Hobson, George Leonard (Oral history)

Catalogue number
  • 16853
Production date
Subject period
  • whole: Duration 120, Number Of Items 4
Alternative names
  • object name: Oral history
  • object category: IWM interview


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Object description

British civilian in Liverpool GB, 1940-1941; private served with 2nd Bn King's Liverpool Regt in Greece, Libya and Cyprus, 1946-1947; served with 1st Bn Royal Ulster Rifles, 29th British Infantry Bde in Korea, 1950-1951; POW in North Korea, 1951-1953

Content description

REEL 1 Recollections of period with 8 Platoon, C Coy, 1st Bn Royal Ulster Rifles, 29th British Infantry Bde in Korea, 1950-1951: arrival in Pusan, 11/1950; how he came to be in Royal Ulster Rifles; train journey to Suwon; road block at Seoul; guarding of pontoon bridge during onset of winter; sleeping arrangements in snow; arrival in Pyongyang; news of Chinese intervention; United Nations contingents' retreat, winter, 1950-1951; strafing attack on unit by United Nations' aircraft; US troops abandoning ammunition to Chinese, 12/1950; digging defensive positions; Korean refugees heading south; digging in on Han River; preparations of defences; move of unit into reserve. Recollections of operations with 1st Bn Royal Ulster Rifles, 29th British Infantry Bde during the Battle of the Imjin River, 4/1951: start of battle; reaction to orders to withdraw from good positions; wounding from machine-gun burst from United Nations' side; water given him by Chinese soldier; capture and medical treatment for wounds. Recollections of period as POW in North Korea, 1951-1953: US Air Force attack on captured Centurion tank. REEL 2 Continues: condition of walking wounded; opinion of some POWs volunteering to carry Chinese packs instead of helping wounded; lack of rations given to POWs on march north; cigarettes given to POWs; Chinese methods of avoiding US Air Force attacks; end of Chinese lenient treatment policy and handing over to North Korean police; fraternisation with Pyongyang University students; attempt to humiliate POWs in front of Korean civilians; hail of apples from Korean children; bartering his pen for bread; US POWs' attitude to sharing; personal hygiene problems on march north; North Korean Police headquarters in hillside; threat of North Korean Police to shoot POWs; placing POWs deliberately in danger of US Air Force attacks during forced labour; Chinese rescue of POWs from ill treatment by North Korean police; intervention of North Korean officer to stop POW ill treatment; refusal of POWs to go to Camp 12 Peace Camp. REEL 3 Continues: bad conditions in Camp 9 'Rubbish Heap Camp'; reaction to arrival at Peace Camp; feeding and indoctrination routine, Peace Camp; effects of US Air Force attacks on Peace Camp; losing his Bible; Chinese turning camp into show camp for benefit of visitors; Chinese ploy to get POWs out of Korean hands; effects of returning to normal food in Camp Five; failure of acupuncture treatment; contrast between Chinese and North Korean treatment; release 1953; handling of POWs by US Army in South Korea and Japan; nature of Communist propaganda and handling it; opinion of Koreans and Chinese. Recollections of Liverpool Blitz, 1940-1941: types of bombs used. REEL 4 Continues: destruction in city and docks; work as paperboy; flight of population into countryside; public morale; attitude to Germans. Period with 2nd Bn King's Liverpool Regt in Greece, Cyprus and Libya, 1946-1947: role of unit in Greece, 2/1946-8/1946; move to Cyprus to quell rioting of Jewish illegal immigrants held in Famagusta; supervising large numbers of German POWs in Tobruk, 6/1947-12/1947; character of German POWs and how they rebuilt Tobruk; character of Jews held in Faragusta, Cyprus, 1946-1947; peaceful nature of unit's service in Greece; story of occasion when he was stopped and searched by ELAS during water collecting duties, Greece, 1946; attitude of Greek civilians to presence of British Army; display of ELAS corpses to civilians by Greek government forces.

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