Thanks to John for this week’s challenge. His post is available HERE. MB also recommends a look at Tina’s great TRAVELS & TRIFLES blog post HERE. MB’s tongue is always hanging out when he views Tina’s travel posts & pics!
MB returns to Korea and the DMZ for this week’s challenge, the location of a recent MB trip with daughter MB2.
When MB & MB2 visited the Imjingak Park at the De-militarised Zone (DMZ) between north and South Korea their eyes and interest were grabbed by the sight of a rusty old steam engine, long long past its sell-by date. The engine was bullet-riddled. Very. If one was to take the time count the bullet holes, the hole-count would come to 1,200, more or less.
The train is a relic of war days from back in the 1950s, and today it’s a tourist attraction with an interesting story for the tour guides to tell.
The train driver was a Japanese-born Korean gentleman called Mr Han Joon-ki who had earlier survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki before moving to Korea in late 1945. What a life this guy had! A few years later he found himself running supplies to the South Korean/UN troops engaged in the war with the North.
From the War History Online blog site (where followers can read the full story):
His last run across the North Korean border occurred on the night of December 31, 1950. He was on his way back to Munsan, from the North Korean city of Hampo.
Because he was unable to find a place to turn around at Hampo, Han was running his locomotive in reverse. His train had halted at Jangdan station, a currently non-existent stop located in what is now known as Korea’s DMZ.
Stepping down from the train along with two of his crew members to find out why they had been stopped, Han saw over 20 US soldiers, geared up with guns and ready to fire.
“They just started shooting the train,” he said. “There was nothing I could do. They could have always moved the train to another place. I really don’t understand why they had to do that.”
As Mr Han soon discovered, the Americans were fearful that the advancing North Koreans might capture the train, so they ‘decommissioned’ it on the spot!