Captured at the Imjin River (Kindle)
The Korean War Memoirs of a Gloster
The Korean War was the only time that the Cold War seriously ‘ignited’ yet it remains largely ignored by historians and publishers. Few people today realise the intensity of the fighting, the appalling conditions that prevailed and, for those captured, the inhumanity of the treatment shown to the luckless POWs.
The all-too-few memoirs that have emerged from this war have on the whole been written by officers. Captured At The Imjin River is therefore doubly important in that its author, Dave Green was a nineteen-year-old National Serviceman. His story is a remarkable one which he tells with both candour and humour. Not only did he fight in two major battles but he was captured at the Imjin River along with those of his fellow Glosters who were not killed. They then endured extraordinary hardships for over two years at the hands of his Chinese and North Korean captors before being released at the conclusion of hostilities.
Dave’s account of the bitter fighting and his years of captivity demand to be read. Captured At The Imjin River is a special book in many ways as it gives the reader a true insight into war and captivity from the perspective of the squaddie. His powers of observation and description are commendable and, while clearly very different, evoke those of George MacDonald Fraser’s Quartered Safe Out Here, that classic fighting-man’s description of the war in Burma.
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 positions were finally overrun.History of War
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.
There do not seem to be many Korean War memoirs, so this 19 year old Gloster recalling his National Service is all the more interesting.Windscreen
A true insight into Korea and a memorable memoir.
David Green was a 19-year old National Serviceman when he found himself thrust into the Korean War, Not only did he fight in two major battles but he was captured at the Imjin River along with those of his fellow Glosters who were not killed. They then endured extraordinary hardships for over two years at the hands of his Chinese and North Korean captors before being released at the conclusion of hostilities. This is a remarkable account that is told with both candour and humour, a classic fighting man’s memoir.Britain At War, March 2012
This story of David Green’s national service with the Glosters is a sobering one, even for a generation of soldiers that has grown up fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. A volunteer for the Korean War, he faced major battles, the loss of close friends, hardships of capture and two years incarceration in Chonsong prison camp. The title portrays beautifully the long periods of boredom interrupted by bursts of frenetic activity that any soldier will recognize, but this warts-and-all tale is aimed at Korean War of Gloster enthusiasts.Soldier Magazine, Jan 2012
The North Koreans' attack on their Southern neighbours in 1950 shocked and surprised the World already in the grip of the Cold War in Korea. The conflict rapidly escalated with China soon heavily involved on one side and the United Nations on the other. The author, then a young Gunner officer, found himself in the midst of this very nasty war. He describes in vivid detail the horrific conditions faced not just by all elements of the British contingent but also the Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and South Africans who fought so well. The reader is given a clear insight of what it was like…By Brigadier Brian Parritt
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