Last week we held a Remembrance Service in College organised and hosted by our very own John Hart, formerly a member of the Green Howards and currently a Royal Marine Cadet instructor at the Guisborough Cadet Centre, joined by an army cadet from C Company Loftus detachment.
Our Principal, Asma Shaffi, opened the service with her own words of remembrance before passing over to John who talked to the gathering about the Korean War, the loss of life and the terrible conditions.
Three of our students then took centre stage with reading of their own choice.
Hamza Arshad read exerts from the diaries of two separate soldiers from the war. The first reading was written by a soldier from the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, the second was written by a soldier from the 2nd Battalion The Green Howards, who were first on the beach on the D-Day landings.
And here are the pieces he read: An area around a ridge overlooking the Imjin River known as ‘the Hook’ had been a focus for control and two battles had repulsed Chinese forces. In May 1953 it was successfully defended again, this time by The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding).
Charlie Daynes, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment:
“On the night of 28th May 1953, I was selected to go out on patrol in no man’s land on a feature called Green Finger — one of the spurs leading from the Hook. We were in readiness to go out when Hell let loose and the third battle of the Hook had begun… Unfortunately, our patrol commander was killed instantly, so we took shelter in the nearest bunker.”
“Looking through the bunker aperture all we could see were soldiers clad in khaki suits and cloth caps firing burp guns. At this point another of our Corporals was killed when a grenade exploded in his face. This soldier is still missing presumed dead. What seemed like hours later, we were taken prisoner by Chinese soldiers. We were taken down in a trench covered in dead bodies, many of which were Chinese, to a tunnel leading down the side of the Hook. Once again, we were stepping over bodies and taken to another tunnel and this is when we were interrogated, and all personal possessions were taken from us. We were then marched to a small village where we stayed for a few days before moving on again…”
Ken Keld’s War
Ken Keld, 2nd Battalion Green Howards recalls digging new fighting pits, bunkers, and trenches.
“Sleep and ‘my time’ was minimal. Through time it got to a point where you could drop off to sleep standing up!… Unfortunately, bed was where we faced our second enemy — the rats. Like humans, rats feel the cold and seek warmth, especially where food is to be had… One particular time, I had two bars of chocolate and was eating one in the dark and the other bar had disappeared. I found rat nibbling it at the bottom of my so-called bed. When I threw my mess tin at the offender, it disappeared so I threw the bar of chocolate away. One of the lads, Ron Smailes, found it and simply broke off the nibbled bit and ate the rest. Fortunately, he lived to tell the tale!”
Lola Steinhauser Somers read a beautiful piece called ‘We Remember’ by Laura Mucha, a poem commissioned for Remembrance Day by the Royal British Legion which you can read here:
Then Emma Tennant followed up with a poignant poem that she had written herself.
The service, attended by more than 200 students and staff, culminated by collectively observing the Act of Remembrance from the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance in the Albert Hall.
Thank you to everyone who took part in this very moving and wonderful service.