Korea group, Glos. R., taken Prisoner of War at the Imjin River, Mentioned in Despatches, as an escaped prisoner and an actively obstructive prisoner being sent to the infamous Son-Yi penal establishment
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SKU: A8377 Category: Modern Groups
1939/45 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star Defence Medal, War Medal, Korea ( M.I.D. oak leaf), Cpl. Glosters.), U.N. Korea.
Corpl. C.A. Bailey, Gloucester Regt.
M.I.D. London Gazette 13/4/1954:
‘In recognition of gallant and distinguished services whilst Prisoners of War in Korea.’
Mounted as worn, with card boxes of issue for the two Korean awards; together with the recipient’s riband bar and United States of America Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.
Charles Andrew Bailey b. 1919 and enlisted September 1939, being posted to North Africa in July 1943. He served in France, his obituary saying he took part in the D-Day landings. He was discharged to the Reserve in June 1946. Recalled to service in September 1950, he joined the 1st Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, and as a Corporal in the Anti Tank Platoon, he took part in the Battle of Imjin River.
The Battle of Imjin started on Sunday 22 April 1951 when wave after wave of Chinese infantry attacked the Gloster Battalion position. In the course of a three-day battle, the main thrust of the Chinese 63rd Army was directed against the Gloster’s position and it is estimated that the Chinese suffered over 7000 casualties. After 60 hours of intense hand-to-hand fighting the Battalion was gradually forced back onto Hill 235, later known as Gloster Hill. Air resupply parachutes fell into enemy hands and the attempt at rescue by an armoured column led by the 8th Hussars failed. When the ammunition state was only three rounds per man, the Commanding Officer, Colonel J. P. Carne D.S.O., gave the order- ‘Break Out. Move independently. Make your own way back to the Allied Lines’. Of the Anti-Tank Platoon, only Captain Bartlett escaped, the rest being killed or captured, Corporal Bailey being one of the latter.
During his captivity, Bailey was not a co-operative prisoner, making good his skills as a watchmaker to help in the making of compasses for escape attempts. According his obituary to ‘Back Badge’, under the title ‘Hero who pointed escapers in the right direction’:
‘Chinese soldiers found compasses on several British soldiers recaptured after escaping from Northern Korea’s prison camp No.1. The Chinese could not discover the source of the supply until a British Private cracked and told them. As punishment Corporal Bailey was send to a “reactionary” camp. Corporal Bailey also made a clock for the camp from meat tins and six inch nails.’
Corporal Bailey himself managed to escape with Corporal Matthews, the two finally being recaptured after two days on the run. Both men were placed in a civilian prison and beaten by Chinese guards, Bailey retaliating by trying to strangle a guard, the result of which was an even heavier beating. At the time of their release from hard labour on 1 December 1951, Bailey and Matthews held the record for the longest escape ‘break’ from the P.O.W. camp. Both men then ended up at the infamous Son-Yi penal establishment for recalcitrant and uncooperative prisoners of War. Released from captivity in August 1953 and finally discharged from the Army on the 27 January 1954, Corporal Bailey was awarded a M.I.D. and Corporal Matthews the B.E.M. for the gallant service as prisoners of War.
Corporal Matthews later wrote a book on his experiences, ‘No Rice for Rebels: The Story of Lance Corporal R. F. Matthews, B.E.M.’, in which Charles Bailey is mentioned a great many times.
Sold with original newspapers cuttings relating to Bailey’s service in the Second World War and Korea, his obituary, military passes &c.; a sketch believed to be of the recipient; and various copied research.
Corporal Matthews’ B.E.M. group appeared in the market in September 2006.
A suberb Gloucesters group
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