David Mundell has highlighted the bravery and distinction of Scottish veterans as he hosts a reception to remember their sacrifices, sixty years on from the signing of the Korean War Armistice.
Veterans and relatives of those who served in the Korean War joined Mr Mundell at the Scotland Office in Edinburgh together with a representative from the US Consulate and organisations including the Royal British Legion Scotland and the Korean War Veterans Association.
Thousands of troops from Scotland as part of a 100,000 British contingent joined a United Nations allied force after North Korean troops invaded South Korea in June 1950. This included soldiers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the Kings Own Scottish Borderers, the Black Watch, the Royal Scots, sailors who served off the Korean peninsula and pilots from the Royal Air Force who supported the allies throughout the campaign.
By July 1953 when the armistice was signed, over 1,000 British servicemen had lost their lives and some 1,060 had been taken prisoner by the North Korean forces.
Mr Mundell said:
“In the week leading up to Armed Forces day, it is important to pay tribute to the bravery and valour of our forces and take time to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“Sixty years on from the signing of the Armistice, this reception provides the opportunity to mark the efforts of the Scottish soldiers, sailors and airmen who stood together with our allies amongst the thousands of troops who served in Korea.
“The high regard in which our brave veterans are held in South Korea who today live freely in a democratic society is testament to what they have personally achieved. Closer to home, the hard work of organisations such as the Royal British Legion Scotland and the Korean War Veterans Association ensure that we never forget the courage of those who served with such distinction.”
Major General Mike Swindells, President of The British Korean Veterans Association said:
“As we approach the 60th anniversary of the Armistice, which ended the fighting in the Korean War, it is so very appropriate to look back and remember the sacrifices made by Scottish sailors, soldiers and airmen in the United Nations war fought in defence of freedom.
“All members of the Association are delighted that the Scottish Branches have succeeded in bringing to fruition the restoration of the Scottish Korean War memorial at that splendid hill top site above Bathgate. This serves as a permanent reminder of those who fought in what became known as ‘The Forgotten War’ but which we know as ‘A distant obligation, honourably discharged’
With events taking place across the UK, Armed Forces Day on Saturday 29 June provides an opportunity for the country to show its support and appreciation for the men and women of the Armed Forces, their families, reservists, veterans and cadets. Tomorrow the Secretary of State for Scotland will host a reception where he will formally present two Arctic Convoy veterans with Artic Star medals.
On 11 July, 500 British veterans of the Korean War will march from Horse Guards to Westminster Abbey to attend dedicated service of thanksgiving remembering those involved in the campaign.
Representatives of the British Korean Veterans Association will also attend a General Assembly of the International Federation of Korean War Veterans Associations in Seoul from 23 to 27 July 2013.