The Duke of Gloucester has taken on a new patronage in commemoration of an important military anniversary for the veterans of Gloucestershire.
The Royal Family announced the news on Tuesday, posting on Twitter that Prince Richard would be patronage of #Imjin70, a commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of The Imjin River, which took place during the Korean War from 22-25 April 1951.
In a letter outlining the anniversary events, Lt Col Tony Ayres, Chair of the Gloucestershire Imjin 70 Co-Ordination Group, wrote, “The  Brigade and subsequently The GLOSTERS alone held their ground on what is now known as ‘Gloster Hill’, against 10,000 Chinese soldiers. They stopped their advance for four+ days allowing the UN forces the time to build a series of strong defensive positions that stopped the enemy advance. Subsequently, a long stalemate led to the cessation of combat on the Korean peninsula, although, to this day, no peace agreement has been signed.”
Prince Richard has a special connection to the anniversary and to the ‘Glorious Glosters’ who fought in the battle: his father, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, was Royal Colonel of the Gloucestershire Regiment at the time they were deployed.
Prince Richard is currently the Royal Colonel of the 6th (V) Battalion, The Rifles, which now includes the former Gloucestershire Regiment.
The Battle of The Imjin River was between the United Nations Command (which comprised soldiers from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Philippines and South Korea) and the Peoples Volunteer Army of China in order to prevent the recapture of Seoul, the South Korean capital city.
This battle would prove to be the bloodiest that involved the British Army since the Second World War. The Royal Family noted that “around 400 ‘Glorious Glosters’ held out against 10,000 enemy troops,” and earned a US Presidential Unit Citation, which is the highest award for gallantry and heroism.
Their citation read: “The 1st Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment and Troop C, 170th Independent Mortar Battery displayed such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing their mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set them apart and above other units participating in the same battle.”
The Royal Family’s Twitter account noted, “As Patron of #Imjin70, The Duke is pleased to be commemorating ‘the vital role that the men of Gloucestershire played’ 70 years ago.” He is already patron of The Soldiers of Gloucestershire Museum, which will play a major role in marking the anniversary.