This is the story of a small amphibious raiding force especially raised for service during the Korean War. They were deployed from a US submarine and US ships for raids onto the enemy coast. At the onset of an atrocious winter, the Commando joined the US Marines operating in mountainous terrain in North Korea; . "it was there that hell indeed froze over". They took part in the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, which has been described as "a battle unparalleled in US military history, an epic of great suffering and great valour". Following this action, the Commando returned to its amphibious role. It was based and operated many miles behind the enemy lines, harassing them in a series of clandestine raids.
The Commando was probably unique in that throughout its 18 months history it operated exclusively under the command of the United States Navy and Marines. Events of the Korean War considerably enhanced the comradeship, admiration:ion and mutual respect between US Marines and Royal Marines. this was illustrated by the dogged persistence of the USMC to have American regulations amended to allow the Commando to be awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
Comments on the book
Such a fascinating read...stories told through the experiences of the most junior to the most senior members...it is the story of a band of men who did their duty...HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Julian Thompson, Maj. Gen. RM, Military Historian
A full account of how one small unit of America's allies served through a war now largely forgotten, and forged in fire and blood a link with the US Marines
Insight, Washington Tmes
Not the usual 'dry' textbook, but a very readable account
Should there be any difficulties obtaining the book, or if an autographed copy is required, send orders to:
Fred Hayhurst, 3 Caemarvon Gardens, Plymouth, PL2 2RY, UK
Price including post & packing: UK £11, Overseas Airmail £15 (US$
The book telling the story of the Commando is now available from :
(see this web site :- http://www.britains-smallwars.com/swbooks/retailers.html).
The report on the book by the publishers states: It is full of descriptive accounts given by those who took part in the combat, and some of whom Subsequently became prisoners of war. The descriptions of the inhuman treatment they received can be quite harrowing to read. The book details the political history of the Country and the run up to war. It tells of the comradeship between US and British Marines and the honours that were bestowed upon them. This is not the usual `dry' textbook, butchery readable account of `The Forgotten War', as the Korean War became known."
There are stories (warts and all) by our members, some telling tales about others.There are accounts by some of the US Marines we met along the way. The foreword has been written by Stephen Olmstead SSMC Ret. Steve was a young PFC. with G-3-1 at Chosin and was part of Task Force Drysdale when we went up the road to Hagaru-Ri. A detailed account is given of how the 1st Marine Division was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. The USMC fight to obtain the citation for 41 Indep.Cdo., and how British bureaucracy nearly thwarted their endeavours. Throughout the book there are sections about those taken prisoner, and a complete chapter devoted to POW's, including, what I hope is a fair portrayal of Andy Condron, his work in the POW camps, why he decided to stay with his captors, his time in China and his reception in the UK when he returned with his family.
On the night of 29-30 November 1950, twenty-five of 41 Independent Commando, along with US. Marines and US. Army of the first Marine Division, were taken prisoner by the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) during a Battle in, what became known as, ,Hell Fire Valley', at the South end of the Chosin Reservoir in the mountains of North Korea.
The photograph below taken by the CCF was published in Chinese newspapers. It was taken during the three weeks of marching from Hell Fire Valley to their first POW camp at Kanggye, near the border with China.
click image to enlarge
Those in the photograph are : Front row left to right : Mne Raymond Ogle, Mne Gerald Balchin, Mne John Underwood and Mne Peter Murphy
Back row left to right : Mne Cecil McKee, Mne Ruebin Nicholls(*), Mne Lewis Heard,(*) Mne Andrew Condron(*) and Mne George Richards.
(*) Mne Nicholls was killed or died attempting to escape. Mne Heard died in POW camp.
Mne Condron was the sole Briton to remain with the Chinese. Taking advantage of the Cease-Fire signed in July 1953
In August 1951, five more of 41 Independent Commando were taken prisoner near Wonsan on the East Coast of North Korea.
Of the 31 of 41 Independent Commando taken prisoner :-
2 were killed attempting escape.
9 died in captivity.
1 (Mne Nicholls, fate unknown.
18 returned Home.
1 (Mne Condron refused repatriation, returning to the UK in October 1962
Of the 12 POWs killed or died in captivity, the remains of only one, Mne Melling, has been returned and is in the UN Cemetery, Pusan
GREEN BERETS IN KOREA by FRED HAYHURST
ISBN1-903489-12-1. The price is:
UK £8.99 USA $16.99 Australia $23.99 Canada $20.99
Copies can also be ordered on the Internet from: www.pegasuspublishers.com
Please pass this information on to all families, friends and acquaintances. Any help with promoting the book through your local media would be greatly appreciated.
Back To Books Page