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Army snub for Korean war vets.

Byline: GERRI PEEV Political correspondent

MIDLAND veterans of the 'Glorious Glosters' have been snubbed by the Government on the eve of the 50th anniversary of their greatest battle.

Britain's armed forces have been BANNED from attending a ceremony to mark the anniversary of the Korean War - because the Ministry of Defence can't afford it.

The Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Charles Guthrie has revealed 'that because of worldwide commitments, Britain's forces cannot be spared to attend'.

And he admits that even if they could, defence chiefs could not afford to send them.

The decision is certain to outrage veterans of the Korean War which broke out 50 years ago this year.

The rejection of a proposal for a Guard of Honour of serving personnel from the navy, army and Royal Air Force to attend the commemorations in Korea was revealed in a letter from Sir Charles.

Major General Robin Grist of the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Regiment was stunned to hear the 'Glorious Glosters' would not have serving personnel commemorating the Battle of Imjin.

In April 1951, the 1st Battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment, with recruits drawn from across the Midlands, made their heroic stand at the Imjin River.

Outnumbered 20-to-1, they held off the Chinese army in a ferocious engagement. At the end of the battle, only a handful of the battalion escaped either death or captivity but it was estimated that as many as 10,000 Chinese were killed in the action.

Hailed by their American allies for their heroism, 'The Glorious Glosters' captured the imagination of the world and commanding officer Colonel James Carne was awarded the VC.

But in a letter to General Grist, Sir Charles said: 'Not only are our people heavily committed to operational theatres but funding simply cannot be made available for large-scale representation at commemorative events.

Strict rules

'There are strict rules about how the defence budget may be spent and we must abide by those rules.'

General Grist said he was increasingly concerned that there are no plans for members of today's Armed Services to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War.

In a letter to Stroud MP David Drew, he said: 'I believe this is wrong. It may lead to substantial and justified criticism next year as people are reminded of the fierceness of fighting, the courage that was shown and the sacrifices made.'

General Grist said he had asked for the small number of 30 representatives so 'at least today's armed services would be seen to be paying a tribute to the veterans'.

Were YOU one of the 'Glorious Glosters' at Imjin? Write to Korean War, Sunday Mercury, Colmore Circus, Birmingham B4 6AZ or send e-mails to SundayMercury@mrn.co.uk
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Dec 31, 2000
Words:455
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