Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria to include a Fine Collection of Napoleonic Medals (25 March 2015)

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Date of Auction: 25th March 2015

Sold for £420

Estimate: £200 - £250

Sixty five years ago on the 25 June 1950 the North Korean Army launched a major invasion into South Korea. The United Nations responded by forming the first and only United Nations Army to repel this invasion.

Britain responded quickly and in August the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders and the Middlesex Regiments left Hong Kong and joined the Allied Force in Pusan. They were not supported by British armoured or artillery regiments but fought gallantly and successfully in the Pusan Perimeter to stop the North Korean advance. This delay enabled the UK to form 29 Independent Infantry Brigade which arrived in Korea in late 1950. The Brigade, which contained a significant number of Reservists who had already fought in the Second World War, included the following combat units -

8th The Kings Royal Irish Hussars
C Sqn Royal Tank Regiment
1st Bn The Royal Northumberland Fusiliers
1st Bn The Gloucestershire Regiment
1st Bn The Royal Ulster Rifles
45 Field Regiment Royal Artillery
11(Sphinx) LAA Battery Royal Artillery
170 Mortar Battery Royal Artillery
55 Independent Field Squadron Royal Engineers

The Brigade fought North to Pyongyang and then withdrew to a line along the River Imjin. On the 21st April 1951 the Chinese 63rd Army consisting of over 500,000 men launched a major attack to force the Allied Army back to Pusan. 29 Independent Infantry Brigade were in defensive positions guarding  a main access South along a line of the River Imjin and received the full
weight of this heavy attack. There followed the most savage and bloody battle of the British Army since the end of World War Two. Casualties were severe but the line was held.

This collection of medals was awarded to the men of Brigade that fought and suffered in this Battle of the River Imjin.

Pair
: Trooper B. T. Childs, 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars

Korea 1950-53, 1st issue (222 75723 Tpr., 8 H.); U.N. Korea 1950-54, unnamed, good very fine (2) £200-250

Footnote

Trooper Childs sailed with the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars to Korea on the Empire Fowey, 11 October 1950. The 8th Hussars were the first tank regiment to take part in the war and arrived with 39 officers, 689 soldiers, 64 Centurion tanks and six Cromwell tanks.

In spite of the extremely adverse weather conditions they fought their way north to the Yalu River, but were then forced back to the line of the Imjin River. On 21 April, ‘C’ Squadron of the 8th Hussars attempted to drive forward to support the Glosters who had become surrounded by the Chinese. The track was very narrow and on either side was wet paddy fields, which made movement off the track very difficult. The Chinese soon bypassed the Gloster positions and attacked the tanks at very short range. They jumped onto the tanks and tried to prise open the turrets and throw hand grenades inside. The response of the Irish Hussars was to turn the turrets of their tanks towards each other, and ‘hose’ the enemy off with their Besa Machine Guns. On their return to the British lines these tanks were said to have ‘Ran red with the blood of dead Chinese’. Human detritus was also caught up in the tracks as the tanks had run over a number of Chinese and, unfortunately, some British. With the final withdrawal of ‘C’ Squadron the battle was over, the last shots being fired by Major Huth. ‘C’ Squadron then split into two components, one supporting the Northumberland Fusiliers one troop detached to the remaining Glosters and the other in support of the Royal Ulster Rifles. Major Henry Huth commanding ‘C’ Squadron received the D.S.O. for his part in the Imjin battles and for their gallantry in the Battle the 8th Hussars were awarded the Battle Honour ‘IMJIN’.