Royal Ulster Rifles Korean Memorial
The 1st Battalion of The Royal Ulster Rifles were the first unit from England to join the United Nations force in Korea when they landed at Pusan on 5 Nov 1950. They soon joined the advance to Pyongyang and were then involved in the defence of Seoul in January 1951.
In this first major action on 3/4 January 1951 the Rifles did not lose an inch of ground and covered the withdrawal of the UN forces to the South of the Han River. When the time came for die Rifles to withdraw the Chinese were already behind them and they had to fight their way out. The action is formally known as the battle of CHAEGUNGHYON - but is better known by the soldiers as the Happy Valley battle.
As a result of this action members of the Rifles were awarded 2 x Distinguished Service Orders ( DSO ), 2 x Military Crosses ( MC ), 2 x Military Medals ( MM ) and 3 men were Mentioned in Despatches. However this was at a cost of 208 officers and men killed wounded or missing when they regrouped the next day at Suwon. Members of the Rifles came from all parts of Ireland and all sections of the community. At about this time 49% came from the South - The Republic of Ireland
When the area was recaptured the Royal Ulster Rifles, and those who fought with them, were able to return there and bury the dead and a few months later dedicated a memorial - near the village of Pulmiji-Ri overlooking the battlefield. The memorial was of local stone and carved by a Korean mason who travelled with the Padre whenever the battalion moved. One face of the Memorial is dedicated to the Rifles, one to the gunners of 45 Field Regiment RA and 170 Mortar Battery RA and one to the 8h Kings Royal Irish Hussars. 1 was intended that the Memorial, like that of The Gloucester's at Solma-Ri near the lmjin should remain permanently in Korea
In the 1960s, as Seoul was expanding towards the site, the British Ambassador recommended that, as the Memorial could no longer be properly protected, it should be repatriated to the United Kingdom It was brought home on HMS Belfast in 1962 It was re-erected at our Regimental Depot in Ballymena, Northern Ireland it has served as an inspiration to thousands of recruits. It was rededicated there in 1964. Periodically since then one of the recruit squads have been named after the lmjin battle in Korea. It has also been the focus for the annual lmjin Remembrance parade and service for the Korean Veterans Association of Ireland.
Sadly the Ballymena Depot is now closed and the Memorial removed. The Royal Ulster Rifles are Freemen of the City of Belfast asked the Lord Mayor and Council, who have agreed, that the Memorial should be sited in the precincts of the City Hall.
We have launched an Appeal to cover the costs of the removal from Ballymena and re erection in Belfast. We expect the costs to be in the region of £20,000. We would be very grateful if you would consider making a contribution to this project to mark the service of
THE ROYAL ULSTER RIFLES
45th FIELD REGIMENT RA
170 MORTAR BATTERY RA
8th. KINGS ROYAL IRISH HUSSARS
In Korea during 1950 and 195 1.
This is the only Memorial in Ireland to the Korean War and has served as the focus
for the annual Remembrance Service and reunion of Veterans from all parts of Ireland
and delegates from the remainder of the UK-
Brigadier M N S McCord CBE MC
For RUR Trustees