Death of war hero Derek

Derek Kinne
Derek Kinne
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A washing machine salesman from Burmantofts who in the 1950s volunteered to fight in the Korean War to avenge the death of his brother, has died aged 86.

Derek Kinne was awarded the George Cross for bravery under torture by Chinese Communist forces.

At one point during his 28 months of captivity, he was beaten by a guard commander with the butt of a submachine gun – which went off and killed the guard. As “punishment”, Mr Kinne was thrown into a dark, rat-infested hole.

He had gone to Korea with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers because he had made a pact with his brothers, Raymond and Valentine. In 1947, they were said to have bought three rings at a jeweller’s shop in Leeds, which they had inscribed Kinne I, II and III.

They made a solemn pact that if one of them was killed in action, another brother would take his place.

Raymond’s death came in Korea, in October 1950 and as soon as the news came through, Derek – who had been working at a hotel and running a business which rented out single-tub Hoover washers by the hour – presented himself at Leeds Recruitment Office.

The following February, he sailed for Korea with Raymond’s regiment, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and set off to find his brother’s grave.

The Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, wrote to their widowed mother, Vera, to say: “You must be proud of your boys.”

Mr Kinne, who emigrated to the US in the late 1950s, wrote an autobiography, The Wooden Boxes, in which he described the guard’s accidental shooting. “I was beaten until I longed for death,” he wrote.


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