70th Anniversary of the Korean War - 25 June 1950 - 27 July 1953

In 1951 two of our forebear Regiments, The 1st Battalion The Royal Norfolk Regiment and The 1st Battalion The Royal Leicestershire Regiment went to a war which was unlike any war in history – a war fought for freedom against Communism by a bewildering miscellany of nationalities: Americans, British, Australians, Canadians, Frenchman, Belgians, Turks, Greeks, Filipinos, Thailanders, Puerto Ricans, Ethiopians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Indians.
The Battalions bore little resemblance to the pre-war and wartime model: many officers and senior N.C.Os were no strangers to war, and there was a sprinkling of young regulars who had enlisted since 1945. But the large majority – something over 60 per cent – were Royal Norfolks and Royal Leicestershires of an entirely new type… they were old enough to kill or be killed, but too young to vote… the National Servicemen; they went out to Korea as boys, and those that returned came back as men.
For the men of the Battalions, there were all the less glamorous chores of modern warfare – endless digging and wiring, for in close proximity to a determined enemy work on defensive positions was never finished… there was always sporadic shelling and mortaring; the World War Two Norfolks and Leicestershires dismissed this contemptuously as being nothing worse than of nuisance value, but the shells took a steady toll of casualties.
…it had become essentially a subaltern’s war – hardly a day or night passed without a platoon clash, an ambush, a brisk fight in No Man’s Land.
Casualties were not light. Many members of our forbear Regiments were decorated for their gallantry. Korea 1951-1952 was the last Battle Honour awarded to the Royal Norfolk Regiment and the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, and is carried today on our Regimental Colours.” – The Royal Norfolk Regiment by Tom Carew 1967.
Among the many Regiments that served in the Korean War, the common piece of silver (pictured above) in their regimental collections is unusual. Instead of being a figure of one of their own soldiers, it is of an elderly and tired Korean civilian leaning forward under a heavy load. Our 1st Battalion has the piece from 1 Royal Norfolk and this statuette is from 1 Royal Leicesters.

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