Remember these heroes

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I believe it is appropriate to remember the heroic actions in Korea 1951 at about this time, especially as we witness our politicians currently kowtowing to the Chinese to the detriment of our steel industry.

If we cast our minds back all those years, we find ourselves with the British UN Brigade on the Imijin River facing the massive onslaught of the Chinese People’s Army that wanted to sweep the UN forces into the sea and out of Korea.

We, however, as Brits usually do, have other ideas and we stood our ground unlike our current leaders and fought them against enormous odds.

The Brigade consisted of the Gloustershire Regiment, Northumberland Fusiliers, Royal Ulster Rifles and elements of 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars along with a Belgian Battalion.

The position held overnight and a retreat was ordered the following day. Space does not allow the required detail of the battle but I had the pleasure and honour to meet a soldier from Middlesbrough who fought this battle with the Northumberland Fusiliers and lived to tell the tale that so many did not.

According to a memorandum presented to the British cabinet on June 26, 1951, 29th Brigade suffered 1,091 casualties, including 34 officers and 808 other ranks missing. These casualties represented 20 to 25% of the brigade’s strength on the eve of battle.

Of the 1,091 soldiers killed, wounded or missing, 620 were from the Gloucestershire Regiment, which could muster 217 men on April 27.

Based on estimates, Chinese casualties in the Battle of the Imjin River can be put at around 10,000.

As a result of the casualties suffered during the battle, the Chinese 63rd Army, which had begun the offensive with three divisions and about 27,000 men, had lost over a third of its strength and was pulled out of the front line.

“Lest We Forget”

Major Chris

Gallacher TD VR