Welcome to the website of Seoul-based writer Andrew Salmon, author of To the Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea 1951 (Aurum Press, London, 2009) and Scorched Earth, Black Snow: Britain and Australia in the Korean War, 1950 (Aurum Press, London, 2011).

To the Last Round was the unanimous winner of the inaugural Hampshire Libraries/Osprey Publishing “Military Book of 2009″ prize, and in 2010,was named one of the “Top 10 Books on Korea” by The Wall St Journal. The same year, AS was awarded a “Korean Wave” prize at the South Korean National Assembly in Seoul for his contribution to the literature of the war.

AS is available for talks, having delivered a range of presentations on his work at venues including the Royal Irish Regiment; the Army Training Regiment; Royal Marines Bristol; The Korean Cultural Center, London; the Army Benevolent Fund Wales; the Royal Asiatic Society, Seoul; and the Seoul Rotary Club.

To the Last Round reviewer comments:

The defence of the Imjin River… should rank with Rorke’s Drift as an heroic last stand.  Yet it and the Korean War are little known and the few surviving veterans are bitter at this lack of recognition.  Salmon’s superb book, exhaustively researched and expertly written, should go some way to redressing the balance - Saul David, The Times

Enthralling and action-packed…relives every moment of that astonishing battle  – Daily Mail 

Salmon’s vivid use of recollections and dramatic quotes brings to life an unjustly forgotten conflict - Time Out

Copiously reported…the book is filled with detail enough to win the attention even of those for whom military histories may seem irrelevent…exciting stuffFar Eastern Economic Review

Over a thousand British servicemen lost their lives in the Korea War and here, at last, is a compelling account of a defining moment in that conflict…an astonishing read - The Good Book Guide

A superb book which showcases British courage during a now almost forgotten last standSoldier Magazine

So glad you have recorded this piece of history and the people who made it for posterityGeneral Sir Peter de la Billiere

The descriptions of the battles are so realistic they raise the adrenalin level…your book should carry a health warning: Anyone with Post Traumatic Stress would be in danger of a relapse – Brigadier Meryn McCord, Imjin Veteran

About the Author

About the Book

Read the Introduction

Watch a Presentation

In the Press

Korean War, Military Articles by AS

Veterans’ Comments

Veterans’ Memoirs

Film Sponsorship Appeal

Links

NEW! An Artist at War, 1950

Purchase To the Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea 1951

24 Responses to “Welcome”

  1. sue Says:

    Hi, my dad was in this battle and now he is fast approaching his 80,s he seems to have a need to talk about it more than he did before.We use to get snippits of the battle but he did not really like to talk, he was in the prisoner of war camp, gloster regiment.I have promised to buy it for him, have watched the utube presentation and was quite emotional. Thankyou for your efforts. sue

    1. Andrew Salmon Says:

      Sue:

      Hope your Dad enjoys the book and does not find too many mistakes!

      Many veterans find that talking (or even writing) about their experiences is therapeutic…so I would respectfully suggest he be encouraged in this direction. There is a popular preconception that old soldiers are boring old buffers, but you and your family may find some of his stories both fascinating and moving…which was my experience when conducting the interviews for the book.

      Best regards –
      Andrew Salmon


  2. Where in Korea is this available? I don’t see it at Seoul Selection or What the Book?

  3. Andrew Salmon Says:

    Charles:

    I have no idea! The book has been widely featured in the Korean language press, which supply chain managers in bookshops presumably read; whether they decide to stock it or not is up to them. For a number of reasons, the Korean War is not a popular subject here in Korea: some people see it as a shameful episode – rather like the Japanese colonial period – while others consider it the wrong ‘brand image’ to promulgate. However, I am pleased to say that there has been some interest in a Korean translation.

    And it is available on Amazon…simply click on the links on this site.

    Regards –
    Andrew Salmon

  4. Bruce Says:

    Hi

    I am a tutor to Koreans in London and will be purchasing your book for one of my students who is a military attache here. Well done on a tragic event – you have opened a window to the younger generation!

  5. Andrew Salmon Says:

    Bruce:

    It that is Commander Lee, of the ROK Navy, I think he, along with the head of Samsung UK, was invited to the Tower last year with Mervyn McCord, John Mole and Robin Charley (all ex-officers of the Royal Ulster Rifles). The invitiation was a sign of gratitude towards Samsung and the ROK Embassy, who contributed to the re-dedication of the RUR Korean Battle Monument at Belfast City Hall. The monument commemorates the near annihilation of the RUR at “Happy Valley” (east of Koyang) on Dec 4 1950. That battle, and the experiences of McCord, Charley and Mole, is included in the book – as is a photo of the monument in Koyang in 1951.

    Regards –
    Andrew Salmon

  6. Andrew Salmon Says:

    A piece of mine published (in Korean) in the Chosun Ilbo, a popular Korean daily, on Tues 12 May. It covers an issue that rather dismays me: The general ambivelance of the public – both locals and expatriates – towards the Korean War. While I do not deny that the war was a tremendous tragedy, I do not consider it a “shameful” event or a blight on today’s “national brand.” Next year is the 60th anniversary of its oubreak. I look forward to seeing how it is commemorated both here and around the world.

    June 25, 2010: From Forgotten War to Unforgettable War?
    By Andrew Salmon

    This time next year, as a key date approaches, I hope that South Korean society will be in the grip of anticipation rivaling that surrounding the run-up to the ‘88 Olympics, the 2002 World Cup or the 2005 APEC Summit. I refer to June 25th, 2010: The 60th anniversary of the Korean War’s outbreak, and the last significant anniversary likely to be attended by living participants.

    I am not recommending joyous celebration: this commemoration demands somber dignity. But like 1988, 2002 and 2005, it needs a national effort, resources and scale. I have met ROK officers preparing commemorations; they are good men, but is Korea putting the national resources behind this event? Massive amounts are spent on athletic event and expo bids; is it not more important to recall the tragedy of millions?

    There are benchmarks.

    Jacques Chirac did a magnificent job hosting the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, attended by dignitaries including President George Bush Queen Elizabeth II and Gerhard Schroeder. (A fine gesture; inviting the former enemy). Every year, Arnhem, Holland, recalls the Allied airborne landings with recreations of the drops by men clothed and equipped in the style of 1944; every year, schoolchildren tend the graves of the “falling flowers.” And the UK commemorated Trafalgar’s 200th anniversary in 2005 with a naval review featuring ships from 36 nations.

    What I would like to see in Korea is a multi-dimensional approach: diplomatic, military, academic and technological.

    I’d like to see Lee Myung-bak hosting the leaders of UNC nations on a key battlefield – perhaps Incheon. But even if presidents and queens attend, the key guest should be South Korean, for what tremendous good fortune – what outstanding timing! – that Ban Ki-moon is heading the UN, the organization that saved South Korea in 1950, in 2010.

    I’d like to see an international naval gala and a re-enactment of the landing by the ROK Marines – with veterans participating. I’d like to see a Military Tattoo, as seen in Edinburgh, featuring bands from UNC nations, and a sound and light show. I’d like to see a “Parade of Heroes” – surviving veterans of the UNC who won their respective nations’ highest military awards – and a commemorative book published on their experiences.

    But the commemoration should not halt on June 26. I’d like to see an ongoing effort, from June 25, 2010 to midnight July 27, 2013, to create something lasting.

    I’d like to see government or industry sponsoring chairs at international universities to study the Korean War; a filmmakers’ fund established to underwrite film or TV projects; and interactive consoles and exhibits installed at battlefields across Korea.

    I’d like to see schools, universities, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs cooperating nationwide to collect written, audio and visual testimony from survivors – military and civilian – and a database of these stories established at the National War Memorial. I’d like Korean embassies in UNC nations to collecting photos and testimonials from overseas veterans, and add them, too.

    I’d like to see Korea’s elite computer game makers recreating the major battlefields – Inchon Landing, Chosin Reservoir, Chipyong-ri, Imjin River, White Horse Mountain and the rest – online. Viewers from PCs anywhere in the world could witness the fighting over these online landscapes, dotted with positions, headquarters and hospitals, populated with virtual troops, accurately uniformed and armed, while audio of war thunders in the background. Embedded within these warscapes, and clickable, could be educational film clips, photos and testimonies, plus information about equipment, commanders and events. And not just battlefields. Devastated urban centers could also be recreated, inhabited by refugees struggling to survive among the ruins, telling the stories of the civil population.

    Given Korea’s technological strengths, such an edutainment resource could bring the war alive for the young generation. As far as I know, there is no online war recreation project this ambitious anywhere: Korea could create a global benchmark

    It is not to foreign veterans that Korea owes a commemoration next year: Korea owes it to herself.

    Some Koreans see the war as something shameful, a negative element in the ‘national brand.’ I differ. Firstly, war, the ultimate tragedy, is central to some of the world’s finest poetry, film and literature: it fascinates many. Secondly and more importantly, only through understanding the war’s devastation and brutality can today’s prosperity and freedom be comprehended. The UNC could not win the war, but South Korea, decisively won the peace.

    The war has been forgotten too long. From 2010 to 2013, Korea’s government and society can ensure it is forgotten no longer.
    ENDS
    Seoul-based reporter Andrew Salmon is the author of To the Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea, 1951.

  7. Brian Kennedy Says:

    Good Morning Andrew, I wanted to offer my congrats on getting the book published. That is super. The Korean War has always been of interest to me as my father was there with the U.S. Air Force doing radar installs. take care, Brian

  8. Andrew Salmon Says:

    Derek:

    Welcome! Well it may be wishful thinking, but even so…I think the Koreans, at least, will stage some commemorative event (Koreans are VERY good at large-scale events) even if it is a last-moment job. Other nations? Who knows…

  9. Joan Says:

    My husband was with 55 Fld Sqdn Royal Engineers at the Battle of the Imjin and I will try to get the book for him. He was a regular soldier and lost some of his comrades in the Korean War – they are not forgotten

  10. Jung, Yung Ro Says:

    Dear andrew,

    It is great article! and what a appropriate time for the awakening memories. No they are not forgotten war neither there sacrifice in her land. their giving and love we korean will spred to the world where a land need it. There is No free freedom, liverty without love. i just hope the leftist know what they demand where they satand at.
    i will find and read in Korean.

    at Kansas City USA

    no The

  11. Denis Whybro Says:

    Dear Andrew,
    My father Denis Whybro served with the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars during the Korean War and remembers vividly the Battle of the Imjin. He really enjoyed your book as he believes that you gave a more balance account than others he has read. The use of eye witness accounts by ‘ordinary’soldiers certainly gave the book a more accurate feel. They say history is written by the victors or in this case mainly by Officers and those far removed from events. We all realise that the Glousters made a heroic stand but to exclude the other British and Belgian battalions attached to us has often rankled with my father. Even the T.V. programmes have shown this inbalance.
    Your book has gone some way to redress this situation.
    Although the events took place nearly sixty years ago my father often recalls them and remembers with sadness those who died then and since.
    Best wishes with your next book regards Christine Potter (nee Whybro)and Denis Whybro

  12. Lucie Goodman Says:

    Andrew, thank you for writing this book, you interviewed my grandpa Peter and I know he found it helpful to speak about his experiences. He’s never actually spoken to any of us about his time out there and although I’m finding it very difficult emotionall to read, I’m determined to get through it.

  13. Andrew Salmon Says:

    Was recently sent the Asia Times story below by Tom Coyner of Korean Economic Reader – thanks Tom.

    I suspect all Korean War veterans will be pleasently surprised to learn that this RAF pilot’s war grave is honourably maintained in Pyongyang.

    Finally, laid to rest in Pyongyang
    By Michael Rank
    Asia Times On Line
    August 14, 2009

    LONDON – There can be no lonelier grave anywhere on Earth. Amid fields close to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, lie the remains of Flight Lieutenant Desmond Hinton, a British fighter pilot who flew for the United States Air Force as a member of United Nations forces in the Korean War.

    Hinton is officially listed as missing in action (MIA), but his brother David, himself a retired Royal Air Force pilot, traced records of how and where Desmond died and managed to visit his grave in highly secretive North Korea.

    “I was very close to my brother who was very much my role model and a father figure to me. I have never stopped missing him every single one of the 57 years since he died,” said David Hinton of Desmond, who was just 29 when he was shot down, leaving a widow and two small children.

    David, now 77, is 12 years younger than Desmond, who had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in World War II for shooting down two Japanese Zero fighter aircraft over Burma (now Myanmar). Having survived that ordeal, Desmond Hinton was one of 41 RAF officers seconded to the USAF during the Korean War.

    “A tour lasted about three months. They were short of replacements, so Desmond offered to do a second tour and it was on his second tour that he was shot down and killed,” said David. “There’s an old maxim in the armed forces, ‘Never volunteer,'” he added with a wry smile.

    David discovered in RAF archives a graphic report of how his brother died on January 2, 1952.
    F/Lt [Flight Lieutenant] DFW Hinton had been ordered to undertake an interdiction and reconnaissance mission in the area of Sunan-Pyongyang with three other aircraft from his unit … After making a bomb run on railroad tracks just north of Sunan, he called the other members of his flight saying he was hit and on fire.

    The aircraft was then seen to crash into the ground and explode on impact. The remaining three aircraft flew over the wreckage of F/Lt Hinton’s aircraft for 15 minutes, but returned to their home base after seeing no evidence that F/Lt Hinton was alive. Sadly, F/Lt Hinton is still reported as missing.
    From this account, David had a good idea of where his brother had gone down in his F84e Thunderjet, over the Sunan area of Pyongyang which is now the location of the city’s airport.

    He managed to buy a US military map of North Korea, and contacted the Foreign Office in London in the hope that the recently opened British Embassy in Pyongyang would be willing to ask the North Koreans if they could provide any further evidence concerning his brother’s fate. The British ambassador David Slinn and his colleague Jim Warren were only too happy to help, and found the North Koreans surprisingly cooperative.

    It turned out that despite the North Korean government’s reputation of being deeply xenophobic, the remains of Desmond Hinton, who was fighting for the hated “Yankee imperialists”, had been given a decent burial close to where his body fell to ground.

    David was therefore determined to pay his respects to his brother at his grave and in 2004 embarked on a remarkable journey to North Korea, taking the train from Beijing to Pyongyang.

    Despite bitterness still evident in North Korea over the Korean War, he was treated as an honored guest and enjoyed the rare distinction of being accompanied during his visit by a senior Korean People’s Army officer, Colonel Kwak Chol-hui, who is director of Negotiations for Remains at the armistice site at Panmunjom.

    The grave consists simply of a mound of earth surrounded by a white picket fence, without any inscription. It lies close to a narrow footpath on a hillside 200 meters from the road, near the village of Kuso-ri and 2.5 kilometers east of Pyongyang airport.

    David was told that not long before his visit, his brother’s remains had been moved about 50 meters to a more accessible location.

    He was introduced at the grave to two witnesses to Desmond’s crash, a Mr Ri and Mr Han, local villagers who were only 13-years old at the time but appeared to have perfect recollections of the event. “They told how the aircraft passed directly over their houses at very low level and they were at the crashed aircraft within minutes,” David said.

    He asked his hosts if they could dig up a piece of Desmond’s clothing, and was deeply moved when he was presented with part of his flying suit.

    He would have loved to have been given Desmond’s identity disc too, but was told this had been taken by Chinese troops who were fighting with the North Koreans against the US and other forces.

    David gave a short speech at the grave, thanking Colonel Kwak and the ambassador for making his visit possible, while the head of the village promised to tend the grave and paint the fence regularly.

    As a former RAF officer, David was also anxious to fix the position of the grave. “I went to the memorial to the Great Leader Kim Il-sung near the village in sight of the grave and took a compass bearing. The grave bears 160 degrees, 500 meters from the obelisk,” he noted in his diary.

    He was also taken to the demilitarized zone at Panmunjom, where Colonel Kwak hosted a formal lunch and told him that Dear Leader Kim Jong-il had been made aware of and had approved his visit.

    Reflecting the importance that North Korea attached to his visit, it was even reported by the official news agency KCNA, but for personal reasons David has not spoken about it until now.

    The current British ambassador to North Korea, Peter Hughes, is aware of this lonely grave and said in an e-mailed statement: “Staff from this embassy visit the grave regularly to ensure it is kept in good order, and we carry out a small service there on Remembrance Day each year. I presided over the last such ceremony on November 9, 2008.”

    Desmond Hinton’s grave is the only known one of its kind, but there has been one much larger-scale, much more official attempt to trace servicemen missing in action in North Korea.

    In the 1990s, during a mild thaw in the frigid history of US-North Korean relations, the countries reached agreement on permitting American experts to search for the remains of US troops missing in North Korea.

    More than 8,000 American troops are listed as MIA in the Korean War – far more than in the Vietnam War – but results from this unprecedented US-North Korean joint project were modest.

    It “resulted in the recovery of 225 probable US remains; 27 have been identified to date and returned to their families for burial in US soil”, according to the US Department of Defense.

    David Hinton is content for his brother’s remains to stay in North Korea, and he is now planning to visit Desmond’s grave again later this year.

    There is every indication that the North Koreans are looking forward to welcoming him again, suggesting that despite its recent missile launches and atomic bomb test, Pyongyang has a human face after all.

    Michael Rank is a former Reuters correspondent in China, now working in London.

  14. andrew magill Says:

    my dad andrew magill fought at the imjin battle with royal ulster rifles and was captured when a tank he was on came off the track .i have been to belfast city hall to see monument for happy valley

  15. Soohwan Jeong Says:

    Mr. Salmon,

    As I am a 38 yrs-old-son of a Korean soldier (who became 82 yrs old)fought in Korea war, on behalf of him and all of us, I’d like to thank you for all your effort and this masterpiece. Your book will let us, this generation of Korean people, know there were so many young people from all around the world threw their lives for a country they’d never known, and we are living on their novel blood.
    Thank you again.


  16. You made some Good points there. I did a search on the topic and found most people will agree.


  17. Dear Andrew,

    All I can say is bravo…..great great book, comparable to James Brady’s ‘The Coldest War’. Ever since going to Washington for a family holiday in December, I have now been addicted to this incredibly sad and brutal war, that was effectively forgotten. Yet, this war has more acts of heroism and tragedy than I have ever come across, from both the Americans and the Brits. However the books that have been written, whislt superb, are small in number compare to WW2 and Vietnam, and the movies are virtually non-existent, except for Samuel Fuller’s efforts of course.

    If I may ask for some advise? I plan a visit to South Korea in August and wish to visit the key sites, such as the Incheon landings, Imjin River, Happy Valley, DMZ, Pusan war graves, and of course Gloster Hill.

    Where can I get access to be able to visit these sites, and what would you recommend I do to be able to visit these sites?

    Many thanks for all your help,

    Andrew Ashmore
    Zurich

  18. John Nolan Says:

    Good morning Andrew, Must congratulate you: your book is outstanding. I was with 1st RTR 1952/3, saw action on 355 sector and The Hook. Nothing like the Imjin: Trench war, but both The Black Watch and Duke Of Wellington’s fought and held The Hook against massive attacks. Now 77 yrs old, profoundly deaf, I would like to revisit Korea. Not tour “minded”: deafness is frustrating. Is it possible to hire an interpreter guide for a trip to the DMZ (2 days); Pusan (2days) would really appreciate your advice. Knew Lofty Large, met him on selection a long time ago. We discussed Korea: The scenery, Lofty was not one for Lamp Swinging. Trust you can assist me. Yours Aye John.

  19. Lee Horsley Says:

    Dear Mr Salmon,

    My Great Uncle William Hayes served for the Glosters at the Imjin River,and he’s turned 90 this August but is unfortunately not in good health. He seldom spoke to his close family about his experiences, but had confided in my father about the battle a few years ago. Having read ‘To The Last Round’ and carried out some research I’m moved by the courage and tenacity of the exploits of this regiment.
    Firstly I thank you for the producing such a compelling and well researched book. I’ve passed a further copy to my uncle’s children (whom are all older than myself!) so they can appreciate the bravery of the their father.
    I also see you’ve began a campaign to increase the awareness of the public of the Korean War and the battle, and would like to contribute in some way.
    Thanks again for I have thoroughfully enjoyed your account.

  20. Giles Craig Says:

    I have just found out about this book and will be purchasing without doubt!
    My Father was (in those days) Lt THR Craig Royal Ulster Rifles, he never spoke much of it but I always was and will be, very proud of him.

  21. Martin Ashfield Says:

    Thank god for writers !, and books like Andrews ‘to the last round’ my father survived north Africa , Italy, and then Korea , he survived both,, others were not so lucky, lest we forget, god bless them all,

  22. Tim Bowler Says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I have just read To The Last Round and Scorched Earth, Black Snow – both of which I found terribly moving and both long-overdue accounts of the British, Australian and Belgian forces in 1950 and ’51 in Korea. Thank you for both these books. Can I ask if you are planning to cover the later stages of the war, from mid-51 to 1953, the Commonwealth Division and The Hook etc?

    My father was a National Servicveman 1948-51 He did his basic training in the Home Counties training brigade, but was badged as Royal Sussex, rather than in his words “some of those poor devils who were badged Middlesex and ended up killed in Korea”.
    Mind you that didn’t stop him – a few months later at the end of an RAEC training course – volunteering for overseas service. The army in its wisdom sent him to 16 Independent Para Brigade in Aldershot – which was duller but safer.

    You are right that Korea is a conflict that seems to have everything in terms of dramatic narrative – and yet ever since the 1953 armistice, the West has seemed to deliverately forget it. Perhaps it was short enough not to put too many social strains on the military (unlike Vietnam) yet was politicaly unsatisfactory when compared to WW2’s clear-cut victory, for people who hadn’t been there, not to want to hear veterans’ stories.

    Thank you once again for publicising them.

    Best wishes

    Tim

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