Paju memorial honors U.K. soldiers

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Paju memorial honors U.K. soldiers

PAJU, Gyeonggi - A memorial park will be created here for hundreds of U.K. soldiers to honor their sacrifice in the Korean War (1950-53).

The Paju city government in northern Gyeonggi said yesterday they will complete a memorial park by April 2014 on 6,059 square meters (1.5 acres) of land in Jeokseong-myeon, Paju, where a war monument for the U.K. soldiers is located, investing about 1.3 billion won ($1.12 million).

The city government said the project was planned to honor the sacrifice that the 1st battalion of the Gloucester regiment of the 29th Brigade made during a battle near the Imjin River here.

The city government said that a monument in the shape of a beret, which is a symbol of the U.K. military, will be created and a monument wall will also be erected in the memorial park. The names of all the U.K. soldiers who fought in the war will be engraved on the wall. Construction begins in July.

“The memorial park will inform our children of the British soldiers’ noble sacrifice,” said Lee In-jae, mayor of the Paju city government.

During the Imjin River battle that was staged on a hill south of the river and west of Seolmacheon stream from April 22-25, 1951, the U.K.’s 29th Brigade, including the Gloucester regiment, countered China’s movement southward. The area was along a core route leading to Seoul at the time.

The U.K. soldiers were surrounded by about 42,000 Chinese soldiers, but bravely helped to delay the Chinese movement southward for four days.

The 1st battalion of the Gloucester regiment, composed of 650 soldiers, stayed until the last moment on the battlefield and led the allied force’s air strike, while the rest of the forces retreated to Yangju, Gyeonggi on April 25.

The brave Gloucester battalion soldiers escaped from the battlefield in the early morning of the 26th after leading the air strike, but 611 of them were killed or captured by the enemy and only 29 survived. While the U.K. soldiers were holding position, the main forces of the allied forces safely retreated, leading them to secure Seoul.

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