Korean War anniversary marked by parade and service

About 300 veterans marched to Westminster Abbey

Related Stories

The 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War has been marked in London with a parade and thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey.

The events remembered the 1,000 or so comrades who were killed and some 1,060 who were taken prisoner during the war.

About 300 veterans of the 1950-1953 war marched to the service from Horse Guards Parade.

Although an armistice was signed on 27 July 1953, the two Koreas remain technically at war.

The 15-minute parade began at 10:45 BST, ahead of the service at noon.

The veterans, who were led by the Royal Artillery Band, were joined at Westminster Abbey by the Duke of Gloucester, Defence Minister Mark Francois and senior military representatives.

The last post was sounded and a silence observed before wreaths were laid at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior in the abbey.

Mr Francois said the Korean War "remains an international conflict in which Britain played a significant role and one that should never be forgotten".

In a reading, he said: "Today is about commemorating an important campaign, which saw more than 1,000 men lose their lives to provide freedom for Korea.

"I am very happy to be here with so many veterans to remember what at times was a very bloody conflict."

Commemoration day

A message of thanks from the president of the Republic of Korea for the "invaluable sacrifices" made by the British servicemen was read out by the country's UK ambassador, Sungnam Lim.

The president of the British Korean Veterans Association, Major General Mike Swindells, also gave an address.

Korea veterans outside Westminster Abbey Some of the veterans will also attend events in Korea later this month

The Republic of Korea, now also known as South Korea, was invaded by the North Korean People's Army on 25 June 1950.

Some 100,000 British troops served on the Korean peninsula, many of them National Servicemen, as part of a United Nations force.

Troops from the US, Canada, Australia, India and many other UN member states also took part during the conflict.

When the UN troops advanced into North Korea and closed in on the Chinese border, aiming to unify Korea under a pro-Western government, communist China joined the war against the allies.

Almost all of those serving with the 1st Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment - now part of The Rifles - were killed or taken prisoner in April 1951 during the Battle of the River Imjin fought against Chinese troops.

Other events to mark the anniversary include a Korean War Commemoration Day at the National Memorial Arboretum on 27 July.

Representatives of the British Korean Veterans Association are also due to attend a General Assembly of the International Federation of Korean War Veterans Associations in Seoul between 23 and 27 July.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Three santa hatsChristmas again

    The town where it's celebrated three times a year


  • Anastasia Romanovna KrandievskayaShips in the night

    The Russian beauty who rebuffed a British writer as chaos loomed


  • The house where Hitler was bornHouse of Hitler

    Vacant birthplace of Nazi leader gives Austria a headache


  • Uber app and Taxi rankUber wars

    Battles over cheap taxis and other big ideas from 2014


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Relax in a hammockTime to retire?

    With enough dedication, you could say goodbye to your full-time job years sooner than you think

Programmes

  • Stephen Sackur with Status Quo's Francis RossiHARDtalk Watch

    Watch extracts of some of Stephen Sackur's best interviews from 2014

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.