Stan Gawley: UK POWs

From Stan Gawley to Lew Villa:

MAD-16 (nothing to do with the loony bin – the guys name is Mick A Dellow) is of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. Some of these lads would have been fellow POWs with you from whom you would have picked up strange pronunciation of the Queen’s English. An English film star called Michael Caine was a Private in the RNF in Korea (before he was a film star, of course).

In MAD-18 Col. Carr VC was a POW. You may recall the battle of Gloster Hill where the Regiment fought a rearguard action to delay the Chinese from getting to Seoul. They lost a hell of a lot of men and what men were left after running out of ammo were taken prisoner.

MAD-19 are the “other ranks” (as we were quaintly referred to) who were proudly marching from the troopship at Southampton. You may have known a few of these lads.

MAD-22 These Black Watch were on the Hook in November ’52 three days before this photo was taken and one of our tanks was called up to the top of the hill to support them. Taff Lewis, the driver, was badly wounded when a bazooka hit the front of the tank. Williamson the Wireless Operator pulled Lewis through into the turret and reversed the tank back down the hill to offload Lewis and get a replacement driver.

They used to call Lewis “The Beast” on account of his body hair. They got him out of the tank onto a stretcher to take him to the Aid Post but after falling off three times due to the incoming shells he said, “Bugger this, I’ll walk”. And with that he gathered his protruding guts into his arms and walked up to see the medics.

After a cup of tea (how English can you get?) the new driver, Bill Ward, started back up the hill. On the way the tank caught fire around the gun mounting. Williamson climbed out of the turret and in full view of the enemy snipers he tackled the blaze jumped back in the tank and they continued along the ridge before going over the top so the gun could point down the other side.They stayed there all night blasting away as attack after attack came at the Black Watch trenches. They had one of these big US search lights mounted on the main gun which helped the crew to see but it also gave the enemy something to shoot at. There were search lights shining on them from other hill tops in the rear which also lit up the tank. By the next morning the Chinese finally gave up and a platoon of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry came and cleared up the remnants.

I was talking on the phone to Ron ‘grouch’s Marks the other day. He was the tank gunner on that night. He recalled that as the tank prepared to reverse back over the hill the Infantrymen formed two lines either side of the tank as it pulled away over the hill. No saluting or cheering or hand clapping. Just a silent gesture that said good job – well done. The commander of the tank was Lt. Michael Anstice son of an Admiral. He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery and leadership in action.

MAD-24 These lads were from my home town of Halifax in Yorkshire, Where the Duke of Wellingtons Regiment have a barracks. They took part in the third battle of the Hook in March 1953. They were supported by the 1st Royal Tank Regiment. My brother was in that regiment. The Chinese really wanted to capture this feature to establish the hill top overlooking the Samichon Valley before the ceasefire was signed.

I read a very good book which was written by J. D. Hollands who was a 2nd. Lieutenant in the ‘Dukes’. He took part in that battle. But he had to fight just as hard against his superior officers who lived up to the title of another famous book about the 1914-18 war entitled “Lions led by donkeys”. After reading Hollands’ book all I can say is that I was glad I wasn’t in the Infantry. It would be nice if you could get that book from your local library. It would give you a better insight into the way the British army works.





    • Christania Marienthal

      My father was with the Royal Gloucesters. Frederick Peter Steer. He was only 20 and spent 2 1/2 years at Camp 1.

      God Bless you Lewis

  2. My late father was as well Lewis,

    John E Sheldrake

  3. Laurence Cook

    Stan Gawley – in the 1950s did you live in The Cut? Were you in Italy? Did we drive back in the Sprite? I would love to know. Laurence Cook

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