South Korean hon­our for war vet

To mark Armed Forces Day and also the 60th an­niver­sary of the start of the Korean War, fea­tures writer CARLY LEWTHWAITE spoke to a Peter­bor­ough sol­dier about fight­ing in that con­flict.

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Uk&World Update -

TO­DAY, on Armed Forces Day, we are asked to think about ser­vice per­son­nel both past and present, and one man do­ing just that will be city man Regi­nald Briggs.

The 77-year-old vet­eran joined the army in 1949 and trained in Har­ro­gate and Cat­t­er­ick as a Royal Corps of Sig­nals op­er­a­tor.

He was posted over­seas to Tripoli in North Africa be­fore later vol­un­teer­ing for ac­tive ser­vice in Korea.

Over­shad­owed in his­tory by the Sec­ond World War and Viet­nam, the Korean War was one of the sig­nif­i­cant con­flicts of the 20th cen­tury, and saw many coun­tries pull to­gether in their fight for free­dom.

Dur­ing the early hours of June 25, 1950, the North Korean army crossed the border and in­vaded South Korea in an un­pro­voked at­tack. Their goal was to re­unite the Korean penin­sula, which was di­vided af­ter the Sec­ond World War.

Poorly trained and ille­quipped, the South Korean army was quickly over­run and the south’s cap­i­tal city, Seoul, was cap­tured.

Just a young man at the time, Regi­nald spent two years fight­ing in freez­ing con­di­tions.

He said: “We lived in the ground, in bunkers dug into the hill­side. In win­ter you had to make your own form of heat­ing in a bis­cuit tin us­ing an old shell case, wa­ter and diesel drip which would ex­plode if you got the mix­ture wrong.

“Our cloth­ing con­sisted of two pairs of trousers, two vests, a thick army shirt, a heavy army pullover, a com­bat jacket, an in­ner parka and a heavy outer parka with a hood. You had to get into your sleep­ing bag with all this on, boots as well.”

Ear­lier this week Regi­nald re­ceived a let­ter from Lee Myung-bak, Pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of Korea.

Sent to all vet­er­ans of the Korean War, he thanked Regi­nald for his courage in fight­ing for their cause.

The let­ter says: “We hon­our your self­less sac­ri­fice in fight­ing tyranny and

HON­OUR: Reg Briggs (77) and his wife Mar­garet (73), of Chaucer Road, with the let­ter they re­ceived from the Re­pub­lic of Korea Pres­i­dent. METP-25-06-10DL541 ag­gres­sion ... salute your courage in en­dur­ing the unimag­in­able hor­rors of war and pay trib­ute to your com­mit­ment in pro­tect­ing lib­erty and free­dom.”

Of Armed Forces Day, also known as Vet­er­ans’ Day, Regi­nald said: “It is im­por­tant to recog­nise what the armed forces have done, and are still do­ing. I don’t think there is enough aware­ness of what goes on.

“I don’t re­gret what I did. I thor­oughly en­joyed it.

“I was 16 years of age and de­cided that I wanted to save the world and I went out and did it.” SaviOUR: Regi­nald joined the army at 16 af­ter de­cid­ing he wanted to save the world – and did just that!

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.