Captured at the Imjin River, David Green

Captured at the Imjin River, David Green

The Korean War Memoirs of a Gloster

David Green was a National Serviceman who served with the Glosters during the Korean War. After a successful period on the front line he was part of their heroic stand on the Imjin River, and was one of five hundred survivors who were taken prisoner when their position was finally overrun.

This isn't just a prisoner of war story - Green isn't captured until the second half of the book, with the first half spent tracing his training after he was called up, his trip to Korea and his experiences of combat between reaching the front and the battle of the Imjin River.

One of the most interesting points to emerge from the book is that Green and his fellow prisoners seem to have found it easier to deal with captivity than with the possibility of freedom, which introduced a new level of uncertainty into their lives, along with the prospect of having their hopes dashed if the negotiations had stalled or fallen apart.

Green acknowledges that he was lucky to have been held in one of the better camps, and not to have suffered from the worst mistreatment within that camp. Ironically he appears to have been better treated during a period of forced labour (after a failed escape attempt) than when he was in the main camp, at least in terms of food and activity. I was also intrigued by the idea that most of the prisoners had heard stories of the atrocities committed against POWs by the Japanese during the Second World War, and were thus relieved when the Chinese didn't behave quite so badly. We also hear of the unsuccessful Chinese attempts to indoctrinate their prisoners, again something that must have some impact on their treatment as overly harsh behaviour would have ended any chances of success.

Chapters
1 - Called up
2 - Life with the Battalion: Preparation for War
3 - Six Weeks at Sea
4 - Korea: Our Baptism of Fire and an Historic March
5 - A Touch of Frostbite
6 - Close Encounters
7 - A Battle Honour Won: Hill 327
8 - Heesoon
9 - The Battle of the Imjin River
10 - The March
11 - A Prisoner in Chongsong
12 - A Failed Escape: The Cages and Slave Labour
13 - Back to the Main Camp: The Chongsong 'Olympics'
14 - Peace at Last! Homeward Bound

Author: David Green
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 180
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2011 edition of 2003 original


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