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A Veteran’s impression of the Miracle on the Han

News of an interesting talk coming up at the KCC:

A Veteran’s impression of the Miracle on the Han

kcc-window-2Date: Wednesday 10th June 2009, 6~7pm
Venue: Multi-purpose Hall, KCC
Speaker: Mike Swindells
Admission Free (booking required)
[email protected] or 020 7004 2600

A drinks reception will follow this lecture

About the lecture

A tank Troop Leader in Korea in 1951-52 and now President of the British Korean Veterans Association, General Mike Swindells will give his impressions of living and fighting in a country ravaged by war. He recently visited the Republic of South Korea with a party of Veterans, generously hosted by the Korean Government. His talk, which will be illustrated, will describe the feelings of those who served in Korea in the early 1950s, who were impressed, not only by the transformation of the country, but also by the touching gratitude shown by everyone towards those who fought in a war which took place nearly 60 years ago.


Mike Swindells was born in Cheshire on 15th January 1930. He was educated at Rugby School, called up for National Service in 1948 and commissioned into the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards in 1949. On release he spent a short time in the textile industry but rejoined the Skins when they were warned for service in Korea. The Regiment sailed in the MV Georgic arriving at Pusan in early December 1951.

The Skins relieved the 8th Hussars and took over their Centurion tanks. The line had stabilised on the 38th Parallel and peace talks had commenced at Panmunjon. As a Lieutenant he commanded a troop of four tanks deployed with, and in support of, British and Australian Infantry Battalions of the Commonwealth Division.

The Regiment handed over to the 1st Royal Tank Regiment in December 1952 and spent a further year on active service based at Shandur on the Suez canal before returning to the United Kingdom in 1954. He was Adjutant of the Cheshire Yeomanry from 1954 to 1957, attended the Staff College in 1960 and subsequently served with the ‘Skins’ in Germany, Aden and Cyprus and in staff appointments in Singapore, Brunei and back in Germany as Brigade Major 7th Armoured Brigade.

In 1969 he was appointed to command the 9th/12th Royal Lancers after which he served on the Directing Staff at the Army Staff College Camberley, commanded 11th Armoured Brigade with its Headquarters at Minden in Germany and attended the Royal College of Defence Studies.

On promotion to the rank of Major General, he served as Chief of the Joint Services Liaison Organisation in Bonn from 1980 to 1982 and in a Joint Service post in the Defence Intelligence Staff until his retirement from active service in 1985.

He was Controller of the Army Benevolent Fund from 1987 until 1998 and during this time was also Colonel of the 9th/12th Lancers 1990 – 1995 and National Chairman of the British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association 1991 – 1996.

Now fully retired, he and his wife Prue live in Devizes. Their two daughters are reasonably close in Somerset and Bath. He was invited to become President of the British Korean Veterans Association in 2006 and in April 2007 took part in the Revisit Programme hosted by the Korean Veterans Association. He is a member of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, enjoys travel and living in the country.

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

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