ARSSER Wins Military History Award: Acceptance Speech Filmed on Battlefield


Book Reviewer

The below is pure self-publicity so feel free to delete. However, I have discovered that if one does not do this oneself nobody else will do it for you....

I was unable to attend the award night - I was in Seoul - so very special thanks to Pvt Sam Mercer, OBE a veteran of A Co, 1st Glosters, and a survivor of the battle for Castle Site (where he took part in the VC-winning action by Lt Philip Curtis), of the Glosters ' last stand on Hill 235 (where he was twice wounded), and of the North Korean POW camps (which he endured for two years), for picking up the award on my behalf.

Acceptance Speech (filmed on Imjin River Battlefield) is here:
YouTube - Imjin River Author Discusses Korean War Battle


Inaugural Military History Award Goes to Book on 'Forgotten War'
Richard Holmes, Veterans, Honour New Works on Korea , World War I

Aldershot Military Museum, 10th November - On the eve of Remembrance Day 2010, a book on Britain's bloodiest - but almost completely unknown - post-1945 battle won the inaugural Hampshire Libraries (Special Collections) Award for the Best Military Book of 2009.

A bold new reappraisal of the Battle of the Somme was runner up.

From a list of 60 titles, Andrew Salmon's To the Last Round: The Epic British Stand on the Imjin River, Korea, 1951 (Aurum) won first prize from a field of 60 key military titles, followed by William Philpott's Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme (Abacus).

Highly commended mentions went to Anthony Beevor's D-Day and the Battle for Normandy (Viking) and Andrew Roberts' The Storm of War ( Alan Lane )

”In a list of very strong military books, this is an excellent book, which well-deserves the winning award,” said renowned broadcaster and military historian Professor Richard Holmes, the patron of the award.

"The excellence of this book came to me as a complete surprise," said judging panel chair General Sir Christopher Wallace of To the Last Round. "The author addresses a subject about which most people, including myself, previously knew little; it was the judges' unanimous decision to award this book as the outright winner."

The award, sponsored by military publisher Osprey, was designed to highlight the three "armed services" collections - aviation, naval and military - in Hampshire Libraries. The military collection alone boasts 18, 000 titles.

The winning author, a Seoul-based reporter, sent an acceptance speech filmed on the Imjin battleground, where the 1951 British positions remain fortified to this day against the North Korean threat.

The author was represented at the event by Sam Mercer, a veteran of the Gloster battalion annihilated on the Imjin, and a survivor of the grim North Korean POW camps. A chance meeting with Mercer, who lost a leg and an eye in the fighting, provided Salmon with the inspiration for his book.

"This book should have been written many years ago,” said Mercer. “At last, Andrew Salmon has done us, the 29th Brigade, proud".

In April 1951, 29th Infantry Brigade, of which the Glosters were a part, faced off against China’s entire 63rd Army for three nights of battle, against 7-1 odds.

With this year marking the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, the prize held special significance for the author.

"I'd like to thank the award panel for recognizing an unknown author writing about a forgotten war," Salmon said. "Though Korea remains the biggest, bloodiest and most brutal conflict fought by British soldiers since World War II, it is almost completely unknown in the UK; I hope this award will bring veterans some long-overdue recognition."

More Britons fell fighting the Chinese "human wave" in Korea than have been killed in the Falklands, Iraq and Afghan conflicts combined, Salmon noted. Many veterans - some, still traumatized, sleep with their lights on to this day - are bitter at the lack of recognition the war receives in the UK.

Salmon and film makers Dan Gordon and Howard Reid are hoping to create a documentary on To the Last Round. The author is currently finalizing a prequel, Scorched Earth, Black Snow which covers Australian and British soldiers in Korea in 1950, the most dramatic - but most terrible -months of the war. It will be published by Aurum in early 2011.

Let me be the first to offer my congratulations then!
Well done, my congratulations.
Congratulations mate, well done.

Sounds like a stocking filler for my dad this Xmas.*

*Thats the excuse I give to my wife for buying the book to read myself.


Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Many congratulations Andy. From what I gather this is well deserved.

Note to all Arrsers - To the Last Round is reviewed on Arrse and can be found here

p.s. Don't forget to ask Arrse to review your next book Andy :)
Good on you Andy.

I think I called it first!

By far and away the read of the year. Well deserved.



Book Reviewer

Thanks to all for the kind words. Thanks also to all forum members who have answered a range of questions I had during research on the current book.


Say no more!


Don't worry mate, ARRSE willl be at the top of the review list. Expect a hardback copy sometime in April. Five Mushroom Heads on this forum is what every mil historian dreams of....this is the kind of forum where if you don't get it right, you WILL be called up on it.


Indeed you did.

A snippet for you from "Scorched Earth" re a certain "Stone Cold Killer" of your acquintance:
The sigs serge of 3RAR was sent forward with a tureen of coffee after D Co, 3 RAR had fought off a charge of North Koreans at around midnight at Chongju. Sergeant came to Len's trench. There was your man, on stag, and a mate with his head in his arms, apparently sleeping, on the lip of the trench. Sergeant passed Len a cup of coffee then asked, "Doesn't your mate want some too?" Len says, "No, I don't think so," grabbed his "mate" by the hair and lifted his head up. It was a dead Nork: Len had killed him, but couldnt' be bothered to chuck him out of the trench. Sigs serge thought our man a very unusual character: "He knew no fear." His CO's widow had a very interesting comment on him, which is not for public consumption.

BTW, Cameron Forbes has a new book out on the Aussies in Korea. Have you seen it?
Hi Andy

George Orwell was thinking of Len when he opined that we sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.

Typical South Australian. Nobody would be surprised to learn that he was born in Snowtown and was given a State funereal a couple of years back.

I haven’t just seen Cameron Forbes book, I have it, although I haven’t read it yet. It is sitting on the shelf with some pretty good company though!

When will scorched Earth be available?



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