Ted Beckerley POW Camp 5.
Yalu River Korea-China Border
KOREAN Veteran Ted Beckerley wrote about his horrific experiences of years in a prisoner of war camp in-North Korea before his recent death Ted Beckerley Pictured below, who came from Rushden died aged 78 on September 27, 1998 but he left behind him a detailed memoir of his time in the camp . The local branch of the British Korean Veterans' Association has turned this memoir into a booklet and a copy is being sent to the Imperial War Museum. Here is an extract from the memoir which shows just how much many veterans suffered and how some, such as Charlie Adams form Wellingborough, were never to return home. Although the weather got better the food remained much the same. Now and again we had a real luxury rice and once we had bread, a small hard loaf per man. The loaves were absolutely laced throughout with weevils, like caraway seeds, but they were dead and we were hungry and we ate those loaves.
"Because our diet was so monotonous and lacking in vitamins some of our chaps suffered from Burning feet' a terrible burning sensation that made it almost impossible to put the feet on the ground. I believe it was a form of beri beri as was the liquid swelling of limbs and body from which some suffered."To prevent this and hopefully to increase our supply of vitamins we began to boil and eat a non-flowering weed that was prolific in the camp. It was not unpleasant to eat - something like spinach-It was green and there was nothing else. However Charlie Adams and I both started to swell. Within a few days we were both like Michelin men when naked.
"When we lay down the fluid spread evenly and we just looked swollen with faces like a full moon." But when we stood up the change was dramatic. The fluid drained from our upper body and our faces became ordinary but the legs, feet arms and hands,the hands swelled and the fingers were like sausages..."Now Charlie has started getting thinner, he has developed a nasty cough and occasionally coughed up blood." It looked pretty certain he had TB and the beri beri had been masking the symptoms. Charlie's job had been as a gardener at the local TB sanatorium and he had worked there for four years that he had been out of the Army. "Knowing Charlie he had probably helped out in a lot of other ways in addition to his main duty.
"Charlie got worse and worse and was desperately thin. His face became that of a skeleton with huge staring eyes. He still prayed constantly and had such a longing to be home with his Hazel and their two children. "Eventually the time came when he had to be taken to hospital early In July. Four of our chaps came with a stretcher and he was taken away. I had dysentery and was pretty weak so I was unable to be one of the four. who took him. "I walked out with them as far as the gate (the hospital was outside the camp) and said goodbye. Charlie was still holding on to his prayer book. He died a few days later in the early hours of the morning. According to an American orderly who was with him Charlie cried out to Hazel' just before he died. Her name was the last word he uttered."
Inter-Camp Olympics 1952 between (POWs)
Ted with a pamphlet from POW Camp 5. Ted was A tank Driver-Cromwell Tanks (Korea)
To the above Book