Korean War Legacy Project

Denis John Earp


Denis John Earp always knew that he wanted to fly and this led him to apply for the very competitive enlistment process under the South African Air Force. He went through a very intense training program before going to Korea, a place about which he had never heard. He successfully flew many missions in the P-51 Mustang aircraft before being shot down and captured. Denis John Earp was considered a “reactionary” because he would refuse to cooperate with interrogations in both the North Korean and Chinese camps where he was imprisoned for 23 months. He is very proud of his service in the war and was able to revisit Korea in the 1986 where he received a lot of appreciation from the people he met.

Video Clips

Always Wanted to Fly

Denis John Earp always knew that he wanted to fly, but that the only way to afford learning would be to go through the military. He describes the competitive selection process. He also explains the courses and exams that he had to take over the course of two years.

Tags: Basic training

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The Moment of Capture

Denis John Earp explains the moment when he was captured. He shares that up to that point, he had never been hit. He recalls that his plane was hit three times. He describes the emergency procedures he took as his plane lost height.

Tags: Chinese,Fear,North Koreans,POW

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"Lenient Policy"

Upon being taken as a Prisoner of War, Denis John Earp was interrogated by Chinese soldiers. Knowing his rights under the Geneva Convention, he refused to answer some questions. However, he was quickly informed by the Chinese about their “lenient policy” and soon was placed in a scary situation that was meant to get him to change his mind.

Tags: Chinese,Communists,Fear,Living conditions,POW

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Always Being Watched

Denis John Earp explains what it was like being transferred to a Chinese Camp from the North Korean Camp known as “Park’s Palace.” He explains that they were constantly watched and there were daily propaganda lectures. He recalls the unfortunate circumstances that occurred in the winter months for those who were injured.

Tags: Chinese,Communists,Living conditions,North Koreans,POW

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Park's Palace

Denis John Earp describes the conditions at Park’s Palace, a Prisoner of War camp in North Korea. He describes a cruel game that they would play for the guards’ entertainment. He also explains the interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, that were used to get information.

Tags: Chinese,Communists,Fear,Living conditions,POW

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