A City Hall ceremony marked the end of an era for a group of Korean war veterans whose association has been disbanded.
Although some members of the West Yorkshire branch of the British Korean Veterans' Association have decided to form their own new social club, they were in Bradford yesterday to officially ‘lay up’ their standard, which will now stay on permanent display in the halls of Bradford’s City Hall.
The West Yorkshire branch of the association had been formed in 1982 as a way of bringing veterans together for remembrance events and social occasions, but numbers have dwindled over the years.
Around 100,000 British troops served in the Korean War of 1950-53, many of them on National Service and more than 2,000 lost their lives.
Branch chairman Dennis Cragg, 82, of Halifax, who served as a corporal with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, was at the ceremony attended by Bradford Lord Mayor, Coun Khadim Hussain.
Also in attendance were some Korean students from the University of Bradford who had been invited along by the veterans. They have also been asked to keep in touch with the new social club, which has its first meeting on Tuesday, April 8, at 1.30pm at the Northridge Centre in Halifax.
“There’s still a great amount of appreciation in Korea for what the British did over there. If there was as much appreciation among our young here for what our soldiers sacrificed for this country then it would be a very good thing,” said Mr Cragg.
Juhee Kim, 20, who is studying International Relations in the city, said: “My granddad was a barber during the war. He told me about what the British did and he always told me if I came here I should say thank you for him. That’s why I’m so pleased to be here today, saying thank you from my granddad.”
And Psychology and Management student Byung Cho, 22, said: “It’s an honour to be here. Our history is very important to us and we are taught in schools what the British did during the war for us. If they had not participated we would not have survived.”
Handing over the standard, Mr Cragg said: “I ask you to receive this standard for safe keeping in the heart of this city until such time as it shall pass to dust like those whose courage and devotion are enshrined in its history.”
Lord Mayor, Coun Hussain replied that the standard would remain in City Hall “as a memory of past glories and as an inspiration to future generations.”