot of pictures. You just brought so many pictures. >> If I could get the [INAUDIBLE], would you let me? >> Of course. Oh. I'll write you one later, okay? Okay. I wanted to also just introduce two last people. My friend Paul Song's aunt who actually lived through the Korean War, she drove with her husband from Bristol. So say, "Hello." >> Hi. >> What does it mean for you to meet some of the veterans who ... >> They're all in their late eighties, and so it is quite moving to listen to their stories, and also, I think it's amazing that you, as a young lady, are inspired by his work because ... >> Here, here. >> ... your generation forgot about the war, but this reminds everything. It's just amazing. I find it so touching. >> How old are you during the war? >> Eight or 9. >> Wow. >> Wow, so you must remember though. >> Yes, I do. >> She was in Pusan. >> Yeah, I was a refugee. >> Well, that is another reason why all of us literally are here because they sacrificed, and so I wanted to introduce you, last but not least, to Lieutenant Colonel Chris Kilmister, and who with many of his, of course, colleagues, but he mainly organized this entire ceremony event. >> My pleasure. >> And thank you so much, all of you. I was amazed, really. >> Pleasure, no, pleasure. >> Yes. Can you say just something about the Royal Welsh Regiment that you can boast about? >> Well, we're an amalgam of quite a few older regiments, South Wales Borderers, the Welsh Regiment, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, and now we're the Royal Welsh, and people you see today are some of the comrades from those antecedent regiments, and we look after all of those, and we're very proud of them. >> What would you say even within the regiment? Because you fought in so many different wars. Maybe the Korean War is still the lesser-known of the different conflicts. >> Not in our regiment because the Welsh Regiment fought there. If we hadn't fought there, then we probably wouldn't know much about it, but because they did fight there, we do know something about it, and we've got many of our comrades over the years who told us the stories. We've also got a very good book, which one of our officers wrote about his experiences in Korea, which is a reading book for most young officers. >> I'm happy to hear that. Do you think the general public, the Welsh public know about the Korean War? >> I suspect not. >> Oh, that's a bit unfortunate, and I guess, in a way, that's what I'm also trying to do. I'm trying to preserve the stories so that my generation and the younger generations will be a little bit more interested and educated about their sacrifices. So thank you so much again ... >> Pleasure, no. >> ... for organizing all of this. I am just overwhelmed with the hospitality, the generous reception welcoming, and I won't forget them, and I hope they don't forget me either. >> No, I'm sure they won't. >> Thank you. So, everyone, this was my last country, last place after now 30 countries to honor veterans around the world as well as all 50 states in America, and it has been one of or the greatest, I know, fulfillment, I think, in my life, and it gets very addicting, everybody. You meet one, and you want to meet another. You want to go to another because you want to convey that same love and gratitude to everybody. So thank you for joining me on this journey, and I will visit the cathedral again tomorrow before I fly out. So thank you, everybody, and let's keep honoring veterans and promoting peace. Bye.
>> Hello, everybody, from Cardaff, Wales. Guess who I am with, with 12 of my Welsh grandpas. Everybody say, hello. >> Hey. >> Hello. >> I am very honored that 12. I was praying for one. I got all these doubles and quadruples of my prayers, and 12 of them were here. I want to hear stories from six of them. Half of them already, we're going to interview six of them more, but if we can show you, we laid a wreath or four wreaths, we're going to show right here, grandpa. See? There's four wreaths that we laid in honor of the Welsh regiment who fought in Korea from 1950 to 1952 up there, and I think ... Can you read this for us? This was very poignant, the last post, the Kohima prayer. >> Want me to read that? >> Yes. Can you read it very loud because it was so moving. >> "When you go home, tell them of us and say, 'For your tomorrow, we gave our today.'" >> And not one of them is forgotten, so, everybody, I want to show you and brag about my grandpas here. They've been so generous with their time. I beamed. I screamed, literally, as I walked in because I was so happy to see them. Many of them brought photos. His wife, Gloria, even brought me a Welsh doll, so please thank her for me, but again, I thank God for this beautiful weather, and we're going to head off to have lunch and continue to interview, so I will show you more of them later, but I just wanted to show, and we're going to loop around so I can show. Yes. So again, thank you all for following me. This was my last visit, but I will see more of you in there as well, so thank you again from Cardaff, Wales. Bye.
>> Right, my name is Emmett Smith. My date of birth is the 21st of August, 1933. At the age of 18, I joined the Welsh Regiment in Cardiff. This is the barracks I joined at. I went to Hong Kong to ship me to Korea, but while in Hong Kong, I was transferred to the King's Regiment, King's Liverpool, and I went into Korea in September, 1952, and on April the 13th, I was killed in Korea. There's a story behind that. I was blown up with mines. It was in an attack, and we were blown up with mines. Anyway, I went into hospital, and I always wrote home every week. I wrote to my mother that I have twisted my knee, so I've got to go into a hospital, but I had shrapnel went straight through my thigh, and the surgeon come to my bed, and he said, "I'm going to take your leg off," so I said, "If that's what you got to do, sir, you've got to do it," and they had an operation then. They'd quoted 11 in the morning, and I came to at 10 past 5, and he come to my bed, and he said, "I saved it by 1/8 of an inch," so the shrapnel, as I say, went straight through my leg. Have you ever seen shrapnel? No, I've got a piece of shrapnel. That's a piece of shrapnel, and this is not the one that went through my leg, but this is one that I was in the trench and a bomb come in and landed within 2 feet of me, and the trains collapsed, and I was buried in the trench, so I got a little piece of shrapnel [INAUDIBLE], and that's my story, but I'm not dead. I assure you, but I wrote him, as I said, to say that I had injured my knee. At the same time, my mother [INAUDIBLE] I was dead, but what had happened, they'd mixed the reports up. The ones who got killed, they told them they wrote injured, and the ones that were injured, they said they were dead. >> Wow. >> And I was there until the end of the war, which was in 27th. It was July, as I said, and on the 28th of July, [INAUDIBLE] there, the Chinese, and they was calling us down, so off the hill. It was no-man's-land, and he was handing me with that, if you can see. It says, "Life exists once for all value and love it," and that is from the Chinese volunteers in 1953. >> That's the original? >> He hung it around my neck. >> That's the original? >> Yes, yes, yes. >> Wow. >> "Life exists once for all value and love it." >> Wow. So you remember July 27th well? >> Yes, yes. >> What were you doing? >> [INAUDIBLE] the night before. The Armistice was signed at 10 o'clock in the morning, but it didn't come until 10 o'clock. It had to be 12 hours, so everyone knew before it began, so I was on patrol that night, and at 10 past 10, we asked over our radio, "Can we come back now the war is over?" and the North Koreans answered, and they said, "All over and out. Go home," but talking about North Koreans and Chinese, the Chinese again, I was on the patrol Christmas Eve [INAUDIBLE] 3 foot of snow [INAUDIBLE] he come on, "What are you boys doing here on Christmas Eve? Why aren't you at home with your wife or girlfriend [Indistinct] fire. Come to think of it, who is on the [INAUDIBLE] with your wife or girlfriend?" making your mind sick. Have you been back? >> No, no. >> I would like to go back now, but at the time I said, "No," but as I say, fortunately, I've got my leg, and I'm still alive. >> Exactly, God has spared you. >> Yeah. >> God really did. >> Yeah. >> This is ... I can't believe they sent this. >> Nice of them. >> Yes. I don't think I've ever met anybody close to ... >> Yeah, hung it around me, five officers. There was a doctor amongst them. >> Amazing. >> And I went through ... >> And you came back to Wales after? >> Yeah, yeah, and there were headlines in the local paper, "Dead Man Returns Home From Korea." >> Really? Because everybody presumed ... It was reported you were dead. >> But my mother knew before then, of course, my mother and father, but ... >> What was your full name game again. >> [INAUDIBLE]. >> Can you spell that? >> Pardon? >> Can you spell that? >> B, R, I, N, L, E, Y. >> Brinley, uh-huh. >> [INAUDIBLE], but everyone says Bryn, B, R, Y, N. >> B, R, Y, N? >> B, R, Y, N, Bryn. It's only if I've done anything wrong as a child. >> L, E, Y. >> L, E, Y. >> Smith. >> Smith, yeah. >> And your birthday is el >> 21st of the 8th, 1933. >> 21st ... >> 86 years tomorrow. >> 1933, and you were born in ... >> Pontypool. P, O, N, T, Y, P, double O, L. >> Ponty ... >> Yeah, pool. >> P, O, N ... >> And it's in Wales, right? >> Yeah, in Wales, yeah. >> And you were part of the Welsh Regiment and the King's Regiment. >> What is the difference? >> Well, the Welsh Regiment ... Excuse me. The Welsh Regiment was coming out to Korea. Excuse me. The King's Regiment was going in, so they said, better transfer to the King's and serve the full 12 months because they're serving only 2 months. >> So the King's Regiment was the rest of the British? >> Yes, yes, and they've all been issued with a badge last year. >> Got it. >> Yeah. It's a peace medal. It's a peace medal. >> Yes. >> Well, thank you so much. >> Thank you very much.
>> With his bottle of whiskey, and he cut the circulation back, and the two doctors come back and examine me and say, "Well, Yuri has done has trick again," and he saved my foot. Anyway, a couple days later, before I got discharged, I said, "I'd like to thank Yuri for saving my leg," and he said, "Well, you won't be able to see Yuri for a couple of days." I said, "Why?" He said, "Well, you don't think he threw the whiskey away, do you?" [INAUDIBLE]. That's really speaking of my recollections of Korea really because it was such a long time ago. But I'd done 18 months in Korea, and then I'd done 18 months then in Malaya, so I went from one very, very cold country to a very, very hot country. All in all, I'd done 5 years in the Army and came out and got back [INAUDIBLE] and got money to raise a family. I'm a great-grandfather now. I've got six great-grandchildren. >> One more, one more. >> One more, yeah, seven, and really speaking, I feel like I didn't do anything heroic. I wasn't a hero. I was just an ordinary soldier doing what I was trained to do. >> Why did you join? >> I had to. National service, you had to go in. I was 18. >> It must have been ... But you went after the war started. >> No, yes, yes, yes. >> So that must have been terrifying because it's one thing to be conscripted before the war because you don't think it's going to ... They didn't think it was going to be a full-on war, but for you to hear of boys being killed and for you to have to go, that must have been terrifying. >> Actually, it wasn't really because at 18, it was an adventure. We never thought about getting killed, never thought. The biggest shock I had, we went to Japan first, and then from Japan, we went to Pusan, and we went by train and up to Seoul, and when we got off the train at Seoul at Seoul Railway Station, it went flat. Everything was bombed, and Cardiff was very heavily bombed during the Second World War. When I was growing up, I was 10 or 12 during the Second World War. And all my friends were with me. They were the same age as me, and they'd all seen plenty of bomb damage, but none of us have ever seen much damage around Seoul Railway Station as we've seen in this country. We even went to Hiroshima when we were in Japan, and even that didn't look as bad as Seoul Railway Station because Hiroshima is flat. There's no buildings in it at all, but to see all these bombed buildings and a railway station in pieces, and all of a sudden, we realized that it wasn't about a schoolboy adventure. This was serious, and it really ... I wouldn't say it frightened us, but it really shocked us. We thought, "This is not a schoolboy adventure. This is something serious," and I was only just 18 1/2, and my other friends were all about the same ago. None of us were 19, and it really shook us. It kind of sobered us up. I think from that moment we went from being boys to being men because it was such a shock to our system. >> Can you say your name one more time? >> My name is Kohn, Nicholas Kohn. >> And your birthday? >> Fifth of August, 1934. >> You're a Leo. >> So I've just gone 84 a couple of weeks ago. >> And you were born in ... >> In Cardiff. >> In Cardiff. I like Cardiff a lot. >> Cardiff is not a city. Cardiff is a big village because everybody seems to know everybody. It's a very friendly town, very, very friendly. >> Did you know any of the 32 that died? >> No, no, no, no. >> Did they ... >> They were there a year before me. They were there in '52, and I didn't get there until January '53, so I only had the last 7 months of the Korean War. >> The big ones where they suffered most casualties were in ... >> '51 and '52. >> Yeah. >> Yeah. >> Well, God spared you twice. >> It was very static when I got there. It was something like the First World War. We were one side of the fence, and the Chinese were the other side of the fence, and that was it. There wasn't too much to-ing-and-fro-ing, not like in the early part of the war.
>> I was born in Cardiff, and I served in the army from 1951 to '53 and also 3 years in territorial. >> When were you born? >> Cardiff. >> When's your birthday? >> 28th, the 10th, 1930. I'm 88. >> 1930, and you said you joined the army 19 ... >> 1950. >> And you were, of course, conscripted. >> Yeah. >> Yes, and when in ... So did you fight in the battle of Gloucester? >> I was wireless operator and a signaler, so I could show you the proof of that. >> Yes, please. Show us. You collected these? You collected these? >> Yeah. >> What's that picture? >> That is the wireless I used to operate. >> You took a picture of it? >> Wow. >> Did they train you to operate that? >> It's was a 62 set, and then there was a 31 set and a 88 set. The 88 set was small one worn in the pouch. The 31 was worn on the back, and that was carried on the back, so ... >> Wow. >> From there on is all the members of the United Kingdom that were killed. >> I'll put it here. >> Okay. >> Wow. >> That was a memorial service. >> Wow. In ... At the United Nations' military? >> I can't believe you kept all of this. Where is this? >> The operator in Devonshire. >> Is in north of Wales? Where in Wales is it? >> Oh, no. It's not in Wales. It's in ... >> Is it in England? >> ... Derby. >> This is the memorial that's in St. Paul's plus the queen [INAUDIBLE]. >> Did you know anyone that was killed personally? Did you personally know anybody? >> That's the standard of the Cardiff branch, and we carried that for 30 years from 1985 until recently, and it's on the wall in St. John's church now where it will stay until it falls to pieces. >> So ... >> I'm glad you went to the Llandaff Cathedral to see the book. It's turned every day with the names of the ... >> The branch no longer exists. >> No. >> Because there was nobody left. >> When did it disband? >> Two years ago, no? It was finished. That's my wife. >> She's gorgeous. Can you ... What's her name? >> Gloria. >> Can you please thank her for me? >> Gloria Elizabeth. >> She's beautiful. >> Yeah, yeah. >> When was this? Oh, 1987. >> Yes, I think it was. >> Where did you say this is? >> In St. Paul's Cathedral in London. >> And you went there? >> Yes. >> Oh. Do you have any specific memories? You can explain them. You can explain the pictures. >> Yeah, yeah. That's ... You remained in barracks. [INAUDIBLE] we weren't allowed out, so the dance ... So the girls we were with came into the dance, and that's where I met the wife. >> Oh, you met her during ... >> 1952. Wow. During the war. >> Yeah, during the war. >> When did you get married. >> After the war. >> After the war, yeah. >> What was she doing? >> My wife? >> She worked in a factor making cigars. >> But you met her where? >> In the barracks here. >> Maindy Barracks? >> Yeah. >> But what was she doing at the barracks? >> She came to the dance with her friends because they arranged a dance. >> Oh, and then so they heard about it, and they came. >> Yeah. >> Wow. Where did you get married? You could have got married here? >> Oh, we got married in St. Paul's in ... >> London? >> ... Grayshott. No, in Grayshott. >> Gloria, you said, right? Wow, you kept everything so well. Everybody talks about the Christmas card. >> Yeah, oh, yeah, but there's the Christmas card that [INAUDIBLE] sent us. You can take it out. >> And what does it say? Read it. >> It's telling us to go home and to have peace. Don't fight no more, and what you looked at just now is the safe conduct passes. >> What is ... >> That is the ... >> Thirty-two. >> That's the 32 boys that were killed. >> Did you know any of them? >> Oh, yes, quite a few. >> Really? >> Yeah. >> How did you know them? How did you know with them? >> I served with them. >> You served with them. >> Being a wireless operator, you sort of go a lot of ... There we are. That boy there, he was the last one on that list. >> Williams. >> Yeah. >> Same last name as you. >> And the bunker came in on him. He was buried alive, so when they dug him out, he was dead. The bunk collapsed, and that's the three of us. We were all wireless operators, and that at the back is the bunker we were in. >> What was his name? It says J. S. Williams. >> Yeah, John. >> John Williams. No relations? >> No, no, no. >> Bunker collapsed and buried alive. How old was he? >> There, he's 17. No, what am I on about? He'd be 19. I think he was 19. >> That must have been very traumatizing for you, the war, if you saw friends die. >> That is myself, and that's the boy from the Falklands War. >> Oh, okay. >> You hear of the Falklands War? >> Mm-hmm. >> Yeah. That's the Cardiff Castle. >> The war must have been very traumatizing for you. >> It was. >> How are you able to cope with it? >> You can't ... You more or less got to put up with it. There's nothing much that you can do. You're there, and they're throwing stuff at you, shells and mortars and Hill 355. >> But you called ... >> But a lot of the boys were killed for your government. >> Yes, yes. >> One, six, nine. >> Do you feel like the Welsh no about their sacrifices? >> Oh, yeah, yeah. >> The Welsh, you think the general public knows about the Korean War? >> Oh, they do know. >> Oh, I'm glad to hear that, so it's not forgotten here. >> Yeah, yeah. >> That's very good. I'm happy to hear that, very happy to hear that. Do you have any story of your own that you remember? >> Well ... >> Any story, specific story that you'd like to share. >> That will give you the history of the boys [INAUDIBLE]. >> Mm-hmm, I took a picture of that. >> That's a photocopy, so you can have that. >> Oh, thank you. >> And ... >> This is wonderful actually.
>> My name is William Longden Kurris. I was born on the 11th of March, 1932. I went to Korea in 1952 in about September time, and I was there then until September and October in 1953, so I was out there when the war was on, and I was out there when the armistice was signed, and the war never finished. >> Do you remember leading up to the armistice? >> Yes, I remember everything while I was out there. I think so. >> Tell us, and what were you assigned to do? >> To give the country freedom. >> Oh, you didn't fight? You were feeding people? >> Pardon? >> What was your position in the army? >> My position was a private. >> Mmm. >> But before we went in the army, I went in an army ... I went in the army when I was 20 years of age. It should've been 18, but I was in college. I was a student studying in Cardiff here, so I didn't go into the army until another 2 years, so that's why I went to Korea then, when I was 20 instead of 18. >> And what did you do in the army? >> I was a private, and I was in the front line, on ... >> So you were ... >> I was on ... >> You saw combat? >> I was ... Yes, I was on guard this one particular night, and it was a cold night. It was Christmastime, and a friend of mine, just before the morning came, he went down the front path of our hill, and there was Christmas cards on the trees, and I got one here. He came back, and he gave it to me. I was on guard, and he gave it to me, and that's from the North Koreans, and it says, "Merry Christmas," and it's even got the signature of the person that put it there. And it's from the Bank of Korea. >> Wow, this is different. >> I don't think there's many of them about. >> No, I have the ones that are not personalized like this, with a name. >> No, it's even signed by them as well, Bank of England ... Bank of Korea. >> Oh, my god, he's saying, "Don't fight in the war." >> Yeah. >> Oh, my gosh. Did you know any from the regiment personally that died? >> Yes, I did. I was with a personnel that was attached to my regiment for the [INAUDIBLE] and he was with me for quite a few months, and I got very friendly with him, and his name was Keith Stanley Osborne, and I was in the same position with him, and we slept almost together in our separate sleeping bags, and he said, "William." He said, "I'm going on patrol tonight." I said, "What for?" He said, "I volunteered to go on the patrol." I said, "What do you want to do that for, Keith?" and he said, "It will be experience." Anyway, he used to show me photographs of himself achieving a cap and gown from university and college and also a photograph of his fiance that also had a cap and gown, and he said that we were going to get married once he come out of the army after 2 years, and I got quite attached to him, and I thought he was a nice chap, a nice friend, and he volunteered to go on this patrol, and I got up in the morning, and I thought, "I wonder where Keith is. He's a long time coming back," so I went down, further down the mountain, to the CO's position, and the CO said, "William." He said, "I'm sorry, but he's been blown to pieces. There was enemy fire when he was on patrol. They all scattered. The patrol scattered, and he stepped on a mine, and he was blown to pieces," and that stuck in my mind, and I had a jaunt to get over that, and to this day, I still keep on remembering that. He was ever such a lovely person, and he was only doing his 2 years, and he wanted to get out, and he was going to get married to his fiance, but then he was at the end of the story, right? >> What was his full name? >> His name was Keith Stanley Osborne, and he was one of the 24 people that was killed for in our 1st Battalion of the King's Regiment, and four was missing. I don't know if any those was survived, the ones was missing. >> So you were part of the King's Regiment, not the Welch Regiment? >> Yes, I was the King's ... in the King's Regiment, but I went out to Korea with the 1st Battalion, with the Welch Regiment, but the Welch Regiment was in Korea then, but they only had 7 months to go, and they would be coming out, so what they did, they transferred all of us when the Welsh went out, and they transferred us to the 1st Battalion of the King's Regiment. >> But why is his name not among the 32? >> Pardon? >> Keith, Grandpa, Keith, his name is not among the 32 because he was British. He was English. >> He was English, yes. He was English. >> Hmm, he wasn't Welsh. >> Because he was born in Oldham. He was born in Oldham, and he was the only child, and he spoke about his mother, but I can't remember if he said anything about his father, but when I came out of Korea, I would have liked to have gone to see her and told her that I was a friend of her son's. But anyway, I ... >> You wanted to go see her? >> Yes, and ... But I never did that. >> Explain this picture. >> That's the cook. I was in the reserve position ... >> Hmm. >> ... when we went in reserve position. >> He's a cook? >> Yes, I was ... >> The little boy? >> No, he wasn't the cook. The cook was ... >> Oh, how about the little boy? >> And in the background there, there's big drums that held the kerosene that kept the all the transport going, the petrol, also the diesel, and after they were done, they made them the cooking ovens. >> How about the little boy? >> Yes, that boy was South Korean. >> He was a house boy? >> I can't remember his name, but he was a good kid, and he was always there to help. >> He was a house boy? >> Yeah. >> There were a lot of the house boys, huh? >> Pardon? >> There were many house boys. >> Yes, that's right. >> Well ... >> Yes, that's all the ships I ... troop ships that I went on to Hong Kong. I did Korean training in Hong Kong. Yeah, that's it. That's me sending them, my mother and father and my two brothers, and my two brothers, they have passed away since. >> Oh ... >> And they was younger than me. They both died of cancer. >> Sorry to say anything. >> And I've had cancer twice, and I'm under the cancer [INAUDIBLE] right now, but [INAUDIBLE] have saved ... give me more than 20 years life. >> Well, I am glad to hear that.
>> My full name is Emerest Moore. I'm 89 years of age, which means I was born on the 4th of August, 1930. I was called up to do national service at the age of 21 because until then, I was deferred to get qualifications in my particular trade. Prior to that, national service was 18 months, but because of the Korean War, it was increased to 2 years. I trained for 3 months with the Welsh Regiment in Brecon in South Wales, and then we sailed to Korea on the Empire Windrush. I eventually landed in Hong Kong to do some training after 4 weeks on the troopship, and then we were shipped off to Japan to [INAUDIBLE] where I did further training in the [INAUDIBLE] battle school up in the hills above [INAUDIBLE]. And then I was fortunate to remain with the Welsh Regiment, and I was transferred across to Korea to serve with the First Battalion, the Welsh Regiment in July. I didn't spend a 12-month there because I was late being called up, I suppose, a national serviceman. So I served from July and came out with our battalion in October. Unfortunately, I didn't experience the Korean winter, which was very, very bad, but I knew all about the heat and the dust and the dirt and the monsoons, I suppose, and living in the bunkers, which wasn't a very nice place. The one thing that I can recall, I must say I was always a believer in fate and luck. I was lucky to join the battalion in July when a lot of the boys who went out there on my particular drat were transferred into the Black Watch Scottish Regiment, and they served the full 12 months in Korea. Some of the boys then who came out later with a Welsh badge, they were transferred into the King's Regiment, and they served for 12 months, so Lady Luck was on my shoulder, and I didn't do the full 12 months there. During the time I was there, there was no major offensive with the Chinese. It was mainly patrol work into no-man's-land, reconnaissance patrols, ambush patrols and so on, and one thing that really stands out in my mind was that on the 1st ... I'll never forget it, the day, 1st of July, correction, 1st of August, I was detailed to go on an ambush patrol in no-man's-land. We were out there for 4 hours in total, and it was uneventful, no contact with the enemy, and we came back in safely, but I learned 3 days later that the similar patrol from B company, I think it was, went out, and they were attacked, and they lost three dead and seven wounded, and again, I'm grateful that Lady Luck was on my shoulder because it was so uneventful. And then every patrol I went on after that, there was no contact made, so I'm one of the fortunate few who came out from Korea, and I'm standing here today. So whether that is of interest to you, I don't know. >> I don't believe in luck. I believe in God's faith, and He spared ... >> Fate and luck, I've always thought of in that way. >> He spared you. >> So I thought I'd keep it brief and just mention that one thing that really stands out. I could have been on that patrol on ... I think it was the 2nd of August, same patrol. The other things are small. We were shelled. We were shelled so often, we had to run for cover if your boys got killed, and on that particular patrol that was hit the night after we were out, one of the lads who trained with me in Brecon, John Hawkins, he was killed, good friend, and we were in training together. And of course, a couple of the other lads who were transferred into the Black Watch Regiment, they were killed out there as well. So the Welsh Regiment, in all, we lost 32 men. It was nearby. >> Did you know any of them? >> Oh, yes, I knew one particular from North Wales, Idris Evans. He was in the Black Watch. He was in the Welsh originally, but he was transferred in to the Black Watch and went up to Korea with them and served a 12-month there, but no, he didn't serve the 12-month there because he was killed. >> How was he killed? >> Apparently, from what I was told by one of his friends, the Chinese were shelling the positions, and they ran for cover to their bunkers, and a shell landed in the trench, exploded, and the shrapnel obviously flew into the bunker and killed him. Yeah, he was from North Wales, and John Hawkins, the one who was in the Welsh, was killed on patrol. I think he was shot, from what I gather. >> I'm glad God saved your life.
>> My present title is Major Tudor Price, MBE. In the Korean War, I was a sergeant in the First Battalion, the Welsh regiment. I joined the battalion in January, 1952 on a feature called the Shimyeondong Valley, and the feature in front was known as Hill 169. My date of birth was the 4th of the 2nd, 1929. Having been on a 12-hour patrol, up to my eyes in snow, I came back with the patrol, and this young officer put a tumbler of rum in my hand, and he said to me, "The King is dead. Long live the Queen." That was 2 days after my 23rd birthday, the 6th of February, 1952. Her Majesty, the Queen, came to the throne. I served in Korea right up until we left, which was in November 1952. By that time, the Korean War had become, as we were all concerned became static lines just like it was in the 1914, '15. The attacking forward up to the Yellow River led by General MacArthur had stopped and seized, and took over from the First Battalion. We lost a regiment, which was really wiped out. Now one of the things they handed over to us, like we took Korea, we took our regiment [INAUDIBLE]. They handed over to us a rabbit called Harvey. Do you remember the film, "Harvey," and the drunkard, played by Henry Fonda, I believe, or somebody or James Stewart. I can't remember. Anyway, we carried on patrolling the no-man's-land in between the North and the South, and this would continue for a number of months, and at one time, our B company did an attack on a hill called Hill 270, and this was fought on this hill feature called 355. Unfortunately, a lot of our boys were wounded and one or two killed. In fact, if you look at our title of our book of the Welsh Regiment, it lists 32. We lost 32 men killed in Korea and quite a number wounded. Now this book was compiled by the intelligence officer we had in Korea, a Lieutenant Norman Summon, who finally retired as Major Norman Summon, and he and the curator for the museum compiled the history of the Welsh Regiment in Korea in the Korean War. I should say, when I did arrive in Korea, I arrived after the battalion, and I landed at Busan in the south. Busan, in those days was a shanty-type of a city, [INAUDIBLE] city which had been devastated by war, and we were greeted by an American band that played us on ashore, and we then entrained right up to Seoul, and I think ... I can't quite remember. It was either Uijeongbu or Kumjongti, something like that, that we disembarked, and in fact at the end of the Korean War ... end of our joint in Korea, we handed over to the Duke of Wellington's Regiment, and again, we entrained at the same place in one of those two railway stations, and we embarked for Busan, where we got on the troop ship. Before we embarked the regiment went to the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery, which is situated in Busan, and we held a service there to commemorate all those boys that we lost and were wounded or suffered whilst in the Korea. Whilst I was up in the line at one time, I was sent back to Seoul to carry out a ceremonial duty on a general that visited. His house man, the man that run his estate in Seoul, took us on tours of Korea ... Of Seoul, I should say, and we could see the devastation that was caused by when the North came down and, as you know, attacked the South, but in conclusion, I must say that the people of Korea have pulled themselves out of nothing and one of the leading people in this world today. Where we be? We'd be without out televisions and radios and so on. I thank the people of Korea, and I always enjoy the people, and in fact, I got this photo of platoon in Korea. That's a photo of my platoon, and on there are the house boys that looked after me or looked after us, I should say. They were apart of the Korean Service Corp. They came up first thing in the morning to make sure we were all right, help us with our chores, getting washed, getting dressed. We even shaved in the front line. If we didn't have water. We melted the snow, but those boys were very useful, and as I said earlier, we used to have a ration of 50 cigarettes in those days which I give to the house boy to thank him because not only did he keep an eye on me, he took my dirty washing down the hill to bring back a few days later. Now that is him. When we were out on the line, this is the picture that was taken of the sergeant's best that was in Korea. I'm on there as a very young 23-year-old, but will no conclude and say I was very, very proud for having served in Korea, and it noticed, other my first medal, my first two ribbons are the British Korean and the United Nations medal. I would now like to conclude this interview. Thank you very, very much indeed.
>> Your full name. >> My name? >> Thomas Perkins. >> Thomas Perkins and your date of birth and where you were born? >> I didn't hear that. >> Your date of birth and where you were born? >> Oh, I was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales in a place called St Davids, the smallest city in Europe. >> Okay. When did you serve in Korea? >> When did I serve in Korea? 1951 to '53. >> Can you share what you brought with us? You brought something. >> I've got something? >> Mm-hmm. >> Yeah, just a photograph of me in Korea. I was 19 years of age. >> What do you remember about your buddies? What do you remember there? >> I was in the Tank Corps. I was a tank driver. >> Oh. >> Yeah, and this is ... That is actually the tank that I drove when I was Korea. >> Oh. >> That one there. >> Can you show it like this? >> Sorry? >> Can you show the picture like this? Yes. Wow. It's the real one? >> Oh, yes. >> Did you know any of the 32 that died in the war? >> Did I? >> Mm-hmm. >> Did I know any? >> Who died, yes. >> Who died? >> Yes. >> I ... We only a couple of men in Korea. >> Thirty-two. >> That one ... >> Were you part of the Welsh Regiment or the King's Regiment. >> No, no, I was Tank Regiment. >> Was the tank part of the King's or Welsh? >> I was a Tank Regiment. >> It's a separate? >> Not in Korea, no. Welsh Regiment Infantry. >> May I take a picture of that one too? >> Yeah, that's ... This is the crew of that tank. >> Oh. >> That is me. I was the tank driver with [INAUDIBLE] gunner, and that's a radio operator. >> What was ... What's your one story? >> That was during the actual war. We were on the battle of the Hook. Also ... >> What's the battle of the Hook. >> It's an area within the Commonwealth division in Korea. >> Mm-hmm. >> And we had a place called the Hook, which is the hook, and then we had other positions, which are relevant to the area, 355, 159, 210, 10, and they all had names, [INAUDIBLE], Little Gibraltar. >> Wow. Do you remember ... Have you been back to Korea? >> No, I have no wish to go back? >> Why not? >> When I went there, it was a lovely ... When I went there it was a nice, quiet country. There was no skyscrapers. It was very, very basic. >> Mm-hmm. >> The people were very basic. >> Mm-hmm. >> And there was this war going on, which wasn't very nice, and it was very cold. >> Very cold. >> Everybody talks about how cold it was. >> You could have a cup of tea and put it down, and 5 minutes it was frozen. >> I'm glad you made it back very safely. >> No, I've not been back. I've not ... I've no wish to go back there. >> Oh, no, I mean back home. >> Sorry? >> Back home. >> Back home? >> Yeah. >> When did I get back home? >> I went to Korea '51. I didn't come back home to this country because I went to other places. >> You were in the military. >> I was in a long time. I went from Korea to Malaya. That's in Malaya. >> Yeah, from very cold to warm. >> That's Malaya, further down, and I served in Malaya. These are letters I had from your ...
>> My name is [INAUDIBLE] Jones, 24th [INAUDIBLE]. I was born in 1933. I lost my friend in Korea. I was very lucky myself. It was the Hook, it was, and I was transferred to 29 Brigade, so I didn't go in the Hook, and unfortunately he was killed with a mortar bomb. I tried to go and see his family, but I transferred my home. I was living up [INAUDIBLE] Wales, so I would've liked to go up to see him, see the family, but [INAUDIBLE] but it's really awkward if you got transferred on your own, and it's [INAUDIBLE] or famine and all that way. Yes. >> Hmm. >> So I would've ... he must probably ... he got ... Well, I'm thinking they couldn't have relatives there. No, but it's a lot of ... as time has gone now. Yes. Yeah. >> What do you remember about ... You were part of the Welsh Regiment, right? >> No, no, I was with the Duke of Wellington Regiment. >> But you're Welsh? >> Yeah. No, that's Yorkshire. What it was, I was an officer in service, and the battalion ... The Welsh Regiment was pulling out when I was going into Korea, and then this battalion then, the First Battalion, the Duke of Wellington's, was coming from Minden in Germany, so being an officer in service, it was put in there because they was understrength. Battalion was understrength. >> Mm. >> So I ... >> But you're ethnically Welsh? >> Pardon? >> But your background, you're Welsh? >> Yes, oh, yeah. Mm. >> Mm. And you said the friend that died ... >> Yes. >> ... was ... >> He was from ... >> He was Welsh, too? >> Welsh, oh, yes. >> Was he one of the fallen? >> Pardon? >> Is he one of the 32? >> Jones, same as mine, looking for Jones, private he was.
>> My name is David Sothers. I'm a colonel in the Royal Engineers. I'm 88 years old, and I went to Korea in 1952 and came back in 1954. I worked on the docks in Busan and Incheon and K-9 and looked after all the ammunition that went out to the front and all the food and everything, and we had two harbor masters in Busan. I was one of them, and we looked after all the shipping and the railways, and we flew to Incheon to deal with the vessels up there, and I came out in 1954. I recalled to the army in 1956 for the Suez landings, and I then was with 3rd Armored Division, and I retired [INAUDIBLE] colonel a few years ago. >> Wow, so how many years did you serve in the ... >> Full-time? My full-time service was 2 years national service and 6 months in Egypt in the Egyptian landings, so in total ... >> Yeah. I was in the Territorial Army for 40 years. >> Wow. Well, thank you for your service, but what do you remember about the Korean War? >> The children didn't have any food, and we used to feed some of them, and sometimes the ladies working for us had babies when we were working, and we looked after them, and the people had a very bad time. >> You know, I have to say, a lot of the veterans, they all tell me children and that ... How much it left an impression, and if I'm correct, the British Korean War Veterans Association even supported an orphanage. >> Yeah. That's right and a scholarship, yeah. >> Yes, and a scholarship until pretty recently or even maybe until now, but yes. >> Yep. We have students from UK to go over to Korea to study for a year or 2 years. >> That's really amazing. >> Yeah. >> Well, I do want you to know that the Korea today you see is ... has been able to rise from the ashes of war thanks to your contributions, so thank you. >> Yeah. I went back when the Queen made a state visit. She took 30 of us, and we went back to Korea for 2 weeks, and we went around, the Queen. >> With the Queen. >> And we had a ... We were looked after. We all got medals and met the president and things. >> Wow. When was this? >> Ten years ago, I can't remember, when the Queen went. >> Wow, and how are you selected? How did they select the 30? That's a great honor. >> It came down from above. >> Well, you must have been very special. >> No, no, no, no. Just lucky. >> No, there's no such thing as luck, God's way. >> Okay. >> Thank you.

Paying Tribute

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Memorial Site

Wales, part of the United Kingdom, participated in the Korean War from September 1951 to November 1952. The Welch Regiment was deployed to Korea, accompanied by a company of The Royal Welch Fusiliers and a platoon from the South Wales Borderers, as part of the 29th British Infantry Brigade in the 1st Commonwealth Division.

In total, 32 Welsh were killed fighting in Korea.

The memorial in Maindy Barracks in Cardiff, which was originally built after World War I, has an added Korean War inscription to honor members of the Welch Regiment who died in Korea.