Memorial to Britain’s role in the Korean War unveiled in London

Written by: Warwick Morris  |  Posted on: December 8th, 2014

A new memorial, a gift from the Republic of Korea to honour British troops who served in Korea between 1950 and 1953, was unveiled and dedicated in a ceremony on 3 December in Victoria Embankment gardens, next to the MOD.

Memorial to the Korean War Unveiled in London

The project has involved the Korean Ministry of Patriots’ and Veterans’ Affairs, the ROK Embassy in London, the BKVA, The Lady R Foundation, and the British authorities. Donations also came from several Korean and British companies, and from the British Korean Society.

Over 500 invited guests, including some 320 British veterans, watched HRH The Duke of Gloucester, on behalf of HM The Queen, lead a moving ceremony of commemoration along with the ROK’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Yun Byung-se, on behalf of HE President Park Geun-hye, who had herself led the ground-breaking during her State Visit one year previously.

Others taking part on 3 December were Defence Secretary the Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, ROK Ambassador HE Mr Sungnam Lim, who played a major role in bringing the project to fruition, British Ambassador HE Mr Scott Wightman, and FCO Minister of State the Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP. The Dowager Viscountess Rothermere, a strong supporter of the project, was also present, along with many high-ranking British and ROK officials. The BKS was represented by Executive Chairman Warwick Morris and former Chairman Sir Stephen Brown.

The Defence Secretary said: ‘ We must never allow the notion of a ‘forgotten war’ to take hold…The Korean War was the first ever UN action against aggression, and so has enormous international significance. We will never forget the sacrifices made by our soldiers – losing their lives, sustaining injuries or becoming prisoners of war.

FCO Minister Hugo Swire said: ‘ It is absolutely right that veterans of the Korean War now, finally, have a permanent memorial in our capital city….Fittingly, on the day on which we unveil the memorial, we are taking the bilateral relationship to a new level with the first-ever ministerial UK-ROK Strategic Dialogue, hosted by the Foreign Secretary.

The striking Memorial is in the form of a bronze statue of a British soldier by sculptor Phillip Jackson, standing in front of an inscribed and carved obelisk of Portland stone on a base of Welsh slate. The architect was Tony Dyson and the sculptor Harry Gray.

National Anthems were played by the Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers, and a trumpeter sounded the Last Post, followed by One Minute’s Silence and Reveille.

After the ceremony, for which the rain held off, veterans and other guests mingled in the tea tent, exchanging stories and memories, and a long queue for photos formed in front of the much-admired Memorial. ITN News and other media outlets covered the event, including interviews with several veterans.

All images supplied under MOD News Licence

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