Korean War Legacy Project

Henry MacGillicuddy


Henry MacGillicuddy was born in South Africa, joined the Air Force in 1947, and became an airplane mechanic. He went to Korea near the end of the war and enjoyed working as an airplane mechanic for the 2 Squadron. He shares he stayed on what was mainly an American base which had plenty of ice cream and some Korean children working there. After returning from Korea, he married, had three sons, and remained in the Air Force until 1985. He returned to Seoul in 1980 and was amazed at the transformation of Seoul from 1952 and described it as “magnificent”. He expresses another return trip to Korea would be great, but he shares he does not think he will be able to make the trip.

Video Clips

First Impressions of Korea

Henry MacGillicuddy talks about arriving in Korea and describing Seoul as flat because it was devastated. He recalls that it looked like the farmers did just enough to stay alive.

Tags: Seoul,Food,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Physical destruction,Poverty

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Staying On The American Base

Henry MacGillicuddy speaks about what it was like staying on the American base. He shares his favorite food was turkey, and he remembers ice cream being served at every lunch and dinner. He remembers many Korean children worked on the base, cleaning and doing other jobs. He recalls writing home frequently.

Tags: Civilians,Food,Letters,Living conditions,South Koreans

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A Visit Back to Magnificent Seoul

Henry MacGillicuddy describes going back to Seoul by invitation and being amazed and surprised at the transformation of Seoul from 1953 to 1980. He calls Seoul magnificent. He recounts seeing the South African monument and the DMZ.

Tags: Seoul,Impressions of Korea,Living conditions,Modern Korea,Physical destruction,South Koreans

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