First British memorial to Korean War veterans unveiled in London
Some 60 years after the Korean War (1950-1953) ended, a memorial has now been unveiled in London to remember the sacrifices of the British soldiers. The unveiling ceremony was held outside the Ministry of Defence in the Victoria Embankment Gardens near the Thames River, a venue open to the public.
The ceremony was attended by Minister Yun Byung-se of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Duke of Gloucester, Ambassador to the U.K. Lim Seong-nam, Michael Fallon, the U.K. Defence Secretary, as well as around 300 Korean War veterans.
During the Korean War, Britain dispatched a force of around 80,000, including more than 56,000 combat troops, the second largest number following that of the U.S. Until now, the U.K. was the only nation among the 16 other countries involved with the Korean War that did not have a public memorial.
Britain now has an obelisk that stands 5.8 meters, in front of which stands a bronze statue of a British soldier. The monument is engraved with a map and pictures of the landscape of the Korean Peninsula, as well as the national flags of Korea and Britain, and the British Korean Veterans Association’s (BKVA) flag. Parts of the foundation of the memorial used stones from Pocheon in Gyeonggi-do Province where fierce battles occurred during the war.
Minister Yun Byung-se delivered the congratulatory remarks on behalf of President Park Geun-hye. “This memorial is a symbol of the close friendship between Korea and Britain. Future generations will remember the dedication and sacrifices that the more than 56,000 British soldiers showed.”
The Duke of Gloucester also delivered a message from Queen Elizabeth, saying that the memorial in London pays tribute to the sacrifices of the war veterans and makes a promise that we will never forget them. She also agreed that it is a symbol of the close relationship between two countries.
A number of newspapers reported on the unveiling ceremony. The Telegraph reported in its article, “Britain’s Korean War veterans win their final fight,” that, “After years of campaigning, the veterans of Britain’s Forgotten War are to finally have a permanent memorial honoring their sacrifice.”
The Guardian published an article on December 3, “Korean war veterans say sacrifice finally honored as memorial is unveiled.” It said that, “The monument pays tribute to thousands killed, injured or imprisoned as the U.K. is the last nation involved to recognize its troops.”
By Lee Seung-ah
Photos courtesy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Korea.net Staff Writer