Having been one of the many teenage
National Servicemen to be involved
in the middle period of the 1951-1952 Korean war, lasting three years,
many British servicemen were to be taken prisoner. It was perhaps not
until the early 1980s when joining the soon-to-be Hertfordshire branch
the British Korean Veterans' Association, that I was first able to
understand some of the mystery that seemed to surround the Korean War
The former branch chairman, Bill Armstrong
(Glosters), himself a Korean POW,
was to loan me his copy of the Inter Camp Olympics booklet, which he
me to photocopy. This being the very first time that most, similar to
had ever heard of this event of November 1952. It perhaps being the
period of the International Olympic Games to be held in Helsinki, Finland,
which at the same period, peace talks were being held between the Chinese
and United Nations representatives. There also being concern of the
treatment of UN prisoners in the camps along the Yalu River and other
of North Korean, with having high death rates.
In the late 1980s I was to return to
my "roots" in Northamptonshire and was
to transfer my BKVA membership to the Wellingborough branch. This being
period when the local newspapers were publicising "The First Olympic
Games in Seoul" which to their amazement I was to inform them that
first Olympic Games in Korea, took part in November 1952 in one of the
North Korean prison camps. This later resulting in a visit from the
BBC Radio Northampton. They in return to receive a telephone call from
lady to say that her father took part in those first Olympic Games.
father being Ted Beckerley, a former Cromwell tank driver of the 8th
captured by the Chinese in January 1951 at Happy Valley.
Sadly Ted Beckerley was to pass on in
1998, his widow giving me all
of Ted's collection of military books and his Korea POW collection of
memorabilia, which also included his personal copy of the Inter Camp
booklet. This included a picture of Ted of when he was awarded a first
for entertainment drama.
Another local and former Korean War
POW, John Cowell (KOSB) is also photographed
in the booklet as being in one of the soccer teams made up of different
nationalities. This now being more relevant, 50 years later, in the
a major international soccer tournament taking place in South Korea,
English soccer players will be taking part.
As this Chinese produced Inter Camp
Olympics booklet of 1952 is perhaps now
a collectors' item within the Korean veterans' association, many never
seen one, or indeed heard of it. It was decided to rectify this by
attempting to reproduce it the form of a computer disc. This being by
the courtesy of Felix Harrigan, KOSB, who kindly reproduced Ted Beckerkey's
Korea POW memoirs, in the form a booklet.