James Jacobs was a National Serviceman who volunteered for overseas service and ended fighting in Korea, arriving just in time to take part in the final stages of the retreat from the Chinese border and the desperate defensive battles around what has become the border between the north and the south. He served with the artillery, spending much of his time with a mortar battery, an ideal weapon for the close-in fighting so common in Korea.
One of the most interesting aspects of Jacobs' account is the way in which his attitude to the fighting shifted over time. He originally volunteered for overseas service in the belief that the active part of the war was virtually over, and the fighting would have died down by the time he could possibly reach Korea. This almost inevitably turned out not to be the case, and he found himself taking part in some of the most desperate defensive battles of the entire war. As the end of his period of National Service approached he looked forward to leaving the military, but after a short break he volunteered, joining the army as a regular and returning to Korea to take part in some of the last battles before the armistice.
The tone tends to vary to fit events, with a fairly light-hearted touch much of time, reflecting the comradeship found in the army, and a more serious tone during the periods of heavy fighting. In many of these battles Jacobs was serving as an artillery observer, so was in or even slightly head of the front line, placing him much more in the line of fire than one might expect from his branch of the service.
This is a superb autobiography, well written and absorbing and taking us into a different part of the army to the other Korean War memoirs I've read.
1 - Another War 'Out East'
2 - Called to Arms
3 - Arrival at My War
4 - The Imjin River Battle - A Gunner's View
5 - Interlude in Japan
6 - Static Warfare, Heat, Rain and Mud
7 - Life on Jamestown Line
8 - Homeward Bound
9 - Obligation Fulfilled
10 - Once More a Volunteer
11 - Freedom is not Free
A - In Remembrance
B - Prisoners of War
C - Letters to the Reservists
D - The US Presidential Unit Citation
E - Honours, Decorations and Awards
Author: James Jacob
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military