After the Second World War, Korea was occupied by the Soviets in the north and the USA in the south. Soviet Russia supported the communist regime in the north under Kim Il-sung and the North Korean Peoples’ Army (NKPA) was set up in 1948 and funded with Russian equipment.
On the 25th June 1950, after years of mounting tensions along the border, the NKPA invaded South Korea and made a quick advance in the country. The UN reacted quickly, sending in troops from a wide range of countries including the US, Great Britain, Australia, India, and South Africa.
The UN forces made a breakthrough in mid September 1950 when General McArthur landed two divisions near Port Inchon. Being caught off guard and with poor communications, the NPKA fled. Despite president Harry S. Truman being warned by the Chinese that any such advance by the UN troops would trigger China’s entry into the war, the UN forces continued their advance along the Manchurian border. The US believed that victory was in reach. However China carried out their threat and sent in a large scale force to stop the UN troop advance. Consequently, the UN forces retreated, ending up having to form defensive positions south of Seoul in South Korea.
From mid-1951, the war was in an effective stalemate. Armistice talks did begin but a resolution was hard to come by due to the issue of communist prisoners of war in camps on Koje Island. For two years, each side argued their case until on the 27th July 1953, an armistice was signed at Panmunjom. Notwithstanding bringing the war to an end, this armistice solidified Korea as two separate nations with a demilitarise zone between them. All UN forces were withdrawn from Korea by 1957.
The figures for casualties of the war are not known precisely but it is estimated that 46,000 South Korean soldiers; 400,000 Chinese; 215,000 North Koreas; and 1,100 British soldiers were killed during the conflict.
Image from: https://www.britannica.com/event/Korean-War.
Richard attended Oakham School between 1938 and 1941. He was a member of Wharflands house.
In the Second World War, Richard served as a Lieutenant in the Royal Signals. He would later serve in Korea as a Captain in the Royal Signals Corp.
The Royal Signals Corp badge.
Peter King Churchouse, Summer 1951.
Peter attended Oakham School between 1941 and 1951. He was a member of Junior House and then of Wharflands.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1951 - Peter is sat second from the left.
Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1949 - Peter is standing at the back, in the centre.
Oakham School Rugby 1st XV, 1950 - Peter is sat second from the right.
Peter (in the centre) and the Wharflands prefects, Summer 1951.
Summer 1949 Cricket Review: “A fast left-hand bowler who has done very well this season and has taken many valuable wickets. A right-hand bat who shows some promise, but he must curb his back-lift. A good field”.
Winter 1949 Rugby Review: “Has improved with every game. His height has rendered him invaluable in the line-outs. He is good in the loose. Should be a great asset next year.”
Winter 1950 Rugby Review: “ He still lacks real pace and in defence tackles too high; very useful from touch and good at making breakaways, though he does not always get his head down in the loose”.
Summer 1951 Cricket Review: “He has had a disappointing season, as his bowling has lost much of the fire it had two years ago and he has failed to obtain pace off the pitch. His batting has improved, but if he is to make any large scores, he must use more judgement and not throw his wicket away. A good short-leg and a safe catch”.
Peter was a reported at the Northampton Mercury and Herald reporting on anything from football matches to the Weedon rail smash.
He served as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Northamptonshire Regiment during the Korean war.
The Royal Northamptonshire Regiment badge.
Reginald attended Oakham School between 1919 and 1925. He was a member of Junior House.
Reginald donated some specimens to the school museum in the Spring term 1925.
Reginald studied at the Salisbury Theological College and worked as an engineer and clergyman. He served in the RNVR as a Lieutenant Commander during the Second World War.
During the Korean war, Reginald served as a Chaplain in the 1st Battalion Durham Light Infantry.
The Durham Light Infantry badge.
Hugh attended Oakham School between 1945 and 1948. He was a member of Wharflands and then Deanscroft. His school achievements are listed below:
After Oakham, Hugh studied at the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester and then at RMA Sandhurst.
He worked as a tobacco farmer in Rhodesia before joining the army. Hugh was court martialled and sent to serve in Korea in the 1st Tank Regiment Royal Armoured Corps.
The Royal Armoured Corps cap badge.
When he left the tank regiment in 1956, Hugh joined the Northern Rhodesian Police and Army. He was dismissed from his post and then served with the Royal Rhodesia Regiment during the 1959 Nyasaland emergency.
The Rhodesian Army Badge.
Hugh returned to England only to find that life wasn’t what he expected. So, he worked in the Rotterdam docks in the Netherlands before trying his hand at trawler fishing in South Africa. He lectured in the USA on the threat of communism.
Hugh returned to South Africa, joining Colonel Mike Hoare’s unit in the Congo where he was ultimately killed in 1966. He was awarded a British Empire Medal in 1960.