UK Scotland (4)

>> Good afternoon. My name is Arnold Corson Winery Shanthon. I'm a British Korean war veteran. I'm a member of a Reading branch of the British Korean War Veterans Association, the only association for Korean veterans in the country. I served in the Third Regiment of the Royal Horse Artillery, and I volunteered for Korea, and then I came to Korea, but I knew quite a bit about Korea to begin with, a bit of its history and its history involved with Russia, France, Britain and America, and that's gone back many years. In fact there was nearly wars over Korea in those days, and landed in Busan as we all normally did, and we got off the ship, greeted by an American band with beautiful shiny helmets and loaded onto a freight. Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Anyway, I took a long time from Busan up to, well, the ... this bussing area where everybody as sorted to where they would go or send to [INAUDIBLE], and I unloaded with all the rest, and I was a civilian mechanic through trade, so they sent me to Bentil Bridge [INAUDIBLE] of the [INAUDIBLE] of the 61st Light Regiment Royal Artillery. The trip comprised of four antiaircraft Bofors, and their detail was to guard in the event of another invasion of Bentil Bridge, and we controlled the road down to it. It was under our fire, and [INAUDIBLE] cable across the river. [INAUDIBLE], but the fighting was still pretty fierce, both at 355 and at the Hook. I was up. I drove a 3-ton lorry and very often a ration truck for the four areas, and up in those places quite often, and I was involved in a large part of the Hook and 355, primarily because of the truck carrying ammunition. I carried ammunition at the battle, at both battles, and that was it, and I remember in the Hook one in particular, there was two deaths from our units. There were lorries, and we had came back perhaps a couple of journeys, and we're loaded up with the ammo again, and we thought, "Well, we'll go in the van, drop the [INAUDIBLE]," and it started to get light, and we were having our tea when the WO came in and looking for volunteers to take ammo up to the front. Nobody said a word. I went out, and they came back in with a broad smile on his face and said, "Drivers of the two lorries, [INAUDIBLE]. I want them," so I had to step forward. He took us to his boarding, and he poured a lavish amount of rum into cups for us and bid us farewell, so we drove up, and when we approached the Hook, the road rose slightly and then dipped down slightly, and when we got to the top and went down. I've never seen anything like it in my life, and I never want to see anything like it ever again, the kind of eyes that were coming up full of dead and wounded. No. One funny thing about it is that one of our men from our unit, he drove a quad. A quad was a vehicle which made of basically thin of metal [INAUDIBLE] and the crew sat and saved this vehicle, and he had been given a trailer and had got it loaded with ammunition, and if I remember correctly, his name was Gunner Banyon. He must [INAUDIBLE] and carried straight on, and it landed in no-man's-land [INAUDIBLE] and he sat there all night. Everything quieted down, and when everything was quiet and daylight and the light started it up, back he came [INAUDIBLE] with this ammunition, and we did it [INAUDIBLE] so we took it back to the ammunition point, and [INAUDIBLE] because ammunition, so didn't want to do a thing, so eventually dumped it into the river. Perhaps, it's still lying there. Yeah. [INAUDIBLE] ammunition. Yes. I have had a little incident like most of us had. One of the funnier ones was the ... We were not supplied with any materials for building anything, no metal, no wood, nothing. We had to scrounge for it, and I sent out one day for a scrounging detail, and I went down. I went east, I should say. I didn't north, west or south. I went to the east. I'd never been that road before, and there was [INAUDIBLE] and I carried on along that road and on and on and on, and eventually, we came to an iron bridge, and we cut over the side of the bridge, and we were going to [INAUDIBLE] longest road when there was a convoy approached of American trucks loaded with men, and there was a one-star general's flag flying in the Jeep in the front. It was a major route, and the dust settled from the road was absolutely horrible, and you couldn't see through it, so you're only fumbling along and because there were about 6-foot ditches in both sides. Anyway, when we get through and the last truck had passed, and I'm driving in, and the Jeep came rolling up behind us with military policemen in it, and they stopped me, and military policeman says, "Where did you come from?" I said, "Well, I came from Bentil." "What?" "I came from Bentil. Why?" I said, "Well, the general wants to know, and he also wants to know have you seen anything untoward on your journey this way." I said, "No, no, nothing at all. I'm sorry. Why?" He said, "Well [INAUDIBLE] was captured last night again by the Chinese, and we want to take it back." I said, "Well, I've never seen a thing." I often wondered if they watched me get by and thought, "Nah, it's not worth shooting at," but yeah, lots of funny things, but when they ceased fire, we were sent up to 355 with the truck, and I had no idea what was going on. We knew there was a time when they ceased fire, but I had no idea about it, and I drove up to this particular [INAUDIBLE] still incoming and so forth going on, quite a bit of racket actually, and I drove in, and I get stopped by this officer, and he said, "Just sit there driver and wait until I'll tell you, and you'll switch on your lights." I said, "Are you nuts?" And he said, "Just do as you're told," so I sat there sitting, and some banging and crashing and all that was going on, and then it ceased, and he said, "Switch on your lights," and I switched on my lights, and they was finishing the flag pole, and they were lowering the flag, and that was [INAUDIBLE], and from then on, we started withdrawing all men and material from the front, and I was up one day, and there was an American, and I got pushed, and they're speaking to the chap, and I said, "Well, you're quite happy all once it's finished now," and I said, "[INAUDIBLE]." He says, "It's not you." I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "We lost a man last night." Yeah. "What do you mean you lost a man?" "Well, all we found was his rifle. We didn't find him." "Oh." "And he says but we never heard anything," so they were losing men well after the cease fire, and then that was not a long thing. Anyway, from then on, it was spit and polish I'm afraid, back to the old grind, and when I left, I was sent Gimpo on the back of an open truck in December. It was about four or five of us [INAUDIBLE] with a bottle of brandy, and we sat and enjoyed that bottle of brandy. I don't think it won't stop us freezing, but we got there. Korea, I enjoy quite a bit Korea. Actually, I knew about it when I was boy. I was an avid reader, and I read quite a bit about it, and that's why I said to you about the [INAUDIBLE] wars between Russia, France, Britain and America. At various times, each of these countries had the men and the leading jobs like Postmaster and things like that. There was always this fight to control the country, and I remember when reading [INAUDIBLE] American warship. It was a sailing ship, not steel vessels like now. It was old sailing ships with cannons. They're were cruising along, and they needed water, so they sent aboard the shore with drums and bottles to get fresh water, and the natives slaughtered them, and the captain of the ship is rather annoyed about that, so he opened up the gullies with his guns and slaughtered back. Not a nice story, is it? But the [INAUDIBLE], but the train from Busan. Yeah. It stopped and started. It stopped and started. I was up in the luggage rack sleeping. Well, I tried to sleep anyway, and somebody lost their weapon, dropped their rifle [INAUDIBLE]. I wouldn't have to go and pay for it. When I ... I've been out to Korea about five times. Etta Green and I were roommates twice, and the change is remarkable, remarkable, and the people speak to you, and they're so grateful. It becomes an embarrassment. One gets embarrassed, but they're so grateful, and they say it and show it, and it's came on in leaps and bounds, but I've always said to you, the population growth is unbelievable. When we were there, there was ... Eventually, there three, I think, bridges there, but now there's about 30 bridges, and yeah. Very industrial people. Some lovely places in Korea too, and if I could afford that, I would go and live there. Yeah. I think I would go and live there in the summer, not too keen on winter, but the [INAUDIBLE] I was there. We were fitted out with gear for it and all that, and yeah. You could live reasonably comfortable, reasonably. Yes. Anyway, if you have any questions to ask. I'm Scottish. It's always been mostly English-staffed unit, very few Scottish people. I could tell stories on the ship out where there were Scottish troops on it, but I'm not going to. No, sorry. No, and it didn't put us in a very good light actually. Continued fighting between them and English regiments, and when we got to Singapore, no, Hong Kong, we took a field regiment, an artillery field regiment unit, and then formed the warming parties if there was any more. They would have to swim to Korea. We used to make them, so things were very comfortable after that. I didn't have as much as a Scottish accent in those days, and when I came back from the army, I was decidedly more English spoken than Scottish. In fact, walking along the street in my hometown when a chap staggered out the public house, bumped into me, and he said to me, "What's the time?" I said, "Oh, the time is such and such, and he called me an unpleasant English person, suggested I return to whence I came and staggered off, and I stood on the pavement, and I laughed and laughed and laughed, and I thought it funny, so funny. What the ... My own life, I was brought up on a farm, and my stepfather is a farmer. He'd been a seaman in his younger days, and all his sons had been seamen as well, and then I went to sea, and I became an officer, and my wife didn't like it, didn't like going away from home too much, and my son is a commander, and he operated out of [INAUDIBLE]. He was a warfare officer [INAUDIBLE] at the time, but now he's staying with in the National ... What's his name? Oh, dear, now I forget it, but it is sort of the getting money here, there and everywhere sort of things to be done in different countries, different organizations. Millions are getting away. He quite likes it. Adam doesn't know him though. Eric is dead now. He died a couple of years ago actually, and we took four out, but we couldn't take the fifth one out. An excellent man, Eric. He was a nice chap. He was a member of this place, and by the way, there is no KVA. There is no KVA. There was at one time, and I was a member of it, but when the colonel took it upon himself to shut it down and did even though 75 percent of the living membership voted against it. He still shut it down, and we knew what was coming, so we readied an organization standing by to take over, and that became the British Korean War Veterans Association, and that was a legitimate, registered organization, and we continually pleaded with the Korean government to recognize us, but they still recognize the BKVA, which doesn't exist. It only exists in the memory of the units who refused to join the BKWVA. It's tea and biscuits, social gatherings. [INAUDIBLE] Adam says.