Imjin Buddy Bunker - Page Five


Entry #35 - 30 Apr 2001

Robert Doherty
Born 2 Oct 1929 in Scotland - Died 5 Dec 1998 in the USA

Served in Korea: From Apr 1951 to Aug 1952 in the 1st Battalion, King's Own Scottish Borderers, a unit in the 28 Commonwealth Infantry Brigade which was comprised of: 1st Bn, The King's Own Scottish Borderers, Apr 1951-Aug 1952; lst Bn, The King's Shropshire Light Infantry, May 1951-Sep 1952; 1st Bn, The Royal Fusiliers, Aug 1952-Aug 1953; and, 1st Bn, The Durham Light Infantry, Sep 1952-Sep 1953.

MK note: His story will start with excerpts from E-mails sent me by his son John, who lives in Marion, Ohio. John has sent some great photos which have been posted, along with more of Robert's story, on four pages beginning with High Road to Korea. The fascinating story about the engagements of the British Army in general and the KOSB in particular may be covered or linked to (anon) on other pages of the Bunker. MK.

The Story: My father was from Stirling, Scotland. I am looking for information on him and/or people who might have known him or about his service in Korea.

According to his discharge papers: he went in the British Army 12 Jul 1950 as an Argyll And Sutherland Highlander out of Fort George, Scotland; when he got to Korea he became KOSB; his rank was PTE; and, he was discharged 28 Dec 1952.

He told me that, when his unit left Scotland, it went to Kobe, Japan. From there, they went to Haramura, Japan, then flew into Kimpo Airport in Korea. From there, it went straight up to the front line even though he had been told that UN rules provided for them to be sent only near the front line for a couple of days to get used to the noises of gun fire and bombs.

He also said that he was on a hill called United (sp?). Hill 355 was to the left of it and 317 and 217 were close also. On 5 Nov 1951, he was in a battle called "Charlie Chinaman's Gun Powder Plot".

He moved to the USA on 30 May 1957. Sad to say, he passed away a couple of years ago. He did not talk much about Korea until close to his death. As you can tell, he told me some about Korea, but not a lot. I think it was something that he had to deal with by himself before he passed on.

Sherwin Arculis (#6) note: The KOSB participated in two major battles: Kowang-San (355) and Maryang-San (317) - both fought over terrain with which the guys in our bunker are more than familiar. I will try to ID the pictures later. Arc.

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Entry #36 - 1 May 2001

Richard Coate
Brooklyn Heights, New York

E-mail: Dick Coate

Served in Korea: Feb 1951 to 19 Jan 1952 in Co E, 15th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I am a native of Trenton, Ohio. Since 1954, I have lived in Brooklyn Heights, New York. I served as a rifleman Co E from Feb 1951 until 1 May 1951 when the CO transferred me to Co Hq to go into training as Company Clerk.  During the time I served as a rifleman, I saw considerable action prior to and after we crossed the Han River - including what historians refer to as "the epic battle of the Imjin River" in the spring of '51.  In my letter to Betty, my wife, I stated, "That week was historical in my mind."

Co E was in action on Hills 487 and 477, west of Chorwon [Operations Clean Up I & II, and Operation Commando] in mid to late Sep 1951 and when Operation Cleanup II fused into "Commando" on 3 Oct 1951. As Company Clerk, I was assigned to Battalion aid duty and to liason with my CO, Lt Hazeltine, on the hills. It was one week of hell because I also worked in conjunction with the medical staff in processing the wounded. The aid station was literally deluged with wounded and we worked around the clock.  It was my duty to identify the corpses of my fallen comrades, write up the casualty reports, and, upon occasion, write condolence letters to the parents of a young boy killed in action and later write up the recommendations for commendation.

We moved out of that area [west of Chorwon] on 18 Oct 1951 and went into reserve.  In mid-November, Co E went back into action - this time for the doings on Hill 355. Hill 355 was the last major action for Co E prior to my rotation home.

MK note: Richard Coate is the soldier in the famous "Soldiers Watch" photo. On 14 May 2001, that photo was featured in the "Photo of the Week" segment during the History Channel's broadcast of "This Week in History" and a faithful reproduction of the photo, of a rifleman in silhouette, is etched on the surface of the Rensselaer County Korean War Memorial which was dedicated (May 1996) in the city of Troy NY.

To view that photo and also a photo of Dick and Betty, his wife, taken at the memorial, and to read Dick's story about both photos, click on Soldier's Watch. That is the first of his photo pages and all of them have "the story that goes with it" added. MK.

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Entry #37 - 7 May 2001

Hank Edwards
E-mail: Hank Edwards

Served in Korea: Part of 1952 and 1953 in the 7th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: I spent some time on Outpost Kelly. Although my "old stories" never die - may they just ......"stay that way" - at least for now. Have enjoyed, though, reading the tales that come in.

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Entry #38 - 1 Jun 2001

Bill Ballinger
330 Elizabeth Street
Oshawa, Ontario L1J5S8

E-mail: Bill Ballinger
Phone: 905 725 9132
Charlie Chinamam's Gunpowder Plot    The KOSB in Korea

Served in Korea: Most of 1951 (from about April) and part of 1952 in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers.

The Story: I was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. We still had conscription in Scotland in 1950 and I was called up for the army that year at the age of seventeen.

My time spent in Korea was not the best experience in my life but it WAS an experience. I was lucky I came home alive.

I got out of the army in 1952 and emigrated to Canada in 1954.

My trade was a butcher and, for the last 20 years before retiring in 1997, I worked for the government of Ontario as a meat inspector.

The Best To You All,

MK note: Bill has sent me some photos and other "stuff" which I will post soon. Now I know what Robert Doherty (#35) meant when he mentioned "Charlie Chinaman's Gun Powder Plot" (a battle fought on and around Hill 317 and began in the evening of 4 Nov 1951) and now I realize how the "plot" got its name - by the Kosbies (as they are affectionately known in the British Isles) remembrance of another gunpowder plot which, in great Britain, is celebrated (each Nov 5) as "Guy Fawkes Day". To read Bill's account of that plot and a lot more of his story, complete with some great photos, just click on the link just given.

(16 Sep 2001) Ooops! I nearly forgot to tell you something. I have already posted seven of Bill's photos at Bill and His Mates. Today, I am posting Greetings Not From Home - a page with copies of some Chinese propaganda leaflets collected by Bill in his Korean travels. MK.

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Entry #39 - 16 Jun 2001

Marcel De Meester
Eikendreef 20
Wuustwezel, Begium 2990

E-mail: Marcel c/o Jan Dillen

Served in Korea: Jul 1951 to Dec 1952 in the B.U.N.C., Belgian Battalion.

The Story: I was at that time on a outpost of my regiment south of your outpost Nori on the other side of the river. I remember clearly the big picture of Nori which is linked to on your main page.

Take care,

PS: I do not have a computer, I send this via my friend Jan.

MK note: We are all glad to welcome the first Belgian Buddy to jump in the Bunker and hope that language problems (ours, not his) do not prevent our hearing more of his story. You can take a look at Corporal Key's Map to see where I showed his unit to be located while Marcel was there. His friend, who was in the same Battalion at a later time, is Jan Dillen. Jan Dillen has a great web site about the participation of Belgium in the Korean War and the "Battle of the Imjin". You can read all about it at Het Belgisch Bataljon in Korea 1950-1955 and take your choice between English, Dutch, or French text. MK.

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Entry #40 - 1 Jul 2001

George C. Twigger
561 Hemlock Drive
Greensburg, Pennslyvannia 15601

E-mail: George Twigger c/o his daughter

Served in Korea: Mar of 1952 to Jan 1953 in B Company, 15th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

The Story: Please feel free to e-mail me at my daughter's address. I would like to hear from anyone who served with me. If anyone has any information on Richard "Porky" Lomoya, please let me know. I was Platoon Sergeant when I left in 1953.

MK add-on: George was 1/4 of the two sets of brothers (the Twiggers and the Parrotts) who served together in B Company. Another 1/4 is, of course, Edwin A. Parrot (#32).

You may see (or, I hope, re-see) George Twigger on the page Ed's Gang or on the page A Parrott, a Twigger, and a Porky - the latter of which includes a photo of the Richard "Porky" Lomoya mentioned by George. MK.

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Entry #41 - 5 Jul 2001

Owen Reginald Kitchener

E-mail: Owen Kitchener

Phone (home): 44 01270 872895
URL: Reg Kitchener At War with The Royal Artillery

Served in Korea: October of 1950 to November 1951 in B Troop 70 Field Battery 45 Field Regiment R. A.  and C Troop 170 (IMJIN) Independent Mortar Battery R. A.

The Story: I served my units as a Sergeant Detachment Commander. Prior to that, I had served in France and Germany and the Far East during WWII and was in India during the troubles there leading up to the Country's Independence in August 1947.

So, arriving in Korea was an extension to my military career. That first winter was the worst weather experience I had ever suffered. We were very thankful to our U.S. comrades for their help.

After Korea, I went on to serve in many other parts of the Empire. As I look back over my 23 years of service, my Korea experience made the biggest impact on me - the horror of it will remain with me until I die. Reg.

MK note: After I received the above proposed entry, I sent Reg an email which described the area in which all the guys in our Bunker had served and asked him if his service had been on or near any of "our" hills. Then, he emailed me some more of the story and was immediately dragged into our Bunker. MK.

More of the Story: Guess what. I will now tell you a tale about Hill 355. When we captured the hill for the first time, in October 1951, C Troop was given the task of neutralizing the top of 355 with phosphorous and the King's Shropshire Light Infantry was to hit the top with machine gun fire. The trouble was 4.2 inch Mortar Bombs are base ejection smoke - not phosphorous. So, we were issued 3 inch Bombs with 4.2 inch bands around them. This meant that our range drums were not used. We used field clinometers, artillery instruments that measure angles. Consequently, we had to get in close to the hill. We moved up under cover of darkness and a heavy mist. Just before first light, we let it rip and the machine guns poured fire onto the top. Then, as daylight came and the mist cleared, there stood 355 in front of us. So, the 1st Bn King's Own Scottish Borderers moved in with the attack on the hill. There was a song going around at the time called "On Top of Old Smoky" - well, we changed the words and sang, "on top of old three-fifty-five, Troop C smoked out the Gook," So, you see that I was closer to your old bunkers than you thought. Our Troop was very closely involved in the capture of Hill 317 also, and there was another Hill, 217, that we took care of. Yes, I remember well KOWANG SAN Point 355. I saw first hand the taking of all its features. I am very pleased to be associated with you and your Buddies. Reg.

ORK add-on (6 Jul 2001): I would like to expand on my previous e-mail to you in respect to Operation Commando starting 3 October 1951. I remember looking up at Hill 355 - it was like a witches cauldron at the top as more and more white phosphorus bombs exploded. A Chinese wireless intercept (by our attached ROK signaler) said, "all my signalers and mortar men are dead ." I remember the 1st Bn King's Own Scottish Borderers going in with fixed bayonets led by a Piper. My Bombardier ( Corporal ) said to me, "Listen Sergeant, can you hear the Jock's Piper? I wonder what the Chinese thought of The Women From Hell ." Did you know that their CO carried a Shepherd's Crook? After the 1st KOSB settled in, a lone Piper would play Retreat at sunset every night. You could hear it echoing all over the hills, and it gave us a great feeling.

But, if you were to ask me what was the toughest hill to take, I would say Hill 317. Do you remember it was a pyramid in shape and a hands and knee job? Not only that -  I believe the Chinese had nineteen machine gun bunkers on it, and our job was to take them out. Yes, the 3rd RAR had a hard time. C Troop had to support the 1st KOSB and 3rd RAR with only two mortars to each of the Battalions. One evening the Australians called for a D.F. (SOS) strike (a pre-registered target). A Chinese Commando Company was attacking the Aussie position up a re-entrant we had registered earlier. We caught them out in the open and cut them down as with a scythe. Well, you know what mortars, evil killing machines, can do. The target was 1000 yards away and when I went forward with an Aussie Officer to see the damage, the scene was like a butchers shop. I tried to count the dead, 50, 60, 70, 80, maybe more. That was the damage we did with only two 4.2 inch Mortars.

Well, take care, keep your head down, and keep you powder dry. Reg.

MK add-ons: (6 Jul 2001) Yes, Reg, I DO remember how formidable 317 looked - especially when it was as I saw it, back in Chinese hands. I think that the 19 machine guns were back also. And, yes, I know what mortars can do. You can visit his web page, linked to above, to enjoy even more of his story. (15 Sep 2001) Reg has made an interesting add-on to a Chinese Photo Album page. He identifies the location of the most important hills in the Hill 317 to Hill 355 area. Read about it near the bottom of the page at Hill 317 Counterattack.

(18 Nov 2001) Reg just emailed me the web page named Scottish Menu. That page is a list of links to all of the Scottish armed units.

(15 Nov 2001) Be sure to visit all of Reg's photo pages. You may start with Reg Remembers. Don't quit after the first or second page because the third page is a real "keeper". MK.

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Entry #42 - 10 Jul 2001

John T. Burke
5019 Summit Drive
Phenix City, AL 36867

E-mail: John T. Burke

Served in Korea: Oct of 1951 to Jul 1952 in G Company, 15th Inf Rgt, 3rd Inf Div.

MK note: Most of what I now know about his story is told in the entry of Henry H. Burke (#32). About John, Henry's entry first says, " ... I enlisted in the Army on March 16, 1951 in my hometown of Burlington, NC. John Burke, President of the 15th Infantry Regiment Association, and I met on this day. He was from Franklinville, NC. We lived approximately 40 miles apart, but we were not related. We took Basic at Ft. Benning, GA in the 30th Infantry Regiment. We went to Korea to G Co, 15th Inf. Rgt about 10 October 1951."

Henry has told more of their story and you may read it by clicking on Burke. A reunion photo which includes both of the Burkes is posted on the page A Reunion, By George!. Maybe John will tell us more of his story later. Whether he does or not, we are proud to be joined in our bunker by the President of the 15th Infantry Regiment Association. MK.

The Story:

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Entry #43 - 23 Jul 2001

Johnny C. M. Johnston
deceased, formerly of Comrie, Crieff
Perthshire, UK

Served in Korea: 4 Nov 1951 to 12 Aug 1952 in the 1st Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers.

The Story (revised on 14 Sep 2001): At 14:30 hrs on 4 Nov 1951, I arrived at Bn A Echelon ( the Bn forward logistic sub-unit, usually placed 1 to 4 miles in rear of Bn HQ). At 16:30 hrs, there was a Chinese infantry attack on 3 forward Coys simultaneously. This battle was part of "Charlie Chinaman's Gunpowder Plot" which resulted in the final loss of Hill 317 to the Chinese.

Early in the morning of 6 Nov 1951, I took command of remnants of the 11 Pl of Coy D and, on 12 Nov 1951, we moved forward to a position on the south finger of the east ridge of Hill 355.

The next day, 23 Nov 2001, we moved into a "reserve" position but there was nothing and nobody between us and Chinese except distance! Then, on 18 Jan 1952, we moved back into a forward position, just slightly southwest of 355 and east of Samichon River.

On 22 Feb 1952, a Chinese probe on my Pl only caused us only one casualty - me, but I was not wounded too seriously and I stayed on the hill. Two others in 12 Pl had been wounded earlier in the day as the Chinese arty was ranged in on my Pl.

We moved into Bn reserve on Feb 28 1952 and then, on 26 Mar 1952, moved back to a coy forward position which adjoined (to the left) our old position slightly southwest of Hill 355 and east of the Samichon River. While there, there was a Chinese Bn attack aimed directly at our old position next door. What a display of fireworks! We had been warned of the attack and its start time. The KOSB casualties were two killed and two wounded - the Chinese casualties, 1000!

On 18 Apr 1952, my Pl went into the same reserve position we were at the previous November and, on 1 Jun 1952, I was transferred to Sp Coy (a heavy weapons company) in order to convert Battle Patrol to A/tk gunners. The Bn was told it would have no more front line duty; but, on 29 Jun 1952, the Bn was sent back to the front line and I was transferred back to D Coy as its Operations Officer under a "green" Company Commander.

On 10 Jul 1952, the Bn moved into reserve for last time. On 1 Aug 1952, the Bn left Division. Finally, on 12 Aug 1952, the Bn sailed from Pusan and was bound for Hong Kong.

MK late note (25 Sep 2002): It's sad to report that a second Bunker Buddy has been lost to us after joining us in the IBB. After my mail to Johnny had been returned unread for several months, I asked Frank Pearson (#45), whom I  knew to have been a "Kosbie" buddy of Johnny in Korea, to make an enquiry. Frank then emailed me as follows:

Hi Merv, I have today received confirmation that J. J. passed away June 11, 2002, at his home in Comrie, Perthshire. Johnny and I had not met since those far off days in Korea and, even then, our meetings were of a limited nature due to the disposition of our companies. The battle of 26 March 1952 that he mentioned was indeed the last conflict that I was to take part in. Shortly after that,  we moved into reserve. After a while, we went back forward, but to a quiet area, and then it was home-time for me. From information I've received from the Regimental Depot, he certainly went on to make a name for himself. The full title given him in the records is: Lt. Col. J. C. McQ. "Johnny" Johnston. The person in charge of the records informs me that an obituary to J. J. will be in the next issue of the "Borderers Chronicle," a yearly book. Well, Merv, it's another sad loss to our Buddy Bunker, but still a day that we all will one day arrive at, though pray it's some way off. Over to you, Merv, keep up the more than good work, Frank.

Thanks for bearing the sad news, Frank. MK.

MK add-on (18 Feb 2003): Frank has emailed me a 1952 photo of Johnny and some of his mates and a copy of Johnny's obituary, both of which appeared in the 2002 edition of the "Borderer's Chronicle" (as mentioned above by Frank). Please visit Flower of Scotland - a page which is meant to serve as the Bunker's remembrance of and tribute to Johnny. MK.

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Entry #44 - 11 Aug 2001

Ron Cashman
23 Smallwood Avenue
Homebush, Australia 2140

Phone: 02 97465404
R Cashman
URL: Korean War Australian Album

Served in Korea: Sep 1951 to Sep 1953 in 6 Platoon, B Company, Third Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment.

The Story: For two years, I traveled most of the IBB territory and never got as far back as Company Headquarters. Any Bunker Buddy who goes to the Korean War Australian Album (our Australian mob's site) and, from there, goes to and reads the yarn entitled "Ham Sandwich" will be amused. What I called "The Ham" is a small hill in the Outpost Nori photo. "The Ham" is right smack in the bend of the river and, today, is overlooked by Observation Post Typhoon which was our old hill. I have been back there twice in the last three years (memories).

More "Ham" (16 Aug 2001): Looking at the Outpost Nori photo, I recognize Ham as the long and low feature in the bend of the river {known later to the 1/15/3 as "Outpost Nori"}. The waterhole at the bottom right is where I threw a 36 grenade and caught no fish. Slightly to the left of it and in a re-entrant, were the remains of a (smallish) burnt-out village {gone by the time the 1/15/3 got there}. The first portion of the ridge was where both a minefield and graveyard were located {also gone by the time the 1/15/3 got there} and where my yarn about the mortar outfit, as told on the "Ham Sandwich" page, took place. Further along was the mid-section {"Little Nori" to the 1/15/3} of which we of 6 platoon were the unhappy tenants, and "Charlie's insurance". Just a smidgeon further forward again was the main Chinese feature {"Big Nori" to the 1/15/3}. It has a bloody great NK propaganda sign on it now. That was also where the plane came down.

MK add-on: Click here on Ham Sandwich for a shortcut to the Ham tale Ron speaks of above. On the main page of the Aussie site, you will find links to three more of Ron's tales. I found his tale about the RAR on the page Little Gibraltar to be also of interest; and, he has directed me to his page with great photos of himself and his mates on Hill 355 (Little Gibraltar). MK.

MK late add-on (15 Aug 2001): WOW!!! Ron is also furnishing the photos which are now being posted in the Chinese Photo Album - a must see part of the Bunker. MK.

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Entry #45 - 1 Sep 2001

Frank Pearson
deceased, formerly of
Dalton in Furness, Cumbria

Phone (home): 01229 463597
Frank Pearson

Served in Korea: 23 Apr 1951 to 8 Aug 1952 in Company A, 1st Battalion of the King's Own Scottish Borderers.

MK late note (23 Oct 2001): Frank's entry was made by Tom "Jonesy" Jones, a friend to the Buddy Bunker, before Frank got online. Click on Jonesy to send him an email. Now you can contact Frank (by email) without going through Jonesy. MK.

Tom Jones note:
Frank is not on the internet but he does take a great deal of interest in all stories connected with the places where he served in Korea; so, I am making his entry into the IBB for him and (via email) relaying his story, as told to me in his letters, on to Merv. Anyone who wants to message Frank may email me and I shall pass the words along to him via carrier pigeon.

Frank is the father of my sister in law and, yes, my name IS Tom Jones - you can forget the wisecracks 'cause I've heard 'em all before (more than twice). Anyway, it's on my Birth Certificate. Mother wouldn't lie, would she?

I did not serve in Korea. I was too young and missed that war. My first conflict took place in the jungles of Malaya four years later - after which came Cyprus, Jordan, Kenya, Aden et al ... THE MIND BOGGLES!

The Story: Originally, Frank was in the 1st Bn of The Royal Scots, but was posted to 1st  Bn of the KOSB enroute to Hong Kong in June of 1949.

The Battalion sailed for Korea and landed at Inchon April 23rd 1951. From there, they made a hasty trip to a place called KAPYONG to relieve the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders who, along with the 1st Middlesex Regt, 2nd Bn Princess Pats (Canooks) and 3rd Bn Royal Australian Rifles, were engaged in combat with the Chinese and North Koreans. This battle coincided with the Battle of the Imjin River (Glosters) and did not receive as much publicity.

As a result of that engagement and the collapse of the 6th Division of the South Korean forces on their left flank, the KOSB retreated and  reformed in a new defensive position. A few days later, probably in mid-May, the KOSB moved forward to recapture ground lost and to stabilize the Front Line. This was the first time the Battalion had gone on the offensive - all objectives were taken and it was in these engagements that the Bn suffered its first casualties.

From that locality they moved west to the Imjin area, north of Seoul, to a place called UIJONGBU, being the area held and lost by the Glosters. The Bn remained there until 3 Oct 1951 and then attacked and took Hill 355 the next day.

About two miles north of Hill 355 were Hill 217 and Hill 237. Those hills and the area between them was the objective of the Aussies. All of the engagements were successful, but Frank's Bn had seven men killed and thirty-four wounded.

After that battle, the KOSB relieved the Aussies and took up their positions along a front facing W to N and being about one and three quarter miles in width and, in places, only 300 yards from the enemy. This ground included Hill 217, Hill 237, and the bigger Hill 317 between them.

On the night of 4/5 Nov 1951, shelling started and the KOSB was attacked and overrun by about 6000 Chinese troops. The casualties of that battle were 7 killed, 97 wounded, and 44 missing.

During the tour of duty by the KOSB in Korea, 23 Apr 1951 to 8 Nov 1952, the KOSB casualty list stood at: 66 killed and 227 wounded, two of whom afterwards died from their wounds. Decorations awarded were: 1VC, 5 DSOs, 5 MCs, 4 DCMs, 12 MMs, and 24 Mentions in Dispatches. Jonesy.

MK add-on (26 Sep 2004): Frank, before he left us only five days ago, made friends with many others in our bunker. I am proud to count myself as having been one of those lucky ones. Jonesy and Reg Kitchener (#41) have helped me to make the page A Frank Pearson Remembrance. You will be glad that you have made a visit to that page and learn more of the kind of man that Frank was. Merv.

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