Korean Eyewitness Testimony to the Bombing

Gong Du-Up (83 years old in 1995). Present at Dokdo on 6/8/48.

Gong Do-up
Gong Do-up

Mr. Gong was interviewed in 1995 by an Ulleungdo and Dokdo advocacy group. He related the following information in his interview: Some days before June 8, 1948, he was drying brown seaweed on the beach near Mulgol on Suh-do (the west islet), when an airplane flew by and shot randomly at the ocean nearby, killing scores of seagulls. He guessed they were 'fighter-bombers', as the gun muzzles appeared on the main wings of the plane. He quickly returned to nearby Ullung Island with his two collegues, Ahn Changsoo and Choi Yangguk (both now deceased). The men felt that their lives had been in danger, and reported the incident to Lee Jong-O, the police chief. After a few days, they were told not to worry and to continue working, and they set out again to gather seaweed at Dokdo.

A map of Dokdo
Dokdo-comprised of islets Suhdo and Dongo. The bombers flew across the islets from the Northwest to the Southeast on their bomb-run.
Mr. Gong remembers the time of the raid to be between 10 o´clock and 11 o´clock in the morning. He remembers 32 boats at sea near the islets. Most of them were from Kangwon Province and one had rice and liquor to trade for the brown seaweed that was being collected. According to Mr. Gong's testimony, all of the boats that were working near the west islet (Suh-do) were destroyed in the bombing. Some fishermen were waving the Korean ´Taeguk´ flag at the aircraft to stop the attack. Some boats attempted to make an escape, but were unsuccessful. The only boats that survived were a boat from Kangwon Province and Mr. Gong's boat, but both were damaged and unseaworthy.

After returning home, Mr. Gong protested to police chief Lee Jong-O, but the police could not give any explanation. Mr. Gong reported that he did not receive any compensation for his losses and he does not know if any was received by the families of the dead. Until now, the number of fishermen who died are known to be 30, but according to Mr. Gong, the work on many of the boats required 5 to 8 people to be on board. In his estimation, about 150 to 320 people must have been killed.

Jang Haksang (83 years old in 1995). Present at Dokdo on 6/8/1948.
Jang Haksang
Jang Haksang
Jang Hanksang was interviewed in the summer of 1995 by an Ulleungdo and Dokdo advocacy group. Mr. Jang stated that he was the owner of a ship at the time. He was gathering brown seaweed near Dongdo at the time of the raid. The raid began near a pebble beach named Mulgol on the West Islet and continued across to the East Islet. After the planes were heard near Ullung Island, two formations of 12 bombers were seen above Dokdo. Mr. Jang had anchored at the East Islet to process and dry the brown seaweed he had collected. The raid came from 600 meters (2,000 feet) above. He was too terrified at the sight of people being hurt and and boats sinking to remember how long the attack lasted. After the attack, he tried to return to Ullung Island in his boat (a 15 ton wooden boat), but it was impossible to sail. With him, he had a man with a serious gash in his side, another with shattered teeth and an ankle blown off by shrapnel, a man named Lee Sangjoo, and Gong Do-up.
A large wooden boat came by in the evening. Those who could move, boarded the vessel, while the two men who were seriously injured had to be left on the sinking boat. After returning to Ullung Island, Mr. Jang was hospitalised for a month. He remembers several Americans came to ask how he was, but he received no compensation for his losses. Like Mr. Gong, Mr. Jang remembers that it took about 5 to 8 people per vessel to operate a powerboat at the time. He believed that about 80 vessels of all sizes were sunk that day at Dokdo.

Chung Sangyeol (76 years old in 2005).  Present at Dokdo on 6/8/48.
Chung Sangyeol
Chung Sangyeol being interviewed for the Korean television network, MBC.
Chung Sangyeol was 19 years old at the time of the bombing, and was present at Dokdo on June 8, 1948 when the bombing occurred.   Mr. Chung was interviewed by journalists from the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation in June 2005.   In this interview, Mr. Chung stated that he was at Suhdo (West Islet) when the bombing started, and had sheltered himself from the bombing underneath a rock formation.   Like Mr. Jang and Mr. Gong, he asserted that the island was subjected to both bombing and strafing.

Kim Chansoo, son of Kim Taehyun, a man killed in the bombing.

Kim Chansoo
Kim Chansoo
As Mr. Kim was only 3 years old at the time, he remembers what adults had said about the day his father died. He said that on the day of the attack, (at about 11 o'clock in the morning) airplanes flew to Dokdo. Ullung Island residents saw flashes of explosions in the direction of Dokdo and became frightened. He is not sure because he was so young at the time, but the US military did provide some compensation. However, it was all used in raising the memorial monument and the families did not receive any of it.

Site Contents:

Liancourt Rocks Bombing Range 1947-1953

The June 1948 Bombing of Dokdo

LINKS to My Other Sites, Research, and Pages of Interest

The Territorial Dispute over Dokdo