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 £1,400

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,400

Six: Fusilier J. McDonald, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, killed in action, battle of the River Imjin, 23 April 1951

1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals, these unnamed; Korea 1950-53, 1st issue (3189424 Fus., R.N.F.); U.N. Korea 1950-54, unnamed, good very fine (6) £1000-1400


John McDonald was born on 1 January 1922 and served in the K.O.S.B. during W.W.2 where the Regiment earned the Battle Honours - Sword Beach, Caen, Flushing, and most famous of all, Arnhem where the Regiment was part of the 1st Air Landing Brigade. On the outbreak of the Korean War John McDonald was called back into the Army and posted to the ‘Fighting Fifth’, the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers. He sailed on the Empire Halladale on 11 October 1950 as part of the 29 Brigade and landed at Pusan on 19 November 1950. Fusilier John McDonald, Royal Northumberland Fusiliers was killed in action at the battle of the River Imjin

In Korea, on 2 December the regiment was in action at Sibyon-ni where five men were killed and three wounded. The Regiment then moved north but encountered the rest of the 8th Army in retreat and so withdrew south. After many brushes with the Chinese, including the Battle for Kan-Dong where the regiment lost twenty dead and forty one wounded it was deployed along the Imjin River together with the 1st Battalion Gloster Regt, the 1st Battalion Royal Ulster Rifles and a Belgian battalion, all supported by the 8th Hussars and 45 Field Regiment R.A. On 22 April the Chinese launched a major and determined attack to break through the Brigade and advance to the capital Seoul. The 23rd April is St George’s Day, the Regimental Day of the ‘Fighting Fifth’, and early in the morning the soldiers were issued with red roses flown especially from Japan. It was to be the bloodiest day for the regiment in the Korean War. The Chinese stormed the forward company position and forced the Fusiliers back. A determined counter attack was launched but by this time large number of Chinese had occupied the hill, and the counter attack failed. The flanks of the regiment now became exposed as the Belgian battalion and Ulster Rifles were forced back and the Glosters were surrounded. The order was then given to fall back to new reserve positions, which involved a hazardous march under intense Chinese fire. The ‘Fighting Fifth’ had suffered severe causalities, but their determination and courage had stopped the Chinese advance; 34 had been killed, 91 wounded and 39 were taken prisoner. Among the dead was John McDonald, aged 29 years, whose body was recovered and now lies in the UN Cemetery at Pusan. He had survived war in Europe but had died in the defence of Korea.