Sunday 29 April 2012

A Trip To Korea

Dad was still only 16yrs of age when the Korean War began on June 25th 1950. It was still raging after he'd turned 18yrs and as such he was eligible to be drafted to serve in the British Armed Forces. Call-up came the following year and he spent his 19th birthday on the ship sailing to the Far East. Dad survived this awful time and came home a much older man, both in years and outlook.
Last year he became aware of an offer by the Seoul Government for ex-servicemen and women to attend Memorial Services in South Korea as a gesture to thank them for their time there. Each former service person can take their spouse or friend/child and the relatives of people who lost their lives in the war are invited too. The Seoul Govt pays about 50% of the air fares and covers the cost of the 6 night stay(5 star hotel, no less) as well as transport around the country to various important sites. This is the organisation to approach if you are interested in taking up this offer

 There were over 200 people in Dad and Mum's group from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and they were treated like royalty. Most were humbled by the high value placed on their service by the charming people of South Korea who are now prospering as opposed to the troubles in North Korea under the communist regime.

Here we have a taste of Mum's photographs, Dad looking very chipper and dignified(he isn't always lol)

Highlights were a 7 course dinner at the British Embassy, travelling on the this train to Busan in the south of the beautiful country to attend the ANZAC Dawn Service(Mum said "It was pouring, the water and mud were up to my ankles, it must have been like being in the trenches!(She travelled home in her slippers as she couldn;t get her shoes dry!!), the wonderful care given to them by the young students who accompanied them on trips and took such pleasure in their task, the waving crowds as the buses went through busy towns with their Korean War Veterans banners on the sides and just the genuine gratitude expressed by every single Korean they met during the week.

Here is a link to an article written by the UK correspondent who travelled with the Veterans...her story begins 12 minutes into the recording, it is very moving and very accurately tells the story of the trip to Busan....

Thank you for coming here to read my blog, as stated my main aim is to preserve our family's stories for my grandchildren.
Have a wonderful week,
Love from Sue

Added April 24th 2020
I found this on Wikipedia, it's their account of the King's Regiment(Liverpool) in Korea

"The battalion was ordered to Korea in June 1952. By then, the Korean War had entered a period of stalemate, with trench warfare prevailing.[163] At Liverpool, the King's embarked aboard the troopship Devonshire for Hong Kong, where it underwent training before landing at Pusan, Korea, in September. Replacing the 1st Royal Norfolk Regiment in the 29th Infantry Brigade, 1st Commonwealth Division,[164] the 1st King's took up defensive positions on moving to the frontline, about 45 miles (72 km) from Seoul.[165]
While much of the battalion's time at the front proved uneventful, its night patrols often clashed with Chinese troops.[165] In 1953, the battalion withdrew to reserve for three months. A tactically important feature known as "The Hook", a crescent shaped ridge, was the scene of intense fighting between Commonwealth forces and the Chinese in May. On the night of 20 May, Chinese forces commenced a sustained bombardment of the Hook, defended by the Duke of Wellington's Regiment. Two days later, a company from the King's conducted a nighttime diversionary raid on Chinese positions known as "Pheasant". During the raid, Second-Lieutenant Caws' 5 Platoon, intended to execute the actual attack, inadvertently stumbled upon an uncharted minefield, suffering 10 wounded from a strength of 16.[166] The attack had to be abandoned, forcing the company to withdraw with its wounded back to British lines under the protection of artillery.[167]
A Kingsman cleaning his .30 cal Browning machine gun in a trench, 2 December 1952.
The King's moved to the right sector of the Hook on 27 May, excepting "D" Company's 10 Platoon and "B" Company (as reserve), which became attached to the Dukes. At 1953 hours, on 28 May, the battle began when a heavy artillery barrage targeted the Dukes' positions.[166] Within minutes, the first of four successive Chinese waves attacked. Two King's platoons had to be moved forward to reinforce the Point 121 position, which soon after came under attack by two infantry companies. After the attack was repulsed with the assistance of Commonwealth artillery, the Chinese directed their attention to the King's on Point 146. As their troops assembled at Pheasant at around 2305, 1st King's Lieutenant-Colonel A.J. Snodgrass called in artillery, Centurion tank, and machine-gun fire that effectively destroyed the battalion-sized formation.[168] Fighting continued until the British cleared the remaining troops from the Hook at approximately 0330. British casualties numbered 149, including 28 killed, while Chinese losses were estimated to be 250 killed and 800 wounded.[169]
The 1st King's left Korea for Hong Kong in October, by which time the battalion had suffered 28 dead and 200 wounded. Of some 1,500 men that served with the King's in Korea, 350 were regular soldiers, the rest being conscripts on national service.[166] The King's moved to Britain in 1955, were posted to West Germany the following year, and made its final return home in May 1958.[146]


  1. What a great trip for your Mum and Dad Sue and how well organised.

  2. As a Korean, I would like to thank his service to our country and his sacrifice during korean war!

  3. Hi Sue. Just read your story must have been great for your Mum and Dad. I am a post armistice korean veteran 1956/57 and would love to go back so i'll be getting in touch with somebody to see if it applies to lads like.

  4. Hallo there, click on the link in the second paragraph and you will get all the answers. There were UK and Australia, Canadian and young US ex-service people there....the young gent called Gardner was in the US Navy and he qualified somehow.
    Good luck

    1. Hi Sue, Just to let you know that the revisit does not apply to me at this time,i wonder if you know anything about the two chaps with your dad in the last photo are they BKVA members as they are not wearing their medals.

    2. Hi again...just emailed Dad to ask him