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Royal Norfolks in Korea
Old 04-25-2010, 12:37 PM   #1
Lynton Battrick
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Default Royal Norfolks in Korea

Hi,
I'm new to this part of the forum, but I have ventured on here as I have volunteered to research my wife's uncles military history for her father.
Her uncle served in the Royal Norfolk Regiment and was killed in action in Korea in 1952.
I am looking for more information about their activtities and locations in Korea and in particular looking for information regarding their part in a battle for hill 118.
Any information would be great!
Many thanks,
lynton.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:22 AM   #2
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The Regimental Museum website has very little on the regiments service in Korea. The main is losses in the war and many decorations. Sorry to be of so little help.
Jim
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:17 AM   #3
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Well, over 2 years since I first posted this thread, I have now aquired quite a large amount of information on my Wifes uncle and the action on Hill 118 in Korea in which he lost his life.

After drawing blanks from the internet, I sent a letter into the local news paper looking for veterans of the Royal Norfolk Regiment who had served in Korea.
To my pleasure, we had replies from several veterans who provided information, but sadly none of these knew Noel directly, or any members of his Company that were in the Veterans association.

All help was greatfully recieved and I chatted with some of the veterans over the phone and one veteran ( the Chairman of the Veterans Association) in particular sent us a copy of an article that was written in the Britannia and Castle (Regimental Magazine) about the action at Hill 118 shortly after it happened.

He has also offered his assitance in working out where and when Noel was trained and posted to before Korea from his military records that we now have.

I will now endeavor to post some photos and information that I have gained for you all, as after researching this for the family, it has shown that Korea is indeed a sadly forgotten conflict.

I hope you enjoy this post.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:11 AM   #4
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Please note, some of the details including name, and home locations etc will be generalised in the interest of the family.

Born in North Norfolk, Noel was the son of a career soldier in the Royal Artillery who had been in service before WW2 and during WW2 had served in Africa amonst other places.

His father is the soldier on the right in the photo with a friend serving with the Royal Engineers. I believe this photo is taken in North Africa during WW2.
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Old 12-29-2012, 10:41 AM   #5
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Working as a Railway Porter in the vacinity of his home village, Noel was conscripted as a National Serviceman into the Royal Norfolk Regiment on the 15/03/1951 and carried out his training at East Anglian Brigade Depot where he remained until 30/07/1951.
He then embarked for Hong Kong on the 31/07/1951, a journey which took until 04/09/51.
In Hong Kong, it is believed he carried out further training unitl 31/01/52 when he embarked for Japan ( listed as Korean Theatre ) where he arrived on 05/02/52 and more training was carried out ready for deployment.

First photo is from Basic training in the UK, Noel is 4th row back, 4th from left.

Second photo is Noel and is believed to be taken in Hiro, Japan.
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File Type: jpg Noel1 copy.jpg (163.2 KB, 127 views)
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:24 PM   #6
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Top photo. Noel and friends in tropical uniform in Japan before deploying to Korea.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:26 PM   #7
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Noel and his section (?) in Japan.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:42 PM   #8
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Noel joined the 1st Battalion The Royal Norfolk Regiment in Korea on 18 May 1952.

The battalion had been in Korea since November 1951 mainly involved in low key operations which centred around intelligence gathering recce patrols and listening posts, given the now largely static phase the war had entered at this time.
Not once had the Battalion participated in any major operations at this time.
However, all units along the UN front line had been ordered as a high priority to capture prisoners of war for identification purposes. None had succeeded, largely because of the complex construction of the enemy forward positions built as bunkers with limited access at ground level.

The following text was given to me from a veteran and comes from the book The Royal Norfolk Regiment 1951-1969, please bear with me as it may take me a few days to get the info up here!!
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:51 PM   #9
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"In July and August the pressure on at least part of the Battalion was to be intensified when orders filtered down that yet more determinded efforts were to be made to capture a prisoner.
it was clearly essential that our own HQ knew of the changes of enemy strengths and units along the front line to assist in assessing the stance to be adopted at the armistice talks as well as for more routine intelligence.
"Operation Yarmouth" was put into effect on 07 July. The operation was designed to overcome the problem of gaining a prisoner from the enemys own positions by luring him out into no mans land thereby becoming immediately more vunerable"
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:03 AM   #10
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Having joined 5 Platoon of B company under the command of Lt Berney, Noel is pictured in defensive positions of the front line held by the 1st Battalion Royal Norfolk Regiment.
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The Battle of Hill 118
Old 12-31-2012, 08:13 AM   #11
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Default The Battle of Hill 118

A Trap is set.

A platoon outpost was established well forward, approximately 500 yards, of the forward defended localities of A and D companies by 4 Platoon of B Company under the command of 2nd Lt Hall-Tipping. The position lay at the east end of a longridge known previously as Crete and now simply as the Island and was given the nickname of Bunker Hill. Over the next few days 4 Platoon worked on their positions by night, with help from the Royal Engineers, and by day they observed and reported back on the enemy's activities.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:46 AM   #12
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It was hoped that the enemy would eventually be overcome with curiosity and send out patrols to find out what was going on. When that happened, it was intended a prisoner would be snatched from the enemy patrol. Not only was 4 Platoon on Bunker Hill standing by ready to achieve this aim, but every night additional ambush patrols were sent forward from other companies with the same aim. Including 4 Platoon, there were at least sixty men out in no mans land each night.
After some ten days 4 Platoon was withdrawn and replaced by Noel's 5 Platoon of B Company under the command of Lt Berney, who remained in position on Bunker Hill for another week.
Patrolling activity continued in support of the Platoon at the same level but with no reaction from the Chinese lines. It therefore became clear that something more had to be done and it was decided to establish a new permanent standing patrol even closer to the enemy lines, some 700 yards from his nearest known outpost on .118 ( Thereafter known by the Battalion as Hill 118).

Photo - Defensive wire around the Norfolks position, Korea 1952.
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Operation Cromer
Old 12-31-2012, 11:05 AM   #13
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The operation to put this new move into effect was codenamed 'Cromer'. It was decided it should take place on 23 July. Lt Berney was to occupy Hill 118 on the night 23/24 July, taking with him 2 sections of 4 Platoon.
In preparation for the occupation of this new position it was decided that 2nd Lt Shuttleworth with 3 Platoon would occupy Hill 118 after dark on 23 July.
Once in position 2nd Lt Henson MC with 9 Platoon would move up onto the hill and dig the positions for Lt Berney's patrol to use.

As Lt Shuttleworht's Platoon approached their objective at appro 2300 hrs it became clear that it was at least temporarily occupied by the enemy. With great dash and despite the difficulties encountered in the darkness he led his Platoon against the enemy on top of the hill and seized it after a short sharp battle which saw 2 of his own men killed and also 2 of the enemy.

Moving forward off the hilltop 3 Platoon took up defensive positions to allow 9 Platoon to move up and commence digging. By 0400 on the 24 July the position was ready and it was occupied by Lt Berney's men from 5 Platoon before first light. Lt Shuttleworth, meanwhile, had withdrawn with all the other ambush patrols from the Battalion.

Lt Berney's group remained on alert throughout the day on 24 July but there was no sign of the enemy. As darkness fell, 2 additional ambush patrols were sent out as usual, one to the north of Hill 118 and one to the west.

By 2200 these patrols had confirmed they were on position and had not seen of heard the enemy.

Photo - 3" Mortars of the 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment in action. Korea, 1952.
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The Enemy Strikes
Old 12-31-2012, 11:36 AM   #14
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Then, 25 minutes later, Hill 118 was attacked by a force of some 40 enemy which had approached silently to within a few yeards of the positions. In the initial assault about 30 of the enemy stromed up the hill from the south -west and in an instant were on to 5 Platoons position.

Desperate hand to hand fighting followed and when moments later another enemy force of around 20 came at the positions from the north, the Platoon Commander, recognising he and his men were about to be swamped, ordered them to withdraw from the hill and reform at the bottom of the slope.

This the 2 sections did, firing and throwing grenades as by bounds they fell back. Just at the moment of withdrawal, one of the Bren gunners, Pte G R Reed, leapt to his feet and firing from the hip charged down the hill towards a group of enemy, successfully putting them to flight. Pte Reed earned the immediate award of the Military Medal for his gallantry and selflessness in this action, which was all the more courageous when it is recalled that he was a national serviceman due to return to the UK the next week to be demobilised.
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Old 12-31-2012, 12:36 PM   #15
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Having reorganised at the foot of the hill, Lt Berney realized that some of his men were missing. He returned alone up the hill to find them and that was the last time he was seen alive.

Following this withdrawal the ambush patrol north of Hill 118 was ordered to retake the position. It did so without opposition as the Chinese had withdrawn taking with them theier dead and wounded.

Together with the second ambush patrol a defensive perimeter was set up and the wounded men from the earlier fighting, Pte Fitzgerald, Pte Tolsin, Pte Morris and Pte Tyler were recovered.

All the patrols withdrew and at 0800 on the 25 July, the Brigade commander issued orders to temporarily discontinue the occupation of both Hill 118 and Bunker Hill.

A patrol under 2nd Lt Renolds later returned to Hill 118 to recover the bodies of those killed in action.
Lt Berney was found dead with his pistol in his hand surrounded by empty cases. 2 other men, Pte Wheeler and Pte Haynes (Noel) were also killed and their bodies recovered. L/Cpl Russell and Pte R M Perfect were reported missing and their bodies were never recovered.

The operation to capture a prisoner around the position of Hill 118 continued until 03 August, with the fighting building up in intensity and the actions cost the Battalion many more lives. A prisoner was never captured who remained alive long enough to be interogated.


Photo - My wifes uncle, Noel, was 19 years old when he was killed in the Battle for Hill 118. He now rests in the Commonwealth cemetery at Pusan.
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