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When The Vietnam War Came to Mathew Street, Liverpool.

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.

John Shell ont he right with the Hideaways, onstage in The Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool.

John Shell on the right with the Hideaways, onstage in The Cavern Club, Mathew Street, Liverpool.

His name was John Shell, and he had joint British and American nationality, and felt the call to arms during the Vietnam War.

John Shell in uniform in Vietnam.

John Shell in uniform in Vietnam.

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.

A Viet Cong squad lie in wait with a rocket launcher during the Vietnam War

A Viet Cong squad lie in wait with a rocket launcher during the Vietnam War

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.

A Viet Cong attack on a US target during the Vietnam War.

A Viet Cong attack on a US target during the Vietnam War.

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.

Where John Shell died that night - outside the wire of the Phu Loi US base.

Where John Shell died – outside the wire of the Phu Loi US base.

He must have felt a very long way from The Cavern and Mathew Street when he died that night.

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He must have felt a very long way from Mathew Street.

Clubgoers hang around outside the Cavern entrance.

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/

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 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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1 Comment

  1. Angel Cake

    that’s really sad but good that you have written something to highlight the fact that he lived and breathed so that he is remembered.

    Reply

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