Personal info

  • Name: James Power CARNE
  • D.O.B: 11th Apr, 1906
  • D.O.A: 22nd Apr, 1951
  • D.O.D: 19th Apr, 1986
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant Colonel, 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment, 29th Brigade
  • Book: The Complete History - Volume 3
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Sources & Acknowledgements

The Korean War

25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953

Korea had been annexed by Japan in 1910. After the defeat of Japan in the Second World War, the Russians assumed control of Korea north of the 38th Parallel and the Americans the area south of it. In 1948 separate governments were established in the two regions, a communist regime under Kim Il-Sung in the north and a pro-western one under Syngman Rhee in the south. Both wished to take over the other. On 25 June 1950 the northern republic, with the approval of the Russians, invaded the south. Communist forces captured the southern capital Seoul and occupied most of the country. The United Nations, from which Russia had absented itself, had authorized resistance to the North Korean invasion. By September UN forces were penned into the extreme south-east corner of the Korean peninsula around Pusan. On 15 September American troops landed at Inch’on south-west of Seoul and the capital was soon recaptured. The following day the breakout from the Pusan perimeter began. British troops were involved in the advance north-west of Taegu.


 On the night 22nd-23rd April, 1951, Lieutenant-Colonel Carne’s battalion, 1 Glosters, was heavily attacked and the enemy on the Imjin River were repulsed, having suffered heavy casualties. On 23rd, 24th and 25th April, 1951, the Battalion was heavily and incessantly engaged by vastly superior numbers of enemy who repeatedly launched mass attacks, but were stopped at close quarters. During the 24th and 25th April, 1951, the Battalion was completely cut off from the rest of the Brigade, but remained a fighting entity, in face of almost continual onslaughts from an enemy who were determined at all costs and regardless of casualties, to over-run it. Throughout, Lieutenant-Colonel Carne’s manner remained coolness itself, and on the wireless, the only communication he still had with Brigade, he repeatedly assured the Brigade Commander that all was well with his Battalion, that they could hold on and that everyone was in good heart. Throughout the entire engagement Lieutenant-Colonel Carne, showing a complete disregard for his own safety, moved among the whole Battalion under very heavy mortar and machine gun fire, inspiring the utmost confidence and the will to resist, amongst his troops. On two separate occasions, armed with a rifle and grenades he personally led assault parties which drove back the enemy and saved important situations. Lieutenant-Colonel Carne’s example of courage, coolness and leadership was felt not only in his own Battalion, but throughout the whole Brigade. He fully realised that his flanks had been turned, but he also knew that the abandonment of his position would clear the way for the enemy to make a major breakthrough and this would have endangered the Corps. When at last it was apparent that his Battalion would not be relieved and on orders from higher authority, he organised his Battalion into small, officer-led parties, who then broke out, whilst he himself in charge of a small party fought his way out but was captured within 24 hours. Lieutenant-Colonel Carne showed powers of leadership which can seldom have been surpassed in the history of our Army. He inspired his officers and men to fight beyond the normal limits of human endurance, in spite of overwhelming odds and ever increasing casualties, shortage of ammunition and of water. 

(Supplement to The London Gazette of 23 October 1953. 27 October 1953, Numb. 39994, p. 5693)

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