When The Vietnam War Came to Mathew Street, Liverpool.
American troops under attack in Vietnam
While I was doing some historical research for Bombed Out! I came across the sad tale of a former bass player in a Beatles-era band called The Hideaways, who regularly played at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, which was also located on Mathew Street, where Eric’s club was located a few years later.
His name was John Shell, and he had joint British and American nationality, and felt the call to arms during the Vietnam War.
So he abandoned his bass and his band and went to the US for military training and then to Vietnam, where he was put in one of the most dangerous places at the most dangerous time for a new recruit to be located.
Unfortunately he was killed in action (by “friendly fire” no less) within three months of arriving, when the Viet Cong began their massive attacks during the Tet Offensive in 1968.
He died outside the wire of Phu Loi, a US base (shown below) during the mayhem and confusion of a night-time firefight with mass attacks of Viet Cong threatening the defences.
He must have felt a very long way from The Cavern and Mathew Street when he died that night.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
I have written a detailed account, with lots of contemporary photos, and an eyewitness account of the incident when John Shell was killed, here: http://peteralanlloyd.com/general-news/beatles-era-bass-player-from-liverpool-killed-during-the-vietnam-war/