Belfast Telegraph

Historic day for NI Korean War veterans

Survivors see regimental flag paraded for final time

By Staff Reporter

Former soldiers from Northern Ireland who served in Korea have watched their association's standard carried for the last time.

The British Korean Veterans Association (Ireland) flag was yesterday "marched off" in front of the final muster of veterans who fought in the conflict more than 60 years ago.

At an emotional service in Belfast marking the 67th anniversary of the conflict on the peninsula involving UN forces and the Chinese, surviving veterans gathered from throughout Ireland and England to recall their service and remember lost colleagues.

Between 1950 and 1953 hundreds of soldiers from across Ireland served in Korea in a war that claimed more military lives than the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan combined.

Most served with the Royal Ulster Rifles (RUR), which lost 157 men, and the 8th Kings Royal Irish Hussars, which lost 10 tanks.

Others served with a number of British regiments as well as in Commonwealth and US uniforms.

Now, nearly 70 years later, at Clonaver Barracks in east Belfast, the final gathering took place for those Royal Ulster Rifles survivors who fought in battles such as Imjin River and Kayong - known ironically by veterans as the Battle of Happy Valley.

Among those taking leading roles in the service of remembrance were Captain Richard Singleton, who served alongside the RUR as a Lance Bombardier with the Royal Artillery; former RUR Sergeant Major William McConnell; Albert Morrow, a Lance Corporal with the RUR; Colonel Robin Charley, who was a Captain during the conflict; Simon (Fran) Gorman, who travelled from Kent to be with his former RUR colleagues, and Canon Bob Jennings from Wicklow who, as a Chaplain at the time, travelled throughout Korea with a Cross made from shell casings.

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