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Derek Godfrey KINNE, GC (Living Recipient)

No. & Rank at the Time of Action: 22105517, Fusilier

Unit/Occupation: 1st Battalion, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.

Date and Place of Birth: 11th January 1930, Leeds?

Family:

Early Life:

Date and Place of GC Action: 25th April 1951 - 10th August 1953, POW Camp, Korea

The London Gazette: The award of the George Cross was published on p. 2205 of The London Gazette, No. 40146 dated the 13th April 1954

Citation: "The QUEEN has been graciously pleased to approve the undermentioned awards of the GEORGE CROSS, in recognition of gallant and distinguished services whilst prisoners of war in Korea :-

GEORGE CROSS

22105517 Fusilier Derek Godfrey KINNE,

The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.

In August, 1950, Fusilier KINNE volunteered for service in Korea. He joined the 1st Battalion, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, and was captured by Chinese Communist forces on the 25th April, 1951, the last day of the Imjin River battle. From then on he had only two objects in mind ; firstly to escape, and secondly by his contempt for his captors and their behaviour, and his utter disregard for the treatment meted out to him, to raise the morale of his fellow-prisoners. The treatment which he received during his period of captivity is summarised in the succeeding paragraphs.

Fusilier KINNE escaped for the first time within 24 hours of capture but was retaken a few days later while attempting to regain our own lines. Eventually he rejoined a large group of prisoners being marched North to prison camps, and despite the hardships of this march, which lasted a month, rapidly emerged as a man of outstanding Ieadership and very high morale. His conduct was a fine example to all his fellow-prisoners.

In July, 1952, Fusilier KINNE, who was by now well known to his captors, was accused by them of being non-co-operative and was brutally interrogated about the other P.W. who had unco-operative views. As a result of his refusal to inform on his comrades, and for striking back at a Chinese officer who assaulted him, he was twice severely beaten up and tied up for periods of 12 and 24 hours, being made to stand on tip-toe with a running noose round his neck which would throttle him if he attempted to relax in any way.

He escaped on 27th July but was recaptured two days later. He was again beaten up very severely, and placed in handcuffs (which could be and frequently were tightened so as to restrict circulation), from which he was not released until 16th October, 1952. a period of 81 days.

He was accused of insincerity, a hostile attitude towards the Chinese, "sabotage" of compulsory political study, escape, and of being reactionary. From the 15th to the 20th August he was confined in a very small box cell, where he was made to sit to attention all day, being periodically beaten, prodded with bayonets, kicked and spat upon by the guards, and denied any washing facilities. On 20th August, 1952, he was made to stand to attention for seven hours and when he complained was beaten by the Chinese guard commander with the butt of a submachine gun, which eventually went off and killed the guard commander. For this Fusilier KINNE was beaten senseless with belts and bayonets, stripped of his clothes, and thrown into a dank rat-infested hole until the 19th September. He was frequently taken out and beaten, including once (on 16th September), with pieces of planking until he was unconscious.

On the 16th October Fusilier K!NNE was tried by a Chinese military court for escape and for being a reactionary and hostile to the Chinese, and was sentenced to twelve months solitary confinement. This was increased to eighteen months when he complained at his trial of denial of medical attention, including that for a severe double hernia which he had sustained in June, 1952. while training to escape.

On the 5th December, 1952, he was transferred to a special penal company. His last award of solitary confinement was on the 2nd June, 1953, when he was sentenced for defying Chinese orders and wearing a rosette in celebration of Coronation Day.

He was eventually exchanged at Panmunjon on the 10th August, 1953. As late as the 8th and 9th August he was threatened with non-repatriation for demanding an interview with the International Red Cross Representatives who were visiting Prisoner of War camps.

Fusilier KINNE was during the course of his periods of solitary confinement kept in no less than seven different places of imprisonment, including a security police gaol, under conditions of the most extreme degradation and increasing brutality. Every possible method both physical and mental was employed by his captors to break his spirit, a task which proved utterly beyond their powers. Latterly he must have been fully aware that every time he flaunted his captors and showed openly his detestation of themselves and their methods he was risking his life. He was in fact several times threatened with death or non-repatriation. Nevertheless he was always determined to show that he was prepared neither to be intimidated nor cowed by brutal treatment at the hands of a barbarous enemy.

His powers of resistance and his determination to oppose and fight the enemy to the maximum were beyond praise. His example was an inspiration to all ranks who came into contact with him."

Account of Deed:

Remarks: The GC was presented to Fusilier Derek Kinne on the 6th July 1954 at Buckingham Palace.

Derek and his three brothers Raymond and Valentine made a pact in 1950 at their home in Beckett Street, Leeds. Each wore a ring inscribed Kinne I, II and III. If Ray was to die, Derek would take his place, if Derek died Valentine would take his place. Derek had been demobbed for three months when Raymond, was killed in Korea while serving with the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders in 1950. When Derek was captured Valentine broke the pact for mum's sake. She did not want to lose a third son.

Additional Information: Fusilier Kinne escaped for the first time within twenty-four hours of his capture but was recaptured a few days later. Eventually he was included amongst a large group of prisoners being marched north. Despite the hardships of this march, which lasted a month, Derek Kinne rapidly emerged as a man of out- standing leadership and great courage. His conduct was a fine example to all his fellow-prisoners. In July 1952, Fusilier Kinne, who was by now well known to his captors as a very 'awkward cuss', was brutally interrogated and asked to give the names of others who had 'uncooperative views'. This he refused to do and when a Chinese officer hit him, Kinne hit him back much harder. For this he was subjected to every form of torture - about which the Chinese knew quite a lot. He escaped on 27th July, but was recaptured two days later. He was beaten up again very severely and kept handcuffed in solitary confinement for a period of eighty-one days. Then for five days he was confined in a very small box cell, where he was made to sit at attention all day, being periodically beaten, prodded by bayonets, kicked and spat at.

On 20th August 1952, Kinne was made to stand to attention for seven hours and then beaten by the Chinese guard commander with the butt of a sub-machine-gun, which went off and killed the guard commander. For this Fusilier Kinne was beaten senseless with belts and bayonets, stripped of all his clothes and thrown into a dark rat-infested hole until 19 September. He was frequently taken out and beaten into unconsciousness. On 16th October Kinne was tried by a Chinese military court and sentenced to twelve months solitary confinement which was later increased to eighteen months. His last award of solitary confinement was on 2nd June 1953, when he was sentenced for defying Chinese orders and wearing a rosette in celebration of Coronation Day. He was eventually exchanged on 10th August 1953.

Over this long period Kinne was kept in solitary confinement in no less than seven different places of imprisonment, including a Korean security police gaol under conditions of the most extreme degradation and increasing brutality. Every possible method, both physical and mental, was employed by his captors to break his spirit, a task which proved utterly beyond their powers. He was always determined to show that he would not be intimidated or cowed by brutal treatment at the hands of a barbarous enemy. His powers of resistance and his determination to oppose and fight the enemy to the maximum were beyond praise. His example was an inspiration to all ranks who came into contact with him.

After returning home and demob again, he set up a business hiring out washing machines. On the 5th May he was presented with an illuminated copy of the City Council's resolution of appreciation and a silver salver in Leeds Council Chamber. Lord Mayor of Leeds, Alderman D G Cowling said "I wish to convey to this young man our great admiration and provide a lasting memo of the thanks and appreciation of his fellow citizens. by his conduct he inspired his fellow prisoners and, I believe almost succeeded in converting his captor to a more rational way of life". In his reply he said: "I am grateful to receive it, I shall cherish it for always".

Derek Kinne today has a business of his own in Arizona, USA. He is an enthusiastic supporter of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association and, in 1966, saved up to pay his air flight to Ottawa, where the Canadian contingent of VCs and GCs brought him over to London with them in their plane. Tall, dark and gaunt, Kinne suffers from repeated hernia trouble as a result of all the brutalities and ill-treatment that were inflicted upon him; but his spirit burns like a flame and for him, tomorrow is just another day which he hopes to survive, and which he will certainly live to the full.

Extract: (The Times, 14th April, 1954)

The award of the George Cross to an officer and a fusilier , and of a George Medal to another officer, for gallant conduct in the face of great hardships while prisoners of war in Korea was announced in a supplement to the London Gazette last night. One of the officers died in captivity.

The citation in the case of Fusilier Derek Godfrey KINNE, The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, who lives at Leeds, states that he volunteered for service in Korea in August 1950, and was captured on the last day of the Imjin River battle in April, 1951. He escaped within 24 hours of his capture, but was retaken while attempting a few days later to regain his lines.

SECOND ESCAPE

He escaped a second time on July 27, 1951 and was recaptured two days later. Before that he had been beaten and tied up for periods of 12 to 24 hours, being made to stand on tiptoe with a running noose round his neck which would throttle him if he attempted to relax. These punishments were inflicted because he refused to inform on his comrades and for striking back at a Chinese officer who assaulted him.

On being brought back to the prison camp he was again beaten up and placed in handcuffs, which were tightened to restrict circulation. This lasted 81 days. For five days he was confined in a small box cell, where he was made to sit at attention all day. Periodically he was beaten, prodded with bayonets, kicked, and spat upon. He was also denied washing facilities.

On August 20, 1952, Fusilier Kinne was made to stand at attention for seven hours. When he complained, he was beaten by the Chinese guard commander with the butt of a submachine gun. This went off and killed the guard commander. Fusilier Kinne was then beaten senseless with belts and bayonets, stripped of his clothes, and thrown into a hole infested with rats, where he remained until September 19. On one occasion he was beaten with pieces of planking until he was unconscious.

CORONATION ROSETTE

On October 16, 1952, he was tried by a Chinese military court for escape, being reactionary and hostile to the Chinese, and was sentenced to 12 months solitary confinement. This was increased to 18 months because he had complained of not being given medical attention. In the previous June he had sustained a double hernia while training to escape.

His last award of solitary confinement was on Coronation Day when he was sentenced for defying Chinese orders by wearing a rosette to celebrate the day. Eventually he was exchanged at Panmunjom in August, 1953. On the day before his release he was threatened with non-repatriation for demanding an interview with International Red Cross representatives who were visiting the camps.

The citation adds that Fusilier Kinne must have known that every time he flaunted his captors he was risking his life. His powers of resistance and his determination to oppose and fight the enemy to the maximum were beyond all praise. His example was an inspiration to all ranks who came into contact with him.

Final Rank:

Other Decorations/Medals: Korea Medal, United Nations medal with clasp 'Korea', 1977 Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal & 2002 Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal

GC Location/Sale History: GC and medal group is in the Leeds City Museum.

Date and Place of Death:

Cause of Death:

Burial Cremation:

Obituary:

Memorials:

Town/County Connections: Leeds, Yorkshire

Books/References: 4, 7, 40

Illustrations: Portraits (3)