One of the things I want to do this year is to start to provide a little coverage of the activities and stories of the veterans from the Korean War. Where better to start than a report of the activities of the British Korean Veterans Association over the past year, presented last week to the AGM of the Anglo-Korean Society by their National Chairman, Colonel GM Gadd OBE. The text is reproduced with his permission.
Chairman’s Report to the Annual General meeting of the Anglo-Korean Society held at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea, London, on Wednesday 23rd January 2008
1. I am pleased, after an absence of three years, that I am able to attend this AGM to present the BKVA report personally. I am indebted to Peter Poole who has kindly presented the report in my absence.
2. At the BKVA AGM held in Blackpool on 6th October 2007 our membership stood at 4,007. We are a finite organisation and we do expect our numbers to decrease year by year… the youngest of our members are approaching their mid-seventies and we have to accept that age will take its toll.
3. Regrettably, I have to report that on 27th April this year our Cumbria Branch will be holding its disbandment service at the Kendal Parish Church where they will lay-up their colours. The branch membership has dwindled to a level where to retain a branch is no longer a feasible option… The members remaining will join another branch where they will be able to keep in touch with the membership and still benefit from the comradeship which exists throughout the Association and from our welfare organisation and funds should the need arise.
4. There have been two changes in the Executive Committee… the first changes other than the President, for a number of years:
(a) Jim Wilkinson retired as National Treasurer because of ill health; he had been treasurer since the BKVA was formed in 1981, a total of 26 years. His place has been taken by Tony Stevens of the Leicester Branch.
(b) The other change was the Welfare Adviser; Richard Clementson of the Red Rose Branch (Preston) has replaced David St J. Griffiths who has become a Trustee. Richard’s appointment is most appropriate as he has a background in social services with a particular emphasis on the older generation.
Samsung / BKVA / RBL Scholarship
5. This year’s scholarship (2008) has been awarded to Miss Jennifer Frost LL.B a graduate of the University of the West of England. She is the granddaughter of George Newhouse who served in Korea with the GLOSTERS where he was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Imjin. He is a member of our Gloucester Branch.
6. Miss Frost is currently doing a language course and will start her studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, in March; her subject will be International Law.
7. We have again this year (2008) awarded 5 bursaries to students to be selected by the Bursary Committee of the British Association for Korean Studies (BAKS) headed by Professor James Grayson PhD, the Professor of Modern Korean Studies at the University of Sheffield.
Events of Interest
8. We have had a full year with many events taking place at National, Area and Branch levels. Among them have been:
(a) 25 June Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral organised by the Korean Embassy followed by a lunch very generously hosted by H.E. do Cho Yoon-je, the Ambassador. I had hoped to attend and set off in plenty of time but was thwarted by the floods at that time. (b) 30 June The Korean festival held at Kingston-upon-Thames; organised and hosted by the Korean Residents Association (c) 27 July The BKVA Korean War Commemoration Dat at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas. The attendance was very good and we were honoured to have as our guests:
a. His Excellency the Korean Ambassador Dr Cho and Mrs Cho.
b. The President of the International Federation of the Korean War Veterans Association (IFKWVA) Brigadier General J.E. Lello, of South Africa, and Mrs Lello, and
c. The Korean Defence Attaché, Captain (Navy) J.K. Lee and Mrs Lee.
Dr Cho gave the address at the service and then took the salute at the march past of veterans… some 500 in all. The band “on parade” was that of the RAF Regiment and very good they were too.
(d) 12 Oct Dedication of the Armed Forces Memorial, Post World War II, by Her Majesty The Queen. Dr Cho and his Defence Attaché were present. It was significant that Dr Cho was the only Ambassador in attendance. A number of Korean War Veterans were present, as was Bert Deavey, who is not a war veteran, but who lost a brother in Korea. He is a member of the Swindon Branch; he and his wife were presented to Her Majesty. It is worthy to note that the Government of the Republic of Korea made an extremely generous donation to the Armed Forces Memorial Appeal. (e) 28 Dec The Ambassador arranged for senior officials of the BKVA to meet the Vice Minister of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, Mr Kim Heung-Keol. We had a most pleasant and enjoyable dinner at the Arang Restaurant in Golden Square, near Piccadilly Circus.
9. I am sure you have heard enough about the BKVA but in closing I would just like to say we may be ageing but we are still looking to our future. Our AGMs for the next three years are at
10. I would be pleased to take any questions
GM Gadd OBE
National Chairman BKVA
23 January 2008