The service at Gloucester Cathedral Sunday 25th April 2021. By Paul Nicholls Western Daily Press
Three Korean War veterans were among the dignitaries at a service at Gloucester Cathedral yesterday to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Imjin River.
In Korea in April 1951, the 1st Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment fought a desperate action against overwhelming numbers of Chinese attackers until it was overrun and the survivors were marched into prison camps. It remains the bloodiest single battle that British soldiers have fought in since the end of World War II.
About 400 'Glorious Glosters' held out for three nights against an estimated 10,000 Chinese troops at Hill 235. Their heroism allowed the United Nations' forces to regroup and prevent the Chinese from capturing the South Korean capital Seoul.
Yesterday veterans Brian Hamblett, Joe Collett and Tommy Clough attended the private service in the Memorial Chapel to commemorate the lives of their comrades.
During the Battle of Imjin River 59 soldiers of the Gloucestershire Regiment were killed in action. A further 522 soldiers became prisoners of war.
war. Of those taken prisoner, 180 were wounded and a further 34 died while in captivity.
There is a window in the Memorial Chapel that marks the bravery of the Glorious Glosters.
The Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester, led the service, which was also attended by senior UK military figures, plus the defence and air attaches from the South Korean embassy.
A larger gathering is due to take place at the cathedral in September, once coronavirus restrictions have eased. Services have also taken place in Korea this weekend.
Hill 235 was renamed Gloucester Hill and there is a memorial to the brave West soldiers there.
Bishop Rachel also yesterday blessed three replicas of a cross carved by Glosters' CO, Lt Colonel James Power Came, while in captivity. The replicas were carved by the cathedral's stonemason - one will be put on display at the cathedral, one at the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum and one will be sent to Paju in Korea.