ROY H. McDONALD

Born: 1931, Ipswich.

Died: 30th May 1952; age 21 – Killed by a mortar bomb attack whilst on night patrol.

 

Rank: Private/Stretcher Bearer; Service Number: 22444909.

Regiment: Royal Norfolk Regiment, 1st Battalion.

 

Grave Reference:

22.3.1.1440.

United Nations Memorial Cemetery,

Tanggok,

Nam District,

City of Busan,

Republic of Korea.

 

 

 

Father: Lewis Raymond McDonald, born October 1905, Ipswich.

Mother: Doris Evelyn McDonald (nee Moore), born November 1909, Ipswich.

 

John Juby:

(School friend and served with Roy)

The word went out that Roy’s patrol had been hit. Spotted by the enemy they had mortared and bombed them heavily. Roy had been hit, shrapnel had hit him in the back killing him. It was hard to wrap my friend in a sheet and blanket, then carry him away to the cemetery. It was harder still to meet his mother Doris when I returned home, she repeatedly asked how he died.

 

Roy’s mother (centre) and members of the Korean war veterans.

Mr John Juby left hand side.

The Korean War was named the “Forgotten War” with ex-servicemen long campaigning for more recognition. 

John Juby became a member, and then later the Chairman of the Ipswich & District Korean War Association. He campaigned to have the Ipswich men who lost their lives in the Korean War commemorated on the war memorial at Christchurch Park. Roy McDonald’s mother, Doris also campaigned for her son to be recognised. She received letters of support and recognition from the South Korean Government. The Koreans offered to fly Doris to Korea, but sadly she was in too poor health. Doris never got to visit her son’s final place of rest. 

Classed as a “conflict” not a “war,” those who lost their lives were not allowed to be commemorated on the war memorial.  In August, 2007, 19 year old, Aaron McClure, an Ipswich soldier was killed in Afghanistan. Through public demand a “Post 1945” plaque was added to the Christchurch Park war memorial. The plaque commemorates lives lost during the Korean War, Cyprus crisis, the Northern Ireland conflict, and the war in Afghanistan.

John has visited Korea four times and paid his respects to his friend Roy McDonald, and other British and Royal Norfolk Regiment comrades.

 

Cemetery plaque, visited by his old comrades.

More than 90,000 Britons served in the Korean War.

With the loss of 1,078 men (4,502 casualties) the United States lost 37,000 men. China’s and North Korea’s military fatalities are numbered over 1.5 million. Civilian and military losses in South Korea also exceeded one million.

Royal Norfolk Regiment Korean War

John Juby’s Story:

John was born in Ipswich on the 11th September 1931. The first child for Harry Claude Juby, a bricklayer, and Grace Ethel Juby (nee Hambling). In 1937, his sister, Anne was born in Ipswich. For most of his childhood the Juby family lived at Lyndhurst Avenue, a stone’s throw from Rushmere Heath. As a lad, John was to spend many a day exploring the heath picking up golf balls and visiting the Anti-aircraft station and the barrage balloon on the Heath. One day during the War John, his dog and a friend were walking back from the heath when a German aircraft spotted them and went into a dive strafing them with machine gun. John survived but sadly the family pet was killed.

During the War John could remember many damp and cold nights in the next door neighbour’s Anderson shelter. His father spent most of the war away as a bricklayer in London rebuilding bomb damage from the Blitz working for L.D. Bloom. 

John first attended Rose Hill Primary School, followed by Britannia Primary School, before moving up to Copleston High School. John left school to take on an apprenticeship as a carpenter and cabinet maker. He was later employed by Cubitt Theobald Ltd. Before setting up on his own as a carpenter and cabinet maker.

Aged 20 in 1951, his call up papers for his National Service arrived. John was first signed up to the Suffolk Regiment, then moved to the Middlesex Regiment for training, then later transferred to the Royal Norfolk Regiment –  where the word going around was that the 1st Battalion were bound for the new United Nations Force for the Conflict in Korea.

A civil War had broken out in Korea, the Communist north with the support from Russia and China had pushed south. South Korea had appealed for help from the west. Under the flag of the United Nations. The Conflict as part of the “Cold War” to this day has still not officially ended 70+ years on. Which for John is still a disappointment, calling Donald Trump “….a very dangerous man.” The country is still split, North and South with continuing tension on the boarders.

The United Nations Force comprised of France, Cuba, South Africa, Ethiopia, Belgium Thailand, Australia, Turkey, Canada and Bolivia, all contributing men and materials. The United States provided the bulk of the United Nations Forces.

John will admit he had never heard of Korea. He and his fellow recruits searched for maps to find where they were heading. Despite living through World War Two it all seemed a great adventure, with the view they were doing their bit for the country. Some of John’s officers and NCO’s would have already seen action, but for most it would change their lives. John said they quickly went from boys to men in a short period of time. 

   

John was to spend his 21st birthday on board H.M. Troopship “Empire Orwell” a former captured German cargo liner converted into a British troopship, sailed from England through Gibraltar into the Mediterranean, passing through Egypt and the Suez Canal. The ship was fast, only taking 4 weeks to arrive.

 

John as a carpenter, was placed in a detachment of pioneers for the Royal Norfolk Regiment and sent on ahead of the battalion to set up the camp’s infrastructure, water, cookhouses, and water purification. The advance party were to relieve and take over the Royal Irish Rifles trenches on the 38th parallel, the line drawn on the map to hold the Communist North. John was shocked to see the War had created a line of trenches from coast to coast on par with the Western Front from World War One. Barbed wire and trenches stretched as far as the eye could see with a stretch of “no man’s land” in-between, shelled and potted moonscape. The Americans had napalmed the land to their front, burning away foliage creating a frightening and barren scene.

 

The conditions were harsh, for most national service men were expected to serve a minimum of one winter. With temperatures at the extreme – minus 40 degrees, one of the worst winters in history. Vehicles would have to be run every hour so not to freeze up. Boots and clothing were eventually replaced with Parker coats and fur lined winter trousers for the men to survive the sub-zero conditions. The summer brought extreme heat along with monsoon weather conditions which flooded trenches. For John the trenches were just part of the job, “….we just got on with it. I found a snake in my bed one day, I skinned it and kept it as a souvenir.  Fleas, flies, lice and the worse. The smell of dead and decaying corpses. We came across a Turkish position where they just scattered earth over the dead bodies rather than digging a hole. We had some time away from the line, 1 night on and two nights off. We had our good times, I traded my fag rations for beer and spent the whole period with cases of beer under my bed.”

 

Infections were rife, John worked with barbed wire, building defences. He was hospitalised with a septic cut. Later a skin infection where he was sent to Hong Kong to recover.

 

The front could be very active at times shelling and raids from the enemy made life very tense. Patrols were sent out into “no man’s land.” On one occasion two Royal Norfolk’s got captured. “Our side started shelling the position, the enemy scattered leaving the two Norfolk’s in the open, and both ran for our line. They were so lucky to get away.”  Many POW’s never made it back home.

 

(Propaganda pamphlets)   

The North Koreans used bugles, trumpeting to signal to each other which could be quite unnerving, during a major offensives John watched wave upon wave of the enemy mowed down by machine gun fire. “There was a lot of them, sometimes totally out numbering us. Some areas where taken. We were very lucky.” 

“We had seen many raids, it was difficult to tell who was North and South Koreans, but the Chinese, Russian and Mongolians where easy to recognise. Some drifted into our line by mistake as it was hard to map “no man’s land” for both sides. Sometimes wild animals would set the trip wires off.”

Many sad things happened. John remembers a shell landing on two Royal Norfolk recruits, it was their first day in the trench. They were both buried in the collapsed trench and killed.

John recalls as part of his job, he was asked to retrieve bodies and take them to the cemetery. They all had difficult jobs to do, and all took turns, whether to go out on patrol, or dig a trench. They all just got on with it.

John remembers his close school friend, Roy McDonald, he was in the same Battalion, but not in my company. Since leaving school they had often bumped into each other and even attended the same night school before National Service. Our parents played ‘Whist’ together. So they were pleased two Ipswich lads were in the same Regiment.

The word went out that Roy’s patrol had been hit. Spotted by the enemy they had mortared and bombed them heavily. Roy had been hit, shrapnel had hit him in the back killing him. It was hard to wrap my friend in a sheet and blanket, then carry him away to the cemetery. It was harder still to meet his mother Doris when I returned home, she repeatedly asked how he died.

(John worked closely with South Koreans, used as extra help during his building and construction work)

It was a worrying time for all at home. John’s mother had a no letter from John for a number of weeks, while leaving the house she bumped into the postman and told him how worried about him she was, he seemed puzzled at this as he remembered delivering several letters to her that week. Since losing the family pet during WW2 John had bought a pet dog for himself. “Prince” a Welsh Border collie which had been inseparable from him, going to work with him never really being apart for any time. Prince would be left alone at home and seem to have been picking out his letters and eating them, which had been a great relief to the family. Prince was then banned from the front hall.

After returning to England at the end of his National Service, John, living in more peaceful times, continued his carpentry career. Working on churches, schools, council houses and renovating his current home of 40+ years.

 

The Korean War was named the “Forgotten War” with ex-servicemen long campaigning for more recognition.

 

John became a member, and then later the Chairman of the Ipswich & District Korean War Association. He campaigned to have the Ipswich men who lost their lives in the Korean War commemorated on the war memorial at Christchurch Park. Roy McDonald’s mother, Doris also campaigned for her son to be recognised. She received letters of support and recognition from the South Korean Government. The Koreans offered to fly Doris to Korea, but sadly she was in too poor health. Doris never got to visit her son’s final place of rest. 

Classed as a “conflict” not a “war,” those who lost their lives were not allowed to be commemorated on the war memorial.  In August, 2007, 19 year old, Aaron McClure, an Ipswich soldier was killed in Afghanistan. Through public demand a “Post 1945” plaque was added to the Christchurch Park war memorial. The plaque commemorates lives lost during the Korean War, Cyprus, the Northern Ireland conflict, and the war in Afghanistan.

John has visited Korea four times and paid his respects to his friend Roy McDonald, and other British and Royal Norfolk Regiment comrades.

More than 90,000 Britons served in the Korean War.

With the loss of 1,078 men (4,502 casualties) the United States lost 37,000 men. China’s and North Korea’s military fatalities are numbered over 1.5 million. Civilian and military losses in South Korea also exceeded one million.

Posted in Post 1945 Wars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

ALLAN ARTHUR FREANE 1

ALFRED JAMES MURRELL 1

error: Content is protected !!