Terence Edward Waters was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire on 1 June 1929. After leaving Bristol Grammar School, where he held the rank of Sergeant in the School’s Cadet Force, Waters was accepted into the Royal Military College Sandhurst in 1948 and the following year commissioned Second Lieutenant into the West Yorkshire Regiment. During the Korean War, he was captured and imprisoned in the foul conditions of the Kangdong Caves where he died having refused to accept medical treatment, better food, and other amenities in exchange for his participation in propaganda on behalf of the North Korean Communists.
At the Imjin, between April 22-25 1951, Waters’ A Company withstood the brunt of repeated frenzied attacks by a large force of Chinese troops, suffering severe casualties including the deaths of all its officers with the exception of Waters who, although wounded in the leg,
skillfully assumed command of the Company at this critical period. Badly wounded in the head later in the battle, he was recommended for a Military Cross for his ‘splendid example of coolness and gallantry’ by 1 Glosters Commanding Officer J. R. ‘Fred’ Carne V.C. D.S.O.; the award was later revised to an M.I.D. solely on account of his death in captivity - posthumous M.C.s were not permitted.
Captured subsequent to the Battle, Waters endured a march of immense hardship followed by imprisonment in the dark and partially flooded tunnels near Pyongyang known as the ‘Caves’ where numbers died daily from wounds, sickness, and malnutrition. Eventually, as the only officer with the British party, he ordered his men to save themselves by pretending to accede to subversion at a Peace Camp while, although in rags, starving, and badly wounded, steadfastly refusing to do so himself. He died a short time later.
Christopher Mellor-Hill, Head of Client Liaison (Associate Director) of Dix, Noonan, Webb, commented: “This has to be one of the most heroic George Cross’s awarded for bravery and stands out for being awarded to a hero of The Battle of Imjin River who having died as a POW in the notorious North Korean ‘Caves’ during the Korean War was denied a further gallantry award but who sacrificed his life in defying the North Korean propaganda command by staying with his fellow POW’s, exemplifying all those high traditions of British leadership with courage.”
As the final paragraph from Waters’ original George Cross recommendation stated but was later omitted from the London Gazette citation: “He was a young, inexperienced officer, comparatively recently commissioned from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Yet he set an example of the highest gallantry that may be asked of any Briton: he sacrificed his life rather than dishonour his nation. Surely his death, chosen so selflessly and so courageously at Pyongyang, must stand with the finest epics of personal courage in the history of British prowess.”
While Tim Carew writes in his book Korea: The Commonwealth at War: “Among Gloucesters who fought in this battle, it was universally agreed that ‘A’ Company had the roughest handling of all: the company commander, Major Pat Angier, had been killed, as had VC winner Lieutenant Phil Curtis and Second Lieutenant John Maycock; Lieutenant Terry Waters, severely wounded in the head, was only prevented from going back to his platoon by the physical interventions of Captain Bob Hickley the Medical Officer.”
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Dix Noonan Webb – a brief history
In 1991, its first year of trading, the company held three medal auctions and sold 1,200 lots for a total hammer price of £553,000. Two years later it opened a coin department which also auctions commemorative medals and tokens and in 2015 DNW added jewellery to its sales calendar. In 2018, it set up a standalone banknotes department and expanded into premises next door. In the same year, DNW achieved a total hammer price of £11,676,580 and the total number of lots across all departments was 20,273. To date the company has sold in excess of 300,000 lots totalling £155 million.
For further press information and images please contact:
Rachel Aked - Tel: 07790732448/ Email: Rachel@rachelaked.co.uk