AIR BRANCH RESERVIST IN KOREA ATTENDS REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY
A Royal Marine Pilot who serves with the Royal Naval Reserve Air Branch attended a moving remembrance ceremony at the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in South Korea.
Captain Neil ‘Flo’ Flower along with retired Fleet Air Arm Observer, Gary Soar took the opportunity during the remembrance weekend to be present at the ‘Turn Towards Busan’ ceremony. The Cemetery is the only one of its kind in the world and is dedicated to the fallen UN Sailors, Soldiers and Airman from 21 countries, who gave their lives during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.
“The War was fought in the most arduous of circumstance and climate”, said Neil Flower. “It’s sometimes forgotten and hence the Korean name of “The Lost War”. The ceremony, held at 11:00 on the 11th of November was the brain child of Canadian Vince Courtenay, a Korean War veteran himself and encourages veterans to stop, face towards Busan wherever they are in the world, and hold a minute silence. In doing so they pay tribute and honour all those who fell here, including the soldiers and civilians of the Republic of Korea.”
The ceremony was attended by Korean Veterans Minister Park Sung Choon, Charles Hay, the British Ambassador and Canadian Senator Yonah Martin. Current serving personnel, local school children and most importantly Veterans also paraded, many who represented the 21 nations whose servicemen fought and died during the war. The ‘Minute Silence’ was punctuated by a 21 Gun Salute and the Sirens of Busan wailing across the city.
Senator Martin during her speech stated that, “Soldiers left home in the hope that their sacrifices would pay the debt, so that their children and ours would never have to experience the horrors of war. Your sacrifice and service (the Veterans) are what made the Republic of Korea the proud democracy it is today.”
Gary and Neil are both employed LHD (formally Westlands) supporting the Republic of Korea Navy’s 622 Squadron, based in Jinhae Air Base as the Koreans introduce the AW-159 Wildcat into service. It was a poignant moment when they spotted the graves of a Royal Marine and a Royal Naval Surgeon, side by side, who lost their lives during a combined operation in the early part of the war.