- Country Profile
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Location North Atlantic Ocean in the West of European continent Capital London Population 60,776,238 (June 2007) Area 244,820㎢ (1.1 times the size of theKorean peninsula) Race composition White (92.1%), Black (2%), Indian (1.8%) Religion Anglican (50%), Protestant (30%), Catholic(11%) and others Form of government Constitutional monarchy system Language English· Currency British Pound Independence Day Unified Great Britain founded in 828 National holiday The third Saturday in June (Queen's Birthday) Date of diplomatic relationship established Jan. 18, 1949 Military attache establishment Dec. 1957 in the U.K., Jun. 1957 in Korea
- Key Roles
The United Kingdom dispatched the second largest number of troops to Korea. The participation of the United Kingdom was done before the UN forces were established. The British Army first sent the 27th Brigade which was activated with two battalions from Hongkong and other supporting units, and upon arrival in Korea the brigade was immediately committed to the battle of the Nakdong Bulge. Later on, the27th Brigade took part in advancing northward to the Yalu River. And later the United Kingdom dispatched one more brigade, the 29th Brigade.
The 29th Brigade suffered a lot of casualties at the battle of Seolmari near the Imjin River when China launched the 5th phase of attack. Despite these sacrifices, the 29th Brigade made a great contribution to the operations of the 8th US Army. To be more specific, on April 22, 1951, when the defense line of the ROK 1st Division broke down, the Gloucester Battalion of 29th Brigade on the right of the ROK 1st Division suffered a lot of casualties. Despite these casualties, however, the 29th Brigade held the Seolmari area for three days, so that the brigade was able to save allied units on both sides of the area.
As more troops of the British Commonwealth came in on July 28, 1951,these units were organized into the 1st Commonwealth Division. This Division was made up of the units from 6 countries: United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Belgium, and Luxembourg. Such a composition was quite unique in the world’s military history.
On June 29, 1950, the UK Navy sent one aircraft carrier, two cruisers, two destroyers, and three frigates, and helped the US naval operations on the East Sea. Later, an estimated total of about 17,000 Navy soldiers of the UK participated in the Korean War, and 50 British warships took turns to carryout naval operations until the end of the war.
Participation History Unit Participation Period Note 1st division of British Commonwealth from Jul. 1953 established at DeokJung 27th division Aug. 1950 to Apr. 1951 renamed as the 28th brigade 28th brigade Apr. 1951 to Mar. 1953 29th brigade from Nov. 1950 1st battalion of Middlesex brigade Aug. 1950 to May 1951 assigned to the 27th brigade 1st battalion of argyll and sutherland higlanders brigade Aug. 1950 to Apr. 1951 assigned to the 27th brigade 1st battalion of Royal Northumberland fusiliers brigade from Nov. 1950 assigned to the 29th brigade 1st battalion of Gloucester brigade from Nov. 1950 assigned to the 29th brigade 1st battalion of Royal Ulster Fifles brigade from Nov. 1950 assigned to the 29th brigade 1st battalion of King’s own Scottish borderers brigade from Apr. 1951 assigned to the 28th brigade
1st battalion of King’s Shropshire Light infantry brigade
May 1951 to Sept. 1952 assigned to the 28th brigade 1st battalion of Royal Norfolk brigade Oct. 1951 to Nov. 1952 assigned to the 28th brigade 1st battalion of Leicestershire brigade
Oct. 1951 to Jun. 1952
assigned to the 28th brigade 1st battalion of Welch brigade Nov. 1951 to Nov. 1952 assigned to the 29th brigade 1st battalion of Black Watch brigade Jun. 1952 to Jul. 1953 assigned to the 29th brigade 1st battalion of Royal Fusiliers brigade Aug. 1952 to Aug. 1953 1st battalion of Duham light infantry brigade Sept. 1952 to Sept. 1953 assigned to the 28th brigade 1st battalion of King’s Liverpool brigade Sept. 1952 to Oct. 1953 assigned to the 29th brigade 1st battalion of Duke of Welington brigade Oct. 1952 to Nov. 1953 assigned to the 29th brigade 1st battalion of Royal Scots brigade from Jul. 1953 1st battalion of Essex brigade from Aug. 1953 1st battalion of Royal Warwickshire brigade from Sept. 1953 1st battalion of King’s own royal brigade from Oct. 1953 1st battalion of Northstaffordshire brigade from Nov. 1953
Casualty Statistics Total KIA WIA MIA POW 4,908 1,078 2,674 179 977
- Key Battles
Battle of Jeongju (1950. 10. 29~30)
The British 27th Brigade
soldiers boarding the British
This was the battle in which the British Commonwealth 27th Brigade fought against the retreating North Korean Force (reinforced with T-34 tank) at Jeongju during the northward advance operation to the borderline between Korea and Manchuria. Attached to the U.S. 24th Division, this Brigade participated in the northward advance operation as a U.N. Forces' leading unit after capturing Pyongyang and crossing the Cheongcheon River. They faced stiff resistance by the North Korean Army equipped with tanks at Jeongju but they defeated the North Korean Army to capture Jeongju. After capturing Jeongju, this Brigade carried out preliminary duties there and the victory from this battle allowed the U.S. 24th Division to advance to Jeonggeodong from Jeongju without any difficulty.
Battle of Bakcheon (1950. 11. 4~6)
This was the battle in which U.K. Forces fought against the Chinese Communist Forces for the first time. As the Chinese Communist Forces began the big offensive from Oct. 25 after their participation in the Korean War, the British 27th Brigade carrying out preliminary duties at Jeongju moved to Bakcheon and assisted the withdrawal of the U.N. Armed Forces (the U.S. 24th Division, the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division). Afterwards, it fought against the Chinese Communist Forces chasing the U.N. Forces that were withdrawing. The 27th Brigade faced a crisis in this battle because the Artillery Battalion supporting them was taken over by the Chinese Communist Forces and the retreat path to the Cheongcheon River was blocked. However, it was able to sustain the Bakcheon area by defeating the enemy with counterattacks. This battle greatly helped the U.N. Forces to secure the Cheongcheon River bridgehead during the Chinese Communist Forces' 2nd offensive.
Battle of Goyang (10km Northwest of Euijeongbu; 1951. 1. 2~3)
This was the defensive battle in which the British 29th Brigade fought against the Chinese Communist Force during their New Year's Offensive (the 3rd Offensive). When the South Korean Force and the U.N. Forces were building the defense line after retreating to the 38th parallel line due to the Chinese Communist Offensive during northward advance, this Brigade stationed in the Goyang area as a reserve unit of the U.S. 1st Army Corps. When the Chinese Communist New Year Offensive began on Dec. 31, 1950, this Brigade with the order of helping the retreat of unit in the battle zone and stopping the Chinese Communist advance fought fiercely with the Chinese Communist Force that were chasing the retreating unit. The British 29th Brigade carried out repeated fierce offensive and defensive battles with the Chinese Communist Army in this battle. After suffering heavy casualties, it sustained the defense line for 24 hours to help the retreat of the U.N. Forces' unit in the battle zone.
Battle of Jeokseong (1951. 4. 22~25)
This was the defensive battle in which the British Commonwealth 29th Brigade defending the Imjin River near the Jeokseong area fought against the Chinese Communist 63rd Army Corps (187th, 188th and 189th Division) during the Chinese Communist 1st Spring Offensive (1951.4.22~30). This Brigade helped the retreat of the U.N. Forces by defeating the Chinese Communist’s series of full scale attacks for 3 days and allowed the U.N. Forces to form a new defense line in the north of Seoul. However, this Brigade lost approximately one fourth of their force during this battle. Gloster Battalion of this Brigade was surrounded by 2 divisions of the Chinese Communist Army divisions in all directions and only 39 members from this Battalion were able to escape. This battle carried out by Gloster Battalion was recorded as one of the greatest battles carried out by a battalion size unit during the Korean War.
Battle of Gapyung (1951. 4. 23~25)
A monument of the Gapyung
This was the defensive battle in which the British Commonwealth 27th Division fought against the Chinese Communist Army at Jukdun-ri located 7km north of Gapyung during the Chinese Communist 1st Spring Offensive (1951.4.22~30). In this battle, the British Commonwealth 27th Division helped the retreat of the South Korea 6th Division from Sachang-ri battle zone during the Chinese Communist Spring Offensive, and stopped the Chinese Communist Army attempting to cut off the road between Seoul and Chuncheon by chasing them to Gapyung. This Brigade suffered heavy casualties during this fierce 3 day battle. As in the previous Jeokseong battle, this was the battle in which the Chinese Communist main force clashed head on with this Brigade. As the British Army delayed or stopped the Chinese Communist Army, it played a key role in setting back the Chinese Communist 1st Spring Offensive.
After the cease-fire agreement, the U.K. Naval Force’s withdrawal was completed in Mar. 1955, and ground troops were withdrawn during 1954~1957