Some people know just what they want to do when they grow up, outlining and following the steps they need to achieve their goal. Such was the case with Donald Large.
As a small child, he got his first taste of what military service would be like. British troops who were headed out to serve in France and Germany began training by his house.
He was enthralled with watching these men get ready to fight Hitler. That’s all it took to make him decide he needed to join the military.
Even as a boy the eventual 6 foot 6 inch, 240- pound man, had a stalwart frame. His size alone made going into the military an easy choice, plus he went hunting often with his father, so he knew how to use a gun.
He joined the Army Cadets, a more militarized British version of the Boy Scouts. He enlisted in the actual army at 15. He went on to complete his training and served in Britain. Due to his size he was given the nickname, “Lofty.”
But hanging around Britain wasn’t good enough for Large. He wanted to fight in. He volunteered to go to Korea and served with the Gloucestershire Regiment.
In Korea, he fought in the Battle of Imjin. His unit even had a hill named after them, Gloster Hill. During the battle Large was wounded by gunfire and shrapnel. He was taken prisoner, and endured a 10-day walk to a prisoner of war camp.
He stayed in the prisoner of war camp until a prisoner exchanged allowed him to go home. During his time at the POW camp, he lost 80 pounds and had two years’ worth of muscle atrophy.
The army offered him a medical discharge, but he did not take it. Over the next four years, he spent time becoming healthy again and putting on weight and muscle.
Once he was cleared by doctors, he put in for the Special Air Service Selection. The selection process was known as one of the hardest processes to go through in the world.
Despite his former injuries and scar tissue, he made it through the selection process. . However, he crashed his motorcycle and crushed his ankle.
He had to try the SAS selection process again. Four weeks later, still injured, he went through it again and passed. He retired in 1973 and passed away in 2006.