Appeal launched for Gloucestershire war hero due to spend 90th birthday alone

Tommy Clough
Tommy Clough is a war veteran who was in active duty during a significant battle in 1951 in the Korean War. Credit: Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum/ITV West Country

A war veteran who fought in the Korean war is due to spend his 90th birthday in isolation - but a military museum is appealing for people to help him celebrate.

Tommy Clough's birthday is on Wednesday 24 February, but he is due to mark the milestone occasion alone because of the coronavirus lockdown.

To help him celebrate not only his birthday but also the 70th anniversary a significant military battle in 1951, The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum is appealing for people to send him birthday wishes.

The war veteran, who is registered blind, lives alone in Staverton in Gloucestershire.

He said: "Being isolated during lockdown is obviously very difficult for us all, but having spent more than two years of my life in a Prisoner of War camp, I learnt what true isolation was.

"So, although lockdown is clearly very difficult, I recognise that it could be a lot worse. We will get through it together."

  • Tommy's memories of being held in a cage as a prisoner of war

Tommy had hoped to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Imjin River in South Korea this April along with other veterans but the pandemic has postponed plans.

The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, based in Gloucester’s regenerated docklands, has launched an appeal to help him celebrate his birthday.

Vicki Hopson, director of the museum, said: “Tommy has been a stalwart friend of the museum and has done so much to help us over the years and we just hope we can rally enough public support to show how much he and other veterans of this war are appreciated.

"We are appealing to all members of the public to send us any messages or cards they might have for Tommy and we will collate and pass them on to him."

Tommy was a teenager when he was captured by the Chinese army and held as a prisoner of war for two and a half years Credit: Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

Tommy was in active service during the Battle of Imjin, which remains significant for South Koreans today, and is one of just a handful of survivors still alive to tell the story.

The battle lay close to Seoul and Tommy’s regiment helped to stave off an invasion of the Chinese army, stifling their advance into the country.

As a result of their action, the Glorious Glosters became widely known on their return to the UK due to the British press, and were awarded the US Presidential Citation - the only British infantry regiment to do so.

Tommy is pictured here with two other soldiers but is one of just several survivors of the Korean war still alive today Credit: Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum

The Gloucestershire Regiment existed for more than 300 years until it became incorporated into the first Battalion Rifles as it known today.

Its traditional recruiting area included Bristol as well as Gloucestershire and what is now South Gloucestershire and Avon.

Tommy was a gunner and part of a United Nations force dispatched to Korea in 1950 when the Communist North Koreans invaded South Korea without warning.

Send Tommy a message

Anyone who wishes to send Tommy a message can send it to: Mr Tommy Clough, c/o The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, Custom House, 31 Commercial RoadGloucesterGL1 2HE

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