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The Royal Engineers in Korea (Hardback)

The Photographic Memoir of Frank Merritt

Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Korean War Military > Regimental History P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century World History > Europe

By Matt Merritt
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 300 mono illustrations
ISBN: 9781399044691
Published: 5th April 2024


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Although never formally diagnosed, Frank Merritt was on the autistic spectrum. He was also dyslexic and it was rare for him to write anything down. When he was called up for National Service in the 1950s, during the Korean War, he could have deferred, as he was a farmer’s son and farming a reserved occupation. Feeling it was his duty to serve, he joined the Royal Engineers. When Frank arrived on the frontline in Korea to join 55 Independent Field Squadron, 28th Field Engineer Regiment, they didn’t know what to do with him. Frank was unconventional and rebellious, and upon discovery of his keen interest in photography he was appointed the unit’s photographer.

Frank took it upon himself to explore Korea, believing in the ‘join the army and see the world’ motto. He’d frequently wander off alone with his Leotax camera, in an active war zone, oblivious to the danger. The Koreans he encountered were often surprised to see a UN soldier strolling through their villages and farms unarmed and taking photos. Frank went into places that were off limits due to enemy activity, taking candid photographs of ordinary Koreans going about their daily lives despite the war.

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About Matt Merritt

Matt Merritt grew up listening to his father’s stories of his time in Korea.

Matt currently writes history columns for two Sussex based magazines. He wrote and directed a short documentary about the history of the North Kent travelling community for BBC South East. Matt’s stage play ‘Flick To Kick’ was produced by Menagerie Theatre Company and audio drama ‘Teachersaurus’ by Frequency Theatre. His short story ‘Alan’ is published in the ‘Songs For The Elephant Man’ anthology (Mantle Lane Press.)

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