1952 - 1953 Korean War
"Just my luck; my name beginning with 'L': it’ll be down at the bottom of t’war memorial with all the dogs cocking their legs on it." The 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, largely made up of National Servicemen was sent to war again.
The 1st Battalion set sail for Korea at the end of September 1952, to join the 1st Commonwealth Division. This was as a result of the United Nations decision to support the United States in resisting the invasion of South Korea, by its Communist neighbours from the North.
The Battalion joined the Division at the end of September and soon found themselves in the front line. In May 1953, with the Battalion occupying a position called the Hook, the 'Dukes' once again found themselves involved in serious military action. On the night of the 28th/29th May, following a huge artillery barrage, wave after wave of Chinese troops attacked the British positions on the Hook. Initially knocked back, the 'Dukes', under their Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Bunbury DSO fought back vehemently; with two platoons fighting their way back up the line to regain the original 'D' Company trenches, that were temporarily being held by the enemy.
Throughout the battle the 'Dukes' were subjected to repetative barrages of artillery fire, each followed by swarms of attacking Chinese troops. Being highly trained, well motivated, aware of the importance of their position and above all 'Regimentally proud' meant the 'Dukes' performed admirably on 'The Hook'.
Brigadier Kendrew, Commander 29 Infantry Brigade stated on visiting the battlefield shortly afterward:
"My God those Dukes were marvellous. In the whole of the last war I never saw anything like that bombardment. But they held the Hook, as I knew they would."
The 'Dukes' suffered a number of losses at the Hook, 3 officers and 17 ranks were sadly killed, 86 men were wounded. After a brief rest on the Imjin River the Battalion left Korea in November 1953 for service in Gibraltar with their fine reputation enhanced.
Read accounts of service with the 'Dukes' during the 1952 - 1953 period. ( Service Memories)
The following photos were provided by Charles Haynes in December 2006 who comments "......... please find attached the pictures I mentioned. I feel sure you will identify which is the 'Hook Today'and which are the simulations. The simulations were taken of a scale model of the Hook, constructed from memory. Unfortunately the model was built without the benefit of having the 'Hook Today' photo. There are some features that are not quite correct.