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THE HOMECOMING


Major Grist was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel and the Glosters (with newly arrived drafts of men), went with 29th Brigade to the Kempo Peninsula, on the right flank of the UN line. One Company was posted to guard the Han bridges. Reinforcements arrived and the Companies were reformed and training began again. Defences were dug and wired along the Han.

On May 23rd the Brigade moved back to the Imjin River, with the Glosters in reserve. But two groups from the Battalion were allowed to be the first back to the battle ground at Solma-Ri. There they identified and buried the dead. Then the Battalion arrived and a serivce was held on each of the hills that they had defended. During June and July the Battalion was based near Solma-Ri and undertook patrolls into No Man's Land on the far side of the river Imjin. In August they moved back to the front line and a month later moved to the new 'Wyoming' line, north of the river. In November they were relieved by the 1st Battalion, Welch Regiment. The Glosters were going home. They moved to Britannia Camp for 2 days and then went to Seoul where they entrained for Pusan. Arriving at Seaforth Camp, they made the final preparations to sail.

The men captured in the Imjin battle were marched north by their Chinese captors. Some were handed over to the North Koreans for interrogation at the notorious 'Pak's Palace' in Pyongyang. The rest were marched to Chiangsong on the Yalu River. In the officers camp Colonel Carne was singled out for for beatings and 19 months of isolation, due to his immense prestige among his men. The men were subjected to continual 'Political Lectures' based around the British being 'duped by the American imperialists.'

"The Glosters expressed, in the main, boredom, indifference, and what the old British Army called 'dumb insolence'. On several occasions the insolence was far from dumb - an exasperated Chinese lecturer, despairing of imparting Marxist theories to his audience, raised his eyes heavenwards and asked the rhetorical question, 'What must I do next ?' ... 'Get stuffed' was the reply from an unidentifiable but unmistakably Bristol voice in the audience....... The majority of the catives were fighting a battle for which they were entirely untrained, from a position of physical weakness... the power of their armament in fighting a moral battle: their heritage as free men."

The Chinese offensive had stalled at the Imjin and armisitice negotiations began in May 1951, but were not concluded until August 1953.

Sailing on the troopship 'Empire Fowey', they stopped off in Hong Kong. On the evening of the 20th December 1951 they arrived at Southampton. The Regimental flag was flying from the top of the foremast. The crews of other ships lined the decks cheering, sirens blowing. The RAF station at Calshot put on a brilliant firework display and the dock was lined with relatives and friends of the Regiment.

The message sent by H.R.H. The Duke of Gloucester, was read to the Battalion:

"I am very sorry that on account of the weather I cannot be with you today. The King bids you all a very warm welcome home after your splendid tour of duty in the Far East. As your Conel-in-Chief, I naturally share your pride in the honour shown to you by His Majesty, and add my own to his. The world knows the story of the Battle of the Imjin River, during which your Battalion earned itself a reputation unequalled in recent years.

I am glad that you are wearing the emblem representing the citation awarded to you by the President of the U.S.A., an outstanding honour of which we are all proud. I know how keen you must be to start your leave and get home to your families. I can guess at the welcome awaiting you, wearing as you are the badge of the Regiment and the emblem of the Battalion. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and God-speed."


48 days later, His Majesty King George VI died - 8th February 1952. The Battalion was at Warminster and was selected to line the route of the Royal Funeral Procession in Piccadilly, London.


The Battalion then settled back at Warminster at the School of Infantry; helping to train new recruits.

On Thursday 24th April the Glosters went back to Gloucester. Cheering crowds met them at the train station and the Battalion marched to Reservoir Camp. On the 27th the Battalion received new Colours, presented by the City of Gloucester. The following telegram was read out:

"May I, on this solemn occasion of the presentation of New Colours to The Gloucestershire Regiment, express the eternal gratitude of the United Nations for the Regiment's glorious contribution towards the resistance to aggression in Korea and the defence of freedom and security throughout the world."

Trygve Lie, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Before large crowds, the Battalion paraded and the old Colours were marched off parade for the last time. The new Colours were consecrated and then the Battalion marched them through the streets of the City through cheering crowds.

The new Colours being presented

The following day the Battalion marched to Gloucester Cathedral for the ceremony to lay up the old Colours. The Cathedral was packed and the service relayed to large crowds outside. After the ceremony the Battalion marched past the Mayor and the following day the whole Battalion attended a Civic Lunch.

The Battalion marched through Cheltenham and Tewksbury, receiving another huge enthusiastic welcome. Then the Glosters went back to Warminster. On the 2nd June 1953 the Battalion took part in the Coronation ceremonies for the new Queen, Elizabeth II.

In October 1953 the P.O.W.'s from Korea had returned to England. Asked about the Battle of the Imjin and their captivity, Colonel Carne replied: "I hope I shall never have to fight a battle again like that one. But if I did I would get the same men. I have lost a little weight and gained a new pride in being British." On Saturday 21st November 1953 the Glosters again marched through the City of Gloucester, but this time with Lieutenant-Colonel Carne V.C., at their head. The bells of every church in the City were ringing and huge crowds again cheered the Battalion through the streets. The service of Thanksgiving at the Cathedral, was conducted by Reverand S.J. Davies - who had endured harsh treatment as the Glosters' Chaplin in the Prison Camp. A stone cross was presented to the Cathedral. It had been carved with 2 rusty nails by Colonel Carne during his 19 months of solitary confinement.

After a Civic Lunch, the Mayor of Gloucester presented Colonel Carne with the Freedom of the City, an honour only held by 3 other living people.

The Battalion then moved to Barnard Castle in County Durham to resume 'normal duties'. However late in 1954 the Regiment was ordered to Kenya to take part in the campaign against the Mau Mau.


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