Reforming 1st Glosters in Korea.
The following article has been submitted by Major General RD Grist CB OBE .
70 years ago, on 5th May 1951, my father, who had not been captured at Imjin and had taken over command of 1st Glosters, sent a signal to the Duke of Gloucester, the Regiment’s Colonel in Chief stating “we are operational again”.
During the four days of the Battle of Imjin only 69 all ranks escaped the battle area, 58 men had been killed, 42 evacuated wounded and 530 were prisoners of war. When those who had been in A and B Echelons, and therefore not involved in the fighting, and those ‘left out of battle’ on leave in Japan were added the effective strength of the Battalion was 14 officers and 220 men. My father, recognising that he needed to move fast to reform the Battalion, sent trucks to Kimpo airport where British reinforcements were arriving from Japan. His instructions to the NCOs with the trucks were to meet every plane and put any new arrival who looked lost on to a Gloster truck and drive him to the Battalion base where he got a hot meal. As the last thing in the world the reinforcements, who had expected to be fighting by nightfall, were anticipating was to be fed it was then easy to persuade them to be Glosters. Within ten days the Battalion had sufficient strength to be given the task of guarding the bridges over the Han River; 1st Glosters were operational again.