• Short Summary

    A Briton who until a few months ago was fighting with United States troops in South Vietnam, explained today (Thursday) how he had deserted while on leave in Britain - leave earned by volunteering for extra service.

    "The only way I could get out of the army," said 26-year-old Gordon Mepham," was to volunteer for six months' service.

  • Description


    Mepham talking (SOF)



    TRANSCRIPT



    MEPHAM: "Well, one is given a choice of either leaving the country or joining the army, or staying in the country and evading the draft and being sentenced to jail. Well, I didn't, there wasn't any means at the time to leave the country so I went into the army."



    REPORTER: "How long were you in Vietnam?"



    MEPHAM: "For a year. However I did extend for a further six months service there so that I could get a thirty day leave in England and in this way come over to England and desert."



    REPORTER: "Why desert ? Just desert from Vietnam or the American army?"



    MEPHAM: "Desert from both. Mainly from the American army because I feel very strongly against the Johnson administration, what they stand for, what they are doing in Vietnam...Well, there is a thing in Vietnam after you have done your year's tour over there you can extend for another six months service over there and they give you 30 day leave where you want to in the world so I extended, took a thirty day leave to England and once I got here I just left."



    REPORTER: "What is the position legally?"



    MEPHAM: "Legally the only way the American government can get me back is to apply to the British government for an extradition order and take me back to the States. But I believe there is enough pressure to keep the British government from doing this I don't think they will be so stupid.




    Initials



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A Briton who until a few months ago was fighting with United States troops in South Vietnam, explained today (Thursday) how he had deserted while on leave in Britain - leave earned by volunteering for extra service.

    "The only way I could get out of the army," said 26-year-old Gordon Mepham," was to volunteer for six months' service. This entitles a soldier to 30 days leave anywhere in the world, and the army pays the fares."
    Mr. Mepham said that he had chosen England because it was his home and that he did not intend going back to Vietnam. He knew of many other soldier who had deserted and come to England.

    Mr. Mepham said he had gone to the United States in 1963 and because he lived there for more than six months he become liable to call-up. He spent two years in the American army and was wounded twice in Vietnam while serving with the second battalion of the Seventh U.S. cavalry.

    A spokesman for the American embassy has said last night (Wednesday) that Mr. Mepham was not liable for arrest in Britain. "When he came back to England and decided he wanted to continue living as a British subject, the American military no longer had any control over him," he said.

    Mr. Mepham explained today how he came to be in the American army....

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAEKKTFGDHTAYOUZY2RBTO0DIRA
    Media URN:
    VLVAEKKTFGDHTAYOUZY2RBTO0DIRA
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    17/08/1967
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:01:42:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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