The 'forgotten war' with bloodiest British battle since WW2

  • Watch Katie Rowlett's report

A 'forgotten' battle in which hundreds of Gloucestershire soldiers lost their lives is finally being remembered.

The Battle of Imjin River remains the bloodiest battle fought by British Forces since World War II.

Tragically, 622 men from Gloucestershire were killed, wounded or went missing - and 522 were taken prisoner in China.

And 70 years later, the Minister for Veterans from South Korea has visited Gloucester to pay tribute to the Glorious Glosters who fought on the battle field.

What was the battle of the Imjin River?

The battle was the bloodiest since the end of World War II. Credit: British Pathé

The battle of Imjin River was fought between 22nd and 25th of April 1951 during the Korean War.

About 4,000 troops of the British 29th Brigade, including about 700 from 1st Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment, faced more than 27,000 men of the Chinese 63rd Army.

About 400 Glosters fought a last stand on Hill 235, which was later renamed Gloster Hill.

Even though the Glosters were eventually overcome, the battle is recognised as being deeply significant in holding back the Chinese army. It gave UN forces time to regroup and stop the Chinese advance on the capital Seoul.

A ceasefire was agreed but the two sides never signed a peace treaty which means North Korea and South Korea are officially still at war.

Hwang Ki-Chui wanted to say thank you on behalf of the nation. Credit: ITV News

Five months after its intended date because of Covid restrictions, the City of Gloucester paid its respects at a special service held at the Cathedral.

500 people, from pews to pillars, filled its nave to pay thanks to those who lost their lives in the battle.

The Minister of Patriots & Veterans Affairs attended the service from South Korea to say thank you on behalf of the nation.

Hwang Ki-Chui said: "It is my duty to meet the veterans who fought for Korea many years ago and talk with them about the significance and history of the Korean War. And also I'm here to share the gratitude and appreciation with the people of the United Kingdom."

Gloucester gunner Tommy Clough laid a wreath alongside some of the few remaining veterans from the battle.

Veteran Tommy Clough laid a wreath during the service. Credit: ITV News

He told ITV News: "It means a great deal. There are not that many of us left, and we are a dying breed. And it's important, very important for us to be here and it's a great privilege to be invited here."

Brian Hamblett, another veteran, said: "It was the forgotten war, but being remembered today is magical really. It's an honour and privilege to be here."

Around 300 people, including soldiers young and old and members of the Korean Veteran's Association, marched through Gloucester after the service to Back Badge Square and the Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum.