Barkingside war veteran, Ronald Batchelor, remembers the ‘forgotten war’
PUBLISHED: 18:00 30 July 2013
The Korean War is sometimes referred to as the “forgotten war”, but there is no chance of Ronald Batchelor ever forgetting it.
“I didn’t see anyone dying, but it took me more than two years when I got back, to actually try to forget what happened to me, said Ron, who served as a wireless operator with the Royal Signals.
The role meant that Ronald, now 80, was saved from most of the death and horror.
Ronald, from Fullwell Avenue, Barkingside, said: “I wouldn’t say that I was lucky, because I might not have been on the battlefields, but I was only 500 yards away from it.
“When I was based at Brigade HQ, I would see the Australians and New Zealand officers coming back from action wounded and we saw the ones that were killed.”
Ronald was forced to remember those “unlucky ones” who didn’t make it back from the war at a memorial service in Romford on Sunday to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the war.
The grandfather was 19, when he became one of 100,000 Brish troops, who were sent to Korea as part of national service.
Ronald says that he went into the war with no disillusionment.
“I grew up during World War Two, he recalls.
“This meant that I was used to dealing with air raids and it was all really vivid for me, so I didn’t go into Korea blindfolded.
“It was national service and I just knew it was something that I had to do, so I had to just get on with it.”
The memorial event, included a service at Coronation Gardens in Main Road, Romford and the laying of a wreath.
Ronald believes that more needs to be done to recognise the 1000 British troops who were killed in the battle.
He said: “We have been trying for it be recongised for years.
“We all just got our service medals, there wasn’t a George cross or anything like that.”
“We have asked the government to put a memorial up in Westminster Abbey for those who lost their lives, but they have always said that we were not fighting for the British, but for the United Nations.”
It couldn’t be more different in Korea.
“They can’t get enough of us, they treat us like celebrities.
“When I was there five years ago, the children were stopping us in the street and asking for our autographs.”
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