To the Last Round: Andrew Salmon to talk about the Imjin Battle

by Philip Gowman on 2 July, 2010

in 1945-1960, Event Notices, Historical, KCCUK

News of a topical talk to be given at the KCC on 15 July.

Andrew SalmonTo the Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea, 1951
By Andrew Salmon

Date & Time: Thursday, 15th July 2010 6.30pm
Venue: Multi-purpose Hall, Korean Cultural Centre UK
Email to info@kccuk.org.uk or call +44 (0)20 7004 2600 to reserve your place

About the Talk

2010 is the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War – a savage and intense conflict in which more British troops were killed than have been lost in the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

It was in Korea in April 1951 that a legend was forged, when a British brigade, deployed along the Imjin River, faced an entire Chinese army. 29th Brigade’s three-day stand remains – nearly six decades later – the bloodiest battle fought by British soldiers since World War II. In 2001, the presenter met survivors of this epic struggle when they returned to the battleground for the 50th anniversary. Astonished by their stories and wanting to learn more, he was astounded to discover that no full account of the battle had ever been published. A keen reader of military history himself, he decided to fill the gap. To The Last Round was published by Aurum in 2009, selling out two hardback print runs.

In an illustrated lecture, Andrew will discuss the early days of the Korean War, 29th Infantry Brigade, the tactics of both sides, and the Imjin terrain. A short reading from the book will be followed by an audio-visual presentation on the battle itself.

It is Andrew’s opinion that the strategic importance of the battle – and the high cost in lives lost – make Imjin River the most significant contribution the UK has made to Korea in a historical relationship that dates back to 1797.

About the speaker

Englishman Andrew Salmon, 42, is a freelance reporter covering the Koreas for CNN, Forbes, Monocle, The South China Morning Post, The Times and The Washington Times, as well as being a contributing columnist for the leading Korean language daily, The Chosun Ilbo. Andrew has reported from the heart of riots in Busan to the eerily calm streets of Pyongyang; from the deck of a corvette patrolling off the disputed island of Dokdo, to the plush boardrooms of giant conglomerates. His interview subjects range from the only North Korean commando to survive the 1968 attack on the South Korean presidential mansion, through to occupants of that mansion and even the last descendent of Korea’s royal family.

A graduate of the University of Kent and the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, his interests include martial arts, history and wining and dining. He lives in Seoul with his wife Jiyoung and their daughter Hannah.

The author of American Business and the Korean Miracle: U.S. Enterprises in Korea, 1866 – The Present (2003) and To The Last Round: The Epic British Stand On The Imjin River, Korea, 1951 (2009), he is currently working on Scorched Earth, Black Snow: The Commonwealth versus Communism, Korea, 1950 (Spring 2011).

Signed copies of To The Last Round will be available to purchase from the publishers after the talk.

Authors:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

DICK LENNARD November 8, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Was the site of this famous battle ever thoroughly studied, walked over, analyzed? The reason I ask is that in the Spring of 1953 my unit of the 2nd U.S, Infantry Division was selected to carry out a large ambush of Chinese elements that were making life difficult for us virtually every night. We were located on a hill known as “Ronson” which I believe is/was familiar to anyone with the Brits. We needed a hilltop which geographically was similar to Ronson in order to rehearse our “raid”. By aerial recon a location was selected that looked like it might do the job.

A small party of officers and NCO’s made the climb to the top and we were shocked to find the litter from what was certainly a major cock-up. The hilltop was literally buried in .303 cartridge casings, abandoned web gear, “Players” cigarette tins and all the litter of a major battle. We were especially shocked to find skeletal human remains. Obviously whoever had been there left in a big hurry

Is it conceivable that an entire battlefield was literally abandoned?……..and forgotten? I don’t recall a river close by, but then I wasn’t really looking for one. We were somewhere near the western end of the MLR. All I know is that we notified the Brits and then de-assed the area. All I can say about the area is that it could easily have been a couple years old.

This has bugged me for over 50 years that someone would abandon a field of battle…..especially one littered with human remains. Any ideas?

BTW, the supposed “raid”, probably the worst-planned in military history never happened or I very likely would not be writing this.

Philip Gowman November 19, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I forwarded your question to Andrew Salmon. Here’s his answer:

Dick:

The battlefield was, indeed, cleared when the brigade returned a month later; this aftermath is detailed in the book, and a couple of readers have mentioned that they found it particularly unpleasant reading. (For which I make no apology; such is war). Is is possible that one hilltop position was overlooked? It is possible, and your remembrance seems to confirm it. Beyond that, I am afraid I can offer nothing concrete. Certainly, it surprises me, as Graves Registration were all over the positions.

Andrew Salmon
Author

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