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The Edge of the Sword (ePub)

The Classic Account of Warfare and Captivity in Korea

Military > Biographies > Military Biographies Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Korean War

By Anthony Farrar-Hockley
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
File Size: 9.0 MB (.epub)
Pages: 274
ISBN: 9781473819221
Published: 15th November 2007


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In April 1951, at the height of the Korean War, Chinese troops advanced south of the 38th parallel towards a strategic crossing-point of the Imjin River on the invasion route to the South Korean capital of Seoul. The stand of the 1st Battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment, against the overwhelming numbers of invading troops has since passed into British military history. In The Edge of the Sword General Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley, then Adjutant of the Glosters, has painted a vivid and accurate picture of the battle as seen by the officers and soldiers caught up in the middle of it. The book does not, however, end there. Like the majority of those who survived, the author became a prisoner-of-war, and the book continues with a remarkable account of his experiences in and out of Chinese prison camps.
This book is not an attempt at a personal hero-story, and it is certainly not a piece of political propaganda. It is, above all, an amazing story of human fortitude and high adventure.

enjoyed this book some years ago, then lost it. I have now purchased the book again, and it is in line to be read in the next few weeks. From what I remember this is an account of a determined man and his journey.
A thoroughly god read, thought provoking in as much as I asked myself "could I have done this" sadly I could not answer.

B H Whiteman (Amazon Reviewer)

As a history buff I had heard of the Glorious Glosters in Korea but not in enough detail.Andrew Salmonds books brought it all into focus,particularly with the wealth of personal accounts and by chance sometime after reading those books I came upon a very early print of this book in a book shop in Arundel.Written very soon after his return from captivity the book has that level of authenticity and detail that accounts written many years the event do not have.People these days knock the "stiff upper lip" and the indomitable spirit of the British and more fool them.Read this book and feel proud of what these what these largely unknown heroes went through and what they acheived

Mark St Grant (Amazon Reviewer)

This account of the fight put up against overwhelming odds by the "Glorious Gloucesters" at the battle of the Imjin River in April 1951, and the subsequent imprisonment as POWs of most of the survivors, deserves to go down as a classic tale of warfare and heroism.

The author, Captain (later General Sir) Anthony Farrar Hockley, who was adjutant (e.g. battalion chief of staff) of the first battalion, the Gloucestershire Regiment, originally wrote the book in the mid fifties, shortly after his return from captivity.

During a major Chinese and North Korean offensive during the Korean war, the 1st battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment held their position on the Imjin river against many times their numbers for three days. There were heavy casualties on both sides - shortly after his capture the author counted more than two hundred Chinese bodies on one slope of one hill after one morning's fighting.

After supplies and a relief column failed to get through, the battalion was forced to retreat and most of the survivors were captured while trying to get back to Allied lines. The first seventy pages of the book describe the battle: the remaining 216 describe the authors experiences in captivity, including his attepts at escape.

The regiment earned the nickname of "The Glorious Gloucesters" during the battle.

I can't improve on the description of this book in the foreword to the 1955 version which was written by Major General Brodie.

"Captain Farrar-Hockley, then Adjutant of the Glosters, who himself was outstanding in the battle and afterwards, has written the most graphic account of a battle and of escaptes from captivity I have ever read.

This is a book which ought to be read by every soldier and prospective soldier.

Here he may learn what is meant by real discpline and inspiring leadership."

Marshall Lord (Amazon Top 500 Reviewer)

This is a fascinating account of the 'Last Stand' fought by the Gloucestershire Regiment against overwhelming Chinese forces at the Battle of Imjin River during the Korean War.The author, along with almost the entire Regiment,were taken prisoner and marched into N.Korea where they were treated appallingly by their captors and were the first Western forces to undergo constant attempts to brainwash them politically and force them to 'confess' to being 'Imperial Aggressors'.The author tells of his numerous escape attempts and the very brave and moving way he and his fellow soldiers resisted political oppression in the POW camps,until their eventual release some two and a half years later.

I would thoroughly recommend this book, not only for its fascinating and moving account of the Battle and captivity, but also an interesting insight into the United Nations stand against Marxist communist aggression.
I have a personal interest in the Battle as my late father fought alongside the author. He was one of the very few to escape capture and make it back to friendly lines.

Mr S Barker (Amazon Reviewer)
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