Old soldiers who fought in Korean campaign to march on despite setback

From left, John Parker, Denis Talbot and Dennis Cragg

From left, John Parker, Denis Talbot and Dennis Cragg

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , City Hall Reporter

A group of war veterans are determined to carry on meeting up even though their association has been disbanded.

The British Korean Veterans’ Association has folded because of dwindling numbers, but West Yorkshire’s branch will live on as a social club.

The West Yorkshire branch of the association was formed in 1982 as a way of bringing veterans together for remembrance events and social occasions.

Although the branch had 90 members at its height, the passage of time has seen numbers decrease as veterans died or became unwell.

Now the association is calling it a day across the country, but around 38 members locally have agreed to continue in the form of a new West Yorkshire Korean Veterans’ Social Club.

Around 100,000 British troops served in the Korean War of 1950-53, many of them on National Service. More than 2,000 lost their lives.

The veterans said one of the challenges was enduring wintry conditions of around -30F.

Branch chairman Dennis Cragg, 82, from Halifax, served as a Corporal with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers.

Mr Cragg said: “The biggest enemy there was the weather. It was freezing.”

Denis Talbot, 79, of Bankfoot, Bradford, served in the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment as a private.

Mr Talbot said he was about a mile behind the frontline in these later years, and soldiers coming back from it often didn’t want to talk about what they had been through.

He said this was one of the reasons why having a veterans’ association was so important.

Branch vice-chairman John Parker, 80, of Woodside, Bradford, served in the Royal Army Service Corps as a driver. He said the Korean War was often viewed as the “forgotten war”.

To mark the end of the West Yorkshire branch of the association, members will ceremonially ‘lay up’ its standard at City Hall on April 1, where it will be put on permanent display.

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