Korean War anniversary marked by parade and service
- 11 July 2013
- From the section UK
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."
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.
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.