West Norfolk veterans of Korean War speak out

Korean War Veterans interviews at Knightshill Hotel.
LtoR, Stan White, Martin Bisiker, Brian Rutland ANL-160403-160537009

Korean War Veterans interviews at Knightshill Hotel. LtoR, Stan White, Martin Bisiker, Brian Rutland ANL-160403-160537009

West Norfolk veterans who served in the “forgotten” Korean War have been recording their stories for future generations.

Brian Rudland and Stan White have shared their stories with the Legasee project which will be used to give school pupils a prospective into life during the three year war.

The Heritage Lottery Funded initiative aims to speak to as many veterans and has so far gathered more than 300 hours of archive footage.

Having looked at the Second World War, the project is now turning its attention to Korea.

The Communist People’s Republic of North Korea advanced into the south during 1950, America called upon its allies to see off the advance.

During the three-year war up to 63,000 British troops were sent into Korea.

Mr White, 86, of Watlington, said: “It was nothing to do with this country really. Although we sent over troops it was all part of the United States plan.

“You do wonder why people can’t remember it.”

Mr White, who originates from Berkshire, was a regular with the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm when war was declared.

He was on board HMS Unicorn after a stint in the Far East to “show the flag” and was due to return in 1950.

But when war was declared they had to rush back to Singapore to deliver aircraft and he was transferred onto the air craft carrier, HMS Triumph for two months before returning to the Unicorn.

He said: “The Unicorn was the only carrier which bombed the shore.”

During his time in the Far East Mr White, who left the navy in 1959, remembers having to clear the deck of heavy snow.

Mr White, who returned home in 1951, said: “I felt for the fellas who were serving on land.”

Among them was Brian Rudland, 84, of Marshland St James.

He was called up for at the age of 18 for National Service in 1950 and ended up in Korea.

Mr Rudland said: “When we found out where we were going some of us had never heard of it.”

After stop-off in Egypt and travelling through the Suez Canal, Mr Rudland arrived in Korea. He endured cold winters and difficult living conditions.

Mr Rudland’s job was to transport troops , rations and amuntion in his lorry.

He said: “I can understand why we were there. We had to stop the advance.”

The driving force behind the Legasee project is Martin Bisiker. He said: “There is a deep feeling that Korea should not be forgotten.

“Once these guys have gone we will have lost these stories but we now have the technology to do this sort of thing.

“Veterans talking about their experiences can have a powerful impact.”