BRITISH KOREAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION MEMORIAL GARDEN
The BKVA Memorial Garden is sited within The National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, Staffordshire, midway between Lichfield and Burton-on-Trent. The Garden extends to about an acre, planted with more than 150 trees, which have their origins in Korea or Asia. It is an arboretum within an arboretum, containing some 25 different species of tree.
The Garden was laid out, planted and maintained from 2000 to 2010 by a Garden Party of veterans who wished to create a Living Memorial to all British Servicemen who served, or were casualties, during the Korean War, which continued from the 25th of June 1950 to the 27th of July 1953. The armistice, to bring the cease-fire into effect on the 27th of July 1953, has not been followed by a formal peace treaty; this means that, officially, a state of war still exists between North and South Korea.
During the Korean War, United Kingdom Army, Navy and Air Force units were joined by contingents from Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and South Africa.. Together, they formed The 1st Commonwealth Division and made a significant contribution in the first war fought under a United Nations mandate.
The Garden is at the northern end of Giffard Avenue, within the National Memorial Arboretum.
The main features of the Memorial are shown in the following photograph.
The focal point of the Memorial is the Dedication Plaque on the central granite boulder, which includes the following detail;
On either side of the Dedication boulder are four more bronze Plaques, which record the significant events in which British Commonwealth Forces were engaged during the war. They also record the names of the ships of the Royal Navy together with the Royal Marines, Fleet Air Arm, Army and Royal Air Force formations, which were involved, with the dates of their arrival in and departure from Korea.
The Plaque on the left-hand boulder details the Army Operations between June and December 1950;
The Plaque on the left of the Dedication Plaque details Army Operations between January 1951 and August 1952
The Plaque on the boulder to right of the Dedication Plaque details the Army Operations between
September 1952 and July 1953, and Royal Air Force Operations from June 1950 to July 1953:
The Plaque on the boulder to the far right of the Dedication Plaque details Royal Navy and
Royal Fleet Auxiliary Ships, which were involved in the Naval Operations during the Korean War.
Also listed are 41 Marine Commando, who were on active service between September 1950 and December 1951,
and a sincere but brief acknowledgement of the invaluable support given by so many vessels of the Merchant Navy :
At the approach to the Memorial is a small Limestone boulder with a Plaque bearing the Union the Republic of Korea Flags.
The Plaque bears the details of the history of the Garden, from its first days in 2000 up to the completion of the planting of
over 150 trees in 2009. The details appear in the following photograph:
There is an information board to the south of the Garden, just to the left of the above Plaque, with a map showing the progress of the war. There are also extracts from the sermon preaches by the Deanof St Paul's Cathederal, London , at the International Re-union of the Korean Veterans in July 1999. This is a poingnant statement of why we wish to remember the events of June 1950 to July 1953
The Korean War Commemoration Service and March Past, leading to the Memorial Garden for Wreath Laying,
are celebrated year by year on 27 July, the date the Armistice was signed in 1953
Here is Captain CG Smith, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, leading the Band on the March Past. The Band was made
up of musicians from The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment Band and from The Lancashire Artillery (Volunteers) Band.
The Band was followed by the National and Branch Standards, as in the photograph;
The Wreath Laying takes place at the Dedication Plaque. The Standards are paraded in an arc behind the boulders, which is also a vantage point for the Veterans and their guests. In this photograph, His Excellency The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Mr Chun Yung-woo lays his county's wreath, accompanied by his Defence Attaché, Captain Lee:,
After the Service at the Dedication Plaque, there is time for a Group Photograph:
When the crowds have dispersed, the Garden reverts to a place for quiet contemplation and remembrance.
This is the is view from near the Changi Chapel Lynch-Gate to the Memorial;
The Garden has been planted with many flowering trees, but these will only come into flower in the 20s and 30s.
At the top of the ridge, above the Memorial, are rows 0f Dawn Cypress, Korean Fir and Albizias flanked by Chinese Cataplas
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