2018 marks the centenary of the end of the Great War, but it is also the 65th anniversary of the Korean conflict. Let’s take a moment to recall this often forgotten conflict and remember the British Servicemen who lost their lives.
There’s a little part of Scotland that hasn’t forgotten this war.
In the tranquil Witchcraig Woodland, between Linlithgow and Bathgate, you’ll find a historic Korean-style pagoda. Sitting between two grass mounds shaped like the Ying and Yang symbols on the Korean flag, this memorial stands as a tribute to fallen comrades from that almost forgotten bitter conflict.
Thrust on to the frontline
Some 100,000 British men and women, of whom around 10,000 were Scottish, served in the Korean War. The majority were young National Servicemen with just 16 weeks of training; in-experienced and ill-prepared for the extremes of temperature, hill battles and trench warfare against a ferocious well-drilled foe.
Ronnie’s memories of a bitter conflict
“My abiding memory is of the cold when we were on night patrols; the temperature could drop to minus 25 degrees Celsius,” remembers Ronnie.
The Korean War was one that neither side won, but both suffered heavy losses. When the Armistice was signed in July 1953, some two million people had lost their lives, mostly civilians. Of these fatalities, an estimated 1,100 were British Service personnel, including more than 200 Scots. These losses are marked at the memorial by an arboretum of native Scottish trees.
In 2018, Korean veterans like Ronnie will remember comrades who didn’t return home. Like those who made the greatest sacrifices in the First World War, we should never forget their bravery and honour.